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2000 Intrigue front hub assembly replacement

04-22-2010, 10:32 PM
Gents -
I'm back in the house after a 2-hour failed attempt to replace the left front hub bearing assembly on my 2000 Intrigue.
I researched the forum a couple days ago, and found some useful postings. I printed them off, and expected a pretty straight-forward job of it, along with the help of my Olds shop manual. Yesterday I PB-Blasted the hub shaft threads, bought a made-in-USA hub, bought a 35mm axle nut socket, and a T55 Torx bit that a prior poster said was needed. I even treated myself to a breaker bar, after a lifetime without one.
But I ran into two problems tonight, that resulted in my putting it all back together with the original parts. (I have to get to work tomorrow).
1. With the hub tool, I could not push the axle shaft far enough back out of the hub assembly. I did get it pushed back a couple of inches, but the half-axle was tight as a drum, pushed back into the transmission. Is it necessary to remove the outer tie rod-to-knuckle bolt, and/or the two bolts that hold the lower end of the strut to the knuckle, in order to increase knuckle free play and "swing"? I didn't see either of these mentioned as necessary in the prior posts or the shop manual. The splined shaft had quite a way to go yet, to be completely free of the hub. BTW, I had the entire left suspension assembly fully hanging down; should I have put a wheel jack under it and raised it up some? I don't think that would have helped.
2. This led to problem #2: As best I could, I tried to loosen those 3 bolts that hold the hub assembly to the knuckle from behind. I thought if I could get them out, I might still be able to work the old hub off, and the new one on, and complete the job. Since the CV joint and its splined shaft were still in there, it was hard to get at the bolt heads, but I kind of managed it. They are 13mm bolts. Maybe those bolts are where the prior poster had his T55 Torx head bolts. In any case, mine are 13mm hex head, and pretty solidly in place, too. I managed to break both my 13mm sockets (3/8" drive) trying to loosen the bolts. Nothing to it, especially with my brand new breaker bar and a 1/2"to3/8" adapter. Good thing they're Craftsman - free replacement. But I'd better also buy a 13mm impact socket, I guess.

Well, those are my two issues. I think the first is the worst - why can't I push the splined shaft far enough back toward the engine/transmission to get the shaft and CV assembly free of the hub assembly? I don't recall any posters mentioning any difficulties about that.

Krivasauto, I looked in shutterfly for a "wheel bearing" job, but didn't see anything.
Maybe I'm missing something simple. Thanks for anyone's advice.

04-23-2010, 12:25 AM
You are missing something pretty simple as best I can tell, and that is this:

The hub WILL NOT come off until you first remove those 3 bolts on the back. So yes, the axle shaft will push back in a little bit, but after that you will be fighting against those 3 bolts, and of course will never win.

Get some PB blast on those 3 bolts, you can also turn the wheel one direction or another to get better access to them, but make sure you have a solid jackstand, I usually put one on the subframe up toward the front of the car.

A regular 13mm socket should do the trick, you just need to do some PB blast work before hand.

A few other things, is make sure you get the orientation of the dust shield right before you put it all back together. The dust shield is the thin metal piece the goes between the hub and the knuckle, youll know it when you see it.

Also, if you dont have some, you might want to put a dab( yes that is the actual measurement) of blue thread-locker on those 3 bolts in the back.

I googled real quick and found this guide:

It has a lot of extra stuff, and its for a Grand Prix, but its the exact same procedure for your car.

04-23-2010, 07:45 AM
LittleHoov, thanks for the tips and the link.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was: I should have turned the wheel (hard right) to make more room for the half-axle to slide
back. My second thought was: I wonder how many guys are going to read this and think just that? Guess I'm getting too old to work on my car at night.

Looks like the Pontiac guys have the assembly hanging down as I do (pic 21), so that's OK. Also Looks like what I've been calling the "knuckle" they are calling the "spindle".

