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Whilst driving there was a loud droning noise coming from the engine compartment that varied with speed.
I suspected a wheel bearing and worried about it for a couple of weeks, instead of just getting in there, doing some work, and looking for the cause.
I tested each wheel by pushing and pulling the wheel at 3 and 9 and 6 and 12 oclock but there was no play in any of the wheels. However, the front offside wheel was 'extremely' hard to rotate by hand. That confused me for a while. I removed the wheel and then the brake pads, to take the brakes out of the picture. The wheel hub flange was still very hard to rotate.
I decided to replace the wheel bearing. If this was not the problem then the problem must be further on down the driveshaft (intermediate bearing, gearbox?) and I would then have to work my way in.
It turned out to be the wheel bearing.

Update 13-01-14 One day I noticed a new road noise. Over the course of a week the road noise got progressively louder. I could not identify where the noise was coming from, or what was causing the noise, but I suspected a wheel bearing. I jacked up each wheel in turn and tested the wheel rotation. As before, the wheel that had the faulty bearing was stiff to turn, and this turned out to be the nearside front this time. I removed the wheel and then tried to turn the hub flange. There was a lot of resistance and things were not right. It was definitely the wheel bearing; I replaced it and the road noise went away.


1. Removing the bearing from the hub
2. Removing the bearing off the hub flange shaft
3. Removing the circlip from the hub - homemade circlip tool
4. Making the Press tool
5. Pressing on the new bearing
6. Pressing on the hub flange
7. The whole procedure


NOTES: I did not remove the ABS sensor from the hub as I think it would have got destroyed in the attempt.
It was no problem dealing with the hub with the ABS sensor and wiring still attached.
I have lost the pictures detailing the hub flange removal and refitting.







