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Noise diagnosis - wheel bearing???

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Old 10-11-2008, 05:52 PM   #1
JarheadK5
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Angry Noise diagnosis - wheel bearing???

I've had a "growling" noise since late spring/early summer in the wife's '03 Mountaineer (4.6, AWD). When I did front brakes in June, I noticed the left-front inner CV joint boot was torn and leaking grease, so I ass-umed that was the noise source. The noise has progressively gotten worse since then.

Today my father-in-law and I replaced the left-front CV shaft, again ass-uming the CV joint was the noise source. Take a wild guess what the post-replacement test-drive revealed... yep, same noise. $60 and 3 hours wasted - ooops.

I've searched and read several threads on this subject, specifically how a rear bearing problem can act like a front bearing problem. BUT... given my symptoms, I'm still kinda stumped. Sooo, I'm gonna list what the symptoms are, and then what we've done...

The symptoms:
- "growling" noise and "feel" that varies with vehicle speed; started late spring and has progressively gotten worse since then
- noise is present when going straight
- gets significantly louder in right turns/curves, and kinda lessens in left turns/curves (but is still there)
- can be felt in steering wheel in right turns/curves
- does NOT change with braking or acceleration (straight or turn/curve)
- noise is most noticeable in the driver's seat, and can barely be heard in the 3rd row seat/cargo area

What we've done:
- replaced LF CV shaft
- checked LF and LR wheel bearings for play (grab top & bottom of tire and shake, grab L & R "sides" of tire and shake) - no play noted
- jacked up left side and ran up to 15-20mph; could not hear anything from front or rear to pinpoint a source
- rotated rear tires due to an odd wear pattern on LR tire


It goes without saying that I can't afford to "troubleshoot by replacement", so any help you can give is appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:05 PM   #2
Hitchhikingmike
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I don't know, it might still be your wheel bearing.

This seems to be a front end problem, so this eliminates the problematic rear differential.

The two major problems on these trucks are wheel bearings and differentials. With those two eliminated, I don't know what else could be wrong.
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:25 PM   #3
Thelt
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Did you try shaking all four wheels? It sounds like bad wheel bearings to me.




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Old 10-11-2008, 06:29 PM   #4
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Did you try shaking all four wheels? It sounds like bad wheel bearings to me.
Like I said, I checked the left side wheels, but not the right side. Since the noise gets worse in right turns/curves, I was suspecting the issue was on the left side...
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Old 10-11-2008, 07:41 PM   #5
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It sure sounds like bearings to me. At least the front hub units are easy to replace. The rears on the other hand.... i had a growling noise twice that I thought was wheel bearings, Heard it all over the truck, and both times it was the rear end. When you solid mount a center section to the truck, the noises and vibration can do some neat traveling. It had me fooled.
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:25 PM   #6
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I guess I need to clarify:

I'm pretty certain at this point it's a wheel bearing. The question is - given the symptoms I've listed - WHICH ONE?
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Old 10-11-2008, 11:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JarheadK5 View Post
Like I said, I checked the left side wheels, but not the right side. Since the noise gets worse in right turns/curves, I was suspecting the issue was on the left side...
Perhaps first it would be best to follow through with checking the bearings on the right side of the truck.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:30 AM   #8
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Assuming you feel comfortable that it is not in the tires or the rear end, then it sounds like wheel bearings to me. The fronts are pretty easy to change. The rears are a mother!

You're right on about the wheel bearings. The exploders are known for them going bad, and your symptoms are perfect for it. By the way, you can tug on that wheel all day long and have it not budge, but the bearing can still be shot. That's exactly how mine was. Tight, but bad.

When you turn your wheel to the right (swerving at 55 mph), you throw the weight of the vehicle to the left side. When you turn to the left, you throw the weight to the right. When the noise gets louder, it's because you've put more weight on a bad bearing, and when it gets quieter, it's because you've taken weight of a bad bearing. So if you turn your wheel right, and the noise gets louder, then you have a left wheel bearing problem. Now all you have to do is differentiate between front and rear bearing noise, and you're all set.

Replacing the front bearing is an easy bolt-in deal. Check Ebay, and see if you can't find the factory hub assembly on there used. If not, try a good brand like Timken or Dorman. Don't buy the China stuff.

