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Every year, I tear my Warn hubs down for maintenance and a general inspection. The maintenance is directed towards the bearings and anything else that looks like it requires attention. Given the environment that our axles are subjected to (big tires, water crossings, dust, mud, etc.), a couple of hours spent on the hubs is money and time well spent, in my opinion. Likewise, if you are like some Jeepers, you may have paid a shop to install your hub conversion. No problem there.....just remember that these hubs do require routine maintenance and I doubt they will get the attention to detail from a shop tech that you could actually provide. So with that being said, you now have a very good reason to tear your hubs apart and check them out.
Little did I realize that this year's routine maintenance check
would provide me with a surprise that I was not prepared for....and given the
various scenarios that could have played out, I am grateful for the one that
did. Let's get started.
I've included the exploded parts diagram of Warn's small hub conversion kit here as a quick reference as I go through the rest of this write-up.
Part #11 (isn't it cool how Warn printed the part numbers 10 and 11 upside down in their diagram) is the grease seal that is pressed into the hub. This grease seal protects the inner workings of the hub and especially the inner bearing, part #10.
I sacrifice the grease seal each year when I pull the hub apart to grease the bearings. I've not found a good way to remove it without killing it in the process. A couple of seals are about $20 at the local 4x4 parts store. They may be available at NAPA too although I've never tried (but I do know you can get the bearings at NAPA, more on that later). So this means you need to have a couple of grease seals in hand BEFORE you start the on this project.
Let's start with some safety.....use a jack stand along with a bottle or
floor jack. You need to remove the wheel from the hub while doing this
work. Do NOT rely solely on the jack to hold the axle up. Put a jack
stand under the axle (one you have it lifted high enough) and be sure your
tranny is in gear, parking brake set, etc. If you are parked on a slope,
block the other tires as well.
Remove the 5 lug nuts and pull the wheel off of the wheel studs. This will leave the hublock, part #1, sitting on the wheel studs. Pull the hublock off of the wheel studs.
The Warn documentation for this hub kit warns against adding
grease to the inside of the hublock. I wiped off some of the "grease
splatter" from around the opening of the hublock and then applied a coating of
anti-seize to the rubber o-ring which is located on the back of the hublock.
This o-ring helps seals the hublock internals from dust and other contaminates.
The hublock was set aside for later installation.
The brake caliper must be removed in order for the hub to slip
off of the spindle. A 13mm hex socket or wrench removes the two caliper
With the caliper out of the way, it is time to get the hub off of the spindle. I labeled the above photo with the names Warn uses in their hub conversion installation docs to make it a little easier.
More Hub Maintenance