Stupid wheel bearing/hub assembly was what was making noise on my CX-9. Thought it was rear diff since it had been diagnosed as "starting to make noise" and since the noise was constant and increased with speed but did not change on direction or load like a wheel bearing normally does.
Rather than go through the trouble of finding a car for the wife to borrow while I take it to work (she can't drive stick and won't learn in my Camry because she "hates small cars") I decided to tackle the "two hour" (per AllData) job at home. Parts I got at employee cost (of course) and labor is free! Just cost me time and aggravation. And muscle soreness. Maybe I should have stretched first.
Getting it off was a breeze, once I made sure of what had to come off and in what order (thanks, Mazda manuals I can access by logging into the dealer site on Sunday!) and the whole trailing arm with hub attached plops right off! BLOOP!
Now, up until this point, all that is needed is basic hand tools. I have a small compressor and cheated by using my air tools to take it all apart up until this point, but anyone can do this in their driveway/carport/Autozone parking lot. The screws holding the rotor on (assembly line does it to keep them from falling off) were not to be re-used, as the new hub does not have provisions for them. They hardly EVER come off easy (and especially if they've been on for 109,000 miles), being made of a soft metal that my screwdrivers tried to rip apart, so I just drilled them off right away.
But then I saw what was holding the hub on.
Mother. Fucking. TORX bolts. SHIT. Well, not shit because I didn't have the right tools, I actually had the correct size Torx bit that I bought back when I was a Dodge tech for a seatbelt recall on Dakotas. Problem was, I bought it for a 3/8 drive so it'd fit in the confines of the truck's interior without taking the seat out per the recall, and using my tiny 3/8 impact or ratchet wasn't getting the job done, no matter how much penetrant I was using. That's why it looks so slimy in that pic.
Out of options, I called a buddy of mine that HAD a 1/2 drive T55 Torx bit, but suggested I YOLO the ratchet with a breaker bar of some sort first.
Looking around my garage, and in my tool box, the only thing I could find that was long and hollow that would slip over my ratchet to give me leverage was....
The jack from my Trans Am.
Thinking I might break my already sloppy old Craftsman 3/8 ratchet, I tugged gently on the jack and *TINK*.
All four Torx bolts came out with EASE.
After a bit of air hammering (I'm sure my neighbors were loving me at this point) the hub separated from the trailing link, taking the dust cover/parking brake with it, then I hammered the hub off of that. SUCCESS!
Going back together was easy, until it came time to line up all the links and axle and everything to get the heavy ass trailing link back on. Ugh. Never swore so much working on a car before. Finally I just bolted up the one end and with an assortment of pry bars and jacking and luck, it all went back where it was supposed to.
Oh, did I mention I broke off the bolt holding the ABS sensor in? Everyone does, and I knew I was going to. I already had my drill out for the rotor screws, so I drilled that sumbitch out too. But couldn't get it all out, and I don't have a thread chaser sooooooo....
Cross threaded bolt + washers + luck is better than nothing, right? Hey. Every one of my cars needs to have a little bit of ghetto touch to it, or they just wouldn't be right.
Test drove it, noise is gone! Pulled it back in to change the oil and replace a burnt out marker bulb and it's ready to go until the next time something breaks *knock on wood*
Total time: Started around 11AM, took a break around 1 for lunch and laundry (multitasking wut), was back at it close to 2, took a break to stop swearing at the link and had it all buttoned up and ready to go around 5. So I'd say about 4.5 hours all in to do a 2 hour job. With no lift. And some improper tools and techniques. Not bad.