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Source for good front wheel bearings

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09 Oct 2012, 10:51 am
hornpipe2's Avatar
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Question Source for good front wheel bearings

Got a bad wobble on the front-end of my 2004 Turbo PT (automatic), which gets worse when turning to the left. I had been dealing with it by turning up the radio, but the oil change tech at Wal-mart advised me that my bearings are probably going bad and "if not fixed I'm likely to flip over". Yikes.

Okay, clearly it's time to change them. Myself, if possible, as the shop quoted me $500 for the work. Watched a few videos to get a feel for the process... I think I can take a half-day off of work to make the swap and save myself a few hundred.

Only question is, I need a source for bearings. From what I've read, bearings on the PT cruiser aren't high reliability parts as they are designed for the Neon but must carry more weight. eBay has a wide variety, of course, and I'd imagine quality varies wildly too.

Question time. Where is a good online source for front wheel bearings? I want some that are not too expensive, but reliable enough that I won't be swapping them again in 30K miles. I know practically nothing about car part manufacturers and tend to just buy whatever AutoZone carries. This may be out of their league.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 11:24 am
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

rock auto is about the best and there are some discount codes some place on the site
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

There is a couple things to think about with wheel bearings. First lets dismiss the myths. The oem bearing are not unreliable and will go under normal driving a serviceable life. Which is about 60+k miles. The bearing for the PT are not carry over parts designed for neon. All wheel bearing have load specification to handle there appointed task. So if the part number is the same for a PT as a neon this does not mean it is less capable to handle the application. Really where do these fairy tails start anyway?

What I recommend is to shop for name brands with a good warranty and a retailer that has a good history for customer service. NAPA, Pep boys,O-Railey, Savings center etc.. The hot deals on Amazon and Ebay my be from a generic manufacture manufactured in an Asian or Latin country and the quality of assembly may be less then desired if you want a trouble free bearing. In most every case you will either get a bearing the makes noise or will fail in a few thousand miles. Lifetime warranty is no good if you have to re do the job next year. BCA/National, Timken and EBI have been around a while and although they have diversified by manufacturing in Mexico and Asian country they supply the quality material and a responsible quality control system.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 09 Oct 2012 at 12:01 pm.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

Thanks. I am looking at their site and it looks like they have three entries for Wheel Bearings.

TIMKEN Part # 510058 $24.89
NATIONAL Part # 510058 $25.79
SKF Part # FW115 $29.79

Is there any real difference between these, or am I OK to just go with the Timken? I'm not after performance but reliability.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by hornpipe2 View Post
Thanks. I am looking at their site and it looks like they have three entries for Wheel Bearings.

TIMKEN Part # 510058 $24.89
NATIONAL Part # 510058 $25.79
SKF Part # FW115 $29.79

Is there any real difference between these, or am I OK to just go with the Timken? I'm not after performance but reliability.
My personal preference would be;

NATIONAL first and then TIMKEN
But this is solely because over the years retailing all 3 of your choices I always had better local availability of NATIONAL.
The quality of both IMO is the same.

SKF was always in change and re-boxing seemed to be every other year for a while. So that presented problems in itself in that at times any given part number could have almost anyone's part in it. So getting matched bearing was always a challenge.
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Last edited by NitroPT; 09 Oct 2012 at 12:09 pm.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 01:41 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by hornpipe2 View Post
Got a bad wobble on the front-end of my 2004 Turbo PT (automatic), which gets worse when turning to the left. I had been dealing with it by turning up the radio, but the oil change tech at Wal-mart advised me that my bearings are probably going bad and "if not fixed I'm likely to flip over". Yikes.

Okay, clearly it's time to change them. Myself, if possible, as the shop quoted me $500 for the work. Watched a few videos to get a feel for the process... I think I can take a half-day off of work to make the swap and save myself a few hundred.
when wheel bearings start to fail on these cars they make a vibrating noise similar to gear whine. you'll hear it at 70mph, a month later you'll hear it at 50mph, a month later you'lll hear it at 20mph and it'll be louder the faster you go. it makes the gas pedal and steering wheel produce a gentle numbing vibration. is this what you're feeling or does it actually wobble? if the bearing was far enough warn to actually wobble, your brakes would be dragging as well.

anyways, assuming you mean a vibration..

this is not a fun project to do without a press.

you need to take the knuckle off, (tire, axle, brakes, balljoint, etc.)
press the hub out,
remove a shield held on with (4) 10mm bolts,
press the outer bearing race out of the knuckle,
and then press the center of the bearing race off the hub.

just a heads up that without a press, you're in for a hell of a lot of pounding/chiseling/swearing

you also may find bad ball joints while you're in there. i did.

the 2001 bearing is 3mm narrower than later years. i learned this the hard way after the parts store gave me the wrong part, so learn from me and match it up first.

Last edited by rob342; 09 Oct 2012 at 01:44 pm.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 01:50 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by hornpipe2 View Post
Got a bad wobble on the front-end of my 2004 Turbo PT (automatic),
When shopping it is always a good idea to have your VIN # and or know your production date whci can be found on the drivers door jam ID plate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rob342 View Post

this is not a fun project to do without a press.

just a heads up that without a press, you're in for a hell of a lot of pounding/chiseling/swearing

you also may find bad ball joints while you're in there.

............. after the parts store gave me the wrong part, so learn from me and match it up first.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 03:06 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
when wheel bearings start to fail on these cars they make a vibrating noise similar to gear whine. you'll hear it at 70mph, a month later you'll hear it at 50mph, a month later you'lll hear it at 20mph and it'll be louder the faster you go. it makes the gas pedal and steering wheel produce a gentle numbing vibration. is this what you're feeling or does it actually wobble? if the bearing was far enough warn to actually wobble, your brakes would be dragging as well.
Yes indeed: I have a "wobble" feeling to the steering wheel, but moreover a loud noise that gets louder when turning left. It's a sort of grinding-ish "wub wub wub" that is directly speed related. And yes, brakes wub-wub a bit when stopping too...

When I get home I'm going to try these steps:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
did you jack the car up and try to wiggle the wheel?

if it wiggles up and down it's a balljoint
if it wiggles side to side, it's a tie rod
if it wiggles both ways, it's a bearing(or loose lugnuts).
if it does not wiggle, carefully inspect the inner and outer sidewall of the tire, as well as the tread area while spinning it by hand. it may have a bubble in it or a dent in the rim.
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 03:09 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

BTW my source for the "Neon bearings" urban legend:
Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownSport View Post
AND PT only uses a Neon Wheel bearing- Substantial difference in weight for same wheel bearing
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Old 09 Oct 2012, 04:26 pm
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Default Re: Source for good front wheel bearings

For your consideration:


Thoughts?

Also while investigating the front wheel, check out (picture) what I found in the rear tire. It's just not my day, I guess.
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