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Discussion Starter #1
I have just finished replacing a front wheel bearing and took a few photos along the way so I thought I’d put together a quick how to. Bare with me as it might take a day or two to write up as I may need to get a few more pictures but here goes...

First of all, mine is a 2001 CF3 Twin Spark so there may be subtle differences for other models especially V6s. Also be aware of ‘mission creep’. I started with a noisy wheel bearing which quickly developed into doing both front wheel bearings and refurbing both hub carriers, driveshafts and all four CV joints. With the hub carrier removed, you have easy access to the wishbones and front shocks so easy to get carried away. The only reason I didn’t touch these was I had not long replaced them all.

Removing the hub and getting the old bearing out can be quite time consuming so I bought a spare pair of hub carriers and drive shafts so I could get everything done and do a quick swap so the car was off the road for the minimum amount of time.

First job is to assemble the necessary tools. You will need...
Sockets and spanners; 10mm, 12mm, 13mm, 15mm, 17mm and 19mm plus a 36mm (I think) for the hub nut which I bought from Totally Alfa
The biggest breaker bar you can find
Allen keys; 5mm and 6mm
Grease
Plusgas or similar
Hammers; large and small
Torque wrench
The strength of Hercules
The patience of Job
 

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Discussion Starter #2
First thing to do is actually remove the hub carrier. I would soak everything with plenty of Plusgas overnight. I made sure everything could be loosened off before I started taking it all apart First loosen the hub nut (number 1). There are little lugs that need pushing out. A screwdriver in the vents of the brake disc will stop it spinning. Number 2 is a 12mm I think that holds the disc on. There are two bolts through the base of the strut (number 3). You’ll need a 15mm and 17mm for this. The bolts are the same as the pinch bolt. You will need to undo the track rod end from underneath and split the joint (number 4). The brake calliper will need unbolting. It is held on at the rear with two 19mm bolts. The calliper will need supporting so as not to stress the hose. I zip tied it to the spring. The pinch bolt is underneath at the back (number 6). Once this is removed, the wishbone will need to be split from the hub carrier and finally the drop link needs undoing from the wishbone.



933422
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you are going to remove the driveshaft it is held on by 6 bolts undone with the 6mm Allen key (I believe 8mm on a V6 but I can’t confirm this) at the gearbox end. It is best to undo these while the hub is still in place as it makes it easier to stop the shaft from spinning. If you are removing the driveshafts, there is a very good guide to stripping the CV joints here...

 

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Discussion Starter #4
At this point with everything undone, the hub carrier should just pull away. However, depending on when it last came apart you may need to use a hammer to help it on its way. The next thing you need to do is remove the ABS sensor. It is held in by a bolt that will need the 5mm Allen key. Your options are now to support the hub carrier and remove the sensor without pulling out the wiring or you can unplug the cable. I did one each way and there’s pros and cons to both.

Getting the sensor out is an art. I used a very thin bladed screwdriver to loosen it and the small hammer to gentle tap it out from the inside. They are very easy to break. Replacements are available, cheapest I found was on eBay for about £35 each for genuine Bosch parts.

933423
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Next we need to remove the hub itself and the old wheel bearing. The sensible option is to take your hub carrier to a friendly garage and get them to press them out. Or if you are stubborn like me... you can remove them yourself with the biggest hammer you have and one of these...

933432
 

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Discussion Starter #6
To remove the hub, it comes out from the inside towards the outside. I got a socket the same size as the centre of the hub, supported the carrier on blocks of wood and hit it with the hammer. It eventually came out with bits of the old wheel bearing.

933433
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The remains of the wheel bearing will come out the opposite way. There is a clip that needs removing first. Once that was out, I supported the hub carrier and a disc from the set above and knocked it out with a large hammer. Point to note; I bought genuine Alfa replacements (Partsworld sale) and they don’t come with a new clip. Non-Alfa parts like SKF (who made the Alfa bearing) come with a new clip.

933434
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There will still be part of the old bearing still on your hub. This will need careful removal with an angle grinder if you are going to re-use them. I bought new ones for about £35 each. With the bare hub carrier, clean up the inside where the wheel bearing goes with wet and dry. I also wire brushed the outside and painted with several coats of POR15.

933435
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Now to put everything back together... I put the new bearing in the freezer and the hub carrier on a radiator. Once they were sufficiently hot and cold, I put a quick smear on the inside and put the bearing in. It needed a couple of taps with a block of wood and hammer and went straight in. Make sure it goes in the right way with the magnetic strip nearest the ABS sensor and replace the clip.

933436
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I repeated the freezer/radiator trick to get the new hub in the carrier. With that done it was time to put everything back together. The hub and carrier pushes onto the splined end of the outer CV joint which I put a bit of grease on. I loosely did up the new hub nut and put the other bolts on loosely too. When it came to putting the wishbone joint back together and to do up the drop link, I put a jack underneath the wishbone to raise it. If you push the wishbone ball joint pin too far in, it is very difficult to get the pinch bolt in. It should slide in easily. With the two bolts on the bas3 of the strut I put the disc and calliper back on and did up the track rod end. Put the ABS sensor back in and torque it all up. Somewhere in my garage is an oily scrap of paper with the torque settings on it. When I find it, I’ll add the torque settings but they are easy enough to find with a quick Google search.

933440
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That’s about it really. It took me roughly a weekend per side to take apart and re-assemble each side plus time spent on stripping and rebuilding the hub carriers. I’d advise taking a few photos before you start... I didn’t and managed to put the dust guards on the wrong way round at first. Mine all came apart fairly easily but it was about 12 months since I did the wishbones and shocks. New pinch bolts are a must. Other bolts I’d only replace if you damage them removing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
And finally the cost...

Spare hubs and driveshafts - £120
New wheel bearings - £75
New hub flanges - £75
4x CV joint boots - £50
2x pinch bolts - £20
Hub nut socket - £25
2x hub nuts - £10

Plus paint (POR15 anti-rust and top coat x not cheap) and grease etc.

The hub flanges can be re-used and buying spare hubs and driveshafts isn’t necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Torques...
PInch bolt 67-74 Nm
Drop link 26-33Nm
Hub/strut bolts 67-74Nm
Subframe plate 60-73Nm (not needed for this job but I put some shine new red ones on while doing the wheel bearings)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Nice thorough guide which will no doubt be useful one day. Thanks!
You’re welcome... I couldn’t have done it without the how to on CV joints that I posted a link to earlier in the thread. It was definitely a learning curve. I finished off the last little bits like putting back a wheel arch liner that I took off unnecessarily today and went for a test drive which went well. Roll on the MOT Friday!
 

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Excellent How to Nell. one question, did you replace the 6mm allen bolts that fix the drive shaft or reuse the originals? I have read in a few places that these are stretch bolts and should be replaced. be doing mine when the weather improves and wondered which way you went.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Excellent How to Nell. one question, did you replace the 6mm allen bolts that fix the drive shaft or reuse the originals? I have read in a few places that these are stretch bolts and should be replaced. be doing mine when the weather improves and wondered which way you went.
I bought some new bolts on eBay but they were about 5mm shorter than the originals so I re-used the original bolts. And having Googled ‘stretch bolts’ I think I know why they were longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
A quick update and to answer Steve’s question... fairly soon after putting it all back together I started getting a bit of knocking from the front left and something didn’t quite feel right. After searching the forums I thought the bolts could be the issue. I found the bolts on the offending side to be not as tight as they should be. I tightened them up and went for a spin... everything seems much better. New nuts and bolts ordered. From reading the forums this is the way forward and they need to be Uber man tight.
 
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