Chevy SSR: Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

My Chevy SSR has had a rather hard life. Unfortunately, while we had planned to do a full refresh over a year ago, it’s been difficult to get a consistent rhythm going. Nevertheless, a lot has been done over the past 18-months and we will start chronicling the transformation. To start things off we installed new rubber bushings, shocks and tubular upper a-arms in the front. The front still made a good deal of noise though, and the constant thrumming and vibration coming from the steering wheel pointed at shot wheel bearings. This is not an overly difficult repair, but you do need to generate a big deal of torque. Follow along as we get this done.

Parts for this DIY:

  • Front Wheel Bearing

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Full Socket and Wrench Set
  • Torque Wrench
  • A Jack and Lifts
  • Loctite
  • Air Impact Wrench (Not Necessary)

First up we need to get access to the front wheel bearing. This means jacking the truck up, removing the front tires and removing the front rotors and brake callipers. Make sure not to leave the brake callipers just hanging, secure them with some bungee cords or tie wraps so there isn’t any strain on the brake lines. Once all that is out of the way you should have access to the bearing.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing

 

The wheel bearing is held in place with three very large bolts from the rear of the spindle. Your next step is to remove the bolts. It’d be a good idea to get some penetrating fluid before so that they can loosen up. Access to an air-powered impact gun can make getting them out easier as well. Be wary though as there isn’t a huge amount of space.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing

 

Additionally, the new wheel bearing will come with a new integrated wheel speed sensor. The sensor attaches by clip close to where the A-Arm is bolted to the frame. Most SSR’s will have multiple clips holding the connection in-place. Mine is held with a tie-wrap as I have tubular A-Arms. This will have to be undone and snaked loose before final removal.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing

 

In the below picture you can see the wheel bearing removed from the spindle and how the speed sensor cable is attached. You’ll also notice the dust shield, as it is sandwiched between the bearing and the spindle. It’s a good idea to add a little anti-rust paint to the spindle at the mounting point as it tends to accumulate surface rust from rain and road humidity.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing

 

Here you can see the new wheel bearing and sensor cable. The new bearing will come with new wheel studs, which is important to remember if you have custom and/or aftermarket wheel studs, which would have to be swapped over.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing

 

Installation is simply the reversal. When installing the new wheel bearing make sure not to forget the dust shield. Finger tighten all the bolts first and add an appropriate amount of Loctite (Loctite Heavy Duty Threadlocker, 0.2 oz, Blue 242, Single) to the bolts. Finally, you’ll have to torque the bolts down to 77 lb. ft. and you’ll be good to go.

SSR Front Wheel Bearing