It's odd, I have the "Bible" for the car - the 2 volume Olds 2000 service manual, and it definitely shows (pg 3-35) step 9 as pushing the
shaft out of the hub with the tool, and step 10 as removing the the 3 hub bolts (but I believe you, LH). Maybe the manual only meant "push
the shaft partway out so you can get at the 3 bolts better". I hope that does it, because it was tough getting the sockets on those bolt
heads. Maybe they weren't quite straight and that's why I broke them.

I'll try again tonight or tomorrow after work, with a turn of the wheel and a resupply of 13mm sockets.

04-26-2010, 12:47 PM

04-26-2010, 05:19 PM
I got this done last Saturday afternoon. It did help (naturally) to turn the steering wheel hard left/right to get at those 3 hub assy bolts. I had burred up the front one, and it was a near thing, but I did get it and the others off. The hub was solidly stuck in place, so I "carefully" hammered a 1" metal chisel between knuckle and hub mating surfaces to help separate them. The hub came out in pieces, leaving the ABS sensor ring in the back of the knuckle, but I got that out also, with a drift from behind, easier than I expected.
Now for the punch line.
I did all this because a week ago, the car came up with a humming or buzzing sound from the front during the last 35 miles or so of a 300 mile round trip. The sound is proportional to running gear speed, not engine or tranny speed. I couldn't tell whether right or left side, with my old ears, and neither could a second person. So, although shaking the raised front wheels with the 12 - 6 and 3 - 9 o'clock wiggle test didn't show any significant slop, I thought 1) it could not be the tires, because the noise appeared so quick, and 2) what else could it be but bearings, after 188,000 miles?
So I replaced the left front hub/bearing assy on those grounds. Result: no difference in noise. And the old hub still spins nicely. I was impressed -- Olds and GM could make parts last when they wanted to. I just now (should have done this first) rotated the tires (front to rear and vv.). They were overdue anyway. No significant difference in noise. So tomorrow a 7:30am appointment to a good brake shop to see if they can pinpoint the noise. Maybe it is the right hub, or the tires after all, or even the half-axles.
I remember getting faked out with my previous car - a '91 Taurus. I thought the noise from the rear was the hubs, replaced them both, and found that the originals were perfectly fine, and that the noise was really caused by out-of-alignment rear tire wear. So I did that the hard way. Hope I'm not doing it again.
Those 13mm hub bolts kind of trouble me. They are supposed to be torqued to 96 lbs-ft, and in view of their function, this is one place I want to obey. They are 10.9, thick in the shaft, so no problem there, but I wonder about the dinky 13mm head. Necessary for access, I guess. I intend to replace them ($4.14 each at the dealer), so only torqued the old ones to 55 or so on the new hub. I'm skittish about burring them up again, but if my original problem was caused by worn sockets, at least my new replacment sockets will be a good tight fit.
I was also considering using medium or high-strengh Loctite on the threads of the new bolts. Also on the spindle nut. Any opinions?
And yes, Krivasauto, I now look for your picture "how-tos" before starting a job.

04-26-2010, 06:35 PM
Ive used medium strength loctite (the blue stuff I mentioned earlier) on mine and never had a problem. You want to be able to get them loose again at some point.

They make a special tool meant for pulling hubs. Its pretty inexpensive. I rented one when I changed hubs on my Cherokee. Cost me like 20 bucks or so which was refunded when I brought it back. Made it an absolute breeze. I had 20+ years of rust holding mine on. Hammering didnt work :)

I never used loctite on the spindle nut myself. Its pretty dang tight to start with.

I dont have a problem with the 13mm heads personally, I just wish they wouldve made them a 12 point socket instead of a hex. Mine are just about rounded off as well.

My cherokee also uses 13mm bolts but they are all 12 point heads.

Oh by the way, normally a worn hub will change pitch or volume when you turn one direction or the other. turning places more load on the hub so the noise gets louder....if im not mistaken it should be as follows:

If its louder turning left, the right hub is worn
If its louder turning right, the left hub is worn

Someone might want to verify that though.

panzer dragoon
04-28-2010, 06:54 PM
these tie rods can have the typical outer tie rod end wear and the inner tie rod screw in may be also worn.

