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Replacing A Rear Bearing Hub Assembly On A 2004 Lexus Rx330

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I put together this to help anyone trying to do this on their own. I just got done replacing my left rear bearing assembly on my 2004 RX330. I make the assumption if you are doing this you can at least take off your tire, caliper and rotor. I am not a mechanic by trade, but can do many of my own repairs. Some of the names of the parts I refer to may not be exact, but I will describe them as best as I can. I had some tips on this from my buddy, who is a former Lexus master mechanic. So props to Ron for the help! Some tools I would recommend having before you start:

1. 32mm 12 point deep well socket

2. Ball peen hammer

3. Large heavy hammer, such as a 3lb steel mallet.

4. A small chisel, strong flathead screwdriver or metal starter punch.

5. Hex head 8mm -- 1 25 x 50 mm bolt.

Here is the part I am replacing. The specific one I purchased was the Koyo W0133-1890398, which is an OEM part. I would recommend getting OEM parts if you can afford the cost difference.

Update: For all who have asked, the vehicle used in this tutorial is AWD (All Wheel Drive).

http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/2004/lexus/rx330/driveshaft_-ar-_axle/wheel_hub_assembly.html

First, take off the tire.

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Remove the two bolts holding down the brake pads to the caliper.

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Next, remove the two bolts holding the caliper to the rotor.

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Now pull off and remove the rotor. If the rotor won't budge and you can't pull it off, you can screw the hex head 8mm -- 1 25 x 50 mm bolt into the front of the rotor in one of the the two holes pictured below. As you screw it in, the rotor will push against the assembly pushing off the rotor.

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Once the rotor is off, you will see the emergency brake with the hub assembly in the center. You will see a groove in the center of the spindle that is held down by a 12 point nut. The edge of the nut will be slightly bent down into the groove to prevent it from spinning.

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Using the chisel, screwdriver or punch, you will need to bend this back up so the metal is even with the circular shape of the spindle nut so that it can be unscrewed. Be careful here because you can mess up the threading on the spindle if you don't bend it back well enough. Once you have successfully bent the spindle nut back to the correct shape, stop.

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Next, remove the center cap on the tire and place the tire back on the hub. Firmly tighten the tire directly to the assembly with 3 or 4 lugnuts, but you won't need it to be completely tightened down. Lower the vehicle down to the ground so that there is only enough weight to prevent the tire from spinning. Do not completely lower the vehicle down. Alternately, you can place a pipe or rod in between the lugnuts and prop it against the wheel well or ground. Basically, you will need to prevent the assembly from spinning in order to break loose and remove the spindle nut.

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Using the 32 mm 12 point deep well socket, remove the spindle nut. You can place a pipe on the end of the ratchet to achieve more leverage to break the nut free.

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Once, you have broken the nut free and removed it, raise the vehicle back up, secure it and remove the tire. Slowly turn the assembly so that the holes in the front match up with the bolts securing it to the backing plate. You will have to do one bolt at a time and remove all four bolts. There is no need to remove or do anything to the emergency brake.

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Once all four bolts are removed, locate the divet on the end of the spindle.

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Center the rounded end of the ball peen hammer against the divet and using a heavy hammer, give it a few good hard whacks. You will definitely need a hammer with some weight, I used a 3 lb steel mallet. Do not simply use a hammer to hit the spindle directly. Using the round end of the hammer against the divet distributes the strikes evenly down the spindle. You will risk damaging the threading if you start beating at it with a hammer directly. You will start to see the assembly move forward about an inch or two.

One of two things will happen here. Either the assembly will break free of the backing plate, which you will simply need to hit it up, down, left and right to slowly knock it loose and out. Or as in my case, the backing plate will separate from from the axle.

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You are almost there! Remove the backing plate from the spindle and prop one side of it against the ledge of the axle. Hold the other side of the plate with your hand. As long as you have the one end against the ledge of the axle, holding it with your hand will be more the enough to brace it. When I tried to prop the other side of the plate against my tire, it started to slightly bent the backing plate.

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Give the edges of the bearing a few good whacks with heavy hammer and the assembly will drop to the floor. Now just put everything back together in reverse!

Last but not least, don't forget the bend the metal of the spindle nut back down into the groove once you tighten it back down.

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Good job with the instructions and the pictures. Thanks!

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Thank you for the post.

I just have replaced the rear right(passenger) side wheel hub & bearing assy following this post.

The hardest part was to separate 'Rear Axle Carrier Subassy' and 'Rear Axle Hub & Bearing Assy'.

I loosened hub and axle by following this post, hitting hard on spindle through Ball Peen Hammer.

But after the axle and hub were loosened (you will know it's completely loosened when the axle does not move in

any further but bounce back again after hit), still hub won't come out sticking to Carrier Subassy.

