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Do I need to change my wheel bearings?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by omgyouresexy, February 13, 2009.

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  1. omgyouresexy

    omgyouresexy New Member

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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    '99 Eddie Bauer
    Hey guys. I've had some conflicting opinions regarding whether or not I should change my front wheel bearings on my 2WD '99 and thought I'd come to you for a little more advice.

    When at the garage getting a couple new tires put on, the guy pointed out to me that my front wheels were a bit loose (held the tire at the top and bottom and showed me that it has the tiniest bit of wiggle to it). He suggested that it could be the wheel bearings, so I got it in my head that I needed to change the wheel bearings.

    I bought all the stuff for it, which normally wouldn't be that expensive except that I ended up buying a somewhat expensive bearings packer as well. I think everything was $50 or $60 all together. I'd still have to buy a torque wrench ($Texas) and probably one or two more small tools to get the job done.

    I was riding around with my friend who knows a lot about car repair in general and he asked if I'd gotten the wheel bearings done yet. I told him I hadn't done anything yet and he said that they sounded fine, that the vehicle would be shaking a lot (especially at higher speeds) and making what he described as a "throaty scraping or metal on metal whining" when I was driving, and that I would know if something were wrong.

    At most right now, I feel like there might be the slightest bit of rattle when going over bumps or potholes, but that could be my imagination. If what he said is true and I really don't need to change the wheel bearings, I'd rather just return everything and buy it again later when I actually need it.

    Can anyone here offer any more advice on anything to look for or whether what my friend says i should expect to be hearing is true? I know he's the kind of guy who follows the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, which is all well and good. I'm just trying to figure out who to believe. :p:
     
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  3. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    The 2wd wheel bearings I believe are old school adjustable types. They can be taken out, repacked/greased and reset. If you don't hear noise new bearings are probably a waste..but if you can afford a 10yo ex you are so wealthy it shouldn't really matter (j/k). Download a service manual to learn the exact procedure.
     
  4. omgyouresexy

    omgyouresexy New Member

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    I bought the Haynes manual which has been extremely useful so far. It was only like 20 bucks.

    The impression I got was that you have to damage the seal between the inner and outer bearings to remove the inner bearings. Perhaps you could just repack the outer bearings to avoid having to get a new seal and stuff? I'd still have to buy the tools and stuff, and honestly I can't even figure out how to get the center "bolt" (I don't know what to call it) off the wheel to access the bearings. It's not a normal nut you can get off with a ratchet. It's inset with two "ears" that almost looks like they could be used to press against to turn, but no ratchet set I've seen has anything that would fit that.
     
  5. 96eb96

    96eb96 Well-Known Member

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    Plumbers channel locks may do the trick. If you want to just do an adjustment there is a procedure that should be in the manual or CD, and you don't have to remove the rotor. If you want repack bearings if I recall correctly the rotor has to come off and you need a new seal, it is not expensive. Usually bearings are repacked with a brake job.
     

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