How To Replace Your Front Wheel Bearings And Service The Hub
Replacing the front wheel bearings on your dirt bike is a fairly easy repair. The bearings are a press fit, so you will need a torch and patience to remove them.
The Tools You Will Need To Replace Your Front Wheel Bearings
- A long drift
- Tire Spoon
- Aftermarket hammer
- Stock hammer
- A socket that matches the OUTSIDE bearing race diameter
- A socket that matches the INSIDE bearing race diameter
- Socket wrench extension
- Propane torch
- Two long 2x4s
- A small block of wood
- Rubber Gloves
- Work Gloves
- Eye protection
The Parts You Will Need
The parts you will need are a set of new bearings and seals, and a bucket of grease.
I will be installing a new set of Factory Links bearings and seals.
These bearings come pre-greased and double shielded, and the seals are reinforced with an internal tension spring.
I highly recommend this Factory Links bearing and seal set, and they go for around $20 on Amazon if you don’t have yours yet. (It looks like those bearings are unavailable right now)
The grease I will be using is general-purpose automotive grease, and you can get yours anywhere.
You Can Get All The Parts And Tools You Need At Amazon.com!
It always helps to know what you’re working on before you work on it, so make sure to learn how your front hub works before you start on the bearings.
Unlike the rear wheel, you can start with either side of the front wheel hub. In this guide, I will be starting with the left bearing.
Front Wheel Bearing Removal
- Pry out the old seals.
- There is usually a small lip inside the seal. Hook this lip with your tire spoon to pry it out.
- Dislodge the distance collar.
- Insert your drift from the right side of the hub up to, but not touching, the left bearing.
- Work your drift around to push the distance collar away from the inner bearing race.
- Find a sturdy surface. You will be hammering your bearings out, so make sure you are on a sturdy surface. Floors usually work.
- Place your wheel on your 2x4s with the left bearing facing UP.
- Make sure the rim and tire are the only part of the wheel touching wood.
Remove The First Bearing
- Heat the hub with your propane torch. This will let your hub expand slightly and take some pressure off of the bearing.
- Move your torch around the hub, keeping the heat even as you go.
- Heat the hub for around 60 Mississippi.
- Flip your wheel over, and place a socket over the INNER bearing race, and hammer (tap) the opposite bearing out.
- Your bearings may come out in one piece, or they might shatter as this one did.
- If the other bearing is still intact, repeat the heat and beat process.
Front Wheel Hub Maintenance
- Inspect every part of the hub assembly for excessive wear, pits, and burs. If you find any rough areas, file them down to smooth.
- DO NOT remove material from the ends of the distance collars.
- These parts need to stay an exact length. If the ends are damaged, replace the collar.
- After you have removed any damage, sand every hub component with 220 grit sandpaper to ensure every contact surface is as clean as possible.
- Take your new bearings, and make sure they DO NOT fit. These bearings are a press fit, so if they slip into the hub on their own, the hub is worn and needs to be replaced.
- In this case, the left side bore is a loose fit at first, but it tightened up farther in. This will still work, but this is most likely the last bearing change for this hub.
Front Wheel Bearing Installation
- If you go with single shield bearings (why?), you will need to grease them before you install them, and the shielded side will need to face out.
- Throughout this bearing install, you will need to grease the hub between every step.
- Place your wheel on a block of wood, so only the hub is supported.
- Position your bearing flush against the hub.
- Use a socket that is big enough to match the OUTER bearing race, but will still fit into the bore to start tapping the bearing into place.
- Once the bearing starts to seat, make sure it is square to the bore. Adjust the bearing with light hammer taps as needed.
- Drive the bearing until it is seated in the bore.
- Flip your wheel and insert the distance collar.
- Repeat the driving process until the top of the second bearing is flush with the bore.
- Insert the axle into the opposite side of the hub to align the collar to the bearings. Make sure the axle is still tight in the collar and bearings.
- Drive the bearing into the bore, then remove the axle.
- If your seals contain a retaining spring, make sure it is facing in and drive your new seals until they are flush to the hub.
- Remember to take your time, and your bearing replacement will be easy.
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