-check those wheel weights =one may have fallen off. (this sounds like your problem) Or maybe a tire broke a tread unbalancing the wheel.

04-28-2010, 08:05 PM
these tie rods can have the typical outer tie rod end wear and the inner tie rod screw in may be also worn.

-check those wheel weights =one may have fallen off. (this sounds like your problem) Or maybe a tire broke a tread unbalancing the wheel.

Wouldnt he have some pretty noticeable vibrations with those sort of problems? Unless I missed something he didnt have any problems with vibes, just noise.

panzer dragoon
04-29-2010, 05:09 PM
In order to get sound something must resonate. =Vibration and sound are one of the same -even if you cannot hear them.

04-30-2010, 10:17 AM
Gentlemen -
I got the verdict from the alignment shop after their test drive Tuesday morning. The man says it is indeed the right hub bearing, so if I had had better ears, or guessed "right" the first time, this job would have been a less puzzling item. I couldn't tell any more looseness on the right side, but I'm trusting the shop that made the diagnosis.
Just to clarify, I don't have any "unbalance" kind of vibrations, just a steady buzz, hum, or drone that increases steadily in pitch and volume with wheel speed.
So...Tuesday I picked up a second made-in-USA hub assembly from MI Bearings, right here in Traverse City. Nice to be able to get them immediately, and save time and those shipping/handling charges. I also ordered, and now have, new hub bolts from the dealer, and even a spare hub nut. Swapped my red locktite at Autozone for Littlehoov's recommended blue, so I should be ready to do this tonight after work, or tommorrow at the latest. I'd also like to replace at least one of the hub bolts that I burred up on the left side. I will let you know how the job goes -- I was going to wait until after it was done, but wanted to respond to the comments.
Littlehoov - yes, I found a right turn made the noise disappear, while straight-line, or a left turn made it louder. So your memory was right. Come to think of it, if I had known that, it might have helped me guess right the first time. Also, I am using the special tool I think you refer to - the "puller" or "pusher" with the center screw that attaches to three of the lug bolts of the hub. "Free" from Autozone.
Panzer - I had a complete alignment done last summer by this same shop. I had replaced an outer tie rod; they checked everything, replaced an inner tie rod, and aligned front and rear, so I was reasonably sure there were no worn suspension parts.

05-02-2010, 11:18 AM
Got the job done. The noise was the right-side hub bearing assy, after all. Replaced it after work on Friday, along with lots of PB Blaster, new hub bolts and a new 35mm hub nut, and torqued everything to spec. Job went well, after my learning curve on the left-side hub. Saturday I went back to the left side, replaced the three hub bolts, and retorqued everything to spec, as long as I had the new bolts and still had the tools from Autozone.
All told, I'm not sorry to have replaced the left side. If I had guessed right the first time (right side), I think I still would have thought I ought to do the left side also, for completeness. Sure can't kick after 188,000 miles.
Got the hub assemblies for $90 each from MI Bearings, right here in Traverse City. Their web site makes a point of saying their stuff is made in USA. Brand was "Wheel Bearings, Inc.", made in Gaylord, 60 miles from here. They look good; hope they wear well.
Thanks for the tips. They helped.

05-02-2010, 07:20 PM

05-03-2010, 01:35 PM
Well, I dunno...
Littlehoov seemed to have it down pretty pat. And, I didn't take any pictures! :). Going to have to get a point-and-shoot one of these days. I must say, it always is satisfying to learn how to do one more thing on the car, and to get it accomplished.

05-03-2010, 04:10 PM
I've replaced 3 on my car at last Ive done both sides of my Jeep which is very similar.

Id still swear up and down that the axle nut is a 36mm, because I actually bought a socket for it and thats what size mine is...Jeep is the same size. Surely there was no difference between years.

