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How do you replace a wheel bearing on a Mazda MX3?


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2007-06-01 13:40:40
2007-06-01 13:40:40

I can only expalin the rear wheel bearing as I replaced the pasenger side on my 92 mx3...It is a single sealed self-contained unit including the bearing, hub and lug assembly. To install, remove the wheel and center dust cap and center spindle nut. It is torqued on quite heavily ( the dearler srfice told me it was a reverse thread, but it is NOT on the right rear side. I do not know about the left(drivers side), but I asssume it is also righty tighty lefty loosey. The assembly slid off easily without a puller and installed easily. A good sign that it the bearing is bad is a grinding noise when the car is rolling, even out of gear. I've replaced both rear wheel bearings, order the assembly complete as described above (some places will try to sell you just a "bearing", that's not applicable in this case)....
Both are standard threads, not reversed, and I am going from memory here (go to www.mx-3.com, click on "Technical" and the "Online Shop Manual" for the exact process), but the torque on these bolts is something like 420lb-ft (tremendous, my very large 1/2" drive torque wrench stopped at 250lb-ft, I hit that, then kept going a bit more, maybe 1/8 turn additional (torque rapidly was ramping up at that point).
Point being, to get these LOOSE, after all this time on the car, for me was a huge challenge. My tips on removal, start by using a large drive (1/2" or larger) breaker bar and axle socket. After jacking the car up SECURELY (it will make sense in a minute as to why), use another floor/hydraulic jack, place the breaker bar in a position that it is lifting "up" to loosen, but pointed below the horizon. Example, on the passenger side, the breaker bar should be pointing to about 4'oclock on the dial. Now use your extra jack, place it under the breaker bar end, and start jacking it up, being very careful to avoid slippage and staying clear in case the bar breaks, flies off the jack, etc (I am not responsible if you get hurt in this process, use common sense)... my car literally was lifting slightly off the jack stands before the bolts finally came loose (mine were not a sharp release, just settled back down, at first I wasn't sure it was loose till a little more work loosened them more clearly).... once you get 1/4-1/2 turn loose, they will probably turn very easily, it's just unfreezing them that's a challenge. Realize, the car weighs probably 500+ lbs on each of the back corners with a full tank, I literally was hanging on the breaker bar (feet off the ground bouncing) and they didn't come loose till I tried this trick (impact wrenches had no effect on the bolts).
Anyhow, you can try other brute force methods, but this method literally was simple, and effortless (once I figured it out), I nearly gave up thinking my breaker bar had reached it's limit as the car started lifting till the bolt finally gave up, and only required about 6" of lift (the 3/4" diameter 2-ft long breaker bar had roughly 4" of deflection before the bolt gave loose.
Once that's done, the parts slip right off, and reassembly is a cinch other than retorquing. Oh, getting the dust cover off to get to the axle bolt is also a pain, mine has a few dents in it after the fact, you'll need a VERY thin, strong wedge/shim of some sort to work under the lip to get it loose, it's a very shallow lip (1/16" or less) but a good solid, corroded-in-place friction fit shoulder about 1/4" deep. Don't bother with using penetrating oil for disassembly (worth it for reassembly), it won't get in there, it's just a patience and tapping process.

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