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2wd Front Wheel Bearing Replacement?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Jstcruz, October 8, 2012.

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    1. Jstcruz

      Jstcruz Active Member

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      I have searched and could not find a procedure on replacing the front wheel bearings on a 2wd 2nd gen. I know how to do them but wanted to read any tips or issues on the matter. Is there a thread I am overlooking? If there isnt a thread yet I will gladly put together a How-to on it.

      Thanks guys
       
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    3. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      replacing front wheel bearings on a 2nd gen 2wd explorer is no different from doing them on any other 2wd vehicle. if you want, you can remove the front brake rotors and take them to someone with a press to have the new races pressed in, but you can do it yourself with a loaner race installation tool. don't replace the bearings w/out installing the new races, or you'll be doing the job again in a few thousand miles.

      You'll need:
      basic hand tools
      new inner and outter wheel bearing sets
      new inner bearing seals
      paper towels/degreaser
      wheel bearing grease suitable for disk brakes
      new cotter pins
      torque wrench for axle nut (preset 35 ft lbs, final torque 46 inch lbs)
      i suggest thread locker for brake caliper bolts
       
    4. DirtJunky

      DirtJunky Active Member

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      If the inners are stuck I use a screw driver and a hammer to bang em out. I'm down to grinding them off with a angle grinder because I've replaced 8-10 times (on the same side, driver)because of spindle is shredded. If spindle is fine its actually quite easy and simple. If they keep going out increase the use of grease or check your seal. Should slide right on off if it hasn't made grooves yet.
       
    5. Jstcruz

      Jstcruz Active Member

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      I went thru several bearings with a messed up spindle. Finaly replaced the spindle and has been fine since but it is making that rubbing sound again.

      But back to my question; if there is not a write up on this I will make one since I plan on doing this today or tomorow. I know its not hard to do but a write up would help ppl out that are new to wrenching. I just want to give back to the forums.
       
    6. frankcal

      frankcal Active Member

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      I have a question on the torque specs. From my understanding the preset 35ft lbs is when you initially install it then back off half a turn while rotating the rotor to let the grease settle in. And the final torque is 46 inch lbs. But how exactly does the 46 inch lbs convert to ft lbs? My torque wrench only goes to 20ft lbs and am not sure if I can go down that low.

      Also on a side note I had read on some other threads about the the final torque to be at around 17-20 ft lbs. So what would be the definitive torque
       
    7. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      francal: there's a reason that there are inch lb torque wrenches and foot lb torque wrenches. while you can calculate inch lb's into foot lb's, arithmetically, you shouldn't use a foot lb wrench to torque to approximate inch lb's. if you don't want to borrow/buy an inch lb torque wrench, just snug the nut after presetting it to 35 foot lbs and backing off. BTW, I think 17-20 foot lbs is way to tight. (46 inch lbs / 12 = 3.83 foot lbs)

      you've posted to multiple threads on this subject. please refrain from doing this. it gets confusing. as far as doing this job, it's fairly easy. it's time you get your hands dirty. we're getting into "analysis to paralysis" no amount of additional explanation is going to help. you've gotten good advice from multiple people. once you do it you'll know how. if you're not comfortable in tackling this job, take it to a shop. good luck and let us know how it turns out.
       
      Last edited: July 4, 2013
    8. Spartan

      Spartan Active Member

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      Very easy.

      1.Jack up truck, remove wheel.
      2. Unbolt caliper from spindle (2 bolts in teh rear) and hand with wire/string from the upper control arm, with no brake hose.
      3. Remove grease retainer cap from end of rotor, and then remove cotter pin, castle nut, spindle nut, washer, and outer wheel bearing.
      4. pull on rotor to remove from spindle. NOW, the inner bearing/seal shoudl stay inside the rotor/hub assembly, but is some cases the inner wheel bearing gets stuck on the spindle. you may need to "persuade" it to come off. Take car not to chip,score, or generally screw up the spindle if you ahve to do this)
      5. use a small pry bar to remove the inner wheen grese seal, and remove bearing from rotor/hub.
      6.clean nout all the old grease and inspect the races. if they are smooth and uniform silver colored, no need to replace. if you see discoloration from heat, or can catch a fingernail on anything, replace them with the races that came with the bearings. There is usually a tool for rent at most auto parts stores that works great for this, no press required. If you are VERY careful, you can also uninstall with a screwdriver and a hammer. Either use the rental tool or the OLD RACE to pound the new race into place. A good trick is to put the new races in the freezer for an hour to slightly shrink the metal. this allows them to go in a bit easier. Also make usre ot use s mall bit of clean grease on the inside of the rotor to help install the new races.
      7. using a bearing packer, inject grease into the new wheel bearing. if no bearing packer is available, use your hands and massage the grease into the bearing mannually.
      8. liberally slather grease into the rotor where the rear bearing sits. place the packed inner bearing into the rotor, and install the new grease seal. take care NOT TO DAMAGE THE ABS TONE RING.
      9. Place rotor on spindle making sure it is fully seated.
      10. grease the outer bearing, pack extra grease inside again.
      11. reinstall washer, nut, castle nut, cotter pin, and grease cap.
      12. use non-chloinated brake kleen to spray off all oils and grease that may have made their way onto the rotors friction surfaces.
      13. reinstall caliper, and then wheel.

      enjoy the silence, no more growling on the road.



      Another tip, remove and clean your ABS sensors while you are in there, its just two 8MM bolts to remove the cable, and pull the sensor out. Cheap insurance.
       
    9. Spartan

      Spartan Active Member

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      OH, and another tip. If you have a bit of corosion on your spindles, you can use some finne emery cloth to smoothe them out again. Don't get too agressive, and you should be fine.

