1989 Ford Mustang GT Repack Front Wheel Bearings

Unlike the sealed hub-and-bearing assemblies used in Mustangs beginning with 1995, the wheel bearings in the 1989 Mustang GT are tapered roller bearings housed in the hub and brake rotor assembly. Bearing races pressed into the hub section of the brake rotor house a pair of wheel bearings that should be repacked regularly to ensure smooth operation. This procedure is normally completed as part of a front brake job on this car, but may also be required as a stand-alone project if the bearings get to loose.

Tools Used: Wheel chocks, Floor jack, Jack stands, Lug wrench, Socket set, Torx socket set, Stiff wire, Wire cutters, Adjustable pliers, Shop rags, Grease seals, Wheel bearing grease, Torque wrench

Repack Front Wheel Bearings

Set the parking brake and secure the rear wheel with wheel chocks. Loosen the front lug nuts 1/4 to 1/2 of a turn and lift the wheel off the ground, using a floor jack positioned under the front lower control arm. Place a jack stand under the front sub-frame and lower the floor jack until the Mustang is resting on the stand.

Remove the lug nuts and front wheel, using a lug wrench. Lay the wheel and lug nuts aside, so that the nuts can't be lost.

Remove the brake caliper slide bolts, using a T-50 Torx socket and ratchet, and slide the caliper off the brake rotor. Hang the caliper from the front coil spring, using a piece of stiff wire.

Insert a screwdriver in the center of the brake rotor, between the dust cap and the brake rotor, and pry the cap loose from the rotor. Grasp the dust cap with adjustable pliers and wiggle the dust cap back and forth until it slides out of the rotor. Remove the cotter pin, using a wire cutter, and unscrew the spindle nut, using adjustable pliers. Rock the rotor on the spindle and allow the outer wheel bearing to fall into your hand.

Reinstall the spindle nut temporarily. Slide the rotor over the spindle and allow the spindle nut to catch on the inner bearing. Pull the rotor off the spindle with a sharp motion, so that the inner bearing and seal are removed from the back of the rotor.

Wipe the old grease from the spindle and the inside of the brake rotor hub, using shop rags. Apply a thick layer of wheel bearing grease to the bearing races and inside the hub.

Place a large blob of wheel bearing grease into the palm of your weak hand. With the inner bearing grasped firmly by your strong hand, push the edge of the bearing into the grease and drag the bearing across your hand so that it is forced into the largest diameter side of the bearing, between the tapered rollers, and out the smallest side of the bearing. Turn the bearing as you go, so that the entire bearing is packed with grease.

Place the inner bearing into the hub and onto the bearing race. Repack the outer bearing in the same manner and lay it aside. Install a new seal into the back of the hub, using a hammer and seal installer to tap the seal in place until it is flush with the hub.

Reinstall the rotor onto the spindle. Slip the outer bearing onto the spindle and push it into the rotor hub and against the our bearing race. Slide the flat washer onto the spindle and screw the spindle nut onto the spindle. Tighten the spindle nut as you spin the rotor to ensure that the bearings seat properly in the races. Tighten the nut snug, then back off 1/8 of a turn for proper bearing preload. Install a new cotter pin and reinstall the dust cap.

Reinstall the brake caliper and slide pins. Torque the slide pins to between 45 and 65 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench. Install the wheel and torque the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds. Pump the brake pedal a few times before test driving the Mustang.

Tips & Warnings

Use only wheel bearing grease to pack wheel bearings. Chassis grease is to thin and will not provide the proper lubrication.

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