Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Camlachie Ontario Canada
Respectfully disagree with some of Andrew's comment.
There is no play in a new (good) sealed rear wheel bearing.
These bearings are sealed and really poorly suited to lateral forces since they are not conical. Once they develop lateral play they tend to be the source of "growling" at speed. That is my experience.
With respect to the oil seals, you should note that the bearings are not lubed by the differential oil. It would be foolish to remove the axles and replace the bearings without replacing the oil seals.
If you raise the rear axle on jack stands, run the car at speed in 5th gear, a stethoscope will let you assess the bearing condition (growl/whine). Compare driver and pass side, listening at the axle shaft tube extremity (inside behind the brake Assy'.
Best regards, Elio