Wheel Bearings?

Tiny
WFALLER
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 CHEVROLET TAHOE
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 135,000 MILES
My 03 Tahoe has about 135000 miles and brake pads are starting to squeal. I went to the auto parts store and picked up new brake pads and rotors, but the guy at the store said that I need to change the entire hub when I do the normal brake service. From what I have found in searching is that it is an enitre sealed assembly and cannot repack the bearings. I haven't felt anything in the front end that would indicate bearing wear. Is this a standard service item with a front end brake job or should I wait until they actually begin to show signs of wear?
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Monday, November 17th, 2008 AT 8:01 AM

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Tiny
OBXAUTOMEDIC
  • MECHANIC
  • 3,711 POSTS
Ok, here is my opinion and suggestion.....

Since it is a hub bearing assembly and a sealed unit, when you do the brakes check the bearings... just turn the hub by hand if you turn it and it feels smooth with no ruff feel to it and it doesn't fell loose when you move it up and down then I wouldn't replace it. If it does have some roughness or you just can't really tell then I would replace it.

Here is a video that shows you how

https://youtu.be/ZgiPRG6jffc

Hope this helps

Mark
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Monday, November 17th, 2008 AT 9:03 AM
Tiny
KISKI1996
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  • 1 POST
  • 2003 CHEVROLET TAHOE
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 138,000 MILES
I have a 2003 Chevy Tahoe Z-71 with 138,000 miles. I took it in for a tire change and rotation at a shop that was not my usual as my normal guy was very busy. They advised the frt left wheel bearing was bad and needed replaced. He ballparked it around $80. I waited to take to my regular guy and had him do it. When I picked it up we said he replaced the entire hub assembly and the total was $404, the hub being $256 of that. He said he could'nt just replace the bearing. Is there any truth to it being the entire hub assembly needed replacing?
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
PROTECH1980
  • MECHANIC
  • 901 POSTS
The unit only comes as a sealed hub bearing assembly.
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • MECHANIC
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Yup. GM is famous for building their cars with "assemblies" that bolt on quickly on the assembly line but cost their owners more to repair later. That goes back to their HEI distributors and their generators in the '70s. The advantage was that the mechanics who didn't know how to diagnose the new systems could just replace one giant piece that had everything in it, but once the cars were out of warranty, the independent guys started figuring out how to replace just what was needed so they could save their customers money.

You are correct that the entire hub assembly must be replaced, but my question is why they recommended a new bearing if you didn't notice a problem? Typically they cause a humming sound, similar to an airplane engine. On GM front-wheel-drive cars there is a huge problem with the bearings getting a little sloppy, (nothing out of the ordinary), but that is enough to cause dropouts from the anti-lock brake wheel speed sensors. Those sensors are also built into the bearing so you get to buy that part too even if it isn't needed. I haven't heard of that signal dropout issue on the trucks. No other manufacturer I'm familiar with uses sensors inside the bearings although I'm sure there are some.

The first thing that got my attention was when you were told $80.00 for a new bearing. Not on any GM product. That was even a little high for an older Chrysler or Ford bearing but those took a long time and special tools to install so the labor was much higher. Your bearing can be replaced in less than an hour including a test drive. That is the advantage of the more expensive hub assembly.

A typical GM bearing costs in the area of $150.00 to $250.00. As a point of interest, the FWD car bearings WITH the ABS sensor costs a lot less than the exact same bearing without the sensor so we always buy the one with the sensor and just don't connect it if it isn't used on that car. The dealers' scrap metal bins are full of those wheel bearings. They are perfectly fine for cars without ABS, but the play they develop often occurs within 15,000 miles.

Did you notice any looseness in the wheel / steering, or was there any humming noise? I guess I'd like to know how they found a problem if you weren't noticing anything.
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MEKELEE
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  • 1 POST
  • 2003 CHEVROLET TAHOE
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 19,000 MILES
What is the avg cost to replace wheel bearings on this type of vehicle?
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
BLUELIGHTNIN6
  • MECHANIC
  • 16,542 POSTS
Approx. $200 in labor only for replacing both rear wheel bearings.


https://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/261618_Noname_1874.jpg

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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RPNESBITT
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  • 1 POST
  • 2000 CHEVROLET TAHOE
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 220,000 MILES
How do I change the front wheel bearning on the drivers side.
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MERLIN2021
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Remove the axle nut with truck on the ground, then jack up that side, remove caliper, slide off the rotor, on the hub will be a hole you line up on a bolt head, insert the socket, remove bolts(3), unplug ABS sensor wire, pull hub bearing out. You may need to tap it with a hammer.


https://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_Hub_2.jpg

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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • MECHANIC
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That info is for 2 wheel drive.
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:56 PM (Merged)
Tiny
DINAIMANI
  • MEMBER
  • 4 POSTS
  • 1999 CHEVROLET TAHOE
Tires and Wheels problem
1999 Chevy Tahoe V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic

I have problem with wheel bearings. I have replaced these 3 times already. Only one side is bad and that is front left side. What can cause this problem?
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RHALL77
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May I ask what is it doing? Is it making a noise or is there a ABS peoblem?
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
DINAIMANI
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Well last time I had to replace them they were crushed. It feels like grinding
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RHALL77
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Are you using the same brand or different ones
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
DINAIMANI
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Brand new ones
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RHALL77
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I know they are brand new ones, but what brand are they. Have you considered using a different brand and see if they last longer
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
DINAIMANI
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Which ones would you suggest?
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)
Tiny
RHALL77
  • MECHANIC
  • 3,361 POSTS
They are expensive but I would suggest the factory replacement from the dealer
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Monday, May 18th, 2020 AT 2:57 PM (Merged)

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