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1990 Subaru Legacy Wheel Bearings 

 

This is a write up on how to replace the front wheel bearings on a 1990 Subaru Legacy wagon.  It is certainly not the best way to do it, but hopefully it will help someone.  The bearings were making a scraping noise even at very slow speeds, and the noise seemed to get worse the more the car was driven.

Start off by jacking up the car and removing the wheel.

Next remove the brake caliper.

Hang the brake caliper using a string.

Then remove the bracket holding the rotor.

The rotor can now be removed.  If it is still tight you can use a piece of wood and a hammer to tap on it.  This should allow you to remove the rotor off of the hub.

The 'castle nut' can be seen in the previous picture.  It is staked.  To un-stack the bolt, I used a screw driver and a hammer to un-bend the castle nut to allow it to be turned.  I needed to use an impact gun for this large bolt.  Once it is removed, you will need a puller to remove the hub assembly.  This is where I goofed and the wheel bearing came apart into two pieces.  I'm not sure what I should have done to avoid this, but in the end it didn't matter anyway.

Here are some views after using the puller.

The wheel bearing is supposed to be in one piece.  For whatever reason it came apart and half of the bearing was left inside the 'knuckle' and the other half came out with the hub.  Here is the half inside:

 

Here is the half outside:

Next is to remove the knuckle so that the other piece of the bearing (inside the knuckle) can be removed.  This part must be pressed out with a press.  Unbolt the strut/spring assembly.  You will have to remove the steering bar from the knuckle.  This can be done by removing the clip, loosening the bolt, and then tapping on the bolt/stud.  Make sure the front of the car is unloaded (off the ground).  This will make it possible to safely remove the anti-roll bar bolts.  Removing the anti-roll bars is not necessary to remove the wheel bearing.  I did, however, do it here since I had trouble removing the knuckle from the ball-joint.  Use a rag to protect the CV joint rubber boot.

The knuckle can be removed from the lower suspension piece, by removing the bolt next to the ball-joint and then tapping on it with a hammer.  I decided to remove the entire suspension piece, but this is defiantly not necessary!
Anti roll bar bolts:

Bolts holding suspension piece.  Note this is only necessary if for some reason you cannot remove the knuckle from the ball joint.

Through-bolt:

Here are the pieces removed.  In the second picture the ball-joint is clearly visible.

I brought the knuckle to a local gas station where they pressed in a new bearing for $84.00.  The new bearing cost was about $45.00 and was purchased from buyautoparts.com.

After the new bearing is installed make sure you torque the bolts to specification and stack the castle nut.