↓ Although acceptable, I did not want to go at this bearing job with a heavy hammer.
So, I spent a day and made a press to press the bearing parts in and out.
I had trouble initially releasing the bearing from the hub as it was just too damn tight in the hub. I tried pulling it out with the press tool, but the 12mm threaded rod in the press tool just snapped and was pulled cleanly apart by the force (it was that tight!).
In the end I initially released the bearing with a couple of well controlled hammer blows, together with a lot of support.
Once the bearing pressure was released with the hammer, I carefully pressed it out with the custom made press tool.
I used a nice hunk of steel as a support.
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↓ I placed a flat piece of 15mm thick steel on the support block.
This flat piece is custom made to fit on the inside of the hub and is part of the press tool. I am using it as a support piece here while I initially free up the bearing.
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↓ The hub is placed on the support.
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↓ The outer race of the bearing has to be pressed downwards and out of the hub.
Note: the inner race of the bearing was destroyed and removed when the hub flanged was pressed out.
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↓ I placed a drift on the bearing. The drift contacts the outer race of the bearing.
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↓ It took a couple of blows to move the bearing a millimetre or so. This was enough to free it up.
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↓ This is the homemade press tool in action (making the press tool)
The circular drift can be seen at the bottom. It is bearing against on the under side of the old bearing and will pull the bearing upwards in this process.
The 12mm stud is a loose fit as it passes through the flat plate.
I eventually dispensed with the bearing that can be seen underneath the 12mm nut (19mm AF) as it was more of a hindrance than a help.
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↓ The stud is tightened and the old bearing starts to emerge.
Here the old bearing race is now about 10mm out of the hub.
I temporarily re-inserted the remnants of the inner race and the balls, to give more surface for the puller to pull on.
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↓ That is a 600mm breaker bar on that 19mm socket.
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↓ The bearing is fully removed.
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↓ Here is a view of the wheel bearing recess in the hub.
The wheel bearing seats against the lip at the bottom of this hole.
The wheel bearing is secured by a circlip. The circlip seats in the recess at the top of the hole.
You can see the end of the ABS sensor on the left (no ABS sensors were harmed during the making of this production).
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↓ Here was the state of the ball cages.
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↓ When the hub flange was pressed out of the wheel bearing, part of the inner race of the bearing remained on the hub flange.
There was no way I could get a bearing puller behind the bearing on the hub flange so I started to grind it off as others have done, which was a mistake.
I soon stopped this because the grinding process was so uncontrolled and I did not want to end up slipping and marking the bearing surface of the flange shaft. I suppose it would not have much mattered, but hey if marking a bearing surface can be avoided then that has got to be better.
Here you can see some of the bearing which has been partially ground away before I stopped.
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↓ I decided the best controlled way to remove the bearing from the flange was to turn it off in the lathe.
I chucked the flange up in a 3 jaw chuck using the outside jaws.
I spent a bit of time and reduced the run out as best I could.
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↓ I removed much of the bearing metal, but not all of it because I did not want to risk marking the shaft bearing surface.
The metal was extremely hard and I struggled to remove metal even with a carbide lathe bit.
I wish I had not ground some of the bearing away with the grinder as this made the operation even more difficult as it bumped the carbide lathe bit and interrupted the cut (and destroyed a couple of carbide inserts).
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↓ The bearing was now very thin and brittle.
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↓ I easily snapped off some bearing material.
I had to rechuck the work and turn down the bearing just a little more (to less than 0.5mm thick) in order to slip it off the flange shaft.
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↓ Success. I eventually managed to ease the rest of the bearing off the flange shaft.
The flange shaft was totally unmarked. A long winded part of the job, but I am very happy with outcome.
The flange shaft looks rough and marked in this picture, but it is just the optics.
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↓ The large circlip must be removed before the bearing can be pressed out from the hub.
My circlip pliers were not large enough for this job, so I made a circlip extractor tool.
I used silver steel to make the tool so I could heat treat the ends to strengthen the nipples.
The nuts and studding are 4mm.
I had to shorten the nipples to 3-4mm. If they are too long they bend.
The tool works great and was well worth the time.
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↓ Eventually I found I did not need all 4 nuts on the right hand leg, and 2 was sufficient.
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↓ The tool is tightened by moving the two nuts on the right (one at the top and one at the bottom) towards the left.
It grips the circlip well with no tendency to fly off.
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↓ Here are the 3 stand off.
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↓ Each stand off is tapped M6 to accept a socket screw.
The stand offs are attached to the flat plate via the socket screws.
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↓ One leg is modified to clear the curvature of the hub.
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↓ The stand offs are in their position on the hub.
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↓ The flat plate is made from 15mm thick steel.
The flat plate is cut to size in the bandsaw. You cannot be without a bandsaw.
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↓ Here is the finished flat plate with 3 holes for the stand offs.
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↓ The stand offs attached to the flat plate.
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↓ The flat plate in position on the hub.
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↓ Machining a circular drift in the bandsaw.
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↓ Machining a circular drift in the lathe.
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↓ Assembling the circular drift.
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↓ A 12mm hole is drilled in the flat plate to accept the stud that is attached to the circular drift.
The circular drift can be seen at the bottom. The drift is bearing on the inside of the old bearing outer race shell.
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↓ Machining a circular drift. This doughnut drift will be used during the installation of the new bearing.
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↓ Here are all the parts I eventually made use off. The old bearing shell is now part of this kit.
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↓ For installation, the M12 stud is firmly attached to the flat plate.
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↓ The flat plate is held in the vice by the nut.
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↓ The hub is placed on the flat plate.
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↓ The new bearing is placed in position.
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↓ The old bearing outer race is placed on the new bearing.
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↓ The doughnut drift is placed over the old race.
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↓ Another drift is placed over the doughnut drift (for extra support) and the 12mm nut is placed on the stud.
The whole assembly is drawn up tight using a socket and wrench.
As I further tightened it all up to press the new bearing into the hub the new bearing started to go in askew. I must admit I panicked a bit and ended up tapping the bearing a few mm into the hub to get it starting off straight. I then continued to press the bearing in using the press tool. Nice and steady and controlled, it worked a treat.
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↓ Here is the bearing midway during the pressing session.
I removed the press tool for the photo, and also to check that nothing was amiss with the procedure.
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↓ Eventually the bearing touched down on the lip of the bearing hole in the hub.
You can see the bearing has come to a stop and can be pressed no further.
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↓ Here is the circlip end of the bearing.
At the top of the picture you can see the recess that accepts the circlip.
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Sorry, I have mislaid the photos that describe this procedure.


I made a tubular spacer that fitted over the shaft of the hub flange and which seated against the inner race of the new wheel bearing.
I put the hub flange, the hub, and the tubular spacer in the vice and lined them all up. I then tightened up the vice and pressed in the hub flange.







