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1998 Kia Sportage 2WD Base Model
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Discussion Starter #1
I've searched for and found a couple threads addressing wheel bearings on these RWD Sportys and it seems like there are a lot of questions and little answers. So this will be a thread to future readers looking for help replacing front wheel bearings.

I used SKF Bearings for this job as they are trusted and widely available.

Inner bearing part number is BR50, outer bearing part number is BR11.

You should be looking at $20-25 for both, I did both sides so I had 4 bearings and a tub of Mobil One bearing grease. My cost at the register was $54 with employee discount.

I'm assuming you know how to get the wheel and brake caliper loose, this isn't really a job for someone that's just learning their way around a socket set.

When you have the dust cap off you'll see the spindle with notches at 12 and 6 o'clock, the spindle nut will also have two notches opposite eachother (these are for a special locking wrench, you don't have to use one though). In the 12 o'clock notch on the spindle, you will notice the metal wall of the nut has been hammered in with a flat punch to partially fill the notch in the spindle and 'set' the nut in place.

Before you attempt to remove the nut try to get the punched section as close to round as possible, and free of the spindle notch.

Now to removing the nut, you are supposed to use a locking wrench but it's actually faster to take a chisel or flat-head, place it in one of the notches so that when you hit it with a hammer it will drive the nut counter clockwise. Once broken loose, there is virtually no tension, I used a pair of pliers stuck in one of the notches to spin in the rest of the way off. Behind the nut will be a flat piece of metal that is there to hold the grease against the bearing, don't worry about until you have the hub off, then clean it and set it aside to be replaced as you found it.

At this point the hub is free, you may have to tap around it lightly with a hammer but that's to be expected. All I had to do was give the hub a stern jerk and it came away from the spindle.

The outer bearing will fall away freely from inside the hub. The inner bearing will not come out until the wheel seal has been removed from the back of the hub. Again, there are specialty tools for this but a flat head screwdriver should get it to pop out.

Once both bearings are out, all grease and contaminates remaining inside the hub need to be cleaned to get rid of broken down grease and metal shavings that may have been left behind by previously failed bearing.

Knocking out the old races (this step is not recommended if you don't own a race seating set). The inner race is knocked out by placing a punch through the outside of the hub until it touches the face of the race and giving it a firm strike with a hammer. The outer race is knocked out in the same process, but inserting the punch through the inner side of the hub. Set the new races using a race seating tool.

If you are not replacing the races, discard the outer most portion of the new bearings, it's the angled solid steel ring.

Greasing the new bearings, you'll want to have plenty of rags as this gets really messy. If you have a bearing packing tool, follow the instructions that came with the tool. If you don't I suggest you buy one. If you can't buy one then we'll do this old school. Get a scoop of grease out of your tub and put it in your palm. Hold the bearing like it's an onion ring you're about to dip in sauce, then 'scrape' the bearing at the edges of the pile of grease to work the grease into the bearing. You want the inside of the bearing to be as full of grease as possible, there is no such thing as too much grease in this job. When you're sure there isn't much air left in the bearing, try to make it so you can barely see the outside of the bearing though the grease.

Installing the bearings into the hub, liberally coat the inside of the clean hub with grease, again, no such thing as too much grease in this job, when you think there is enough, put another two-finger scoop in. You will want to install the inner bearing first, as you can hold it in place with the wheel seal while you insert the outer bearing. After you drop in both bearings, go ahead and apply more grease until you can't see them, any crevasses/pockets should be made flush against the spindle with grease. You are now ready to install the hub with new bearings back on the truck.

Hold the hub with your fingertips and use your thumbs the keep the outer bearing pressed tightly in the hub as you push the hub on the spindle. It helps if you spin the hub side to side while you press to work the bearings onto the spindle. This didn't work for me as will happen sometimes, the inner bearing seated nicely, but the outer stopped on the spindle and came away from the race. I had to pull the hub back until it was seated with the outer bearing, then drive the outer bearing onto the spindle by tapping 12 O'clock and 6 O'clock alternately until it was firm and the hub had no play.

Spindle nut installation. This is a highly built up as being overly difficult and confusing for this type of hub. It really isn't at all... Normally, there are torque values for bolts/nuts of this type. This is one of the exceptions, there is though, an easily understandable method to knowing when the spindle nut is just right. What you want to do is hand tighten the spindle nut until you can't turn it any more, then using a tool (I used a pair of needle nose pliers, one jaw in the hole in center of the spindle, the other jaw in the notch on the spindle nut) to continue tightening the nut until you no longer have any forward/backward play in the hub. Note, this is easier or more obvious if you install the rotor and set screw but I didn't see the need. Once you get to the point where there is no visible play in the hub you know the bearings are set and that you haven't over tightened the spindle nut. Note, seeing grease ooze out from behind the nut is a good thing.

Seating the bearings. The Bearings are tight and free of play, but they are going to settle and you'll end up with play. What you want to do to make sure the bearings are properly seated, all you have to do is hand spin the rotor/hub while tightening then loosening the spindle nut. That is to say, you've got the hub where it has no play, now spin the rotor over 7-8 times, loosen the nut 1/8 turn, then tighten to the same torque as when you had no play. Keep doing this until the nut ends up in the same position when it becomes tight 3 times.

Reinstall brake caliper, reinstall wheel. Drive it like you stole it.

Any questions let me know, I tried to be as detailed as I can but if you think I know something that will help you just ask.
 

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1998 Kia Sportage 2WD Base Model
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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to add the dust cap requires a special tool to remove, I use a pipe wrench snugged on to the cap with the handle facing up. The first push should back the cap away from the hub 1/8 to 1/4 inch, spin the rotor 180 degress and do the same on the other side should free the dust cap.
 

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Greetings DeeRock,

That's a nice writeup: Thanks for posting the info, it is appreciated.

Regards,
GottaCruise
 
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