Replacing the rear bearing is NOT easy. You have to pull everything apart, and then press out the old bearing and hub and press in the new one. But more often than not, the old one does not press out easy. I had to cut mine out.

For those that read this, here's how I did this, and this is important! I knocked the old hub out with a baby sledge hammer and the right sized socket. The outer bearing race sticks inside the knuckle, and there is no good way to get it out of there. I tried a press, catching the bulk of the raised up middle of the outer race. But this did not work, even with the 20 ton press maxed out. Mechanic friends of mine verified this is the norm. So, I took a 3" cutoff wheel in a drill, and cut a deep notch from both sides of the bearing, with each side lining up with the other. The only angle you can hope for is a 45, due to drill clearance on the knuckle. I did this 45 degree cut twice... once on each side of the bearing race. Try not to cut all the way thru, but do cut as far as you can. The middle is the thickest, at around 3/16 to 1/4" thick. The ends of the race are only about 1/16 thick. Then go back and press out the bearing. The race will crack on one of the cuts. Press out the damaged race, and save it. You'll need it to press the new one in.

Pressing in the new one requires careful attention! You have to press the new bearing in using the old outer bearing race. Once that's in, you flip the knuckle over and press in the hub. But you must support the INNER bearing race from the back side, while you're pressing in the new hub. Otherwise, you'll press the bearings right out of the race.
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:21 AM   #9
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I would check all four wheels. It is easy to do and it really sounds like wheel bearings. They go out on 3rd gen explorers pretty regularly.




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Old 10-12-2008, 10:48 AM   #10
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Assuming you feel comfortable that it is not in the tires or the rear end, then it sounds like wheel bearings to me. The fronts are pretty easy to change. The rears are a mother!

You're right on about the wheel bearings. The exploders are known for them going bad, and your symptoms are perfect for it. By the way, you can tug on that wheel all day long and have it not budge, but the bearing can still be shot. That's exactly how mine was. Tight, but bad.

When you turn your wheel to the right (swerving at 55 mph), you throw the weight of the vehicle to the left side. When you turn to the left, you throw the weight to the right. When the noise gets louder, it's because you've put more weight on a bad bearing, and when it gets quieter, it's because you've taken weight of a bad bearing. So if you turn your wheel right, and the noise gets louder, then you have a left wheel bearing problem. Now all you have to do is differentiate between front and rear bearing noise, and you're all set.

Replacing the front bearing is an easy bolt-in deal. Check Ebay, and see if you can't find the factory hub assembly on there used. If not, try a good brand like Timken or Dorman. Don't buy the China stuff.

Replacing the rear bearing is NOT easy. You have to pull everything apart, and then press out the old bearing and hub and press in the new one. But more often than not, the old one does not press out easy. I had to cut mine out.

For those that read this, here's how I did this, and this is important! I knocked the old hub out with a baby sledge hammer and the right sized socket. The outer bearing race sticks inside the knuckle, and there is no good way to get it out of there. I tried a press, catching the bulk of the raised up middle of the outer race. But this did not work, even with the 20 ton press maxed out. Mechanic friends of mine verified this is the norm. So, I took a 3" cutoff wheel in a drill, and cut a deep notch from both sides of the bearing, with each side lining up with the other. The only angle you can hope for is a 45, due to drill clearance on the knuckle. I did this 45 degree cut twice... once on each side of the bearing race. Try not to cut all the way thru, but do cut as far as you can. The middle is the thickest, at around 3/16 to 1/4" thick. The ends of the race are only about 1/16 thick. Then go back and press out the bearing. The race will crack on one of the cuts. Press out the damaged race, and save it. You'll need it to press the new one in.

Pressing in the new one requires careful attention! You have to press the new bearing in using the old outer bearing race. Once that's in, you flip the knuckle over and press in the hub. But you must support the INNER bearing race from the back side, while you're pressing in the new hub. Otherwise, you'll press the bearings right out of the race.
Instead of repairing the hubs, isn't it just possible to replace the entire hub assembly and not pressing in and not the new racing's and bearings? just like on the front hubs?

EDIT- I mean, don't the rear hubs simply unbolt from the knuckle just like the front hubs do? I have never replaced any hubs before so I may not know what I am talking about, THanks.