[] Buy a good quality wheel bearing kit and don't skimp on the price.
[] If doing the front nearside wheel bearing then consider buying a driveshaft oil seal for the gearbox.
[] Buy some good quality 10mm nyloc nuts (6). I did read somewhere that the more modern nylocs can be used more than once, unlike the old type that have to be renewed if disturbed.
[] Buy some threadlock.
[] Buy a 35mm socket for the hub nut.
[] Be careful NOT to damage the driveshaft gaiters during all of this.

[] Remove the alloy wheel and fit the steel spare wheel. The hole in the centre of the steel wheel allows access to the drive shaft nut later.
[] With the car on the ground, slightly slacken the road wheel nuts.
[] Slacken off the nut on the end of the driveshaft; don't remove it just yet and keep it done up. I used a 600mm breaker bar, a 5 foot scaffold pole, and a 35mm half inch drive socket. I supported the socket on the car jack and very gently sat on the scaffold pole and very gently eased the nut loose. An assistant held the jack end for me. Take your time and all should be well. Update:- The second time I did this I used an electric impact driver to release the nut on the driveshaft.
[] Chock the back wheels and jack up the front of the car and support the car on two axle stands because you will detach a drive shaft. I also left a jack under the cross member under the engine as a back up.
[] Remove the road wheel.
[] Remove the brake pads, brake disk, and brake caliper. Tie the caliper to the coil spring and don't strain the brake hose.
[] Leave the ABS sensor attached to the hub. Release the ABS sensor cable from its' electrical connector in the engine compartment and release and withdraw the cable from the wheel arch. Treat it all gently as I think the ABS sensor is an expensive bit.
[] Undo the nut and bolt that secures the suspension strut to the hub.
[] Undo the nut and bolt that secures the lower arm ball joint to the hub.
[] Undo the 3 nuts that secure the lower arm ball joint to the lower arm if necessary. It is hard to hold the 3 torx bolts because the drive shaft gaiter gets in the way. You can remove the driveshaft from the gearbox if you are working on the nearside hub. For the offside hub, I drifted out the short torx bit from a 1/2 inch socket and used that bit with a spanner to hold the torx bolts while I undid the nuts. Mole grips will also hold the torx bolts.
[] Undo the nut on the track rod end ball joint and separate the joint.
I undid the nut that was at 12 oclock. I held a club hammer against the joint at the 9oclock position. I smartly hit the joint with another hammer at the 3 oclock position. On the second rap the joint separated and fell apart. The ball joint assembly is secured to the arm by means of a taper, and just needs a smart rap to release the tapers. You need to hit it and create vibration, rather than beat it to death.
[] Detach the lower arm ball joint from the hub. It just needs to be in the right orientation and it will fall out (and in).
[] Detach the suspension strut from the hub. Best of luck to you if it has not been off before as it can take a while to release it from the hub. I made a special tool to grip and manipulate the suspension strut (see the 306 tools section).
[] Detach the track rod end from the hub.
[] Draw the hub off of the driveshaft splines and remove the hub. Take care on the nearside and avoid pulling the driveshaft from the gearbox and mangling up the gearbox oil seal.
If you are disturbing the nearside driveshaft then it would be a good idea to buy an oil seal for where the driveshaft enters the gearbox and replace the seal as a matter of course. It only takes 10 minutes to replace the seal, and be very very careful not to mark the bearing surface when prising out the old oil seal. When I did the nearside wheel bearing the driveshaft moved about and I think I damaged the oil seal and created a small leak. Sods law, I only noticed the gearbox oil leak after everything was back together. I had to dismantle everything for a second time just to renew the seal.
[] Remove the old wheel bearing
[] Refit a new wheel bearing
[] Put it all back together again.
[] When you have had these parts off 3 or 4 times then it all becomes simple.
[] Note the high tensile 10.9 bolts on the suspension strut and lower arm balljoint fit from the back and go towards the front. Renew the nylocs, or use threadlock.
[] The track rod end nut has a special serrated bit on it that prevents the plastic cup from deforming. I reused this special nut and secured it with threadlock.
[] The first time round I had to soak the parts a long time (over a day) with WD40 before they would move.


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