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2003 Corolla Rear Hub Assembly / Bearing Defect

01-14-2006, 09:25 AM
I have a 2003 Corolla for a little over 3 years with a little over 28K miles.

I started to hear a low pitch drum like noise from my left rear wheel area when driving around 50 to 60 miles per hour that was a constent noise whether I was accelerating, crusing, or decelerating (rulling out drive train)

Upon a checking, I found that the rear hub assembly (bearings) where begining to fail. The Rear Hub assembly is a one piece unit with the lug bolts to hold the wheel on the car, which is bolted to the frame.

The way I found it out, was when I put the car up on jacks stands, the wheel had paritial resistance when I would turn the wheel around in some areas, while the other wheel would turn smothly with no resistance all the way around. I took the break drum off using the 8mm bolts to push the break drum off the brake roater, and checked the breaks to rule out if it was the breaks rubbing.

It was not the brakes, when I would rotate the hub assembly / lug bolts arround with out the wheel, i got the same resistance in sections as I turned it.

I did a bit of research on auto forums, and I found other people had experienced the same in and out of warantee with 2003 toyota corrollas.

I was able to purchase a brand new wheel hub assembly for my car with out ABS brakes on (a CA toyota dealer) for $223.79 plus shipping 22.38, and viola, it works great. Note, if you have a 2003 corolla with ABS brakes, you can get the same for ABS for a little more.

Subsequent to the repair, I found a few other sites which sold OEM or equivalent for less (texas dealer about 10 less for OEM and around 175 total for non oem) by typing toyota wheel hub assembly in yahoo search.


For DIYers, if you have performed work on your rear drum brakes, its easy to do with the standard legal limitation that, you are responsible for what happens to you and your car, I am not a machanic, you should not reley on this information, as I am a digital bean counter by trade.

Use a manual, speak with qualified technictions, and have a qualified auto tech or dealer do the work if you have any doubt or if you are not confortable puting the life of you, your family, and any other passangers who will ride in your car any time in the future in your own hands as a fearless DIYer for this repair.

0) If you are under warantee go to the dealer and skip following steps.
If you are a few weeks over warantee like me, proceed with the following after you have determined it is the wheel hub assembly.

1) You remove the wheel.

2) Use two 8mm bolts to push the break drum away from the brake roater carefully (you can buy the bolts on for 86 cents plus shipping). There are two 8mm holes on the drum that if you put the bolts in and tighten slowely and carefully, it enables you to get the break drum off easily.

3) Remove the four bolts for the hub assembly from the rear of the hub assembly just below the strut from the rear of the hub assembly.

4) The harder part, partially remove the right brake shoe by removing the holding springs, and carefully remove the hub assembly from the break flange and strut assembly using a screw driver with a bit of force. Make sure you support the rear drum breake assembly as when you take the hub assembly out, needs to be supported to ensure you do not streatch or damage the break line.

Note: the hub assembly fits in a circle / hole in the strut assembly. When you removed the breaks, it comes out, albeit, with a bit of force required to get it out of the strut assembly and drum break. I used a screw driver with a hammer to break it loose carfully. I was not so elegant. I denfinately found that it was easier when I removed break shoe facing the rear of the car ( I was working on the drivers side rear wheel hub assembly)

5) After you have the old one out, put the new one back in right away.

6) Put the four bolts back in and tourgue to Toyota specs.
This is important so the hub assembly / wheel does not fall off causing a unplanned rapid stop(accident).

7) Put the break shoe back on the springs and make sure the rear brake drum is properly adjusted and positioned.

8) Put the drum back on.

9) Put the wheel back on.

10) Go for a test drive up to highway speeed, and enjoy the quiet, with the satisfaction you fixed it and saved the time and expense of going the dealer having them charge labor, as well as charges for a few other things you do not need.

I noticed on the defective Hub assembly, that there was a small gap between the hub assembly and the lug bolt flange on cirular part of the hub assembly that goes into the strut assembly whole. Based on reading a few posts on auto forums, I think what has happened is that salt / water causes the brearing grease to degrad, and eventually causes your bearings to degrade.

Its my first toyota defect in owning a few cars. Other wise, the car / my toyotas have been perfect. I do not have to spend any time in the shop or dealer like I used to when we owned one of the Big 3 autos, ford, chrystler, and GM in the past.

Very interested if any one else has experienced the same. Please post if you have and any info which will be useful for DIYers.

01-21-2006, 05:48 AM
nice +1

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