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Bonehead Front wheel bearing question.......

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by doonze, October 31, 2011.

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  1. doonze

    doonze Active Member

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    Ok, so I got the roar, and my front tires "wiggle", in fact I took off the passengers side wheel and the ROTOR "wiggles" even by hand. This is bad I'm thinking.

    If things were as they should be, the rotor shouldn't wiggle at all side to side, and the wheel neither, from what I understand.

    Sooooo..... wheel bearing replacement is on the schedule for the next week or so.

    But..... Is it the same set for inner and outer?? Both Rockauto and Autozone show Timken SET37 as the ONLY Timken front bearings. BUT autozone says Inner, and Rockauto says outer. All the info I get just confuses the issue instead of giving me answers. Would someone be so kind as to just explain it straight out so this bonehead can understand? All the post I read just kind of seem to assume you know this already.

    I'm also thinking of replacing the rotors while I'm at it, just to get new races.... but I know the bearing sets come with races....I've seen it mentioned in passing on here, but how hard is it to replace the races instead of getting new rotors? I know I've read on here you can hammer the new ones in using the old ones to hammer on, but how do you get the old ones out? And is it just better to get new rotors? Special tools? PITA?

    Any input welcome.....thanks!
     
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  3. Roadrunner777

    Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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    The inner and outer bearings are the same. Order two SET37 per wheel. Inspect your races and if there is any question, I would replace the rotors.
     
  4. Maniak

    Maniak Moderator-Stock 91-94 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Ditto, Set 37 is used for the outer and inner on the 1st gen 4x4 explorers.

    ~Mark
     
  5. racer_x_one

    racer_x_one Active Member

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    You can tape the old ones out with a screw driver or punch from the opposite side. You will have to remove the bearing seal from the back side of the rotor first with a screw driver. If its still in good shape(and not damaged from removal)reuse it other wise new ones are only a couple bucks. Not hard at all and worth doing if your rotors are still good.
     
  6. Tony H

    Tony H Well-Known Member

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    Races: To drive out the Inner Race, use a Drift or big screwdriver and enter from the Outer Race side with Hub resting on workbench. The race has a bit of a ledge on it that you can lay the Drift on.
    Flip it over to do the outer Race.
     
  7. doonze

    doonze Active Member

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    So the plot thickens:

    First of all, on the passenger side I drove out the races and pressed in the new ones.....I don't think I'll ever do this again, driving them out was far too much trouble, for $37, I'll just get new rotors. I didn't replace the drivers side races because it was worn out from the passenger side, and I was using a 3 lbs hammer and it still took forever.

    Sooooo...... The passenger side had the most "play" in it, so I tackled that one first. Got everything done and followed the 20/20 rule (20 ft lbs, then 20 inch lbs) the Key didn't fit so tightened to the next slot that would allow it to fit. Put the tire back on and tested it, no free play, no wiggle.

    I then drove it about 8 miles testing it out. The things I was hoping was due to the "wiggling" bearings were unchanged. (loud road noise, vibrations). I return home and jack it back up to test.... And it wiggles and has as much free play in it as before I replaced the bearings. So I plan on redoing the tightening.

    But first I do the drivers side, do it exactly to 20/20. It lines up perfectly with the slot for the key. Throw the tire back on, and it wiggles, also the same as before the bearing change....DRAT!! So I dropped it too the ground, I've heard that can loosen them up some and I was wanting to loosen it as much as possible before diving into it again.

    I then went back over to the passenger side, removed everything to the nut, it was so loose it was like there wasn't even any pressure on it, it moved as soon as I touched it. I redid the 20 inch lbs thing, and had to advance it to the next key slot. Felt that was maybe too tight, did it all again, still had to advance to the next key slot. Put the tire back on, no wiggle.

    Went back to the drivers side, removed the key, and tightened it to the next slot. No wiggle.

    Drove 25 miles, about 8 at freeway speed, returned home and checked, still no wiggle...

    But now I'm worried they are TOO tight....

    I had to advance both to the next key slot, and even though that's only turning it like 5 degrees, it was far beyond finger tight, I had to put some pressure on my 1" drive socket to get it to the next key way.

    But when I didn't, I had wiggle..... could it be a bad spindle? Anyone else had this issue?
     
  8. Roadrunner777

    Roadrunner777 Well-Known Member

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    I don't like the torque method. I wrote a rather long article in my registry showing why it is unreliable. The two things contributing the most to error are torque wrench accuracy, and the unknown state of the spindle treads (clean, dirty, or greased).