I used a pry wrench to separate those.

When you look down from top side, there will be a small gap between those two parts.

Just put the pry into between the gap and pull hard towards you using it as a leverage.

My RX330 is quiet again.

Good luck guys.

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Great instructions. Thanks for taking the time to illustrate with detailed poics.

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Thank you so much for the excellent photographs and instructions. Really made it so simple!

Thanks also for that partsgeek.com link. Not only are they OEM parts but it was the cheapest around and since I live in NY, ground shipping was next day. They really are very good to deal with.

Couple of notes - trying to find a deep socket 32mm - 12 point was very difficult. Went to 15 different places including autozone, Harborfreight, Home Depot, Napa auto parts, and even specialty hardware stores proved to be all disappointing. Ended up finding them in Advanceauto.com (and they had a store nearby). It's the 12 point that made it so hard to find. Everyone had 6 points which didn't fit.

Also, in order to get to the 4 holes to remove the bolts holding down the hub assembly, it helps to put the car into neutral. Be sure to chock your wheels or your car might end up into your house!

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Is it 2 wheels drive or 4 wheels drive??

Thanks,

Steve

RX330 series was optionally available with "AWD", in quotes since most of the time it was ONLY FWD.

From '01 onwards until the 2010 model all RXes were ONE-WHEEL drive, three simple open diff'ls, front, center, rear. TC braking, after the fact braking (you have now LOST traction), was used to ENFORCE driving of the rear wheels. Few drivers, regretably, could be relied upon to quickly react and "feather" the throttle to some reasonable level was TC braking began. So along with TC braking activation you also get FULL engine DETHROTTLING.

Early RXes, '99 & '00 RX300's, had a truly functional "awd" system but by '01 it was abandoned as a result of an unforeseen design flaw incorporated within the transaxle of the then new '99 RX300. Actual "awd" functionality of those early models, coupled with the transaxle design flaw, resulted in too much extra stress, heating, of the driveline components. Transaxle failures become the rule of the day, especially for the '99 MY.

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I hope someone can help me, I'm new to this page. I've got a 2005 RX330 AWD with a right rear wheel bearing on it's way out. I find this step-by-step very helpful and would like to give it a go since the Toyota Dealer quoted me $1,000 to do the job. My question is which bearing assembly do I need? When I go to parts geek via the link above, there is a meriad of options. Some say rear FWD, some say rear AWD, some indicate right or left specific. Also, they range in price from less than $100 to nearly $400. Can someone help me? Should I avoid the cheap bearing assemblies at all cost? The car DOES have 150,000 miles, so maybe the cheaper bearing is reasonable? Help.

Bob

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The difference on the rear is whether it is AWD or FWD...The two bearings are different...THe AWD bearings assembly is cheaper (dont ask) THe FWD rear bearing is more expensive. I bought one from Rock AUto.com and was very pleased. THe TIMKEN one is highly regarded by several forums...

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Hi great post! My rear bearing on my rx330 has gone bad with only 78K. I want to make sure i buy the right part. I was on partsgeek.com and didn't see an option to buy just the wheel bearing. Can you confirm that I need to buy the hub and bearing assembly? Thank you.

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pretty sure you need the whole hub assembly for the rear on the RX330....

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Great posting. for someone whom claims to not be a mechanic, you did an excellent job on detailing exactly how to do this procedure. Well written, excellent photo's, very professional

I see that you reccommended the Rock Auto Timken hub assembly for the AWD version. That is the same one I was looking at buying before visiting here. Thanks to you, I have no qualms about the purchase.

Again great job.

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Thanks to the OP for the detailed post. It saved me $1000 on a rear hub replacement for an AWD 2005 RX330.

I went with the Timken part - it was available at the Autozone down the street. It seemed identical to the OEM part, and has a 3yr warranty. Went in perfectly without a hitch. If you have the time, soak the lug nut holes and the axle spline (after removing the axle nut) with penetrating oil for a day or so. Really helps free up stuff that's rusted together.

For those who hear a roaring type noise that varies with speed, and perhaps changes in character while cornering, you likely have a wheel bearing issue. Here's one way to know how severe your problem is:

  1. Chock the wheels on the side you're not jacking, put the RX in neutral.
  2. Make sure you're on level ground!
  3. Jack up the corner you suspect is going bad until the tire is off the ground.
  4. Rotate the tire and listen for growling.
  5. Grab the tire on the top and on the bottom.
  6. Pull the top while pushing the bottom, then push the bottom while pulling the top.
  7. Use some muscle - don't be shy.
  8. If you get a few millimeters of wiggle you ought to park the RX till you change that bearing.

