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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Troy, MI
    Posts
    306

    Default Removing Front Wheel Bearing on Saturn Vue

    My friend has a 2003 Saturn Vue that periodically needs front wheel bearings. The knuckle is aluminum and the bearing is steel so it corrodes badly when exposed to the salt that is used on our Michigan roads in the winter. We replaced the right wheel bearing about one year ago and we found it very difficult to remove the bearing. Our first attempt was with a 5 lb slide hammer and we broke the hub attachment bracket of the slide hammer without disturbing the bearing.

    • Picture 1 & 2 for the repaired bracket of the slide hammer.

    When this failed we removed the tie rod ball, the lower ball joint and the two large bolts the secure the McPherson strut. We were able to press it out in my 20 ton hydraulic arbor press. It was a big job.

    Today we did the left side. We tried a home made version of the “Hub Buster”. The hub buster has a plate that attaches to the upper two studs of the hub of the wheel bearing that is going to get scrapped. A piece of square tubing is welded to the plate parallel to the wheel axis of rotation. The idea of it is you hit the tubing in the downward direction with a sledge hammer and the wheel bearing pops off. Below is a video showing the Hub Buster in action.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4pygRExlus

    • Picture 3 shows using a roughing mill to square up the tubing.
    • Picture 4 & 5 show before and after welding the home made Hub Buster
    • Picture 6 shows the Hub Buster in place.

    The problem was that when we struck the square tubing the hub and knuckle rotated about the bottom where it is supported and applied a side load to the McPherson strut, which deflected and significantly diminished the impact load. We tried pouring a kettle of boiling hot water on the aluminum knuckle with no effect. Next we heated it with the torch to ~280 degrees F and held a piece of 2” diameter x 4’ bar against the top of the knuckle to keep it moving out when we struck downward on the tube of the Hub Buster. This eventually worked but not like the video. Instead it loosened up a little on the top at first. We tapped the tube up and down until the bearing came out. The corrosion is white and color and very hard like ceramics. We had to use a three cornered scraper to remove it. It is very effective in gluing the bearing into the knuckle.

    • The corrosion is shown on the bearing in picture 7 and on the knuckle in picture 8.

    My conclusion is that the first method, which involves removing the knuckle and pressing out the bearing on the arbor press, was better but took longer. The Hub Buster puts more force than I like on the suspension components. Any suggestions would be appreciated because these wheel bearings will eventually need replacing again.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Don52; 05-03-2011 at 07:47 PM.

    Miller Thunderbolt
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    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Troy, MI
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Some more Pictures:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Don52; 05-14-2011 at 10:10 PM.

    Miller Thunderbolt
    Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
    Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
    16" DuAll Saw
    15" Drill Press
    7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
    20 Ton Arbor Press
    Bridgeport

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    South Alabama
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Haven't dealt much with road salt, but live on Gulf of Mexico and work on a lot of boat stuff. I would try cleaning it good with a wire brush and painting all the parts that stick with anti-seize and putting it back together. If you don't want that on there you could also try high tack gasket sealing compound(OMC makes some thats real good, permatex also has some). Those have worked great for me keeping the salt water from freezing things up. Good luck.
    "The only source of knowledge is experience." Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Farmington, OH
    Posts
    746

    Default

    It just may have been glue in the bearing housing. There was glue in the front wheel bearings of my Ram 1500. A bit of heat and a few taps with a nice heavy hammer and mine popped right out. As far as preventing the corrosion caused by the dielectric current from dissimilar metals combined with moisture and accelerated by the salt use a molybdenum disulphide coating such as Never Seize. Apply liberally to both surfaces and you'll be surprised at how well it will work.

    I worked for an aluminum heavy truck trailer manufacturer and when we would mount the steel suspensions on the aluminum frames we would literally paint the mating surfaces with the molybdenum disulphide and when they'd come back years later there wasn't any dielectric corrosion where the surfaces mated. The other alternative was upon customer request we would install a stainless steel shim between the steel and aluminum. However in your application that wouldn't work so well.
    Blondie (Owner C & S Automotive)

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Troy, MI
    Posts
    306

    Default

    Thanks for all of your comments.

    Miller Thunderbolt
    Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
    Clausing/Coldchester 15" Lathe
    16" DuAll Saw
    15" Drill Press
    7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
    20 Ton Arbor Press
    Bridgeport

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