Installing a Knuckle Hub Assembly 

Installing a Knuckle Hub Assembly (VIDEO)

Addressing tough attachment points and ensuring proper torque is critical. Sponsored by GSP North America

Another wheel bearing. You know what you’re in for, and right away you’re thinking is it going to come out easily, or is it going to be stuck in the knuckle like it was set in concrete? And what other problems are you going to run across? How bad is the rust and corrosion going to be and will you find previous damage from incorrect installation procedures? 

Here’s the good news: If you’re installing a pre-assembled knuckle-hub assembly, you’ve just hit the fast forward button past all the tough parts, and you won’t have to worry about the time or how long it’s taking. You can slow down and concentrate on the most important aspects of installation, providing your customer with nothing short of undeniable quality. 

When you’re installing a knuckle/hub assembly, the first thing to focus on is the attachment points. Ball joints and tie rod ends are secured by either a pinch-bolt or taper-fit type of attachment. Where there’s a pinch-bolt attachment, be sure to thoroughly clean the ball stud on the ball joint or tie rod end. Built up corrosion can affect the installation. 

They should slide easily in place into the steering knuckle with no hammering and be sure to always torque any pinch bolts to the proper specification. Over-torquing can distort the hole and damage the ears on the knuckle. 

When it’s a taper-fit attachment, clean the threads on any ball stud so you can install the nuts by hand. Never use an air tool, because you can easily overtighten the ball stud, which can distort and damage the taper, pull the stud too far through the knuckle and lead to a loose fit, as well as the possibility of a broken ball stud. 

Next, be sure the knuckle to strut bolts are properly torqued, as well as any brake caliper bolts. Before sliding the CV joint through the new wheel hub, thoroughly clean the splines. Rust, dirt or grease will affect the torque. 

Always use a new axle nut or bolt. Old fasteners can fatigue and lose their ability to maintain the proper clamping force. Now, properly tightening that axle fastener is a critical step.  

First, never, and I mean never install an axle fastener with an impact wrench. The repetitive shock from an impact wrench can cause permanent indentations in the bearing races, a common mechanical occurrence called brinelling. You can use an assistant to hold the brakes, and another common method is inserting a punch into a vented brake rotor and allowing it to rest against the caliper bracket. 

Second, the torque specification is designed for far more than just keeping something tight. On these wheel bearings, it is designed to maintain the proper amount of preload in the bearing, which affects the geometry of the rolling elements to the bearing race. If this isn’t correct, the bearing simply won’t last as long. 

Don’t forget the proper torque on the wheel lug nuts, and, last but not least, you should always perform a vehicle alignment when any suspension component is replaced. 

This video is sponsored by GSP North America.

You May Also Like

Autologue’s Jim Franco: Opportunities in Today’s Market

Find out why Jim Franco is as energized as ever about the business opportunities he sees in the market today.

Upon celebrating his 80th birthday and 64 years in the automotive aftermarket, Jim Franco is as energized as ever about the business opportunities he sees in the market today. As president and CEO of Autologue Computer Systems, Jim has been in the software industry since the mid-80s and has seen a huge technological evolution--not only on the parts side but also the hardware and software side. While some may lament the changes that have been made, especially over a 64-year-career, Jim approaches it with gusto and believes others should, too.

Understanding Fluid Coolers and Lines

Damaged, clogged or corroded fluid coolers shorten a vehicle’s life. This video is sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

How Jensen Tire & Auto Gets Better Every Day

Matt Jensen, owner of Jensen Tire & Auto, and his sons detail how they’re innovating to serve today’s customers.

Flexible Fuel Lines

As vehicles last longer, the chances the fuel lines may spring a leak increase. Sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Climate Control Modules

HVAC control modules may fail when the contacts and switches become inoperable. Sponsored by The Group Training Academy.

Other Posts

Do You Treasure What’s REALLY Important?

We take measures each day to protect what we think is important. But is something really valuable at risk?

Shift pointers: Tricky Sensor Situations

Diagnostic skill implemented by one transmission technician allowed him to find success with two repairs in one day.

Replacing Strut Mounts on 2013-2018 Toyota RAV 4’s

This step-by-step guide tells how to replace upper strut mounts on 2013-2018 and newer Toyota RAV 4s. Sponsored by PRT.

Replacing Motor Mounts on 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sports

Follow along this step-by-step guide to learn how to replace motor mounts on 2013-2018 Santa-Fe Sports. Sponsored by PRT.