    Here is my routine, new bearing or just a repack:

    Tighten the spindle nut, while spinning the rotor. It will get tight, and ultimately bind to the point where it takes some serious effort to get it spinning again. Back off the nut until the rotor spins about 1/2 a rotation when you give it a spin. (This may not seem like much of a coast, but if you are using sticky grease like I do, the grease shear is going to slow down the rotor fast, and this is with the caliper and pads installed)

    Keep the rotor spinning constantly while making changes in the spindle nut. I have manual hubs, and the way the locking washer works, you are always very close to having it lock in. The auto locking hub version, I guess I would try both the slot tighter and slot looser and see which one felt better.

    Hang in there. This is one of the most subjective jobs to perform on a vehicle. It will take a few, perhaps many tries before you get it right the first time.
     
  9. Anime

    Anime EF YEAH!! Elite Explorer

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    As far as the races go, I think it's a tough thing to get old ones out, since the rotors have been heated and cooled so much, and they have pretty much bonded solid to the rotors after tens of thousands of miles or more. Sure, you can do it with a heavy duty press. Is it worth it? Maybe if you have expensive slotted rotors or something. Otherwise premium rotors are like $50 (unless you snag 'em for a deal) so when it comes time to do wheel bearings, most people are better off either replacing rotors, of if they are in good shape, plenty of people just put in new bearings with the old races even though that's not recommended.

    The technique in the factory manual about torquing to spec, then backing off 90 degrees and putting the key in the slot closest to the right has always worked for me when it comes to wheel bearings on auto hubs. If they are too lose, just go forward another key slot or so until they aren't. It's fine to go forward a slot or two, but if you have to go forward close to 90 degrees to get it tight, re-check the hardware. Also be sure you haven't over-greased the bearings, sometimes people do that especially when they hand pack them instead of using a bearing packer, thinking more grease is better. Extra grease will be solid enough to prevent the nut going on tight enough, but will move around just enough to make for a slightly loose bearing.

    Keep in mind that brand new bearings, especially with brand new just-pressed-in races will need to be re-tightened and re-torqued at least once or twice after the initial break in. Unless the races were pressed in with a machine, you can bet they are not perfectly seated. I think it's a good idea to re-torque after a few hundred/thousand miles as well.
     
  10. doonze

    doonze Active Member

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    Thanks guys for the input, I've never done bearings before, never had to. And because this is my first 4x4 I'm still learning that as well. I've done the shift motor a couple of times but that's about it. You've made me feel much better.

    I've also never packed bearings, so I bought a packer from Harbor Freight, but the instructions seems to assume you already know how to use one. It seemed pretty straight forward, but I'm not 100% sure I was using it as intended, I'll link it below and if anyone's used one maybe explain how you used it?

    How often do the bearings need to be repacked (or re-tightened, and how do you decided which it needs?) Sears messed up and ended up repacking mine cheap about 1.5 years ago, and I've put maybe 8k-10k on it since then, but they were loose. Since I didn't know how old the ones in there were, I just bought new ones to be sure. But I'm not really sure the old ones needed replacing. In fact I don't even know if they needed repacking, maybe just tightening?

    Anyway, here's that bearing packer....

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Currency

    Currency Active Member

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    I have to get me one of those packers. I hate packing bearings. Have done it five times on both sides since September 2010.

    Just did it again last night, replaced the value crap bearings for Timkens on the driverside, always have issues on this side. Replaced spindle as well.

    I've always put the spindle nut on it pretty tight before, didn't put them on as tight last night but it feels about the same as before. A slight wobble. I've spun enough bearings for a grown man to cry and have had this explorer for just over two years. Drive about 12k a year. This time I put the nut on hand tight, then tightened it to fit the key in. No wobble I could feel when it was jacked up and on jack stands. Perhaps my wobble is from ball joints/tie rods or something else. They all need replaced.
     
  12. Anime

    Anime EF YEAH!! Elite Explorer

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    Bearing packers are pretty easy to use, usually for that type it's just a matter of putting the bearings on the clean surface between the top and bottom and pressing down. They are great as a 1-step thing rather than sitting there for 10 minutes or more trying to nudge a little bit of grease in by hand all the way around the bearing.

    Wheel bearings should be repacked every time you take them out for service, or you can probably extend their life if you take them out and repack them every 30-50K. Usually it's a good idea to redo them if the axles have been underwater as well, along with changing the differential fluid. I replace them about every 100K, they can likely go much longer depending on use, but for the price it's cheap insurance, and keeping the old ones as spares adds to that in case anything ever does happen with the new ones.

    Did you check that all the hardware was there? Often places like Sears don't see that many 4x4 TTB Explorers and have no idea what they're doing, they may have done an ok job but not known about the factory torque procedure and just snugged 'em up and left it at that.
     

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