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Replacing a rear hub.

Les Henson

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The following thread is the replacement of the rear hub on a Range Rover Classic axle. This is very similar to Disco and Defender axles as well, with very little difference to the method of doing it. The reason the hub needs to be replaced is because someone fitted a couple of drive member bolts that were the wrong thread - thus ruining the thread and causing the drive member to work loose on the other three bolts. The gasket being missing as well didn't help matters, and water getting in caused the bearings and stub axle to corrode. Two bolts are a couple of quid, but replacing the hub and bearing is £85 - makes you wonder sometimes! No special tools other than a hub nut box spanner are needed, and it's pretty straight forward to do.

Apply diff lock and chock one of the front wheels front and rear - as soon as you undo the drive member bolts the handbrake will let go. Make sure there is no transmission wind-up on the wheel you are working on as when the last drive member bolt is undone the flange will relax and turn quite violently. The first picture shows the wheel still on the road and the amount the drive member turned as the last bolt was removed. Slacken the wheel nuts.


The 5 drive member bolts - notice the two that are wrong that have caused the problem.


The drive member can be removed and the water damage to the bearing can be now seen.


Jack the vehicle up, place an axle stand under the axle and remove the road wheel. Place a brake pipe clamp on the hose on the top of the diff. You can use a pair of mole grips, but be careful not to damage the hose.


On the top of the caliper, undo the brake pipe with a 11mm spanner and then carefully bend it backwards a small amount to keep it out of the way.


Tap a screwdriver or similar between one of the brake pads and disc and lever the pad away from the disc a small amount.


There are two bolts that hold the caliper to the axle tube. 17mm head bolt on a classic, but disco etc have spline head bolts.


Lift the caliper away, block the pipe hole with something and stand it upright out of the way.


Using an old screwdriver or chisel, bend back the edge of the lockwasher.


Undo the outer nut with a hub nut box spanner.


Remove the lockwasher and there will be a second nut.


Undo and remove it - along with the thrust washer, which you can use again if it's in good condition. This one is badly pitted so I'll replace it.


The outer bearinng will then come out. The white grease is a sign that it has been in contact with water.


The inner bearing and seal usually come off still inside the hub, but the corrosion on the stub axle has prevented the bearing from coming off when the hub was removed. The stub axle will have to be cleaned before the bearing and seal will come off.



Use fine wet/dry paper or a wire brush in a drill to remove the rust and the bearing will come off the stub axle.

Once the bearing is off, clean the rest of the stub axle - making sure the seal land is in good condition.


The internals of the hub with the old bearing tracks still in it.


Even though you are going to discard the hub and fit new bearings, you still need the old tracks to install the new ones, so drift the old tracks out with a bar on the lip of the track - going from one side to the other until it drops out. Same method for both tracks.



Wipe the tracks clean and cut through one side of each one with a disc cutter.


You need to now seperate the disc from the hub. There are 5 x 14mm spline bolts to remove. You can use an ordinary hex socket, but if this type of bolt is very tight or corroded, then it could slip.



Spray some WD40 both where the hub comes through the disc and also the joint between the two.



If the disc is tight on the hub, strike the disc with a soft mallet, taking care not to damage it. The disc will eventually come off.


The parts you need - The new hub (wheel studs might have to bought seperately), both wheel bearings, rear seal, thrust washer, lock washer, and drive member gaskets (they are very thin, so I use 2).


Starting on the inner bearing place the new track inside the hub then place one of the old tracks on top with the thicker edge inwards. Place a piece of alloy or other soft metal acros and hammer the bar until the track is close to the edge of the hub. Place the second cut track on the top and continue until the new track is in place. Once in, turn the hub over and put the other new track in in the same way. The reason for cutting the old tracks now becomes evident - they don't stick inside the hub in the way the new one does, so they lift out easily afterwards.



Once both tracks are in place, clean the inside of the hub.


Coat the inside track with a thick layer of grease.


Same with the rollers - work the grease into them as well, put the bearing in and pack with more grease as shown



The seal next. Use the cut bearing track to fit the seal - thin edge downwards though to prevent damage to the outer lip of the seal during fitting. The highest part of the seal must be level with the edge of the hub egde as shown in the 2nd picture.



Place the disc on the new hub, clean the thread of the bolts and put threadlock on them.


Once the threadlcok has spread around the bolt threads, tighten the disc to the hub.

Turn the hub over and apply a thick layer of grease to the outer track. Also grease the stub axle and seal land.


The assembly can now be put back on the stub axle. Pack the roller bearing with grease and press it home. pack more grease around it.


Put the thrust washer on.


Put the first nut on and tighten it until the hub starts to bind as you turn it. Back it off a small amount until it turns smoothly but with some resistance, then place the new lock washer on.


Fit the second nut and tighten it up.


Bend the lock washer backwards over the rear nut to lock it in place, and bend it outwards opposite to lock the outer nut.



Apply a bit of grease to the drive member gaskets and stick them to the hub.


The drive member bolts should also be locktited and the drive member can then be refitted.

Tighten the bolts in a diagonal fashion to make sure the flange sits flush all the way round.


Clean and locktite the caliper bolts, but the caliper back on, reattach the brake pipe - taking care not to strip the thread, remove the hose clamp, and then bleed the brakes on the rear axle only. Replace the road wheel - again tightening the nuts in a diagonal sequence and then lower the vehicle back to the ground.


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Well done Les, patience of a saint.

I would like to add just one small point, "and drive member gaskets (they are very thin, so I use 2)" - this seems to vary upon which ones the supplier gives you. I've had 2 types in the past, the very thin paper type as you mentioned, and some that are a bit thicker, more "proper" gasket like. Either way, they usually come in packs of 10, are pence a piece, buy the pack, they will get used at some stage. ;)

I'll PM you later today - I have a plan! :)


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Nice post Les - that's another chapter of the Haynes manual we don't need any more!

A couple of tips from my Range Rover experiences :unsure:

1. You may not need to remove the brake line from the caliper. I have found there is normally enough flex in the line if you detach it from the axle to enable you to move the caliper and cable tie it out of harms way.

2. Be aware that some RR stub axles have a slot in them rather than a flat. Important to know when ordering thrust and tab washers!

3. Top tip for undoing the disc to hub bolts - put the hub "face down" into the wheel you have taken off the car on the ground so the studs locate in the rim. This gives you a great big lever to stop the whole bluddy hub trying to turn as you try and undo the bolts! (Thanks to Matt " Millford" Neale for that one ;) )

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Nice one Les.

I like the cut tracks idea. future reference...... thanks

I drop the road wheel on the ground then drop the hub into it to remove the disc holding bolts.


Yes England is a free country. As long as you do as you are told !!!

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