Alrighty so recently started hearing a loud roaring-noise coming from my driver's front wheel. Being at 125k miles, my first thought was that my wheel bearing was going out. I double checked with my mechanic and we took a drive--he agreed with me. To cut cost, I decided to pull out the knuckle myself and pay my mechanic to press the old bearing out and the new one in. I had some trouble finding any DIY online, and actually had a lot of help from this thread here
but there weren't enough pictures for my liking. SO that being said, here's my own DIY, lots of pictures!
You are taking your own car in your hands here. I'm not responsible if you break an axle or do something wrong. This is just documentation of how I did the work.
What you'll need for the swap:
-- I bought mine from Autozone. Like $35. I went with the cheap option because I'm selling the car soon and I don't want to put too much money into it.
12pt, 30mm DEEP socket
for the axle nut -- I had to pick one up from NAPA for ~$14
Your lug wrench
for removing the wheel
A breaker bar
for the axle nut
and a Jack
-- I used some carburetor-starter I had. Basically pure-petrol spray
Needle nose pliers
(Optional: 2x M8-1.25x20mm bolts
for removing the caliper from the knuckle)
Take your tire off, remove the center-cap, set aside.
Unstake the axle-nut. You'll see that it has an indent in it in order to prevent the nut from spinning off the axle shaft.
TO do this I used a small crescent wrench and slowly tapped it out so it was round. You run the risk here of flattening the teeth on the nut--that's why they make unstaking kits for them--but my way seemingly worked just fine. Here's the unstaking process
You can see where I may have stripped the threads a bit, but after checking the nut afterwards, it still held just fine.
Put the tire back on (you don't have to put ALL the lugs back on, 3 should be sufficient), lower the car back down, and get your beaker bar and 12pt, 30mm deep socket. Time for some muscle. Spray the bolt with some rust cutter and wait if you want before you get to work on it.
Once the nut is off, take the tire back off. Put the front end up on jackstands.
Grab your 17mm wrench and remove the caliper from the knuckle.
Use your 12mm wrench to remove the brakeline from the strut.
Apparently I neglected to photograph this part. There are two bolts, one on the top and one on the bottom. And one holding the brake line to the strut.
Set the caliper aside and make sure NOT TO KINK THE BRAKE LINE. We're lucky enough to have enough brake line to lower the caliper all the way to the ground so you don't have to tie it up. I placed mine on a sandal and as far away from the area I was working on as I could.
Grab your 10mm and 12mm sockets. We're removing the ABS sensor.
The sensor is on the rear-half of the knuckle. You can follow the blue wire to find it. The 10mm bolt secures the sensor to the knuckle, the 12mm bolt (which you removed to move the brake line) should be off by this point, giving you some play with where you can place the sensor that's safe. I tucked it into a bit of the splash guard. Make sure not to pinch or kink the wire. These are expensive sensors!
Take off the two 22mm bolts holding the strut to the knuckle.
I stuck one bolt back in after I removed them so I could work on the other parts without having the knuckle fall on my face.
Get your 17mm socket for the tie-rod bolt.
There's a cotter pin you have to remove from the castle nut (the nut that looks like a castle...go figure) before you can remove the bolt. Save the pin if you want to reuse it, or buy a new one to put in when you reinstall the knuckle.
Once the cotter pin is out and the nut is off, you've got to remove the tie rod bolt. This is pain in the butt because the bolt tapers down to where the threads are, so you'll either have to use a tie-rod-fork or take a cold chisel and place it on the top of the bolt, and hammer it down and out (this is what I did, it might take a few whacks).
17mm socket to remove the lower ball joint attachment. There are two bolts and one nut.
Press down on the arm there or use a pry-bar to get the joint apart. It was a little pain in the butt but it'll come out.
Then remove the 22mm bolt you placed back into the knuckle to keep it in place, and remove the knuckle from the car. It'll take some wiggling but once you have every thing removed, it'll come out.
One of the most annoying bits of removing the knuckle was getting the actual axle out. Again, it tapers down to the axle-bolt/nut, so you'll either have to knock it out, or pry the knuckle off. As I don't want to damage transmission internals by hitting the front of the axle, I used the hole the ABS-sensor came out of, stuck a screwdriver in there, and it popped out relatively easily.
Here's the wheel area without the knuckle, and the knuckle itself:
Remove the brake disk from the knuckle. You can either whack the crap out of it and use a bunch of rust-cutter to knock it off (because it's honestly just held on by rust) or you can use those two "optional" bolts I talked about earlier. You'll note there are two holes in the caliper where the lug-bolts DON'T poke through, screw the bolts into those holes and wrench them down until it pops the brake disk off of the knuckle.
Get your bearing pressed out at a shop. My guy charged me $40 to do it--make sure to shop around though.
All in all it took me about 2 hours to remove the knuckle. Not too bad for saving probably $200 on labor to take it out and put it back in (which only took about an hour). It was a fun project, just make sure you have your tools on hand before you start, or else you'll be running around town to find a giant 12pt, 30mm DEEP socket.
And remember, when working on your car remember the most important rule: have fun and be yourself.