Front wheel bearing replacement

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Introduction

The Front Wheel Bearings on a Jimny can be prone to wearing, particularly when used off-road. Providing you have the correct tools it can be straight forward task.

It is also closely tied in with changing/working on the kingpin bearings so some of the steps are duplicated.

The symptoms of worn Wheel bearings:

  • Grating/Grinding as you rotate a jacked up wheel
  • Steering Shimmy, see Death Wobble
  • Oil/Grease leaking from Swivel Joint
  • Horizontal play in the front wheel (with the car jacked up grip the wheel sides, there will be movement if they are worn. Get an assistant to press the brakes and the movement should disappear)


Leaking front swivel
  • It is also common not to experience any play at all and to even pass an MOT with a really bad bearing.
  • This is because the bearings are dual race and only one race may have failed.



Changing the bearings

Tools

Spanner Icon.png
  • Standard metric sockets and spanners
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Hub nut unlock tool
  • Circlip pliers (External)
  • An E10 Torx socket for the Vacuum Hub Bolts
  • A ball joint splitter
  • 1" Imperial Socket
  • G-Clamp or brake piston retractor


Warning Icon.pngYou definitely need a special tool to release the locking hub nut, or a sorcerer specialized in mechanics. An ordinary magician won't suffice.



Removing the Caliper and pads

Jimny Front Caliper
  • First of all secure the car, release the wheel nuts and jack up the car and remove the road wheel.
  • This then reveals the brake caliper, this is the passenger side (nearside) caliper (UK)


Unbolting the caliper
  • Using a 12mm spanner, release the front caliper bolt (the left is the front of the car in this picture).
  • Then loosen the same bolt on the rear of the caliper.


Open brake caliper
  • The caliper then opens up using the rear bolt as a hinge.


Removing the brake pads
  • The pads are retained by small spring clips.
  • A simple pull on the pads (horizontally away from the disk) should remove them.
  • If the pads resist, gently prise out the pads with a small screwdriver - do not remove the spring clips.
  • If you require new pads, spring clips or a caliper fitting kit then these are available in the BigJimny Store.



Removing the Brake Disc

Carrier bolt
  • The caliper is held on with two bolts at the rear.
Caliper tied to Spring
  • Release the bolts and tie the caliper to the spring to keep it out of the way.


Disc removal using bolt
  • Now the front brake disc can be removed.
  • If you are lucky it will simply pull off but if you have problems then there are two M8 holes in the disk hub.
  • Simply run two bolts into these holes and the disk will push off the hub.
  • The picture shows a bolt being used to push the disk off the hub.


My disk appeared to be ok on the visible side but the rear showed some bad wear so I will change them as part of this job.

New disks are available in the BigJimny Store.



Dismantling the Hub

Torx bolt on hub
  • Now the Freewheeling Hub needs to be removed.
  • Suzuki have used Torx bolts to secure these so you will require an E10 socket to remove the bolts.


Removing the circlip
  • With the hub removed the driveshaft is exposed.
  • The driveshaft is retained with a circlip so use a pair of circlip pliers to remove it.
  • This is really fiddly and can be an annoying task.
  • Behind the circlip is a rectangular washer that should also be removed.
  • Note that I have also marked with white paint the orientation of the freewheeling hub, this is not strictly needed.


The hub nut
  • Now for the special tool.
  • The hub is held on by a special round nut that requires a special tool to release it.
  • The outside of the nut is a smooth polished ring which is part of the vacuum seal so it must not be damaged.
  • Otherwise you will need a new nut (which is exceedingly expensive!).
  • In the centre of the nut, the edge is bent over into a slot to help secure it.
  • The slot can be seen in the photo in the “2 o’clock” position.
  • Use a blade to bend the edge back into line.
  • It is essential that this is completely free, otherwise it is impossible to undo the nut and you will break the tool.


The hub nut tool
  • This is the tool.
  • It is available from the BigJimny Store.
  • Make sure that the tool and the nut are completely clean as the tool will not fit.
  • Make sure the tool is inserted into the nut correctly with the pins all in the holes in the nut.
  • You are really going to have to swing on the nut to release it.
  • I had to use a long breaker bar AND a piece of scaffold tube.
  • With the nut removed the hub should be removeable, it might need a pull with a slide hammer, mine just pulled off by hand.


The bearing seal
  • With the hub face down on a surface you can now remove the bearing seal from the rear of the hub.
  • I prised mine out with a screwdriver.


C-Clips retain the bearing
  • Then you can use a pair of long nose pliers to remove the C-Clips that retain the bearing.
  • Note that these may be corroded in and difficult to even see at first.


Removing the bearing
  • Now comes the first bit that is supposed to be difficult.
  • Suzuki say that the bearing needs to be removed using a press.
  • I decided to have a go myself - using an old piece of bearing and a steel pin I hammered out the bearing and it only took two or three swift blows.
  • The picture shows the steel pin resting on the bearing before being hit.
  • Note the use of the brake disk to provide a holder for the hub allowing the bearing to be driven out of the bottom.


Wheel Bearing Kit
  • The bearings are Koyo brand as standard.
  • The BigJimny store has a kit available which includes the seal and the c-clips (not all kits contain the c-clips), the Wheel Bearing Kit is here.



The rebuild

Removing the bearing
  • Suzuki says the new bearing needs to be pressed into place.
  • I decided to try a bit of school boy physics.
  • I coated the bearing in Copper Grease and then put it in the deep freeze overnight.
  • The hub was placed in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • So with an ice cold bearing and a very hot hub I put the bearing in the hub, placed the old bearing ring and the steel pin on top and tapped the bearing straight into place.
  • It took two gentle hits!
  • Again note the use of the brake disk to hold the hub.

Warning Icon.pngAllow the whole assembly to cool before touching or turning the bearing assembly



C-Clips retain the bearing
  • Once it is cooled put grease into the ends of the bearing.
  • Then insert the new circlip and the oil seal.
  • I found that the oil seal pressed in ok by hand once coated in Copper Grease.
  • The oil seal has a protruding lip, this must be to the outside of the joint.
  • Grease the inside of the bearing and slide the hub back onto the driveshaft.


The hub nut
  • Grease the hub nut and tighten the nut using the special tool
  • Torque it to 220NM or 160ft lbs – ie. really tight!.
  • Use a punch to bend the inner lip of the nut to lock it in place.
  • Refit the hub thrust washer and circlip to the driveshaft.


  • Fit the disk and fit the caliper (Caliper bolts 61ft/lbs), brake pads and bolt the caliper down in position (Caliper pin bolt 16/ft/lbs)
  • Re-fit the wheel and lower the vehicle.


Torque Settings

Full details of the torque settings can be found in the reference data


Page last edited on 20/09/2017 by user Bosanek