If you must drive your RX with a mm or two of wiggle (say to get it to a garage), keep it under 30MPH if possible, don't go far, and corner gently.

I picked up my RX used via private sale, and mine roared like niagara falls. It had almost 10mm (1/4 inch) wiggle. Rather unsafe.

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RE: 2006 RX400h AWD rear bearing/hub replacement

Hi, Lexus told me I need both rear bearings replaced and quoted $1500. A lot of money so I want to attempt this myself. However, while looking online I noticed the more expensive hubs have this black cover with a stem sticking off the top. What is this black cover? Does it have anything to do with ABS/Speed sensors?

I would rather get this cheaper one for $95 (Part # W0133-1890398):

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Lexus/RX400h/First_Equipment_Quality/Wheel_Hub/2006/Base/6_Cyl_3-dot-3L/W0133-1890398.html?loc=Rear&intcmpid=Product+Listings+Best+Seller

Or do I need to get a more expensive one ($300, Part # REPL285904) with the black cover like this one:

http://www.autopartswarehouse.com/sku/Lexus/RX400h/Replacement/Wheel_Hub/2006/Base/6_Cyl_3-dot-3L/REPL285904.html?loc=Rear%2C+Driver+Side

Also, is the left and right rear hubs the same? Lexus part numbers are different but it seems aftermarket parts are the same...sometimes.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

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The black cover one is for FWD cars....AWD (all wheel drive) cars dont have black cover...

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The black cover one is for FWD cars....AWD (all wheel drive) cars dont have black cover...

Thanks Lenore. That makes total sense. With the black thing in the way, there's no way the spindle will fit through the hub. I feel more at ease ordering the part now.

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I ordered the Timken from Rock Auto and it is fantastic quality....

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Awesome post(s)!! Just need my 12 point socket and I'll do both rears in my 05 RX330. You guys just saved me a ton of time and money!! I'll take pics if I notice anything different.

My wife has been driving on bad rear bearings for over 6 months!

Just completed the job. Only difference is the 05 RX330 has a 30mm socket for the spindle nut.

I would suggest using a new nut instead of the one that came off the car.

Things are nice and quiet, but I think the front bearing are next to replace.

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Awesome post(s)!! Just need my 12 point socket and I'll do both rears in my 05 RX330. You guys just saved me a ton of time and money!! I'll take pics if I notice anything different.

My wife has been driving on bad rear bearings for over 6 months!

Just completed the job. Only difference is the 05 RX330 has a 30mm socket for the spindle nut.

I would suggest using a new nut instead of the one that came off the car.

Things are nice and quiet, but I think the front bearing are next to replace.

I ordered a 32mm 12 point deep socket and there is a lot play. I believe I too need to use a 30mm socket. Oh well, a bit of a setback. BTW, this is for a 2006 RX400h.

Found this post for front wheel bearing for 2004 RX330 and he too said to use 30mm. So you might want to make sure you know what size axle nut you have before going out to buy sockets.

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/rx-second-generation/574275-rx330-front-wheel-bearings-diy-step-by-step.html

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Good write up. I googled and found this to confirm my suspicions on my car. Very helpful!!!

I performed the repair on the right, rear wheel this morning on my 2006 rx330. I already had both a 30 and 32mm deep well twelve point socket in my arsenal, and it turns out you will need a 30mm for a 2006. The entire job took me about an hour. I did a couple things a little different. To loosen the axle nut, I placed a long pry bar between two of the wheel studs and let the pry bar push against the garage floor, at the same time prying on the breaker bar with the 30mm socket on the end. This saved a lot of time and lifting as opposed to putting the tire back on and letting the jack down to keep the hub from spinning. I also used a small torch and heated 6 areas around the axle nut to break it free, as i had no success with my first attempt. Heating the nut allowed it to spin off with almost no effort.

After the nut was off, rather than hitting the end of the axle shaft with a hammer, I used a $30 gear puller. The gear puller popped the hub and brake dust plate off with just a couple turns.

Lastly, I know that this will make some of you cringe, but I opted for a hub/bearing set that cost only $58.00. Only time will tell, but I've changed a hub bearing or two in my lifetime, and they always outlast the car after being changed. The OEM hub lasted until about 107,000 miles. If this one goes out before the next 107,000, I'll just change it again. If it only lasts 10,000 miles, then I will upgrade to the $150 Timken hub I found.

As a side note, prior to deciding which side needed to be changed, I sat in both sides of the rear seat while my wife was driving. The noise was twice as loud on the right.

The best sound I've heard in the last few months was actually silence from the rear during my test drive after repairs. What a relief that was. "Honey, do you hear that? Hear what? Exactly."

Dealer quote: $1250

Total cost: $58.00

Tony

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