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How to: 2002 Explorer rear wheel bearing replacement (pictures)

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Tyler92, August 15, 2009.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. gunschman

    gunschman New Member

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    Well- I used this to remove the knuckle. I will say this work was easier than expected. Each job is different. Thanks for posting the socket size!! The axles slid right out for me. Getting the upper arm lose did take some upward pounding, but did finally come out. My question is- is it really needed to replace the HUB as well?
     
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  3. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    Ford originally said the hub/bearing assembly must be replaced. Later on, Ford stated that the hub didn't have to be new. I suppose you could buy the bearing separately, but I wouldn't bother. I doubt you can buy the bearing much cheaper than you could buy the hub/bearing/snap ring combo.

    By the way, don't get the $40 hub on Ebay. We're talking China garbage here. Get either a Ford one or a genuine Timken, which will run you at or over $100. Another good reason for quality here is the lug studs that come in the hub. A cheap broken stud could be a real pain.

    Think about this: The only thing holding the wheel on is the hub and lug nuts. The only thing holding the hub on is the press fit into the bearing. So a total bearing failure = wheel can come off! And from what I read, that has happened to people on the interstate!

    For that same reason, I wouldn't want to use my Explorer to put a boat in the water, or to drive thru a flooded area, for fear the water will damage the bearings and cause a very unsafe bearing failure condition.
     
  4. gunschman

    gunschman New Member

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    Thanks!!! Cost me only $40 to have a shop press the new hub and bearing.... Thanks to the thread for all the help!!!!
     
  5. commandrow

    commandrow New Member

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    Can I ask why you replaced them? How many miles were on your truck? Did you submerge the bearings?

    I saw the post of the 203 FT Lbs as the possible cause of premature failure but what signaled you to need to change the bearing? Was is squealing or vibrating? Just looking for some insight.

    Also great job showing step by step. Kudo's
     
  6. gunschman

    gunschman New Member

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    Yeah that 203 ft pounds is a prob for most of us I think... I can only get 150 then add about a 1/4 turn with a lonf handle...
     
  7. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    I have a 1/2 drive SK torque wrench that I used, but I believe you can get gear reduction units that go between your torque wrench and your socket, which multiply torque. That might be a cheaper way to hit the big torque numbers.

    I believe these gear reduction units are the same type of thing that some special tire wrenches use to allow women to remove lug nuts with rather small ratchets.

    I saw a pinion nut torque spec of something over 400 lbs on a 1 ton Ford truck rear end a while back. I can only guess that a torque multiplying device is necessary to make that happen!
     
  8. thammel

    thammel Member

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    How to press the bearings on and off?

    Ok, I bought a 20 ton shop press because I got tired of going to the shop all the time to press the new bearings on. So I have the rear hub off with parking brakes still attached along with backing plate. (The guys at the shop had me bring it in like that the last time and they did the press off/press on job with the parking brakes on (at least I'm pretty sure they did!).

    As I look at this, for the life of me I can't see how to press off the hub. It looks like you press that off first. Has anyone done this themselves? IF so can you give me the order in which you do this and what kind of adapters you used?

    Thanks!
    Tom
     
  9. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    It's not easy. First to get the old hub off, you can simply press it out or beat it out. When you do that, you'll destroy the hub bearing in the process. The hub bearing is two tapered roller bearings back to back, with one common outer race.

    So what I did is beat out the hub (because I didn't have a press that handy), then I beat out the bearings so the only thing left was the race. I tried pressing the race out, but it would not come out for the love of God. I ended up taking a small whiz wheel and scoring thru the race most of the way (your only choice here is diagonally). Once the race was sufficiently weakened, I was able to break the race by trying to press it out again.

    I should note that loctite makes a loctite fluid for holding races in. I suspect the factory must have used some of that, because it was a real mother to get the race out.

    I forget exactly how I applied pressure to the race, but I do remember that the middle of the race was the raised up portion, and I think that gave me something to push on with the press.

    Before you go pressing the bearing out, you need to find the large snap ring holding the bearing in, and remove it. Mine was rusted, and wasn't hardly visible. I had to scrape around with a small screwdriver to get rid of enough crud to be able to identify the snap ring. Then removing it wasn't fun either, but some PB Blaster and a screwdriver and snap ring pliers eventually got the job done. I think I lifted the snap ring up initially, and worked it around with the flathead screwdriver, until it had come all the way out of its groove.

    When you're installing the bearing using the press, it's REALLY critical to understand that you must support the bearing just right. Otherwise, when you press in the hub, you'll destroy the bearing. Remember, its two tapered roller bearings back to back in one race.

