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How To Replace Rear Wheel Bearing and Seal 1992-99 GMC K1500

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How To Replace Rear Wheel Bearing and Seal 1992-99 GMC K1500

Created on: 2020-04-27

If you hear a grinding or groaning noise while your vehicle is rolling, it might have a worn out wheel bearing. A worn bearing can allow the wheel to wobble, creating a host of other issues. To save yourself from more headaches down the road, replace your bearing right away. For solid rear axles, you'll need to replace the axle seal too. How to install a new TRQ wheel bearing and axle seal on your 1988-2002 GMC K1500.

Installation Video
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So we made it underneath the vehicle. One of the first things you need to do is find your fill plug for the rear differential. So make sure you get all the crud out of the way here and then you can go ahead and pick away, and you're gonna see 3/8 drive square socket here. We're gonna go ahead and remove that with our ratchet. All right. So you can see the little differential plug here. You're gonna use a 3/8 drive ratchet with a little extension. Go ahead and put it in there and remove the plug. Now that we have that out of the way, we can continue. Once you have your vehicle raised and supported, we're gonna remove the center cover and the lug nuts behind it. Use your 22-millimeter socket.

The next thing you're gonna do is remove your drum. There's a couple things that you may or may not have to do. One would be, of course, spray the area with some penetrant around the areas of the studs and the center area. There's also gonna be an adjustment that you can relieve on the backside in case your breaks are over-adjusted and there's a lip on there. But for this one right here, it's kind of just pulls right off. We'll take a peek and make sure you dispose of that brake dust properly.

Next, it's gonna be time to drop your rear differential cover. You're gonna wanna make sure that you have your hand protection and eye protection, of course, still and you're gonna wanna catch a bucket because inside here there's gonna be a lot of gear oil and it needs to go somewhere, preferably a collection bucket. Before we drop it, go ahead and clean down the areas, especially where the pan's gonna mate onto the rear differential because the last thing you want is any crud getting inside there.

The next thing you wanna do is take a look at all these bolts and see if they look like they're rusted and rotted. You might need to just put your sock and on, give it a couple of taps and that should just break away the majority of the rust. Once you've done that, you would continue on with your 13-millimeter socket and remove all these bolts. Just take one of those little bolts, start it in there, a few good threads. Next thing we're gonna do is break this pan free. Of course, fluid's gonna come out, make sure you have your collection bucket.

We're just gonna turn that driveshaft until we can see this bolt right here. This bolt comes straight through and holds this pin in and the pin holds those little U clips that are in there holding the axles in. So first we'll take out this 8-millimeter bolt and then be careful because this will just slide right out. Once that's out of the way, we'll push it in the axle. I'm holding the pin so it can't slide out. The pin is hardened steel, so if it hits the ground there's a potential that it could break. Slide that out. We'll put the pin right with it and we'll set it aside. Now we're just gonna spin this a little bit more so we have clear access of the inside here. I'm gonna go over, I'm gonna push the axle and watch right here, this clip is gonna come dropping out. Looks great. There it is. It's time to get the axle out of here. Make sure you have a nice catch bucket to catch any fluid that might come out. There it is.

Next thing we're gonna do is continue on with a nice pry bar. We'll try to get right inside here like this and see if I can pry away. All right, if I come from over here...okay. So this looks as though it's gonna keep happening. We're gonna move along. Now I'm gonna try to grab an edge right here and try to pull it away. Pin that right down. Nice. I'm gonna come right inside here. I just need something to grab onto. There we are. Pop that seal right out of there. The next thing we need to do is take one of these little pieces right here. This is gonna slide right inside like that. Now I'm gonna tighten up this nut so it brings the washer right up against the bearings. That's gonna help protect us. It's mounted on the slide hammer here.

All right. Now that we've got that threaded in, we're gonna go ahead and slide this. Make sure you're wearing your safety protection. I'm just gonna say it one more time. Super important. Here we go. All right. So as you could tell, the bearing exploded. That's the reason for having your safety protection because this is bound to happen. There's all those bearings. Make sure you get them all out of there. Carefully feeling along in here, I can tell that it actually started getting the bearing out of there. So I think we're on the right track. Let's continue. Let's go ahead and clean out this area. Take a double-quick look inside there. Make sure you don't have any of those bearings rattling around. Once you've done that, go ahead and grab your brand new bearing. It looks great. And we start it in just like that. And then we're gonna help it along with one of these installer tools and push it in.

All right. Definitely heard an audible difference in sound there. That's letting me know that I made it to the point where it's bottomed out. Let's go ahead and get this out of here. If you look along this area of the seal, you're gonna notice you have a little spring. Just take a little bit of Vaseline and put a light coating on that spring. That's gonna help keep it in when we start bonking on this seal. That looks good. Now we're gonna take some RTV or gasket maker and go along that outer edge where it's gonna connect to the differential tube itself. Run it along that whole edge. That looks great. Let's get ready for an install.