      And the tone rings.... I dinged one and now I have a slow-speed ABS activation problem. I need new rotors anyway, so its not a big deal. LOL
       
    10. frankcal

      frankcal Active Member

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      finally got my "hands dirty" today and all went well. Thanks for the help, feels a lot smoother now. Thanks jstcruz for your how to it helped a lot with the visuals.
       
    11. keleko17

      keleko17 Member

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      New race

      I am about to do this again, and have a question.

      I for the life of me can't see a separate race, it seems to be part of the rotor. Am I crazy or true statement?
       
    12. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      the races are pressed into the rotor. they are not part of it. it's the thing the bearing rides in. you need to get behind them with a suitable tool and hammer out the old ones. the new races also get hammered in, but he careful not to damage the new race. tip: put the new races in the freezer for a few hours to shrink them and warm to rotors before trying to install the new races. it makes it easier to do.
       
    13. keleko17

      keleko17 Member

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      How big of press is needed? I found one on Craigslist for $40, 6 ton.

      Seems like a pretty good deal. But it might only be good for small jobs at that size I figure.
       
    14. tgibbonsfordluv

      tgibbonsfordluv Active Member

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      You can avoid all the mess of replacing races by just buying new rotors, they all come with new races. Might not be the most cost effective thing in the world but they really aren't that expensive. On that note, it's a good idea to do your bearings when you do a brake job requiring new rotors.
       
    15. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      you don't need a press. i hammer them in using a brass drift.
       
    16. frankcal

      frankcal Active Member

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      I removed my old bearing races with a large pipe and a mini sledge to get behind them and pound them out, just be careful not to scratch or gouge the rotor. I rented the bearing race tool set from oreilly's for about 70, but got it all back once i returned the set. They also sell em at harbor freight for 40.
       
    17. keleko17

      keleko17 Member

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      How can you identify if the spindle is bad, what part am I looking for when ordering? I am chewing through bearings, just getting a low growl from them. I have replaced them 3 times now in under a year. I only did the races the second time.
       
    18. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      when the rotor is removed check the spindle for wear where the bearings ride. take a set of new bearings and make sure they fit well on the spindle. if you need to replace your spindles you'll be replacing the steering knuckles. not a huge job, but you'll need to disconnect the upper/lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends.

      Questions:
      as you've replaced the bearings multiple times, are you replacing both the inner and outer bearings? are you also replacing the bearing races each time? running a new bearing on an old race is a bad idea and will greatly reduce it's life. correct axle nut torque and torquing procedure is also critical.
       
    19. keleko17

      keleko17 Member

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      Initially I didn't replace the race, I replaced the rotors back 2 years ago, almost 3 now I guess. Did the bearings at the same time, then they lasted about a year and a half. Then I started to have issues. I didn't replace the races the next time around, I felt they were new enough. Then they lasted about 6 months. So I replaced the bearings and races back in September. The roar is back. I am torquing to 20 lbs, backing off a half turn, then setting back to just snug. (I don't have an inch lbs wrench.)

      Actual mileage on the bearing is minimal. I have only put 12,000 miles on the car in the 2 years.

      I am trying to just put a bandaid on it to get me through the summer.

      Is there something else that could be causing this?
       
    20. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      what brand of bearings are you using? i've always used Timken. after installing new bearings/races, and greasing them with a quality hi-temp wheel bearing grease, you're supposed to torque the nut to 35 ft lbs, then loosen it and re-torque to something like 47 inch pounds. i don't have an inch-pound torque wrench either so after loosening, i just use gravity to pull the wrench down until it stops. i've been doing them this way for 50 years and have never had a problem. there's supposed to be just a tiny bit of play in the bearings when cold, as they will heat up and expand a bit after driving. you may be over tightening them.
       
    21. NewShockerGuy

      NewShockerGuy New Member

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      Question for you. I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.

      When I purchased rotors two years ago they came with races already in them. I did use Timken bearings but didn't use their races, since the races in the rotors were new... My bad for sure. I started getting a front end growl noise. So I have everything apart, new bearings, new seals and want to use the timken races. I noticed that there is not a how to on how far one should be setting the inner races?

      I just order the race installation tool and will have that tomorrow. When I pounded out the rotors stock races, I noticed that the inner most race was not completely flush with the inside lip, meaning I still had room to use the punch to knock it out. For the new races should I be hammering them in as far as they can go or is there a spacing difference that needs to be kept? IE: Using the tool to hammer in the races leave 5mm gap from the most inside lip to the race?..etc.? Something like that or am I just hammering the race in until it won't go in anymore?

      Thanks,
      -Nigel
       
    22. masospaghetti

      masospaghetti Well-Known Member

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      I think the races bottom out against the inside of the hub, I just did this same job on another car, but I think the Explorer is the same. It would be nearly impossible to set a depth of the race and keep it completely constant all the way around.

      It is really important not to overtighten the bearings once its installed. The initial torquing to 35 ft-lbs is to squeeze any burrs or debris out of the rollers, but then it must be loosened and only tightened to 47 in-lbs. This is essentially hand tight. These bearings will fail rapidly if they are preloaded. You really just want it to be slop-free with as little preload as possible.
       
    23. NewShockerGuy

      NewShockerGuy New Member

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      Appreciate that! Perhaps that's why I got the growl noise then because either the front races weren't all the way in from the factory or perhaps I did something wrong with the bearings... I did this back in 2013, is that something that if too tight they would have failed earlier or would it have been super apparent that they were too tight?

      I think I am over thinking it but wanted to make sure. When you mean no slop do you mean so that you can grab the rotor and it doesn't move in and out? I don't have a torque wrench that does inch lbs.. The ft/lbs is no problem at all.

      Thanks much!
      -Nigel
       

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