Protege Front Wheel Bearing Service - LOTS OF PICS

dmention7

Member
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'03.5 Blue MSP #2543
If they move smoothly in all directions, they're probably fine. If there is a lot of resistance or if they have a rough gritty feel when you move them around, it's probably time to look at replacing them.
 

sethro_GT

Member
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88 323GT, 03 P5, 07 M5
damn I've neglected this. Using a jack to put tension on the tie-rod end then hitting the knuckle with a hammer is the best way. Its important to note that the knuckle is not cast iron so it can bend (a curb showed me this), so don't wail away with a 5lb sledge or you might bend the steering flange.

The lower ball joint hole needs to be "spread" with a chisel to allow the balljoint shaft to fall out. Again not too much as it will permanently deform the knuckle metal and possibly weaken it, just enough to have the joint fall out.

Ball joints should not "move" as if they feel loose in the socket. If they rotate and feel firmly set then they're good to go.

Glad to see its helping people. In my case the noise associated with the bad bearings was a lightly grinding loud howl that was difficult to pinpoint.
 

jeff4880

Member
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08.5 speed 3
I'm in the process of doing this on my 2000 Protege. When I put my 24" breaker bar with a 36" extension pipe on the end I broke my breaker bar. This is no a chaep breaker bar either, its a Craftsman. I'm assuming the nut is not reverse thread right?
I'm getting a 40" 3/4 drive breaker bar that I can put my 36" pipe on. Not sure what to try if that doesn't work.
 

dmention7

Member
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'03.5 Blue MSP #2543
I had the same problem when I removed my axle nut for the first time. Just brought it to the local service station and gave the guy a 20 spot to loosen it with one of their beefy impact wrenches.
 

sethro_GT

Member
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88 323GT, 03 P5, 07 M5
Soak it with penetrating oil, get a torch and cross your fingers... I've had to use drill axle nuts in half by drilling a bunch of holes on each side then using a chisel to pop them in two. That was on my 88 323 come to think of it and again on my 89 mx6. I would recommend a new axle nut once you do get it off.
 

LinuxRacr

Contributor
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2001 Mazda MP3
Awesome write-up! I wish I would have had this a few years back when I replaced a front wheel bearing. So there is a seal that Mazda neglected to include huh?
 

sethro_GT

Member
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88 323GT, 03 P5, 07 M5
rumor is the seal held water in that caused the bearings to fail so they deleted it. I decided to put one in since the new (non-oem) bearings didn't look like they sealed well at all.
 

newtuner

Member
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2004 Mazda3
Quick question, would this DIY work for a 2004 Mazda3? I have a worn out front left wheel bearing. I have most of the tools listed I just wanted to make sure i was following the right directions.
 

sethro_GT

Member
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88 323GT, 03 P5, 07 M5
While I would guess most cars nowaday's use this design of wheel bearing, getting it out may be completely different. Though I don't think it could vary to much; I would recommend checking with someone who has the 04 service manual.
 

dmention7

Member
:
'03.5 Blue MSP #2543
Yeah, the really important info in these walkthroughs isn't usually the step-by-step process, it's the "oh by the way if you do this little trick, things will be SO much easier" commentary that goes with it. I'm sure one of the mazda3 boards on this or other sites will have a comparable thread (or 4)
 

Hank3

Asian Persuasion <><
Contributor
:
2010 Mazda5 GT
What are the parts/part numbers that I would need to get to replace the front wheel bearings? Can I get it at NAPA/Pep Boys/Advance Auto/O'Reilys...or should I order OEM from a Mazda dealer?
 
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Not necessarily replacing the bearing but looking to replace the whole steering knuckle. I was just wondering if I bought this steering knuckle, would I still need to replace the oil seal? Also, I was not quite sure what you meant by adding the lubricant to the seal part. How exactly is that done?

Thanks!
 

HKPRO5

Member
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Supercharged Protege5
Awesome write up. Goign to give this a try tomorrow. (but ill get the bearing pressed at Carquest)
 

H-block

Member
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2003 Mazda Protege5
Thanks for the great how to!
My only tip to add is when you need to press the outer race out and if it's like mine the ball race falls to bits - grab a welder and run a bead around the middle of the outer race.
It will shrink and tap out with a chisel quite easy!

I had the same problem with the ball race disintegrating when I pressed out the bearing. The process left the outer race completely intact and extremely wedged in the knuckle. I don't have a welder. Are there any ideas on how to get it out?
 

ZZZOOM!

Member
Great write up sorry for the revival. Got the front drivers side apart today on my 02 mp5. Even with a puller and soaking overnight the shaft would not budge. Not sure what to do next. It has 150k miles some in winter climate and I'm sure there is a lot of corrosion in there. The bearings have also done the rroooaawr-rooowar for quite awhile. Any other ideas?
 

H-block

Member
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2003 Mazda Protege5
My hub was rusted on pretty well also. Besides drenching with liquid wrench I banged on the hub a bit with a hammer while it was under tension with the puller. Then I used a breaker bar on the puller while holding the hub secure with a pry bar angled between the lug bolts. Slowly, but surely, the hub came off of the axle spindle.
 

mazdapop

Member
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2003.5 Mazdaspeed
Worked Just Like The Pics

Thought I should drop a line to say that by following the procedure in this thread we had total success with the R&R of both front wheel bearings. My 103K MSP was making the same sound on the driver's side as described by most everyone on this thread. I decided to replace both sides for 3 reasons: 1.) it's just proper mechanical maint. 2.) not having to gear-up to do it again sometime later. 3.) helped me justify the DIY cost of buying a press, since parts were only $40 to do the other side.

I got my press at Harbor Freight Tools. Price = $200, but I had a coupon that got it down to $160. They had 12-ton and 20-ton models, and I'm convinced the 12-ton would have failed since the 20-ton barely came through for me. I was in fear for my life at the point the bearing finally popped loose from the hub. So here's some words of caution/advice: 1.) If you don't get almost immediate movement when you begin to press the bearing off, STOP and forget about using any sort of socket or piece of stock lying around your shop. Go to Auto Zone (or your favorite parts store that loans tools) and borrow a Bearing Press Set. The press set is still not going to immediately budge the bearing, but it will increases the safety of the procedure, ten-fold. 2.) You will also need to obtain a good torch. Oxy-acytelene is ideal, but you may be able to get by with a good quality plumbing torch using a Mapp Gas cylinder. The key is to be able to quickly heat the bearing and begin pressing before the heat spreads to the hub, else both will expand and you won't gain much. 3.) Even with using a 20-ton press, the press kit and an OA torch, I came to a point that I was afraid to give the hydraulic cylinder even one more pump. I feared something was going to explode under the pressure. As I stood there (without having released the pressure) contemplating what to do next, there was a sudden pop that sounded like a rifle shot. It didn't move the bearing much, but I was able to easily press it off after this. When I pressed the passenger bearing off it took little effort, so my assumption is that the longer you go before replacing a noisiy bearing, the tighter it siezes to the hub.

If you have a bearing that is as stubborn as I'm describing, after you get the bearing off you will certainly have the bearing's race left to remove from the hub. For this procedure nothing will work better than a small die grinder or Dremmel tool, using a metal cut-off blade.

Overall, the only other thing that might make this job a little easier would be to get a bigger shade-tree . . . (shady)