This morning I removed the seals and inner bearings from the front wheel hubs. It took some effort, but I want to replace those seals and the bearings with new ones “while I’m at it.” The first step was to remove the bearing grease seal from the inner surface of the hub. It is a rubber gasket with a metal ring that helps it maintain its circular shape. The seals fit tightly into the inner circumference of the hub. I began by prying the seal outward using a flat head screwdriver, working may way around and around.
After going around a number of times, the edge of the seal began to come proud of the inner face of the hub. I was eventually able to grab its edge with a pair of pliers and pull it out. Easier said than done.
With the seal removed, the inner wheel bearing fell out.
The bearings were accompanied inside by a metal ring, known as a race, inside of which they rotated. The races are held tightly in place on the inner hub surface by friction. I had to pound them out of the hub. The outer race was the smaller of the two. I used a screwdriver and a mallet to pound it out, alternating from the right to the left side with my blows. Eventually it worked its way out.
The larger outer race was not as easy. Luckily the inner circumference of the hub is larger than the outer, so I was able to fit my pickle fork into the wide inner edge of the hub. The fork applied pressure to both opposing edges of the race simultaneously, so I could move the whole race with one strike. I used my 3 pound sledge hammer (and safety glasses) on the fork and the race came out willingly.