Now that we have that seal all set and ready, go ahead and line it up. And then we're gonna grab this and we're gonna bonk it in there so it's nice and flush with the axle. I heard the audible difference there. Let's clean up the mess that comes around it. Awesome. Make sure you clean down your axle shaft and then especially right down here, this is where the seal's gonna ride. Nasty. For this application, we're gonna be using 80/90. Put that right in there. Make sure we got our catch bucket. Once you have plenty of gear oil inside, just kind of rotate it around, and around, and around. You wanna make sure all of these bearings in here are sufficiently coated. It feels pretty good. If you wanna add a little bit more, that's fine. Some people will say to keep adding so that way there it goes down the tube. That's completely up to you because once we're done or when we're getting closer to being done, I'm gonna show you how to fill this tube anyway.

Let's grab the axle. We're gonna carefully slide it in because we don't wanna disturb that new seal. I'm just gonna wiggle it around. At this point, it's down by the differential and it starting to go in down there. Okay. Felt like it stopped. I'm just gonna go back a little bit, turn it, and keep trying until it wants to slide into those spider gears. That's good. I'm just gonna go in a little bit. Now we'll go into the differential and we'll put in that little C clip. We've got our little C clamp here. Just slide it right over that area of the axle and then slide the axle back out. That locks it in. We're gonna do the same to the other side and then we'll put in the centerpiece.

Clean your pin and inspect it for damage. Install the pin with the holes facing there. Grab your locking bolt, put some blue thread locker. Tighten this bolt. Torque this to manufacturer specifications. So now we're just gonna cover these gears with something so we don't get any of this gasket on it or rust. Put that over it. Go ahead and use your scraper. That's the stuff we're gonna get off. We're gonna make sure that this is nice and clean back here. So once you get the majority of the large chunks off of this so you have a nice, smooth surface for that diff pan to ride on, you wanna do the same to the differential pan itself. So you can get this right here. You wanna make sure you get off all these crunchies, make this nice and smooth. And, of course, if you wanna clean down the backside, it's probably a great idea as well. I'll get this cleaned up and then we'll move along.

Okay. So once you've got it nice and cleaned up, we're gonna continue on with some gasket maker. I'm gonna go right along here. It's important to use stuff that's oil-resistant. You wanna make sure that you go with that, of course. Inside the rear differential, there's oil. That looks great. So now we're just gonna look up in here. We're gonna move our rag, of course. Just take a double check. Make sure we tightened up that bolt. We've definitely got our pin in there. We got all the fluid out as much as we could. There's barely anything in there, if anything. You wanna make sure you clean down around this whole area. Make sure that there's no oily residue on any of this because if you do, the RTV or gasket maker isn't gonna stick to there.

If you have a magnet, it's gonna go right on this little piton down right there. You could see there's a little bump-out on the differential cover. It would sit right there. Just be a circle, look like a donut, really. Once you put that magnet on, assuming you have one, you're gonna go ahead and line this up. Make sure you put the bumped out area of the pan cover towards where the pinion gear is. Okay. So we've got them all started in. If you have any of those tags, it's a good idea to make sure you put them back on. Anywhere where you see one of these little cutouts on the differential cover is a perfect spot. You have one right here and you have one right there. Let's go ahead and snug these up. I just like to double-check these with a ratchet just to make sure they're all nice and snug.

So now it's time to fill up the rear differential. You're gonna use plain old 80/90 gear oil. And when you fill it, you wanna try to come up to just below that fill hole, maybe about a quarter-inch. Okay. I'm just gonna stick my finger in and give it a little curl. Let's see. There it is. So I went in, I just went down a teeny bit, about a quarter of an inch, and I'm right there. Perfect. Make sure you go ahead and put that plug back in. All right. So now what you would wanna do is just clean up the whole mess. Okay. So now that we've got this nice and tightened up, it's important to remember, if you use the gasket maker like I did, the RTV, they recommend you waiting for approximately 24 hours before adding any oil to the system. If you're using a regular paper gasket or even cork, you're okay to go ahead and add oil right away.

Now that we have this area cleaned up, let's go ahead and hit it with some copper Never-Seez. It looks great. Grab your drum. Slide it right on there. All right. Let's get the wheel back on here. Start on all of our lug nuts and then we'll snug them up. Let's torque them to manufacturer specifications. Now it's time to torque these lug nuts to 120 foot-pounds. We're gonna go on a crisscross pattern. Torqued. All right. Let's take our covers, get those mounted on here. Perfect.


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