That nut shouldn't be that terribly tight. There is a cotter pin through it that can be somewhat hidden, but I don't even bother trying to remove it. I just shear them off by loosening the nut.
The hub and axle bearing normally do not need to be removed unless the cv joint is in the way. Even then, usually all you have to do is remove the axle nut, then push the half shaft in against its spring pressure about an inch.
Regardless if you remove anything involving that axle nut, don't loosen it until the vehicle is jacked up off the ground, and don't allow any weight to be on it until it is torqued to specs, which is pretty high on GMs. If there's any weight on it when the nut is loose, the bearing will instantly become noisy. Almost all car brands call for a minimum of 180 foot pounds on that nut, and a lot of GMs call for 240 foot pounds.
Gotta run out of town to help with a Ford. I'll check back later tonight to see how you made out.
Friday, December 20th, 2013 AT 1:32 PM