Last edited by Hitchhikingmike; 10-12-2008 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:57 PM   #11
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When you turn your wheel to the right (swerving at 55 mph), you throw the weight of the vehicle to the left side. When you turn to the left, you throw the weight to the right. When the noise gets louder, it's because you've put more weight on a bad bearing, and when it gets quieter, it's because you've taken weight of a bad bearing. So if you turn your wheel right, and the noise gets louder, then you have a left wheel bearing problem.
That's precisely what my train of thought was.

Given the feedback I'm feeling in the steering wheel, and the lack of noise heard while riding in the back, would you agree that it's most likely the LF wheel bearing?
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:36 AM   #12
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You know, Its difficult to say without being in the car. But in my case, there really wasn't any difficulty at all telling which bearing was bad, front or back. It was just real clear. Well, let me back up and tell the story a minute...

When I bought the truck used, it sounded like a 4wd pickup with super swampers on it. It just had a loud tire noise in general. It was loud enough that passengers commented on how much tire noise the truck made. I didn't think much of it, except cheap tires, at first. But then, as murphys law would dictate, the first time I went out of town, the front bearing suddenly went from bad to worse. It sounded so bad, I had the truck towed to the nearest Firestone and they installed a new front bearing ($387!).

When I drove the truck home, I noticed that my 4wd tire noise was suddenly limited to just the rear tires. :-( Now I knew that I had a rear wheel bearing to fix as well. I was not able to detect the problem earlier because both a front and rear bearing were bad, causing the noise to be all around me.

After getting hosed bigtime by Firestone on a new bearing in the front for 387, when I could have bought a name brand front hub assembly on Ebay for around 100 and just bolted it in, I decided to fix the rear one myself. As it turned out, that was a dumb thought. The rears took a LOT more work to replace than the front. By the way, thanks Firestone, for nicking a hole in my front axle CV boot with your impact gun, causing grease to sling out of my front cv boot all over my truck. To be fair, they are going to fix that I guess. Note to all: Be careful breaking those 3 bolts loose on the front bearing. They are on the back side of the knuckle, and if you try to use something bulky like an impact gun, you could easily rip the boot like they did.

On the back of the truck, instead of having a hub assembly that just bolts in with 3 bolts, they press the hub into the bearing, and press the bearing into the knuckle. Furthermore, there are miniature brake shoes (parking brake shoes) inside your rear rotors. I decided I would do this job myself, no matter what it took, and despite having a huge tool box already, I found myself ordering lots of new tools. Just to give you some idea of the pitfalls you will encounter doing the rear hubs, here's the highlights:

First, you'll need a 35mm socket to get the axle nut off. Many online writeups say 36, but a 36 feels loose on there, and a 35 is an exact fit... at least with my SK axle nut sockets. I bought the set for about a hundred bucks from Amazon.

You'll need a 1/2" breaker bar too, since they are torqued on at something like 211 ft lbs, if I recall.

Then you pull off the rear caliper and bracket, and suspend the caliper out of the way. I bought OTC S hooks, and hooked it into a little 1/2" hole on the front side of the wheelwell.

Next, pull off the rotor. Now if things work as they are supposed to, that might be easy. If it's tough coming off, its possible the rear brake shoes inside your rotor are binding. From what I hear, many people break the rear brake shoes. If you want to loosen the rear brake shoe tension first, you'll have to knock out a 3/4" round knockout plug in the bottom rear of the brake backing plate, and turn the adjuster so there's less tension. The knockout plug wasn't apparent to me, until I was reassembling the brakes. But it is there. Just look for a 3/4" round indention near the bottom rear of the brake backing plate, and knock it in with a punch.

When I pulled my rotors off, they came off without a fight. And for good reason. The brake linings were non-existant. All that was left of mine was about 1/3 of 1 lining. The rest was disintegrated I guess. This might have been partly due to my truck being a northern truck, and having some rust inside there.

Once the rotors are off, you have to remove the rear brake shoes. Getting the top spring off is much easier than getting it back on! I'm still cussing on that one. I didn't have any brake spring tools, so I tried to just slide the spring back into it's hole with a screwdriver. Trust me, buy some sort of brake spring tool. There's a top spring, a bottom spring, and an adjuster on the bottom. Then there's 2 clips with a T stud going thru them on the bottom of the shoes, that hold the shoes on. They come off easy. Putting them back on requires cussing. And 2 people.

