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Hub Assembly and Ball Joints

299 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  TheoR
As some of you are aware, I just finished head gasket/Valley Pan Gasket/Intake manifold gasket/ plug and lead job on my 1998 Range Rover HSE 4.6. All good and tight.
I’ve noticed a deterioration of handling and some noise coming from both wheels for about a year now. I can see that the ball joints are shot and assume the hub bearings are gone. So…
I think the ball joints up front are a no brainer to replace and seem very doable with the proper press from Advanced Auto.
Where I have pause are the hubs. Do I attempt to remove those stuck in hub bearings and replace with Timkin? Or do I spend 250 to 300 per side on new hub assemblies? Thoughts and advice please.
Also, it appears that all the links to tutorials have vanished. I guess it is a Rave job.
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to start with the bearings are replaceable but not easy to do, the hubs are expensive to replace if new. your hub prices are the cost of the bearing so look into the job before you start
I replaced the whole hub assembly.

From what I understand you need to press the bearings in and out and even a big shop press may struggle to do that job.

Most importantly, make sure that’s actually your issue first before just replacing parts.
Wheels both humming away. I’m pretty sure they are toast. Any suggestions on reasonable priced hub assemblies?
Don't go cheap with hubs. Cheap hubs come with cheap bearings. At best, they will last a year. I went cheap, and paid the price 6 months later.

The proper hub bearing should be Timken made one that is Made in France. Anything other than French-made Timken will be toast in short order.

From the point of ease, I suggest replacing the entire assembly. I've kept my old hubs to see if I want to challenge just the bearings replacement. It's in there tight for obvious reasons. I don't think I'll ever attempt the bearing only replacement.

Hub replacement is straightforward. The process is explained sufficiently in RAVE.
I've only ever known one wheel bearing needing replacement, mine is still on all 4 originals. By ball joints, do you mean the track rod and tie rod ball joints as they are easy to do. If you mean the upper and lower hub ball joints you need the correct tool, and a lot of grunt, to press the old ones out and new ones in.
Replaced the bearing on one wheel some years ago. Pressing the bearing in the hub (after pressing the old one out) was straight forward, given I had access to reasonably good press.

Did not have the same problems as described here, but had this for reference.

Thank you for all the replies. Very helpful. Richard, I’m talking about the upper and lower hub ball joints. Last year I did the track rod and tie rod. Front wheels make humming noise and when I turn the noise increases. Is the correct tool for the upper and lower hub ball joints a c clamp press that I can rent from auto store.?
Thank you Thorst for that article. Is there a tutorial on how to replace the front upper and lower hub ball joints?
Not in the archive, no. RAVE lists the part number for the tool needed, some have tried to do it with a generic press and either failed or bent the press. You should able to do it but you do need a good quality one.
Last year I replaced the front right hub on my 99. You could wobble the wheel if you jacked up the car. I talked with a local shop about replacing the bearings and this fellow said he stopped working on them. Too difficult. He said you needed a 20 ton press. I couldn't actually figure out how to get it apart. Ended up buying a complete front axle assembly from a wrecker for $400 CAD. Luckily the hub was good. Not too difficult to swap the hub however I did need to use a big 3 jaw gear puller to get the bad one out.
According to my records I spent about $400 for a Britpart Hub. 3 months and about 2k miles it’s been fine. Time will eventually tell but I do believe that was the only other available part aside from the $900 OEM one.

I do remember replacing the stake nut as well as the original has to be “un-staked” to ensure removal without ruining the threads. New nut obviously should be staked after proper torquing which IIRC is somewhere in the 300lbft range, so you will need a fairly heft torque wrench.

I did have to use a 3 jaw gear puller as well to get the old hub off. I ordered a new axle seal but didn’t end up replacing it.

Fairly straightforward forward job.
My bearing had totally blown out so looked into replacing the bearing or hub. I ended up replacing the hub with a secondhand unit because it was $150 from the wrecker or $450 for the new bearing, and even then you need a 40t press to get the bearing out and in. Hub replacement is fairly straightforward
Thank you for all great information. I’m going to get the truck back up on jacks and get a really good look at the ball joints. I think I will start with the upper and lowers and go from there. Looking for rebuilt hubs. Not finding anything
Easiest way to check the upper and lower ball joints is to jack the car up so the wheels are off the ground then put a crowbar under the wheel and see if you can lift it up and down. If you can, they are worn. Upper usually wears first.
I paid $400 for a brand new one. Don't remember the brand but I don't think it was Britpart. I don't think it was OEM, either.

The hub came with the French-made Timken bearing.
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