    I went to Lowes plumbing department, found a really big bronze ball valve that had the right size to support the bearing/race from the back side as I pressed the hub in, and returned it when I was done. Yeah I know... cheap. But it was like $45 for that stupid ball valve, and I just needed it for a couple minutes :)

    Overall, you've got to press the bearing into the spindle (without destroying the bearing, so again support the bearing carefully. I think I used my old race as a spacer to press the new bearing/race in actually, so hopefully you won't break the old race getting it out. Once the bearing is in, then press the hub in, while supporting the bearing just right from the back side, so as not to destroy the bearing.

    When you press the old bearing out, use that as practice for how to reinstall the new bearing. Maybe take it out and press it back in again, including hub, just to see exactly how you need to support the thing.

    I had a really crappy harbor freight press to use, and not much for adapters, which is why I had to improvise so much.

    When all done, don't forget to reinstall the new snap ring, and if you have to cut the old race with a whiz wheel like I did, be CAREFUL not to cut thru all the way and into the spindle. The race is thickest in the middle, and thinnest on the outer edges.
     
  10. thammel

    thammel Member

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    Thanks for all the detail! I also have the Harbor Freight 20 ton press and little in the way of adaptors, except a ton of large sockets. For the life of me I still can't see how you "beat" off the hub. I have the spindle assembly with old hub and bearing off the car. I also did get the large snap ring off - not too terrible a job, but the same way you described. What I just can't figure is what adaptors to use to press off the old hub and old bearing. This keeps bugging me!

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  11. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    Well, I am going on memory here, so if what I say looks impossible, don't do it.

    But I remember taking a socket the size of the hub's shaft, putting it in the back side of the hub (shaft side, not lug side), and smacking it with a baby sledge. At least that's how I remember it. Hub comes out easily, and probably half of the bearing gets destroyed and comes out that way as well. A little more hammer work, and you have nothing left but the race I think.

    Post pictures if you have to. Maybe it will jog my memory.
     
  12. Bookie-1

    Bookie-1 New Member

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    TU,TY,TU,....IM GOING TO ATEMT THIS NEXT ISSUE.....have done mech. work before..just needed direction and your pics. tell the whole story..TUVM..
     
  13. thammel

    thammel Member

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    How I pressed the bearing and hub myself

    Well, I did the job using my new Harbor Freight 20 ton press. It really wasn't that hard and since I just did it today, I can give all the details.

    With the hub off, I found that it would be best to remove the parking brakes and all hardware - don't worry - it's much easier to get back on this way.

    Next - remove the snap ring. I did this the way it was described above. You get one side of it out and up out of the groove and then work your way around until the whole length is out. Now to the press.

    I found that I need to rig up some more spacers so without extra chunks of metal laying around, I cut some old scrap deck joists (2x8) and cut 8 pieces that were each 12" long. I didn't need all of them but definitely needed some.

    First you press the hub out with the wheel studs facing down. You need to put the 2 metal blocks that come with the press up on 3 (I think) of the wood spacers on each side of the hub. I did have some metal adaptors (large sockets would work) to press the hub down and out. Be careful how you have things rigged up - you may end up bending the backing plate for the parking brakes. Anyway, press the hub down and out and this went pretty easy. Now you can temporarily remove the backing plate (3 8mm screws).

    The next thing you do is press the bearing out. This was tough. You need to flip the assy over to press out toward the rear. I thought things were not going well and was pressing like crazy without any motion and then there was a bang and it moved about a half inch or so. I kept pressing and it moved in jerks like that but I got the bearing out. Whew!! Again, a large socket or something like that will be needed. I saved the old bearing for future work.

    Now, clean up the bore of the spindle so maybe pressing the new bearing in will be easier. It's also easier to press in with the backing plate off. Use the old bearing as a press tool for this.

    This went pretty easy. Press until it's all the way in and then get the new snap ring in. This was tough until I figured out that brute force was required. You can do this without a heavy duty snap ring too, which I don't have. Get one end of it in and then take the handle end of a hammer and bear down on the ring as you work your way around - you will be able to get it in. If this 61 yr old can, then you can.

    Re-install the parking brake backing plate. Now re-install the parking brake assemblies. This should be much easier without the hub in the way. Do the top large spring first. I suggest putting the right shoe on along with the hold-down pin and clip. Now hook the large spring on it and the left shoe and force the left shoe into place with a pry bar or large screwdriver. Now put the adjuster and small spring on and then the left side hold-down pin and clip.

    Back to the press. It would be good to back the new bearing underneath with the old bearing. Now press the hub in all the way. You're done with the pressing operations!!