Then you'll need a FRONT hub puller like this one:

http://www.tooltopia.com/index.asp?P...OD&ProdID=7750

I bought an OTC slide hammer kit, which included that puller as well as a rear axle puller, and slide hammer and misc. attachments.

Next, you push the axle in thru the knuckle using that front hub puller. Then you remove the tie rod and upper ball joint retaining nuts and bolts. The stud on each of these that goes into the knuckle has a groove in it, in which the retaining bolt partly goes thru. In other words, you have to remove the bolt in order to allow the stud to come out. And it doesn't come out easy. I suggest pulling the nut and bolt out of both the rod end and the ball joing, and spraying down in the hole with PB Blaster, and letting it sit overnite. Then smack around on the knuckle, and on the side of the upper control arm with a baby sledge the next day. They should pop out pretty easy after being soaked. If not, keep smacking and soaking with oil. It's the vibration of the smacking that will crack the stud free. This was hard at first, but not bad at all after I sprayed it with PB Blaster. Soaking it overnite would have made that much easier for me.

Once those 2 are loose, then remove the lower control arm bolt, ABS sensor, and the knuckle should come right off. Now, if you are smarter than me, you'll take the old knuckle/hub assembly and your new bearing or hub assembly down to a 4WD shop or a machine shop and get them to press out the old bearing and press in the new bearing. I was dumb enough to try to do this myself.

The bearing would not press out, which is par for the course. I was able to knock the hub out of the old bearing easily with a socket and a baby sledge. But the outer race stayed stuck in the knuckle. I had to take a 3" cutoff wheel in a drill, and cut the bearing race practically in half, once on each side of the race. Those races are incredibly hardened. After cutting the race nearly in half in 2 opposite places, I was then able to press the bearing out. Once finally removed (the hardest part of this whole job), then I took a sandpaper/scotchbrite flap wheel and polished up the ID of the knuckle to remove ridges and crud from the old bearing. Once shiny and smooth, I put some WD40 on the new race and knuckle, and pressed in the new bearing. That's tricky too, because you first have to press the new bearing in the knuckle. I used the old race to do this! Then you have to press the new hub into the new bearing. But you HAVE to support the ID of the bearing on the back side, while you press the hub in from the front side. Failure to do this will press the new bearings right out of the new race. I couldn't find socket big enough to support the bearing from the back side (it would have taken approximately a 38 - 42 mm socket), so I went to Lowes and bought the biggest ball valve they've got, from the plumbing department. That cost me 42 bucks, which I returned later on... yeah yeah, I know. Anyway, it was the only thing big enough and round and metal that I could find to support the ID of the bearing during the pressing.

That did the trick. Next, I installed a new snap ring. The tapered side of the snap ring faces UP towards you. By the way, I had to take a small screwdriver and clean out the snap ring and groove when I disassembled it. Mine was crudded in there, and wouldn't budge until I scraped out all the salt and dirt that was embedded around it. Then I used a fairly large, stout snap ring pliers to get it out.

While it's this far apart, decide if you need a new rear axle seal, where the CV axle goes into the rear end. I needed one on one side, so I bought both. Ford redesigned this seal, which costs about 25 each. It takes the 2 piece factory seal, and replaces it with a 1 piece seal. You remove the other half from the CV axle, then polish up the axle with some fine sandpaper. To get the axle out, I tried buying the slide hammer, an extension, and a CV fork. But the fork wasn't big enough, so i resorted to a 1x1 by 10" long block of wood, and a baby sledge. Hit it as straight forward towards the knuckle as you can, from the front side of the rear end. Mine came out pretty easy. I hear they don't always do so. The new axle seal kit comes with a new C shaped ring (circlip) for reinstallation.

Upon reinstalling the axle, you just simply push straight in on the CV axle. It collapses as you do this, but that's fine. One good jolt, and it popped right back in.

Reassembly is just the reverse. But when you install the brake shoes, you are supposed to use a brake shoe resetting gauge. This measures the OD of the brake shoes, and you set them a certain width smaller than the rotors. I forget the exact width right now, but I have it somewhere. Doing this step would eliminate trial and error of getting the rear brake shoes adjusted right later on, when it would be hard to get to the adjuster. If you don't have this tool, then I would suggest adjusting the brake shoes wider, until the rotor just barely will slide in over them, and then back them off just a little bit.

