I replaced the front wheel bearings in my VW Jetta due to a wobbling sound that unfortunately has not been resolved. The noise is still there. I am starting to think, and have actually thought for a while, that it is the tires. I believe that one of them is out of round or that something is wrong with one. The good news is that one of the wheel bearings were actually bad and it fell apart as I was taking it out! At least it wasn’t a complete waste of money! I performed this procedure on a 2010 VW Jetta Wolfsburg Edition, but I believe it is the same for any MKV Jetta.
To replace the front wheel bearing assembly, you will need to jack up the car and get a jack stand underneath it. This will allow you to pull the wheel off and access the brake/hub assembly. I would loosen the lug nuts while the car is still on the ground and remove them after you jack it up.
You will need to remove the brake caliper; this can be done using a 21mm socket. The two bolts are easily accessible and taking them out should not be too much of a problem. The brake rotor will also need to be removed, take out the T27 star screw and bang on the rotor with a decent hammer to remove it. You will want to make sure that you bang on the part that is close to the hub, as shown in the pictures, to avoid damaging the rotor. You may need to hit it a couple of times but it should come off with a couple of good whacks. For a complete write up of doing the brakes check out this post.
T27 Star Bit
Star Screw In Brake Rotor
Hit The Brake Rotor Close To The Hub As Shown
You will need to take out the bolt that holds the axle in the wheel bearing. It is a 24mm triple square socket. I put it on the end of a breaker bar and used an old VW jack handle to keep the hub from moving when I attempted to loosen it. The bolt was not difficult to remove with the breaker bar.
Old VW Jack Handle
The next step is to remove the 3 bolts that are holding the steering knuckle to the lower control arm. This will allow you the mobility that you need to take out the drive axle and have access to the bolts holding the wheel bearing in place. To remove the drive axle’s, I backed out the 24mm bolt and used a hammer to hit it. The drive axle popped right out. If the axle does not pop out easily I would not keep hitting it with a hammer, something must still be in the way holding the axle in place.
Remove The Three Bolts
The four bolts, triple square 12M, will need to be removed in order to get the wheel bearing assembly out of the steering knuckle. These are a specialty socket that I needed to purchase; a good tool store should have them.
The Four Bolts On The Backside Of The Wheel Bearing/Hub Assembly
Now comes the hard part. I believe that you should use a slide hammer to remove the wheel bearing assembly, but I did not have one. I used a hammer. As shown in the pictures, I hit the wheel hub on the inside and banged it out. This worked on one side and the wheel bearing assembly came out without too much of an issue. On the other side, the side that I now know was broken, the bearing shattered and came apart! I was initially worried, but banging on the now exposed side of the assembly actually made the assembly come out easier.
Update 9/15/15 – You should definitely use a slide hammer. It makes this job so much easier! The below Amazon link is what i used to get the wheel bearings out in my GMC Envoy. It took 1 minute instead of 1/2 hour!
I Used A Hammer To Hit The Hub And Remove The Bearing Assembly
There is a hole on the back side of the steering knuckle that allows a punch to be inserted. I attempted to use this but I could not get enough power with the car on the ground to provide any movement, the story may be different if you are using a lift. That option is available to you if you wish to attempt, but as stated earlier I believe a slide hammer would be the way to go.
You Can See The Small Hole For A Punch On The Bottom
Once removed, you can now install the new wheel bearing assembly. I purchased a set of Beck/Arnley bearings which lined up and installed very easily. I just lined up the holes and inserted the triple square bolts. I tightened the bolts in a cross pattern (top left, bottom right, top right, bottom left) to pull the bearing assembly as straight as possible into the bore. When it is all the way in, you will want to tighten the bolts to 52 ft/lbs of torque, and then add ¼ turn. I got this information from this website which shows the entire assembly.
Now, just bolt up the rest of the parts and be on your way. The only note I would make is that the axle shaft bolt will need to be torque to 148 ft/lbs, and then add ½ turn. Good luck adding that ½ turn, I could barely move the bolt at all after it was torqued to spec.
I hope that this article was helpful to you, If there is anything I missed or possibly an error please let me know so that I can correct it. Thanks.