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Front Wheel Bearing RWD Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Wheel Bearing RWD Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Sockets 13, 16, 21mm, T50 Torx, pry bar, wire brush, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, axle removal/installing tool

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Front wheel bearing

Hot Tip:

Replace brakes

Performance Gain:

Quiet and smooth front end

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

The front wheel bearing on MINI R56 models bolts into the steering knuckle, unlike older model vehicles that were pressed in. This makes replacing it much easier. You will need to remove the axle shaft from the wheel hub (bearing) when replacing the bearing assembly. To do this you may need an axle removal / installing tool to press the axle out of the hub, then to pull it back in. I find on some vehicles, the axle can be tapped out using a soft-faced hammer, then reinstalled. However, most times the fit is too tight and the removal /installing tool is needed.

A faulty wheel bearing can exhibit a few warning signs. The most obvious would be a howling or grinding noise from a front wheel while in motion. This noise would get louder when you steer side to side. If worse when steering to the right, the left side bearing is usually at fault and the opposite holds true for when steering left. You can check for a noisy wheel bearing with the vehicle stationary too. Jack the front of your vehicle and rotate the front wheel; while rotating, place your hand on the front coil spring. You should be able to pick up a vibration in the spring. There may also be free-play in the bearing. You can check for free-play by jacking the front of your vehicle and wiggling the wheel up and down. If there is any free-play, replace the bearing.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle. You'll want both wheels off the ground for this repair.

Remove the front wheel from the side of the vehicle you are replacing the wheel bearing on.

Remove the front brake rotor on the side of the vehicle you are replacing the wheel bearing on.

With the rotor removed, you now have access to the wheel hub and bearing (red arrow).
Figure 1

With the rotor removed, you now have access to the wheel hub and bearing (red arrow). The hub and bearing is replaced as an assembly.

If you're replacing the left side bearing, you will have to remove the pad wear sensor.
Figure 2

If you're replacing the left side bearing, you will have to remove the pad wear sensor. Open the mount (red arrow) and remove the wire from the bleeder.

Next, remove the pad wear sensor from the brake pad using a pair of pliers (red arrow).
Figure 3

Next, remove the pad wear sensor from the brake pad using a pair of pliers (red arrow). Pull it straight out to remove it. If stuck, wiggle side to side slightly. Be care as the sensor is fragile. If it breaks, replace it with a new one.

Using a flathead screwdriver (red arrow), slowly press the brake caliper piston in.
Figure 4

Using a flathead screwdriver (red arrow), slowly press the brake caliper piston in. This allows the brake caliper to be pulled off the brake rotor easily. I like to pry between the outer brake pad and brake rotor. This way there is less chance of damaging the caliper piston.

Working at the brake caliper-mounting bracket, remove the two 16mm caliper bolts (red arrows).
Figure 5

Working at the brake caliper-mounting bracket, remove the two 16mm caliper bolts (red arrows).

Remove the caliper and suspend it using a bungee cord or stiff wire (red arrow).
Figure 6

Remove the caliper and suspend it using a bungee cord or stiff wire (red arrow). Do not allow it to hang by the brake hose.

Remove the T50 Torx rotor fastener (red arrow).
Figure 7

Remove the T50 Torx rotor fastener (red arrow). Then remove the rotor from the hub.

With the rotor removed, use a wire brush and clean the four exposed bolt threads (red arrow).
Figure 8

With the rotor removed, use a wire brush and clean the four exposed bolt threads (red arrow). Once clean spray them with penetrating oil and allow time for it to soak in.

Lever the folded portion of the nut away from the axle shaft end (red arrow).
Figure 9

Lever the folded portion of the nut away from the axle shaft end (red arrow). Using a 32mm, six-point socket and a breaker bar, loosen the axle nut (green arrow).

Remove the front ball joint 12mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 10

Remove the front ball joint 12mm fasteners (red arrows).

Lever the front ball joint away from the lower control arm (red arrows).
Figure 11

Lever the front ball joint away from the lower control arm (red arrows). Separate the two.

See if tapping the drive axle out of the hub will free it.
Figure 12

See if tapping the drive axle out of the hub will free it. If not, you will need a removal tool.

Using an axle removal tool (red arrow), press the front drive axle out of the wheel hub.
Figure 13

Using an axle removal tool (red arrow), press the front drive axle out of the wheel hub.

Pull the wheel hub away from the drive axle and separate them.
Figure 14

Pull the wheel hub away from the drive axle and separate them. Then working at the back of the spindle, remove the four 13mm wheel bearing fasteners (red arrows).

Next, remove the wheel bearing from the steering knuckle.
Figure 15

Next, remove the wheel bearing from the steering knuckle. If it is stuck, give it a light tap with a soft-faced hammer.

Remove the wheel bearing from the spindle.
Figure 16

Remove the wheel bearing from the spindle. Clean the wheel bearing-mounting surface using a wire brush.

Install the new wheel bearing and tighten the fasteners.
Figure 17

Install the new wheel bearing and tighten the fasteners. Then pull the axle into the hub using the installing tool (red arrow). Tighten the axle nut and set the nut lock using a chisel (red arrow). Reassemble the suspension and install the brakes. Remember to pump the brake pedal before driving the vehicle. Have the vehicle professionally aligned.

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