In my case, the truck was rusty, so I cleaned, primed, and painted all of these parts while it was apart. That took me forever, but it came out pretty nice. If I had to do it over again, I would have just bought a new brake backing plate, since installing my shoes made a mess out of the paint where the shoes contact the backing plate, and I had to grease those contact points.

The Ford manual calls for throwing out the old axle retaining nut, tie rod and ball joint nuts, etc. This is because they are metal nuts with nylon threads in the last thread or two (nylon lock nuts). I didn't see the need to do this after looking at the parts, and I understand that Ford's goal is to keep the nylon new, so there's no chance of these things backing off and you losing control of the car. I decided that I would just add some loctite to the factory nut and reinstall. There's still some bite to the remaining nylon, and if it's short, then the loctite should bridge that gap. Plus there's torque on them too, of course. I'm not sure why Ford calls for replacing the axle retaining nut. It looks solid and beefy to me. I doubt any mechanics replace it either.

I had to buy a torque wrench big enough to handle the 211 ft lbs that are required to retighten the axle retaining nut. My existing 1/2" torque wrench didn't go that high. A new SK torque wrench (nice) set me back about 150 from tooltopia, with free shipping. That website is a great place to look for tools. I bought the slide hammer kit, extension, CV fork, and axle rethreading kit from NTX tools, and they weren't so fast at all. But they were the cheapest on those parts. Because my truck was rusty, I thought I would have to buy the axle rethreading kit (chase set) for the 24x2.0 mm axle threads, since mine were heavily rust damaged. That didn't really do me much good though, since once cleaned off and chased, there really wasn't much left of the threads anyway. Just removing the axle nut would have probably done me just as much good. So just to review, here's what I had to buy:

New rotors, brake pads, parking brake shoes, hardware kit for shoes, hub bearing kit, axle seal kit, gear lube and posi additive, and caliper lube.

Tools I didn't already have: 1/2 torque wrench (big settings), slide hammer kit, axle nut socket (35mm) set, brake resetting gauge, CV Fork and extension (unnecessary and didn't work out), and a few others I didn't need.

I bought the hub/bearing assembly from Szott Ford on Ebay for about 100 bucks, which was cheap. You can buy just the bearing and the snap ring (or reuse old snap ring, but Ford calls for replacement of it). All it takes is to have a large bearing splitter to remove the half of the bearing that ends up stuck to the hub itself. You use the bearing splitter to hold the bearing in the press, while pressing on the hub. But I don't think you can buy the bearing separately any cheaper than you can just buy the hub assembly from Szott. Online auto parts stores showed a bearing repair kit, which I assume is a bearing and snap ring, but they cost more than the hub assembly. Oh, and you'll need a 20 ton press for the whole job too. I would highly recommend taking the knuckle and new hub assembly to a machine shop or 4wd shop, and paying them to do this portion of the job!!!
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:13 AM   #13
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Wow...

Thanks for the write-up, Pontisteve. I appreciate your help.


At this point I'm convinced that it's the LF, so I'm gonna order the hub/bearing when my next paycheck hits. I'll update here once the job's done...
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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Wow...

Thanks for the write-up, Pontisteve. I appreciate your help.


At this point I'm convinced that it's the LF, so I'm gonna order the hub/bearing when my next paycheck hits. I'll update here once the job's done...
Since your problem is in the front, you could just take the wheel off and spin the hub by hand and see if it feels abrasive. If you have 4wd, you might need to press the axle out first. And you might even have to slide the caliper off first. All easy to do on the front. When I spun my bad rear hub by itself, there was little doubt it had major internal problems.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:08 PM   #15
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Yes thanks for the great information. Now come time my hubs go bad I will be more knowledgeable to tackle the job myself. Thanks.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:42 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=JarheadK5;2035373]

...... $60 and 3 hours wasted - ooops.

