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Wheel bearing replacement - you aren't crazy

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010-2024)' started by wildgoose, Nov 22, 2022.

  1. Nov 22, 2022 at 4:38 PM
    #1
    wildgoose

    wildgoose [OP] New Member

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    First time poster, long time lurker. Picked up a 2020 4Runner TRD Offroad with 49k miles back in June. Had Bilstein 6112/ 5160's installed and some bfg ko2's put on the factory trd off-road rims. Beautiful truck and handles herself very well on and off-road now.

    The more I drove her the more I noticed a slight wander at freeway speeds but it wasn't consistent, always seemed dependent on the road some roads she was smooth and straight and others it felt like I was fighting to keep her between the lines. Always figured it was alignment, sometimes thought it was a tire balance but it always cleared up, and when researching on 4runner forums I read one or 2 comments that replacing a wheel bearing fixed the intermittent wander but I thought "come on, really? 2020 and 50k miles that's insane for a wheel bearing to go out"

    Fast forward 7k miles, several road trips, and one long road trip from Colorado to California and the front passenger side wheel bearing gave up the beans. Started with a steering wheel shake around 30mph like a tire was out of balance when pulling out of a gas station but it cleared up, 2 days later the shake came and went again, the next day I drove highway 1 from Monterey to morro bay and in the second half I started hearing the typical "woo woo woo" wheel bearing noise that would come and go as I came around corners.

    I was able to DIY the wheel bearing replacement at a shop space I still rent near Morro bay and the noise and wander are gone! I find it insane that a vehicle so new with relatively low miles already has a wheel bearing failure.

    Just wanted to make this post for other 5th gen owners that might have that intermittent wander, you aren't crazy!
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2022
  2. Nov 22, 2022 at 5:34 PM
    #2
    wdsteven

    wdsteven New Member

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    That is a rather unusual thing to see, Just makes me wonder if there is not some other "history" like some kind of event took place that started the deterioration of the wheel bearing in the first place like a real hard curb bang or inexperience off road slam into rocks in that area.
     
    2Toys, wildgoose [OP] and Slopemaster like this.
  3. Nov 22, 2022 at 5:42 PM
    #3
    Slopemaster

    Slopemaster Slope Survivalist

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    265-70-17 Ridge Grapplers, TRD Pro rims, 3M precut bra, N-Fab nerf/steps
    That is unusual to have a wheel bearing failure before 100+k miles.
     
    2Toys likes this.
  4. Nov 22, 2022 at 6:00 PM
    #4
    McSpazatron

    McSpazatron New Member

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    Dobinson IMS Warn Bumper CaliRaised Sliders 265/70 K02s
    I’ve had a hit or miss experience with wheel bearings over the years Had early failure with a mazda (less than 20k miles on vehicle). And a failure on a Sienna at around 60k miles. An accord with almost 200k never had a bad bearing.

    Currently have just under 40k on my 4runner, so far so good, but I do a fair bit of mucking around with it. So we’ll see how long the bearings last.
     
    wildgoose [OP] likes this.
  5. Nov 22, 2022 at 6:09 PM
    #5
    wildgoose

    wildgoose [OP] New Member

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    Completely agree. She's had a pretty easy life with me with light to medium off-road use, never any oh shit moments but I suspect the previous owner drove her hard. I only posted about it because I saw one or 2 comments from owners saying a wheel bearing fixed the intermittent wander on their low mileage 4runner. Thought I was crazy when I heard it but new bearing assembly cleared everything up.
     
  6. Nov 22, 2022 at 7:14 PM
    #6
    blksubykid

    blksubykid New Member

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    Swapped mine out at about 100k recently as more of preventative service
     
  7. Nov 22, 2022 at 11:56 PM
    #7
    Dabigono

    Dabigono New Member

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    Thanks Wildgoose, this is good info
     
  8. Nov 23, 2022 at 4:07 AM
    #8
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    And now for the million-dollar question: What brand of parts did you use?
     
  9. Nov 23, 2022 at 6:16 AM
    #9
    sympley76

    sympley76 New Member

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    I have a random steering wheel shimmy. Rebalanced the wheels few times, changes tires, still have the shimmy. Not sure what else to try. How difficult is it to get the wheel bearing replaced?
     
  10. Nov 23, 2022 at 6:30 AM
    #10
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    It's not a terrible job if you do any kind of work on cars and trucks. The biggest issue is the fact that the bearing and hob are sometimes sold separately, but need to be pressed together - unless you buy the complete assembly. If you've never done one before, figure about an hour for each side, maybe a bit longer for your first side.

    The other big kicker here is the quality of the bearings. There are lots of low-priced (compared to OEM) bearings out there and many of them are just plain junk. Generally speaking, OEM bearings last at least 100,000 miles. Aftermarket bearings? Nope. All bearings may look similar, but they don't perform in a similar fashion. Just beware.
     
    wildgoose [OP] likes this.
  11. Nov 23, 2022 at 7:12 AM
    #11
    iamincrediboy

    iamincrediboy New Member

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    Koyo, Timken, or SKF should be the only names youre looking at. Unless you want to pay Toyota full price, where they may well send you one of the aforementioned just in a Toyota box.
     
  12. Nov 23, 2022 at 8:04 AM
    #12
    Too Stroked

    Too Stroked New Member

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    ^^^ This, but beware of counterfeit bearings with those brand names on eBay and Amazon. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
     
    2Toys and wildgoose [OP] like this.
  13. Nov 23, 2022 at 8:23 AM
    #13
    wildgoose

    wildgoose [OP] New Member

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    Long story short Napa OE.

    Originally ordered OEM from the dealer Friday, got a call Saturday saying they were shorted parts. The guys at Napa sold me bearings they said were OEM, exactly what the dealer was selling BUT just the bearing, no hub. Myself and 2 other techs stared at this thing for probably an hour, pulled out all of our tools, drove over to autozone for a non existent slide hammer they said they had and could not get the hub off the old bearing. There’s a tool for that. Put the 4Runner back together, back to Napa and walked away with a Napa OE bearing assembly, slapped it on in about 30 minutes with a lift and air tools.
     

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