05-04-2010, 08:33 AM
LH -
Scout's honor, my car's front hub nuts are 35mm. I'm looking at the socket now. Bought for the job at Autozone, OEM brand, part# 25153, 35mm.
When I researched this job by searching "hub replacement" on the forum, I recall posters mentioning both 35 and 36mm for size, but I'd agree it's odd, since we both have year 2000. I think mine is a real early 2000; the driver's door plate sticker says 7/99. Seems like my used cars are always early models, but it has been a good car.
Another poster had said something like " will need a Torx T55..." and so I bought one along with the 35mm hub socket. But I never did need the T55. Autozone was kind enough to take it back (unused) when I returned the torque wrench and hub puller. That poster may have had a different year Intrigue, and I don't think he mentioned which bolts he needed the T55 for. But obviously Olds made some changes somewhere. Another clue - when I ordered the replacement hub bolts and a hub nut from the dealer, I got a 35mm nut. Of course, it could have been a hit-or-miss, and I was just fortunate. Dunno.
Hope I don't have to replace as many hubs as you did, but I'm ready with tools if necessary.

05-04-2010, 10:20 AM

05-05-2010, 12:22 PM
I think a T55 bit would be about the same size as those 13mm bolts, but I could be mistaken.

Maybe I'm mistaken who knows, seems like the more we dig into these cars, the more weird, random differences we find.

05-07-2010, 10:02 AM
Hey guy's,

Sorry to barge in on the conversation, but I've done a few of those front end jobs you mention, and the T55 bit is required to remove the front Lower Control Arm fastener on my car.
When you do ball joints or bushings on that arm you will need the Torx Bit. (Mines a '99 GL, but other years probably have the same fastener.)


PS - missed littlehoov at the 'other' forum but I would understand why you may not like it there anymore. (You get all those one line questions with no initial investigation like "My engine's bad. I want to pull it out and look at it. How do I do that?. I'm exaggerating, but not by much.)

06-25-2011, 04:55 PM

06-26-2011, 01:01 AM
I just did one of these the other day, there is no reason whatsoever to remove the ball joint, or control arm, or anything of that nature.

The only things that need to come off are the wheel, the caliper bracket with caliper still attached, the brake rotor, and the hub itself....thats it. No more, no less.

IMO there is no other safe way to loosen the axle nut than with the vehicle still on the ground, unless you have a professional grade lift of some kind.

Also, the easiest way ive found to get good access to the rear hub bolts is to turn the wheel whichever direction you need...full lock seems to work best to allow room for a breaker bar, etc...same thing when tightening them back, room for torque wrench. But in using this approach its VERY important that the vehicle is properly supported. I use a hydraulic jack AND a jackstand...the vehicle will shift its weight around as you turn the wheel back and forth and its important everything is supported properly.

06-26-2011, 09:41 AM
In addition. Those three hub bolts in the back (as well as caliper bracket bolts) are held in with a nasty thread locker and I don't even try these puppies until I've use a propane torch to heat the threaded end near the hub for a minute or so to soften up the thread locker so that the bolt heads don't round over, sockets don't get broken, CV boots don't get torn or knuckles don't get banged.
Of course, one must be aware of the projected heat and make sure their flame does not overshoot onto rubber products nearby.

The hardest part I have out east here is removing the seized hub from the knuckle. Steal hub and aluminum knuckle is the worst cause of the weakness of the aluminum but steal on steal is almost as bad. A lot of times the rotating hub part comes out but the bearing bits and three holed flange stay in place. Heating around the front and getting some penetrating oil in from the back with the Cv joint pushed back and taking a break seems aide the process.

Beating the sides of the flange do not always work on a really stuck hub as a lot the force goes into rotating the whole knuckle/strut assembly and or removing just the rotating hub. Using a long heavy punch or air hammer on the 3 holed mounting flange to try and rotate it back and forth sometimes helps in cracking the corrosion enough for the penetrating oil to get in .

Do any of the above at your own risk. Be safe.

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