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How to change the wheel bearing/remove knuckle in Impreza WRX STi?


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Old 08-28-2009, 11:24 PM
jdmvip jdmvip is offline
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Default How to change the wheel bearing/remove knuckle in Impreza WRX STi?

I need to change my front left bearing soon and don't want to go the stealership route anymore.

I'm sure I can get the job done quicker myself and in less time than it takes to drive to the stealership, wait for hours and then drive back. The other nice part is saving money

Someone let me know if there's another term for "knuckle" if they know what part I'm referring to. It's the piece that the hub is connected to and usually stuck to.

Here's what I know, I've seen some guides on NASIOC/Scoobymods but for a n00b like me it wasn't 100% clear. I also haven't double checked, but don't think there is much difference in the steps between our GC8's and GDA/GDB Impreza's (if there is someone let me know).

1.) Remove your caliper (tie to strut tower)
2.) Remove your rotor
3.) This is what I'm not sure about, I read something about "mechanic option" and then saw some pics etc and I wasn't clear what was going on.

I just want to remove the knuckle as easy and quickly as possible. I read that you can simply take off a bolt and the control arm will drop and this should allow the knuckle to come out (once you take off the 4 bolts of course).

4.) Once the knuckle is out my plan would be to take the whole thing to a machine shop/NAPA and have them press the old bearing out and install the new one.

I also read something about removing the ball joint and some cotter pin. So what do we have to remove in order to get the knuckle out?

Thanks guys
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:42 PM
jdmvip jdmvip is offline
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*Note this is a rough guide off the top of my head and I take no responsibility for it.

I did this job with the help of my father in law last Friday and it was pretty easy, but the guides on the internet were useless IMHO. A lot of the guides include all kinds of talk and steps that aren't required, while completely missing the key steps/issues IMHO.

After doing it the first time, the job seems pretty easy now and it would have been easier if we had a proper guide and knew what we were doing the first time.

To remove the axle holder/knuckle you have to do the following

1.) Break the axle bolt loose with the tire on the ground.
3 of us tried with a breaker bar and 3 foot extension and still couldn't break this loose with any amount of force). You really should buy an impact gun or borrow one before attempting this one (I had to when I realized that a breaker bar was not going to do it). I think this bolt is torqued to something like 140-150 lb-ft.

*Before breaking this bolt you'll see there is a piece of metal that kind of holds the axle bolt to the axle itself. You'll want to pry that away before attempting to break the bolt.

*Remember you need a 1.25" 1 and 1/4 inch deep socket for the axle nut. It's also suggested that you replace the axle nut with a new one.

2.) General steps to remove the axle holder (I know other guides say to remove the caliper and rotor first, but I disagree, if you can't get the other bolts off it doesn't matter).

There are 3 connections you have to to remove that can be tricky.
*It is suggested that you replace both castle nuts and cotter pins with new ones.

1.) The steering rack is connected to the axle holder. Remove the cotter pin and then the castle nut. You'll need a punch to hammer the bolt out (it's not held in by the thread itself).
2.) The stabilizer bar is connected to the control arm. You'll need to insert an allen key into the bolt at the same time and then turn it with an open ended wrench. Then just smack that bolt out too.
3.) Now you can disconnect the control arm by removing the cotter pin and castle nut and punching the bolt out.
4.) If you've gotten this far, you're almost done. Now you just have to remove the caliper and rotor.
5.) There are 4-bolts at the bottom of the strut. On the left side, you'll need to use an open ended wrench to hold the bolts, while you remove the bolts on the right hand side. (remember it's the top bolt that has the washer).
6.) You're almost home free but you'll need at least two people for this part (unless you're very talented). While pulling the axle holder upwards (out of the control arm), you also need to remove the axle.

Then just take the entire spindle/axle holder to your local machine shop to press in the new bearing.

Congratulations, you just saved about $340+ in labour from Subaru and this way you don't have to wait all day at the dealership!

I'll try and post pics later on if anyone is interested.

Last edited by jdmvip : 10-03-2009 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:16 PM
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Speed Stick Speed Stick is offline Veteran
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Wow great to know you did it yourself. If mine ever need replacement I will also be doing it myself. Good write up as far as I can tell. I've never done a wheel bearing lol.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:25 PM
jdmvip jdmvip is offline
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Thanks Speed Stick, I'll try and upload the pics sometime next week.
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:34 PM
Shizure Shizure is offline N00b
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Austin, TX
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These instructions just allowed me to pull my knuckle off in about 40 minutes with an impact wrench I bought at Auto Zone for $60.00. Thanks guys!
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:52 PM
jdmvip jdmvip is offline
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I'm glad they helped you, you must be a good mechanic if it helped even without the pictures.
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