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1997 Legacy Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I assume at least one person here has done a wheel bearing on these cars in their garage. Has anyone tried the method you see on youtube where they do it without a press? I read a thread earlier where someone stated the wheel hub normally lasts the life of the car. What is the consensus on that opinion? Is it normal for it just to be the bearing, seals and races that need replacing? This is my only car and parts sourcing seems to be a bit of an issue so if i start the job on a Sunday and find out I need a new hub or knuckle I'm in big trouble. Is a 6 ton press from HF capable of handling this job? I dont know that press is the word i actually want, its been a long day so im a little brain dead. Any hot tips on this repair from people that have done it before? Thanks!
 

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'98 Outback
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257 Posts
I did both fronts on an older '93 and while one was a breeze in the garage, the other needed a new knuckle and I was lucky to find one that day. The press at the auto parts store was able to remove the old bearing, but the new bearing was loose in the knuckle. As I recall, the knuckle was only $20, so if I had to do it in on a Sunday I might consider buying both in advance just in case.

I got alignment checked with the new knuckle and it was still within spec, so that could probably wait until it's convenient.

I've had one axle nut give me extreme problems getting it off. You might want to be sure you can get those loose before you set up for the day.
 

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'03 outback limited, '01 Outback Limited, '01 Legacy L wagon, '96 Legacy Brighton wagon
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2,782 Posts
Be careful on the bearings you buy - not all are of the same quality.

On our formula cars, we used the VW Dasher bearing for many years. After about the mid '90's, we no longer were able to get the OEM SKF bearings, but the replacement bearings SKF had switched production to Brazil - we were lucky if they lasted 2 on-track sessions before loosening up.

Switched to ***, but the **** were designed as replacement bearing, and were .002" oversized on the OD. Apparently, they expected that the housing would get stretched with use, hence the oversize. Had to grind them down to the proper diameter. The ***'s were either made in Italy or Canada, and the quality was excellent.

However, I would expect that if you get the original Japanese brand, they should be OK.

installation:

When pressing the hub into the bearing, you can to it 2 ways that will not damage the bearing races:

1 - Heat the bearing up to about 250 to expand it. It will then just drop over the hub snout into place.

2 - If pressing on cold, you must press ( or support, depending on which way you orient it in the press) the inner races so that all loading goes through the race rather than through the balls, which can cause dents in the races where the balls are pressing against them.

Personally, i prefer the heat method.

For pressing the assembly into the knuckle, again I prefer to heat the knuckle to expand it so that the assembly drops easily into place.
 
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