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How I changed my 05's Front Wheel Bearing

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by High_Order1, August 27, 2007.

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  1. ShawnTRD

    ShawnTRD Active Member

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    I believe I used the frame behind the wheels.
     
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  3. tjgorn01

    tjgorn01 New Member

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    I moved my hydraulic jack back just enough on the frame to allow my jack stands to be placed at the diamond where the jack normally goes... Don't know if that is bad but it worked for me.
     
  4. icepickjazz

    icepickjazz Active Member

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    City, State:
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    Year, Model & Trim Level:
    2004 XLT Sport 4.6L V8
    Just finished the LF bearing '04 V8 4x4 with 92K. Had a misstep or two. As everyone knows the 3 flange bolts are horrendous.

    I bought the cheap 15mm offset from harbor freight. Big mistake. That sucker broke on the first turn and it was only by hand with very little force. Immediately searched for Sears within a 30 mile radius and find 1 store with 1 13-15mm offset remaining. My wife is at work and I have no car. My mom picks it up for me. 2 hours later I'm back in business.

    Proceeded to loosen the 3 flange bolts. On two of the after they broke free I could use the offset wrench to loosen them. The 3rd bolt required additional leverage (black pipe) on every turn. I was able to loosen them to the point where the wrench hit the axle housing and couldn't back them out any more.

    I borrowed a flange puller from auto zone. So I attempted to use it to push the axle in a little so I could continue to loosen the flange bolts. The axle didn't move much and I was afraid to put much pressure on the axle. So switched to the slide hammer and was able to pull the hub out enough for a gap between the flange and the knuckle. Then used a mini-hacksaw to cut the bolts. My brother was supposed to bring a reciprocating saw, but he forgot it. He was also late and I had all 3 bolts cut off and hub nearly off before he arrived. Perfect timing on his part.

    Mine had the gasket material between the knuckle and hub. There hasn't been any definitive answers in the forum. I checked out fordparts and they show the hub gasket as a discontinued item. How have other addressed this issue?Do people replace the gasket or not?

    I don't know how I could have gotten those flange bolts off w/o cutting them. There was no room and I was afraid to push the axle in. How do I know if I have pushed the axle in too much or not? I'm sure I'll have to do the RF in the future.

    Once the hub was off it was short work putting it all back together. It's much quieter, I don't get the steering wheel vibration when braking and during right is much smoother. Now I have new noises to listen to. I certainly could not have done this without the OP and all the follow up postings.
     
    Last edited: June 12, 2011
  5. piejo

    piejo New Member

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    Started mine today for the most part everything is easy except those hub bolts.Glad i read this post and all the tips on here are helping me out.Just read about the offset wrench and will be picking one up tomorow.Im doing both sides and the upper ball joints and brakes and rotors since im in there already.Thanks to everyone who has posted and given tips here.
     
  6. thammel

    thammel Member

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    I have some answers to some of your questions. I just did my front right hub/bearing. I have an offset box set and these indeed are important. I did find that by a combination of turning the wheel and pushing the axle in a bit that it was somewhat easier to get the 3 bolts out - still tough.

    Here's the reason for the RTV/gasket stuff as you all call it. The hub is steel. The housing/knuckle is aluminum. Steel and aluminum can set up a galvanic corrosion cell, especially in the saline (where salt is used in the winter) environment it sees. So the sealant is used to electrically isolate the two. What I used in every spot where the two could touch was use a high temp (copper based) RTV to create a gasket of sorts between the two.

    I'll tell you what's REALLY a pain to do - the upper front balljoints. The pain is getting the darn nuts off the control arm to remove the arm so you can press the balljoints on/off. I got it done on both sides, but man, it sure did take a long time to get each nut off - probably at least 30-45 minutes per nut!

    Tom
     
  7. adkdremn

    adkdremn New Member

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    Just got done replacing my 03 Mountaineers front driver side bearing assembly using this thread. Thanks!! Wasn't too bad....under an hours work, but I did have my golf course mechanic's help.
    Now I need to do the rear....seems much more intimidating!
     
  8. bigmiketino

    bigmiketino New Member

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    I just purchased a 2002 XLS with 80,000 and it needed both front wheel bearings. I turned the steering wheel all the way to the left. If you have help its better but i did it myself. I used a good wobble. Thread axle nut back on and smack with hammer to seperate. Push axle back as far as it will go and hold it there you will gain room to get your rachete or air gun in there. Took me an hour a side. No more roaring noise like I have mud tires on...
     
  9. unc25

    unc25 New Member

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    update....
    Well I just replaced the driver's side hub assembly again! this is the second time I have changed it out. It began roaring about 8 months after i installed the original replacement,I was still under warranty and returned it to Advanced Auto Parts. I was able to exchange it at no cost.