    Back to car to reinstall the assembly! By the way, I have a large Craftsman torque wrench that goes to 200 ft-lbs and, again, if this 61 yr old can hit 200 ft-lbs on the axle nut, so can you! The other bolts/nuts are 66 ft-lbs (ball joint and tie rod).

    Have fun!
    Tom
     
  14. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    After reading Toms method, it sounds great to me. Just a couple thoughts to add. 1) By REMEMBERING when to put the backing plate back on, you don't have to cut the backing plate to do this job, which is great. I remember now... that I had forgotten to reinstall the backing plate at the appropriate time. That was why I had to cut my backing plate to install it... the hub was already pressed in. And pressing the new hub back out would probably ruin the new bearing!

    Next, he had luck with pressing his old bearing out. I did not. I was doing a pull-up on the handle of the 20 ton press, and it still would not press out. Apparently, it's somewhere between hard and impossible with a 20 ton press. With an even larger press, it should come out every time. If the old bearing race won't come out, you'll have to weaken it by sawing thru the race some with a whizzer wheel. The race is thickest in the middle, but you won't be able to do that until you bust out the bearings and hub first.

    Last, be VERY careful when pressing in the new hub not to destroy or strain the new bearing. You must look carefully at the bearing, and support it as best you can, so the stress of the new hub going in doesn't push the bearings out of the new bearing/race. Perhaps a little lube wouldn't hurt here. Some wd40 maybe.

    Try to keep the old bearing, or at least the old race, intact so you can use it to press the new bearing in.

    The thing to remember here is that the new bearing is two tapered bearings back to back, with one common race. If you press on the bearing anwhere other than the race, you'll be pushing one bearing inward and the other bearing outward, which will destroy it.
     
  15. Oldwolf

    Oldwolf Active Member

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    I replaced all four bearing in my 02 Explorer. Expensive, yes, but my highway mpg has gone up to 22+.
     
  16. Bookie-1

    Bookie-1 New Member

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    :usa:hey i just wanted to thanks alot for the pictures and infor..i did my explorer this weekend and everything went according to plan...had bearing pressed in and out for25$ and saved the hub..got prices for 500-800$...i got a timken bearing for 80$...you dont have to mess with the emg. brakes or back plate at all as you can press the bearing with them....unfortunatly for me when i took the rotor off the brake linings fell right off in my lap...had to replace..but hey much more $ saved...this wasssss the hardest part to do than the bearing itself..again tu for all the pic. and infor as you proved the cost of repairs in garages are way out of line...tu....bookie-1
     
  17. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    I forgot to mention earlier, that if you leave your brakes on when pressing the bearing in, or if you at least install the brake shoes and springs before the hub gets pressed back in, you'll save yourself some grief. After the hub is on, the brakes are so small that they hide behind the hub and the springs are tough to install. I used a headlight adjusting tool, which is a T handle with a small J hook on the end of it, to remove and install my brake springs.

    Either way, DON'T press the hub into the bearing until you have installed the brake backing plate, and hopefully the entirely assembled drum brakes onto the spindle. Then press the hub into the bearing.

    While the spindle is off, it's also a good time to inspect the dust seal that's pressed onto the CV axle. That seal seals the CV axle to the spindle once everything is installed. Mine were toast, as was my brake shoes. They fell apart when removed. This is more likely on northern vehicles.
     
  18. TThomason

    TThomason New Member

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    this was on a 2002 ford explorer? I saw a video on youtube, and it seemed so simple, I may not try that now.
     
  19. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    All the 02-up Explorers have independent rear suspension. They have one really big rear wheel bearing pressed in to the spindle. While the job is do-able, and this thread will help you thru it, it's not an easy job and it requires some tools to get it right.

    A really big socket (31 or 32mm I believe), a 1/2" torque wrench capable of 250 ft lbs of torque, a brake adjusting gauge (for adjusting the parking brake shoes... you could probably get around needing this tool, but technically its required), a full socket set, mini-sledge hammer, deep lug nut socket, snap ring pliers, screwdrivers, caliper hanger or wire, and more.

    A real time, aggrevation, and equipment saver is to take the spindle off and just have a machine shop press the old bearing out and the new bearing in. They'll do it for under $50 probably, and that solves some serious bs.

    On the flip side, Ford gets ridiculous money (perhaps as much as $800) to do this job on just ONE bearing. Saving that money bought me some tools I didn't already have!
     
  20. LukeG

    LukeG New Member

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    Do you have a link for that youtube video?
     
  21. gunschman

    gunschman New Member

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    I will say it was "simple". I had a shop press the hub and bearings- both wheels for $40.00. Hard part was the 36mm socket and 250pounf torque wrench.
     

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