Wheel bearing/hub assy failure

My 2001 Malibu has just had the front wheel bearing/hub assy fail with only 39,000 miles on it. I was astounded to learn that these are a common failure for GM and that GM charges $550 to repair these.
I'm used to wheel bearings lasting 150,000 miles or more. Why are these failing so soon and is GM doing anything about this?
Does anybody know anything about this?
- Duane
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Duane wrote:

There is an updated axle shaft nut that is included with the new hub and bearing assemblies. Whether it actually works is anyone's guess, but the installer should have read the instructions and used it. We are having a lot of trouble with the hub and bearing assemblies on these cars. And on some of the Blazers too.
Ian
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Is that a sealed bearing? Is it possible someone specced the wrong grease? That will take out a wheel bearing quicker than snot, as I found out to my dismay when I tried using white lithium grease one time on a front wheel bearing. (I was young, and didn't know any better)
Ted
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On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 02:14:37 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

It's a sealed unit (including the ABS sensor). Aftermarket replacements are available for MUCH less than dealer prices.
The new axle nut design allows for lower torque when installing so, I presume, less stress on the bearing ass'y. IIRC, 274 ft/lbs for the old style nut, 172 ft/lbs for the new one.
Regards, Al.
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Al Haunts wrote:

So, what's the torque on the aftermarket ones? Are they better than the OEM?
Bob
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The bearing assemblies are a separate issue from the axle nuts. I've used some from SKF which seem to be at least the equal of the OEM part. (no axle nut included though)
The updated axle nut is available from your friendly GM dealer as P/N 10289657.
Regards, Al.
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I have a 98 Blazer 4x4 and I had to replace both front wheel hubs before 40,000 miles. these units are ball bearing, not teh roller bearing of years gone by which on paper probably reflect less friction but they cannot take the roade usage of todays vehickles.
OF couse that not saying their not junk from day one, I've also relpaced the idler arm, both bottom ball joints, alternator and all four brake rotors and I''ve just turned 60,000.
Sounds like the vehickle is junk.
By the way I've caught several chain lube centers, (I've always done this my self until latley) I went in for a grease -oil- filter.... All they did was filter and oil change, they didn't touch the grease fittings because they said they "looked Like" they had grease in them" Wa-La that will end the life of ball joints in short order.
Back to doing it my self.
Front Wheel bearing/hub units are not serviceable.. about $200 each at the local auto parts, a couple of hours each to change.

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