    Funny thing is i ordered a moog hub assembly the first time and I was given a National hub and assured that it was the same assembly. The original box was generic white, with no markings whatsoever.

    When I received the new replacement under warranty I received a Moog branded yellow and blue box. The hub assembly was stamped "National" and included the bolts and ABS sensor like the original one. However the bolts did not have any threadlocker pre-applied. And this Moog hub assembly comes with a 3 year warranty as opposed to the 1 yr on the original replacement part.

    New one is on and the roaring is gone......for now.
     
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  10. lonaeperry2

    lonaeperry2 New Member

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    The easiest way to loosen the the spline is with an air chisel with an arrow tip a click of the trigger and it's free. and gives you access to the 3 bolts. loosen the 3 bolts about 4-5 turns take air chisel with hammer attachment to drive hub out to give enough access to threads. Then take a hack saw cut the 3 bolts it takes about 45 minutes start to finish. I work for a transportation company as a fleet mechanic. We do these about 1 every 2 weeks. I have become a pro lol.
    As far as ball joints go use a air chisel with the right size fork to remove. just go light on the trigger as in pulling the trigger of a gun light strokes or you will destroy the boot.
     
  11. Usually_Jeep

    Usually_Jeep New Member

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    Removing the 3 bolts from the bearings is tough. Here is a quick solution. Cut into the old bearing to lop off the bolt. It worked out well for me when I gave up using a wrench. Here is a pic of the result. You can see the cut I made on the top right of the hub.
    [​IMG] Shot at 2011-11-21[/IMG]

    It is also good to note that putting RTV sealant between the knuckle and wheel hub MAY not be a good idea. Which is counter intuitive to me. However empirically the jury is in and the bearing on my explorer that had RTV sealant was in much worse shape than the other side that did not have RTV sealant. I blame the RTV sealant for holding the salt and water in instead of keeping it out.
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    You can see the salt stains in the above pic. The bearing also was still wet even though the explorer had been in the garage for the last month.
    Pulling this bearing out was BRUTAL! Not only did I have to resort to cutting out the bolts with an angle grinder I had to use a hammer bearing puller. I whaled on it for 10 minutes before it finally let loose from the knuckle.
    [​IMG]

    One final point to make the removal and installation of the wheel bearings much easier. Turn the steering wheel all the way in one direction remove the closest bolt to you and then the top one. Turn the steering wheel all the way in the other direction next to remove the third bolt. Make sure your front end of the truck is stable on the Jack stands though. Turning the wheels may shift some weight around.

    I made an expensive mistake during this process. I bought the Timkin bearings without the 15 dollar ABS sensor cables. I saved 30 dollars right? No I didn't because I broke one of them while removing a bearing. To buy a new ABS sensor with cable they (FORD, NAPA, Autozone U.S.) charge $270 odd dollars. How crazy is it that a $15 add on, costs that much more separately? The cheapest solution to this was for me to buy an additional bearing that came with an ABS sensor/cable. I bought the cheapest EBAY bearing the Chinese ever built for $80.00 with shipping. I used the cable off it and tossed the bearing. You could potentially make a deal with the seller for them just to send the cable without the bearing. It would save on the cost of shipping a heavy bearing. If you know of a cheaper way to get the sensor cables separately please pipe up.


    Thanks for all the advise. I hope my 2 cents helped.
     
    Last edited: November 29, 2011
  12. mmorningstar

    mmorningstar New Member

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    I hate doing these, did the drivers side with the aide of this thread about a year ago, doing the passenger side now. Just an FYI to those of you with access to a NAPA, the "Premium" hub they carry has Timiken bearings and appears identical to the part I got from Ford a year ago, book is $229 and if you are friendly with them you will get it for about $185 out the door.....

    did I mention I HATE doing this job....those three bolts f'n blow.....
     
  13. Reynos

    Reynos New Member

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    I am very curious about this too. The Gasket material made a very tight fit in the housing. With nothing in my repair manual mentioning this gasket material. I sanded it down figuring the new hub would have the same right? Of course not...

    So now i have no gasket material and there is no tight press on the hub assembly. The bearing is on, and seems to be ok torqued down, but I am concerned that this could be an issue, and i cant seem to find where anyone makes note of this (let alone my Hanes repair book http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/images/icons/icon13.gif)
     
  14. muzzymaniac

    muzzymaniac Active Member

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    The balljoints are a piece of cake. I live in the salt capital(NY) and find these pretty easy. The problem is dirty corroded threads on the control arms binding the nut. The trick is to clean off the bolt threads on the control arm with a wire wheel. A Dremmel works best. Then soak with PB blaster and go! I sometimes have to loosen then tighten then loosen again a couple of times to get past the rust and grime I missed with the wire wheel.
     
