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Discussion Starter #1
I searched the site first and found one thread about this but it was just the resolution to the problem (it didn't go into details) and it was a year ago..

A local garage told me the driver's side rear wheel bearing would need to be replaced soon. I had a co-worker who works on his own cars replace my brakes, do you think this is something that he and I may be able to do?

The dealership quoted $200 just for labor and I saw the part on ebay for $55 but I'm sure it would be more from the dealership.

My local small garage said they would look at it but don't have any pricing or documentation on it.
 

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Replacement is not a particularly big job. If you saw the photo of the part on ebay you can see it is a hub and bearing assembly that is secured to the axle tube with four bolts. Remove the lower rear shock bolt, the rear axle crossmember, the axle end bolt and slide the axle end from the bearing assembly. Remove the brake drum, then remove the four bolts holding the bearing to the axle tube and slide the bearing assembly out.

Tighten the bearing assembly bolts to 65 nm, the lower shock bolt to 70 nm, the cross-member to frame bolts to 65 nm, and the axle end bolt to 45 nm plus an additional 90 degrees.

Be sure to properly support the parts that are unbolted, particularly the cross-member. Total time for a properly equipped shop should be a couple of hours or less. If done at home the time will vary depending on tools at hand, talent level and quantity of beer involved.
 

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Don't know what year Smart you have or the mileage on it, but I'd probably want to get a second opinion before I sprung for that repair. Do you have really good experiences with the one place you took it to?

Also when the brakes were replaced, was the driver's side rear replaced? That's always a concern when a problem pops up in an area where work was just done. I know in my case I always ask, "Okay, what did I screw up?" :)

Len
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Gah, I forgot the details.

2008 Passion. 45,000 miles
They just checked the brakes
I bought this used like 3 years ago
I've replaced the front brakes but never the back.
 

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Gah, I forgot the details.

2008 Passion. 45,000 miles
They just checked the brakes
I bought this used like 3 years ago
I've replaced the front brakes but never the back.
I'd want to know why they feel it needs replaced... Is it rough? Does it make noise? Bearings can fail at random times, but 45K is way early IMHO. I have 160K+ on my smart, and have never replaced a wheel bearing.

It's not a tough job to do on the rear. I would pull the hub and inspect it myself. If it feels rough, makes noise, or has play in it, definitely replace it. Otherwise, put it back in and run it...

On the other hand, for $44 per side, it may just be worth the piece of mind to replace them while you are in there.:)
 

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I know you are asking about a rear wheel bearing, but I thought I'd shed some light on my 2009 front wheel bearing saga.

I replaced the right FRONT wheel hub on mine at 66,500, the price for the part was about $250 USD from Mercedes. I replaced mine at 66,500 miles, but I suspect it started going bad around the 30,000 mile mark, since that is when the bottom fell out of my gas mileage.

I have 79,000 miles on it now and feel I should check the wheel bearings again, only this time I'll check both the front & back since I am getting that surging sensation and the feeling like there is someting stopping the tire from turning. Also the mileage has dropped again.

To be honest, the smart has such little weight on the front end that I did not notice a bearing is gone. I only noticed it whenl I replaced the front brakes & rotors and gave the hub a spin and heard the grinding & felt the stiffness in it.

Since the smart has a very stiff suspension, I think a lot of the shock when hitting bumps and expansion joints in the road is not absorbed in the struts and springs but rather transferred to the wheels & bearings of the car. Too much rough roads could have killed the bearings in the axles. Just my 2 cents worth.
 

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Checking wheel bearings with the tire off the ground.

1. Grasp the tire at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and push one while pulling the other, then reverse the process. This checks for play in the bearing. If any is felt, replace it.

2. On non-drive wheels use a long screwdriver with the pointed end on the wheel hub carrier next to the bearing. Put the handle against your head next to your ear. Have a helper spin the tire and listen for abnormal noise. If you do not know what abnormal is, check one side against the other.

3. On non-drive wheels spin the tire while laying your fingers lightly on the coil spring. If there is roughness in the bearing you can feel the vibration in the spring.

For numbers 2 and 3 on drive wheels you may or may not hear or feel anything, depending on how many fiddly bits are connected to the axle with the trans in neutral. One may need to pull the axle out of the hub to be sure.

Also, be sure the brake on the wheel in question is not dragging and producing a false positive result.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd want to know why they feel it needs replaced... Is it rough? Does it make noise? Bearings can fail at random times, but 45K is way early IMHO. I have 160K+ on my smart, and have never replaced a wheel bearing.

It's not a tough job to do on the rear. I would pull the hub and inspect it myself. If it feels rough, makes noise, or has play in it, definitely replace it. Otherwise, put it back in and run it...

On the other hand, for $44 per side, it may just be worth the piece of mind to replace them while you are in there.:)
They didn't tell me but I have heard squealing when driving long distances. It just hasn't happened in awhile so I didn't remember until now. It was bad enough that I pulled over to see if it squealed while not moving (it did not).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wheel Bearing Parts

I asked a co-worker who works on cars if he would help me replace the wheel bearing and he said you need a wheel bearing press and that only garages have those. Is this true?
 
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