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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Wheel Bearings

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

13mm, 19mm, 22mm 5mm Allen head, socket with ratchet, punch, swivel and extension

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R129 (1990-02)

Parts Required:

Front coil springs

Hot Tip:

Spray bushings with lubricant for easier installation

Performance Gain:

Eliminate clicking noise when changing directions or going over bumps

Complementary Modification:

Change over to polyurethane bushings for a tighter ride.

Your wheel bearings are one of the hardest working parts on your car. In order for a wheel to roll it needs to have bearings that hold the hub true but allow the wheel to rotate on the axle shaft or spindle. This sounds easy but consider these wheel bearings have to carry the weight of the entire car which is approximately 4000lbs. Also these wheel bearings carry this weight at speeds upwards of 75mph. Mercedes Benz uses tapered roller bearing design on their W129 chassis. This means the bearings are serviceable. You can replace the bearings, which we recommend, but you can also just disassemble them, clean them and repack them. In this tech article we are going to go over the steps to remove and service your front wheel bearings.

Lift and support the front axle of the vehicle. You have to remove the tires to perform this job. See our tech article on jacking and supporting your vehicle and remove the front tires.

The procedure to replace the wheel bearings is the same for both the left and right sides. These pictures are of the right side of the vehicle. It is recommended you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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.

Remove the two 19mm fasteners that hold the caliper onto the spindle (green arrows).
Figure 1

Remove the two 19mm fasteners that hold the caliper onto the spindle (green arrows). Remove the caliper from the spindle and support it. Do not let it hang by the brake line because this can damage the line. If the brake pads are spread apart a little, they will clear the brake rotor when removing. You can use a commercially available brake pad spreading tool to push the brake pads back in the caliper, once the caliper is removed.

ThisPicture illustrates the right side front wheel well.
Figure 2

ThisPicture illustrates the right side front wheel well. Using a punch tap off the wheel bearing cover. Clean off the grease underneath the cap on the end of the spindle.

Loosen the 5mm Allen head pinch bolt on the bearing retaining fastener.
Figure 3

Loosen the 5mm Allen head pinch bolt on the bearing retaining fastener.

Remove the bearing retaining fastener.
Figure 4

Remove the bearing retaining fastener.

Remove the wheel bearing washer from the end of the spindle.
Figure 5

Remove the wheel bearing washer from the end of the spindle.

Remove the outer tapered roller bearing from the spindle.
Figure 6

Remove the outer tapered roller bearing from the spindle.

Remove the brake rotor and hub from the spindle.
Figure 7

Remove the brake rotor and hub from the spindle.

If you want to remove the backing plate (to service the lower ball joint) remove the three 4mm Allen head fasteners (green arrows) and pull off the backing plate.
Figure 8

If you want to remove the backing plate (to service the lower ball joint) remove the three 4mm Allen head fasteners (green arrows) and pull off the backing plate.

If the seal is difficult to get out you can use two blocks of wood to support the brake rotor and place the brake rotor and hub assembly right side up.
Figure 9

If the seal is difficult to get out you can use two blocks of wood to support the brake rotor and place the brake rotor and hub assembly right side up. Use a punch and tap downward to force the bearing and the seal out. You should only do this if you are replacing the wheel bearings and races. If you are not replacing the bearings and races, use a seal puller to remove the seal.

Clean the wheel bearing and repack it with new grease.
Figure 10

Clean the wheel bearing and repack it with new grease. Put some grease in your hand and push the wheel bearing down to force the grease into the bearing cage.

You can also use a commercially available wheel bearing packer to thoroughly pack the bearings before installation.
Figure 11

You can also use a commercially available wheel bearing packer to thoroughly pack the bearings before installation.

If you are replacing the wheel bearing you need to tap out the bearing races from the hub.
Figure 12

If you are replacing the wheel bearing you need to tap out the bearing races from the hub. There are two bearing races, one inner and one outer. Use a punch and place it on the lip of the bearing race and hammer down on it to dislodge it. Alternate from side to side to "walk" the bearing races out of the hub and do the same thing when tapping in the new wheel bearing races. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Tap in the new bearing races. Pack both inner and outer bearings with new wheel bearing grease. Install the inner bearing and tap in a new seal. Apply new grease to the spindle. Fit the brake rotor and hub assembly to the spindle and install the outer wheel bearing, washer and pinch bolt. Grab the pinch bolt with a pair of slip joint pliers and tighten down on the pinch bolt until it is fully seated and then back off 45° and tighten the pinch bolt fastener. Tap on the cap, fit and install the brake caliper. Install the wheel and spin it to verify the bearing tightness adjustment. You may want to grab the tire at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions and try to rock the tire back and forth and verify there is no play from side to side.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Kingsley Comments: Thanks for the tips, you guys are doing a good job. God bless.
October 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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