Pontiac Wheel Bearings

Last month, before driving 1,000 miles to Tennessee and back for New Years, i took my car in to have it looked over.  The nice thing was that i took it to a shop where we have all of our work vehicles fixed, so they looked it over and took a test drive for free.  I had just started to notice a faint bumping noise when i made turns to the right and they confirmed that one of the wheel bearings was going bad. When i looked online i saw prices of wheel bearings for my 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP ranging between $40 and $200.  I wasn't sure exactly what i needed or why there was that huge difference in price.

Luckily Teresa at work said that Mike had just replaced the wheel bearings on a friends car a few weeks ago.  He even had the large 32mm socket that i needed to get the nut off.  He said he ordered his wheel bearings through eBay from a company called Detroit Axle.  Also everyone that i spoke to about the job said that i might as well replace both sides.  Once one side goes bad, that usually means that the other side isn't too far behind.  So i ordered 2 for a total of something like $70.  The parts arrived two days after i ordered them, since they were shipped from Detroit.

Thankfully Mike said he'd help me so i went over there one weekend morning.  He also suggested that we put on new brake pads since we would be right there and having to move the brakes to get at the bearings.  I checked SlickDeals and saw that Advance Auto Parts had a deal where if you spend something like $50 you get $15 off.  So i got a nice set of brake pads which only cost $35, rather then the crummy ones you get at a shop.

We took off the wheels and the break calipers, then removed the brake disc to expose the wheel bearing.  That's when we realized that the 32mm socket wouldn't fit the nut on my car.  We measured and the Pontiac Grand Prix ended up needing a 34mm socket instead.  So we took a quick drive up to AutoZone.  The cool thing is that you give them a $20 deposit and you can rent some of their tools.  Then when you're done you bring back the tool and you get all your money back.  I guess they figure that while you're there you'll buy parts.  So here is the impact wrench with the 34mm socket attached.
craftsman impact wrench, air tool, socket, big, pontiac grand prix wheel bearing nut, size 34mm

After we got the nuts off both sides it took some pounding to remove the wheel bearings.  The funny part was that after we removed them, the side that was supposedly good, actually looked worse then the side that was bad.  Here's a picture of the old and new parts.  From left to right is the old brake pads, the new pads, the new wheel bearing and then one of the old wheel bearings on the right side. 
how to replace brake pads and wheel bearing on pontiac grand prix, 2005 pontiac grand prix gtp

You can see that the inner housing actually came off of the old bearing.  This was pretty common from all of the Youtube video's i watched.  It seemed like in half of them they had this problem.

Here's Mike putting one of the new wheel bearings back on, just past the half way point of the process.  
replace wheel bearing on GM pontiac grand prix, GTP 2004, 2005, brake

Probably the toughest part of the whole job was removing the three bolts which attach to the back wheel bearing.  The hard part is that they are always rusted, torqued on pretty hard and on the back side of the wheel.  Luckily we got them all off, but that took the most time.  

Then i remembered from replacing the rear struts on the Grand Prix, that it's always a good idea to use a wire brush and WD-40 on the rusted bolts when putting them back on.  Although these bolts were a lot thicker and less likely to snap then the ones that John and i had to deal with last year.

I brought over some of my tools and lights just in case we needed them.  The lights are always good to help you see what you are doing.  It's bad enough when you are bending over trying to remove an old rusted bolt from an awkward angle, it's even worse when you can't see the parts.  Here's the new wheel bearing on the car with the 3 bolts and large nut screwed into place.
install wheel bearing, gm car, pontiac, grand prix, socket size, nut size, brake disc

After this we just attached the disc brake, then the caliper with the new brake pads installed in them, then put the wheels on.  

We started around 9AM and were done before noon, that included the trip to AutoZone and back.  It definitely helped that Mike knew what he was doing, i'm not sure if i could have done this on my own.  Maybe i could have, but it most certainly would have taken me more then 3 hours.

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