I count myself lucky, I’ve grown up looking over the shoulders of a father who will turn his hand to anything. He also worked in a garage for years as a kid so knows his way around car (or recently van!) mechanics and is full of those priceless tips. Given how much the internet has helped me over the years I wanted to start posting logs of the projects, repairs, maintenance etc we get up to too, no matter how big or small, on a chance it will be useful to someone else. It’s also a great reference for me! SO this is the first of a “Practical Pa” series of posts.
This one was a pretty straight forward job, its simplicity even surprised me! Pa showed me the passenger side, I’m showing you the driver side.
Commuting daily by car, you get a pretty intimate feeling for the noises your car makes and how it behaves, so when i started to hear a droning noise whilst driving above around 40mph, I knew something was up. The low pitches droning rumble was definitely linked to speed rather than RPM as it persisted through gear chances changes… typical of worn/pitted wheel bearings.
DISCLAIMER: The information here is provided for informational purposes only. Before continuing read the full disclaimer.
Jack up and place on stands the corner of the car you will be working on, then remove the wheel.
For first timers, there is lots of advice on safely jacking a car and using stands. If you have not done this before, please read up, its easy but important to do this safely (I’ve had the lecture from Pa). Also, remember, handbrake needs to be off since we’ll be removing the rear brakes and disc so take precautions.
First Timer Tips:
- Before Jacking, sequentially loosen, then slightly tighten wheel nuts. Initially wheel nuts should be nice and tight and may even have some binding if not undone for a while. Once the corner is jacked and the wheels can spin freely, this will be hard.
- Extending above, if using an impact driver, you only need to undo the locking wheel nut.
- Although the weight of the car should be on the axel stands, keep the jack just touching as a fail safe
- Place wheel under a solid part of the car, if your jack / axel stand should fail, it may save you!
Removing the brake caliper
The first thing to be removed is the brake caliper. Once you have the wheel off you should be looking at something like this:
The caliper itself is held on with two bolts, if these are rusty or look siezed, a quick spray of some kind of penetrating oil may help get things moving. To undo these two 13mm bolts, you will also need a 15mm spanner to hold onto the threaded nut the other side (see second image below). As you begin to remove the bolts, be sure to support the caliper, we want to remove this slowly as the brake pads are in here.
Once the bolts are out, you can pull the caliper away from the disc keeping an eye on the brake pads as they may want to fall. Once its off, ensure it is hooked securely. Do not let it hang or rest on the brake line pipe.
Now we must remove what the parts diagram calls the “Torque member” in order to get the disc off. This is held by a further two bolts accessed from the back:
We can see how rusty this is, quite common given given all the salt and grit we have on the road over the winter. This should really all be cleaned up, if you note how everything came apart you can see how the pads slide along guide channels, use sand paper and a flat head screwdriver to clean these up. Take a look online for some brake pad / caliper replacement tutorials for more info on this kind of a clean up, E.G: here.
Remove the brake disc
The last thing to remove before we can get to the bearing hub is the disc. To keep it secured whilst the wheel is off, two small philips head machine screws are used, remove these, give it a whack and it should come off.
Replacing the bearing / hub unit
SO, although more expensive as a part than buying just the bearings, what makes this job easy is that the bearings and hubs for the honda come as complete replacement unit. Although I’ve never done it myself, i have read and been told how much trouble changing bearings alone can be. Let alone having to re-attach ABS sensing rings etc. Usually you need a press of sorts to get the old ones out and new ones in without damage.
To get the old unit off, there are four 14mm bolts from the back (you can make out the tips from the wheel side to figure out where they are on the back). These hold the wheel on so expect them to be pretty tight, again penetrating oil may be your friend if you cant get them going! Once these are out, the assembly is simply pressed with a nice interference fit so pull it (in a parallel motion) away from the mounting. Do not pull too harshly from one side or the other as there is a sensor behind the bearing.
Once this is off you should have a nice clean are behind the bearing, if there is any debris in here be sure to clear it. Take caution not to hit or damage Metal can get attached to the magnetized part of the bearing which the car ABS / VSA sensor uses to encode wheel turns and cause misreads.
Always a good idea to compare old and new, to ensure you are fitting the right part:
To fit the new hub, line up the holes and tap it in, keeping it parallel to avoid any chance of jamming or hitting the ABS / VSA sensor. To stop the bolts coming loose with the continuous vibration of the road, some screwlock should be applied to the threads.
As always, tighten bolts in stages, and in opposites (I.E. Top Left, Bottom Right, Top Right, Bottom Left etc). This will pull the bearing assembly in square and ensure it does not tighten in a distorted way.
Make sure each bolt is plenty tight, these are not bolts you will want coming loose one the road.
Abrasive brake dust as well as road grime build up in these parts. Since you cannot usually get to them easily, now is a good chance to give everything a proper clean.
Re-assemble by following steps in reverse
Don’t forget to use screwlock on all of the bolts as you re-assemble. Check and double check everything is nice and tight.
Since you got the car in the back, give the car a wash what for finishing the job propa’ 😉