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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've done four of these now and this job can be really easy or really tough. I have seen some videos where everything seems to just magically fall apart, however considering this job is necessary due to bearing failure, chances are the hub you are trying to pull out has been in there for a very long time and they tend to get stuck. This How To is geared toward these challenges. I have learned along the way and wanted to share some tips to save you time and frustration. Disclaimer - I am not a certified or professional mechanic.

I bought a Nissan OEM hub assembly for $175 (2022) here - OEM '05-'15 Nissan Xterra Front Hub Assembly - 4WD - Z1 Off-Road - Performance OEM and Aftermarket Engineered Parts Global Leader Nissan Truck & SUV

The Easy Way does require tools:

Slide Hammer (maybe)
Air Hammer w/ punch bit
Big Hammer
Impact Wrench
Angle Grinder/Cut-Off Wheel (maybe)
Dremel (maybe)
Hose Pliers


Jack up front of Xterra using the cross member so that both front wheels are off the ground. This is important. Don't forget to chock the rear tires. Support both sides with jack stands under the frame. I take the weight off the jack but leave it touching the cross member for added safety.

Using impact wrench, remove wheel lugs and remove wheel.

Disconnect the ABS sensor cable. There is a connector attached to the outside of the coil bucket. These can be practically glued together if your truck is old. I like to use large hose pliers to depress the latch/lever on the top of the connector while pulling down on the bottom. If this doesn't work, you can carefully use a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to make two cuts on the outside of the old part of the connector to split it open. The part we need to cut just so happens to be the old part of the connector that we're replacing anyway. Just don't cut too deep and hit the part of the connector on the truck side which is the one we need to keep. Pull the rubber grommets that run along the cable out of their brackets.

Using impact wrench, remove the two brake caliper bracket (torque member) bolts. Leaving it assembled, slide the entire caliper/bracket assembly off the rotor. Secure assembly to UCA using short bungee cords/wire/rope/zipties/etc.

Slide rotor off of hub. If your rotor is stuck, just leave it in place, it is much easier to deal with later.

Using impact wrench with swivel/universal joint, short extension and socket, remove the four bolts on the back side of the knuckle/spindle that hold the hub in place. These can be hard to access due to the axle, so move the steering wheel all the way to one side to access two of the bolts and then turn the steering wheel the other way to access the other two bolt (this is why both front tires need to be off the ground). Technically these four bolts are supposed to be replaced with new bolts when installing the new hub.

Remove cotter pin from center hub nut and then remove center hub nut. Technically the cotter pin should be replaced with a new one and not reused. With impact wrench remove center hub nut (32mm).

Now the only thing holding the hub into the knuckle/spindle and onto the axle is a decade of rust. This is where the slide hammer and air hammer come in to play. PB Blaster never hurts. I like to start with the air hammer because sometimes they come right out using just the air hammer. Using one of the "ears" that sticks up on the hub, the area with the bolt hole in it, hit that on the side with the air hammer to ROTATE the hub inside of the knuckle/spindle. This breaks the ring of rust that sticks the hub in place. Work it back and forth a bit. If it doesn't work its way out, use the slide hammer to finish removal. My slide hammer adapter didn't fit the Xterra 6 lug pattern so I used the angle grinder with cutoff wheel to remove two lugs which gave me the clearance I needed to use the adapter. If the axle is stuck in the hub, use the axle pusher from the slide hammer kit or use a hammer/large punch to drive it through the hub.

With the hub removed, if the rotor is still attached, use two sections of 4x4 lumber and set the hub/rotor off the ground with the hub side facing down and the sides of the rotor resting on the 4x4s. Hit the middle of the rotor where the hub is with a big hammer and it will pop right out. This beats trying to remove the rotor when the hub is still on the truck.

Now just clean up the mating surfaces on the knuckle and axle splines and apply some anti-seize incase you have to pull this thing out again at some point. I also like to add some dielectric grease to the ABS connector for the same reason.

Reassemble in opposite order and torque everything to spec.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The same - with pictures: How-to: Replace Front Wheel Bearing and Hub Assembly - PBR

FWIW I have never had to use anything other than a BFH to get them out, but there is no salt here.
Yeah I figured it's been done a hundred times and I wasn't intending to do a write up so no pics, but wanted to get what was in my head into writing in the hopes that it may help someone one day. I wouldn't have bothered, but the difference that technique and tools make with a stuck bearing/hub is MASSIVE, and can save someone many hours and frustrations. So I figured why not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you don't want to pay the Nissan box premium, just go to Rockauto and get Timken brand; other than the name on the box and the price, it is exactly the same part.
Correct, Nissan OEM is indeed a Timken bearing.
 

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I've noticed the same issue with some hubs literally falling out and others putting up a fight. The one I replaced in my previous Xterra literally fell out after removing the last bolt in the back. Didn't have to press out or hammer out the axle, or the hub. Same with my old 300M. When I tried to help a buddy replace one on his '03 Dodge 2500, we worked in it for hours and finally gave up and took it to a shop. Took the shop 4+ hours of beating on it, heating it up, using a port-a-power, etc, before it finally came out.

Anti seize on everything going back together!
 

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When I did mine, I put a thin coat of anti seize on the mating surfaces between the hub and knuckle in case I need to remove them at some point.
 

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Thanks for your write up, 27Words.

It seems that all the write ups I can find are for the 4WD models. Is it pretty much the same for the 2WD models like mine?
 
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