.....QUOTE]


Try not to look at that as a waste, if it had a torn boot it was only a matter of time before it went. if anything was a waste it was the fact that you were at the bearing while doing the shaft. good luck with the bearing install, fronts are pretty easy




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Old 10-13-2008, 11:55 PM   #17
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I learned something new today, while doing the E-brake shoes. Thought I would pass it on. First, I realized that I forgot to install the backing plate on the knuckle before I pressed on the hub. I was pretty mad at myself for that one, so I ended up cutting the backing plate in half with a whizzer wheel. This is what Ford says to do in certain brake repairs anyway, but I just don't like doing it. As it turns out, it isn't so bad, because in order to install the left side E brake shoe, you have to put the brake shoe holddown pin in from the back side of the backing plate. I'm not sure you could even do that at all, without cutting the plate in half. (By the way, the plate is pre-cut most of the way thru, just for this, from the factory).

Anyway, here's a quick writeup on how to do the E-brakes, after spending several hours cussing and learning...

First, cut the backing plate in half, by continuing the factory cuts. Then, bolt on the right side of the backing plate. (Remember, I'm working on the left rear, so it is probably the opposite side if you're working on the right rear). Next, you've got to grease the brake shoe contact points. I pulled the Ebrake cable and grommet out, cleaned them up, greased the Ebrake cable where it goes thru the grommet, and reinstalled it. I think the factory used white lithium, but I used CRC synthetic grease (caliper lube) thru this whole process. Next, I greased the U shape where the Ebrake cable fingers contact each other, and greased the top of the shoes and the spindle, where the top of the shoes will contact. Then, I greased all the raised spots in the backing plates, where the brake shoe will make contact. Then, I put the brake pin thru on the right side, and installed the spring clip. This is a bit tricky, but basically I pulled the pin forward with a curved needle nose pliers, put the clip over it, and tried to compress the clip with a large flatblade screwdriver, and then you turn the brake pin 90 degrees, so it locks into the clip. This is trickier than it looks, and would be easier with 2 people than 1. The left side is harder, because you can't get at the back side of the backing plate, with the plate installed. So, I took a small piece of black duct tape, and taped the head of the brake pin against the back side of the backing plate, to sort of hold it in place for me. I then installed the backing plate, using loctite on the one-and-only bolt that holds that side on. Then I did the same type of install trick on the spring clip. It's a tough act, trying not to get the caliper lube all over the shoes while doing all this. But you can't add the lube later, so it had to be done first. Once the shoes were installed correctly, I installed the adjuster, which was screwed out about 1/4 to 3/8" from the bottom of its adjustment. Then I installed the top brake spring. This is an excercise in frustration, because of the cramped nature. But basically, I found the best way was to start one end of the spring in it's brake shoe hole, and then use a headlight adjuster/brake spring tool to pull the other end of the spring to it's hole. The tool gets in the way of popping the spring all the way in, but it does allow it to get caught on the shoe. So once it's caught, I carefully pulled the tool out of the way and poked the spring the rest of the way in using a flat head screwdriver. Overall, this worked great, and was MUCH easier than the other ways I tried last nite. The headlight adjuster tool is basically a thin T handle, with a curved sharp point on the end. It's thin nature is what allows it to work, because everything is so tight in there than no other tool I know of will fit. Last, I popped on the lower brake spring, which was relatively easy. By the way, the lower spring will end up sitting on top of, and touching the adjuster. This gives the adjuster sort of a detent, allowing it to maintain it's setting.

There is a knockout plug in the backing plate right near the adjuster, if you want to knock it out. If you do this by the book, you won't have to. The book says to use a Brake Resetting Gage to measure the rotor ID, and then to set the tool 1.07mm less than that. Then adjust the brake shoes overall diameter to that tool. I took this one step further, to be sure I got it right. I set it like that, and then I had someone slowly push down on the Ebrake pedal as I slid the rotor back and forth (on and off the hub). I was looking for the shoes to first contact the rotor when the pedal was about half way depressed. You want the adjustment loose enough so the rotor doesn't drag on the shoes all the time, and tight enough so that you don't have to push the ebrake pedal all the way down before it grabs. I would say my method, and the factory method, both put the adjuster within just a few clicks of eachother.

If you don't want to buy the $35 brake resetting gage, then I recommend using my method, and start by adjusting the brake shoes out until the rotor won't slide on any more. Then back them off a bit, slide on the rotor, and readjust the adjuster until you end up with the pedal about half way down as it just starts to grab the rotor. The end game is that the factory wants 1.07 mm between the shoes and the rotor when the ebrake is disengaged.