  15. SyberTiger

    SyberTiger Active Member

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    Now that I've verified that the front-left wheel bearing assembly is shot on my 2002 Explorer 4x4 I'm in the market to purchase replacement parts. While I change out the front-left I may as well change out the front-right which, for now, appears good. So, double the price and double the fun...LOL! Anyhow, I'm seeking opinions on which brand of wheel bearing assembly you'd go with. Below I have the delivered price of two wheel bearing assemblies. They include the ABS sensor and cabling and the replacement bolts. For the money....what would you go with?

    1. $412 Motorcraft #4L2Z1104AA - OEM
    2. $305 SKF #BR930456 - I believe SKF makes these for Ford. Made in USA
    3. $251 Moog #515050
    4. $245 Timken #SP470200 - These do NOT have the 5 bolt kit per Rock Auto
    5. $183 GMB #7250235

    Again, prices include shipping and handling for TWO units.
     
    Last edited: December 13, 2011
  16. ShawnTRD

    ShawnTRD Active Member

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    When I had the last two go (one original rear and one 13 month old one from advanced auto) the shop I go two said the only ones that last on ford's and gm's are BCA Bearings. One front and one rear installed cost me $900.
     
  17. SyberTiger

    SyberTiger Active Member

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    I went with SKF. The Timken was tempting however the problem I kept running into is that no one could verify that the 5 bolt kit (3 for the hub, 2 for the caliper) are included. I called Rock Auto and they were useless when it came to getting any information. They just wanted my credit card. They didn't know if it came with the bolts and were unwilling to open a box to check. Further, when I asked them about where the parts are made I got a snide "I have no idea where any of these parts are made". Gave my business to someone else. Sadly, one idiot employee can hurt the reputation of any business. Hopefully the SKF product lasts a long time. I only want to do this once for a long time and don't want to be an expert like some of y'all that went with the Chinese made product. ;)

    UPDATE: After sending an email to Rock Auto's customer service telling them about my unimpressive interaction with their sales associate they answered a couple of questions I had. They said they called the warehouse and the Timken product does NOT have the extra 5 bolt kit. Also, they said they do not know where the Timken wheel bearing hub assemblies are made but rather they only guarantee fit and function and meeting the manufacturers minimal standards. I'm not sure why it was so hard for them to ask the warehouse to look at the wheel bearing to see where it was made. In defense of those distributors who don't know where the bearings are made it should be noted that most of these manufacturers are global companies with manufacturing facilities all over the world including China.
     
    Last edited: December 13, 2011
  18. rocco123

    rocco123 Active Member

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    I bought Timkin when i did my front right. Lasted 40k so far. What concerns me is whether they end up being roller or ball bearings as I have had both in the rear (last ones were ball bearing & only lasted a year). It's well worth getting a 12 ton press from Harbor Freight to do your own in the future.
     
  19. 2002GreyHD150

    2002GreyHD150 Active Member

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    SERIOUSLY???? I think I posted a year or so ago... but SERIOUSLY?

    Maybe I am too deep into REAL mechanical problems every day..

    The (3) 15mm bolts are nothing a SERIOUS dose of PB blaster (WD40 is for whimps like Chip Foose) and some heat in a REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY bad situation can't solve...

    Does no one own metric impact flex sockets? Does no one have the "hot rodder" in them to think... HUH... if I can get 10-12-18" AWAY from the problem and apply torque?

    Seriously guys and gals... 45 minutes per side, from tire up to tire down. No air tools. No off-set wrenches... no trips to Sears/Craftsman... Work SMARTER not harder.

    The issue is getting a good grip on the 15mm bolt head and getting it loose... its how wide from fender to fender on an EXpy/Monty... ? worst case in the claimed "worst salt/weather/snow" cry baby NY/NJ belt... whatever... suck it up... breaker bar and a few extensions... brace them.. POP! all 3 loose in no time.

    Like body work/painting folks... ALL IN THE PREP.... soak it in PB Blaster... have at least a MAAP torch handy just in case.. relax and don't get in your head about the OP's turmoil

    Rob
     
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  20. 2002GreyHD150

    2002GreyHD150 Active Member

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    sorry forgot to mention... YES the trick to the process is "walking" the hub away from the trapped bolts..

    By that I mean: as you loosen all 3 at first... work the hub AWAY from the spindle to keep the bolts loose and productive..

    When you re install.. same thing... get the hub up and start the bolts... work them in gradualy... evenly.. THEN go for the 51-60ft...

    Rob
     
  21. SyberTiger

    SyberTiger Active Member

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    The torquing brings up a question for those who could not get a socket on the bolt heads. If you were using a 15mm offset wrench how did you torque the bolts? My torque wrench uses sockets. If the answer is that you were able to torque the bolts with a 15mm socket then why did you need the offset wrench to begin with? Crowfoot wrench?
     

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