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How to replace your rear wheel bearings

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Old 10-14-2006, 07:46 PM   #1
Baroda, MI
'02 XLT
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(Original Poster)
How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Okay, since no one wanted to respond to my earlier thread, I went out on my own blind and successfully replaced the rear wheel bearings on my truck. Assuming that the lack of replies meant that no one knew how to tackle this, I thought I would share my experience with everyone, in case someone needs to do this in the future.

1. Jack up rear end and remove wheel, calipers, and rotor. I zip-tied my caliper to the coil spring to keep it safe and out of the way.

2. Remove the e-brake cable. Using a pair of spring pliers I compressed the spring up toward the top and pressed in the three tabs on the bottom of the assembly, this allows you to pull down on the cable, and slide it out of the housing and pivot the top of the cabel off of the other arm.

3. Using a 35mm deep impact socket, I removed the center axle nut.

4. There are three bolts holding the knuckle in place, a ball joint on the top, a control arm on the side, and a lower frame mount. Remove all three of these bolts. The knuckle is not free to rotate around, but still attached to the axle.

5. I had to rent an axle puller from AutoZone. They referenced it as a front axle puller, but it was exactly what was needed for the rear. It has a deep offset, needed to clear the axle threads which are really long and the wheel studs don't have any threads on the end of the studs, so you need to be way on there to make it fit correctly. We initially tried this with a slam hammer, bad idea. Not only do I think I have broken something in my hand, but it didn't budge at all. Just use the bolt that threads through the middle of the puller and seats into the center of the axle. Using an impact wrench, it was very easy to remove. Try to use different nuts than your lug nuts. Typically you would reverse the nuts so you are pulling against the top of the lug nut, thus protecting the taper on the bottom. But for some weird reason, ford used lug nuts without threads travelling the entire bore in the nut, so they wouldn't grab any threads. I didn't have any extras, so I was careful to make sure I didn't have any burrs on them when I went to use them on the wheel. Be careful, that taper helps lock to the wheel, you don't want to mess that up.

6. I was going to just press out the bearing using our hand operated arbor press, but this is a serious bearing with a serious press fit. I had to take it down to my mechanic and he pressed out the old ones and pressed in my new bearings. He nicked me $140 for this chore. Either it was very involved, or he wasn't happy about doing it right at that minute and needed some extra cash for dinner tonight. Regardless, I needed it and it had to be done.

7. I reinstalled everything in the reverse order and everything went together fine. The e-brake cable was a trick, but I did find a easy way to do this. I cut a slot in a washer wide enough for the cable to fit through to the center of the washer. I then pulled up the spring and slipped the washer between the lower part of the cable housing and the spring. I attached the top part of the cable to the bracket and then I could pull up on the washer to allow the cable to pass through it's bracket and then I could easily push the housing up through the bracket. Then just slip out the washer and you are all set. Sounds confusing, but if you get to this point and have problems, let me know and I'll send pictures.

Sorry about such a long post, but I thought this might help someone out there.
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Old 10-14-2006, 08:30 PM   #2
Old As Dirt
Roanoke, Virginia
07 XLT
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Good information. Thanks for your posting.
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:17 AM   #3
old mechanic
92 xlt
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Old thread but I just smash to wheel bearing and easily chizzle the race off. To replace I put the bearing in and lightly tap it with a pipe thats around the sixe of the bearing actually a little smaller is better. After I got in on 1" or so, I put the old race on and pound it with the pipe until it is in all the way. Then just chizzle the old race off.
$140? No! Not me!

1992 Explorer 155HP-220TQ-ON AIR & GAS.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:09 PM   #4
2006 Mountaineer
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has anyone tried leaving the knuckle attcahed and knocking out the old bearings, then pressing in the new ones? or does the knuckle HAVE to come off? anyone?
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