Before you start all this, it's a good idea to have the caliper suspended from the rear half of the wheelwell instead of the front half. Otherwise, you'll have to cram the caliper thru a confined space to get it back to it's correct side. I did that, and it worked, but I could have avoided that cramming if I had the caliper on the rear side of the wheelwell in the first place.

To recap on where to grease, there are 3 contact points for the shoes on each side of the backing plate that get greased, then the brake cable fingers where they slide thru the grommet, and the U shape in between the fingers, and finally at the top of the brake shoes, where they contact the knuckle.

Once all that is done, I just reinstall the caliper and new pads, and bleed the system, and I should be good to go. By the way, when reinstalling the pads, you'll need to push the caliper piston back into it's hole some. There is a $7 tool for doing this easily. I bought the $40 Kinetic pad spreader, because I'm just dumb that way. Anyway, make sure you crack the bleeder screw open before compressing the piston. I've heard horror stories that if you don't open the line when compressing the piston, that you can damage the ABS unit. Not sure if that's true always, but it did happen to my friend recently on his Toyota, and he was in for a new ABS actuator for big bucks. He traded the car instead.

This job is really just not any fun, unless you're willing to take the time, learn, relax, cus, smoke, drink, and convince yourself to keep going. I'm so glad I don't do this for a living. Overall, it would be a lot easier to do if you knew what was coming, and how to deal with it, before you start. And that's why I wrote this.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:44 AM   #18
JarheadK5
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By the way, when reinstalling the pads, you'll need to push the caliper piston back into it's hole some. There is a $7 tool for doing this easily. I bought the $40 Kinetic pad spreader, because I'm just dumb that way. Anyway, make sure you crack the bleeder screw open before compressing the piston. I've heard horror stories that if you don't open the line when compressing the piston, that you can damage the ABS unit. Not sure if that's true always, but it did happen to my friend recently on his Toyota, and he was in for a new ABS actuator for big bucks. He traded the car instead.
I use a $2 C-clamp from Harbor Freight and an old brake pad to reset caliper pistons.
I've never heard of cracking the bleed before resetting the piston, nor have I ever done it, on 4 brake changes between 2 different ABS-equipped vehicles. Maybe that's a Toyota-ism...?
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:06 AM   #19
Pontisteve
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Yeah, it might be a Toyotaism, not sure. I've never heard of it one way or the other. And it could even be just a coincidence that his ABS unit went bad around the time he did that. But for the effort involved with cracking the bleeder screw, I'll just do it anyway.

I've used a C clamp before as well. But quite frankly, it's worth buying the $7 tool, so you don't have to hunt for a place to clamp it, and fight with the shape of the caliper.

I've been wanting to rebuild my calipers, just so I could clean and paint them up. But no one, including Ford, offers these rebuild kits for the rear. I did find one company, Dorman, that makes the part (part# D132787 rear, part# D352857 front), but they are backordered 60 days on the rears (and possibly forever, according to the guy at Rock Auto, who doubts they will ever actually ship them).

A mechanic friend of mine also tells me that for some unknown reason, it seems like rebuilding calipers these days never works, and that they always end up leaking. He says their shop has tried some 2 or 3 times, and they eventually keep coming back. Finally, they gave up and put a rebuilt caliper on. Could this be why rebuild kits are becoming scarce? Or just a fluke?
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:37 PM   #20
gsmaclean
Strongsville, OH
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Originally Posted by JarheadK5 View Post
I use a $2 C-clamp from Harbor Freight and an old brake pad to reset caliper pistons.
I've never heard of cracking the bleed before resetting the piston, nor have I ever done it, on 4 brake changes between 2 different ABS-equipped vehicles. Maybe that's a Toyota-ism...?
Nope, it's a good idea regardless of the make.

The caliper is full of crappy, dirty brake fluid, especially because the pistons are extended due to the worn pads.

When you push the pistons back in, it shoves all that dirty fluid back up into the ABS module and the master cylinder.

Instead, open the bleed valve, then retract the piston. The dirty fluid gets squirted out. Then fill the master cylinder with clean fluid and bleed the brakes in case you got any air in them.
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