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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.

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  1. EricSC

    EricSC New Member

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    Thanks Tyler92

    Hey Tyler92,

    I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU. You saved me a few hundred bucks by taking the time to help. I have a couple of things to add as well for other members that may help even more:

    1. Make sure the 18mm, 21mm, and 35mm sockets are deep well, preferably hooked up to an impact wrench if possible. If not, make sure to use a heavy duty 1/2" ratchet, a heavy pipe (I used my floor jack handle as a braking bar), and lots of PB Blaster. Luckily a friend lent me an impact wrench for the other side. The 10mm for the caliper doesn't need to be deep well. I had a 1 3/8" socket, but it wasn't deep enough for me to get a bite, however after I backed the nut off a bit, I tried it and it worked too, so if you have a deep well 1 3/8" you're good to go.

    2. Get the axle nut lose BEFORE you jack it up. No need to worry about damaging the already tweaked bearing and it's easier.

    3. The order of dis-assembly that worked best for me was loosen axle nut, loosen lugs, jack and secure, remove wheel, remove caliper, remove parking brake, remove upper ball joint stud, remove lower control arm, remove hub and knuckle to swing rearward and place on a block, and finally remove toe link. I took all the pinch bolts and fasteners out before actually removing each part, but this order worked more easily mainly because you can get easier access to the pinch joint on the tow link when it is away from the axle, ball joint, and lower control arm.

    4. I had no need for a new hub. The splines on my old hub that run through the bearing and attach to the axle were fine, and it pressed out ok. I did need the retaining clip for the new bearing though, on both sides. I would imagine most would. Just don't buy the hub until you see what yours look like. They are way stronger than the bearing.

    5. I also had no need for the hub puller. I PB blasted right after taking the axle nut loose so it could soak while I was working. When I was ready to pull the hub and knuckle away from the axle to remove the tow link, I only had to tap it through with a mallet a couple of times, and it came right off. I did back the axle nut out so that it was flush with the end of the axle, put my 35mm socket on the nut and used a board, just to make sure I didnt damage the end of the axle, but it went through so easily, I probably didn't need to bother.

    6. If you still have friction material on the parking brake shoes, by all means, leave them alone. The springs and shoes are hard to get off, and more relentless to get back on. Unless you have a lot of experience with drum style brakes, only remove the control cable through the back of the wheel knuckle.

    7. A really short chisel and a heavy maul hammer are key for that upper ball joint stud removal. It is a must to get good separation on the pinch joint to remove it. It's just as hard to get a pickle fork in there and you're guaranteed to tear the boot if you use one, which would mean a whole upper control arm. My tow link boot was torn already, so I did use one at that joint on one side.

    8. DO NOT tear the upper ball joint boot or the axle (CV Joint) boot.

    Listen to everything Tyler92 said and look at his photos. Again, many thanks for your time and effort. I wouldn't have tackled this job before I read this. It's 6 nuts and bolts, not including the lugs, and I was quoted from 450.00 to 700.00 per wheel. I bought 20 bucks worth of tools, 80 bucks for parts, and 40 bucks at the place that pressed my bearings. One day of me taking my time for dis-assembly, and one day for the pressing. It all went back together in a couple hours.

    Thanks again!!
     
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  3. rick72_us

    rick72_us New Member

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    Where did you buy?

    I did my driver side hub bearing a 3 - 4 years ago and now I need to do the passenger side. When I did the first one I purchase a Timken hub assembly and it's still very solid. Now I read that the Timken hub assembly may not use a bearing manufactured by Timken. What brand hub bearing have most of you used and where did you buy it? Thanks!
     
  4. rick72_us

    rick72_us New Member

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    Where did you buy?

    I did my driver side hub bearing a 3 - 4 years ago and now I need to do the passenger side. When I did the first one I purchase a Timken hub assembly and it's still very solid. Now I read that the Timken hub assembly may not use a bearing manufactured by Timken. What brand hub bearing have most of you used and where did you buy it? Thanks!
     
  5. scdix50

    scdix50 Elite Explorer

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    I buy almost everything from ROCKAUTO. I would stick with the TIMKEN brand. TIMKEN was probably using F.A.G. bearings long before anyone took notice. SKF is a very good brand also and you will pay more. Do not buy any bearing that does not say it is a tapered roller bearing. Ball bearings do not hold up well as wheel bearings and is used by cheap brands.
     
  6. MCH86GN

    MCH86GN New Member

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    Great write up. Did you replace the coil spring as well? I understand coil and strut are one piece. So you have to buy both.

    I had my rear wheel bearing replaced in 2007. Since then I have put 50k miles on it. Hopefully they will last.

    Anyway, I have to search on how to replace the coil spring.
     
  7. faster340

    faster340 New Member

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    ball joint trouble

    [​IMG]

    Having trouble seating this. Any suggestions?

    Thanks...
     
  8. lincolnshibuya

    lincolnshibuya Active Member

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    did you just replace the rear upper ball joint with a moog problem solver?
    not sure if that will work, as far as I know you have to buy the rear upper control arm with the ball joint (as one assembly)
     
  9. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    You do have the cross bolt out, right? The bolt goes in a groove in the ball joint, holding it from popping out. But I'm sure you already know that.

    You should also remove any rust or corrosion from inside the ball joint stud hole first.
     
  10. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    I've got to go thru this next week. I have a broken spring, and a loose rear bearing. I'm going to do it all while I'm in there. Hopefully this will take care of my tire hum, if not, I'll be doing the fronts too. I already dumped enough money into it putting in new front ball joints, tie rod ends and such. When I had it aligned on the front, they wouldn't do the rear, they told me that I had a lower rear bushing loose. I can't get anything to move there, but the wheel shakes a bit, so I'm assuming a bearing, but I figure I can inspect the bushings much better once I get the knuckles off. If it's down a week while I order more parts, it's no big deal.
     
  11. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    How hard were the front ball joints? Were uppers and lowers both bad? And how expensive? I just love that these trucks have 8 ball joints to go bad (not to mention four expensive and difficult wheel bearings), and that the ball joint boot material is to blame... and has been for years and years.
     
  12. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    The fronts weren't that bad. I had a top one fail and it wore out the inside of my tire before I had any signs. It still drove good. The boots were bad on them when I bought it, I figured it would need joints eventually. I would say the lowers would have been fine, but I was in there, had the tools rented, and they were actually easier than the uppers. I had to remove the upper arms to press out the old joints. I think there was only 2 bolts. I didn't have enough room to get the tool to it. Some people have had success wedging a 2x4 in there to hold it down enough to get in there. I just used my shop press once I had the arm out. The lowers I was able to just use the rented tool. It took some pressure on it, but they finally popped loose. I replaced them all with the moog greasable joints, I also did the tie rod ends since I was having it aligned anyways. I put greasable joints on them too. Getting the arms off the knuckle wasn't too bad, I did have to use one of those fork things and had to beat on it a while. They do finally give up. I had it all wrapped up in a half a day. First time I ever did ball joints. I think the ball joints were around $30 a piece at rockauto, so about $120 for all 4. About $18 a piece for the outter tie rod ends. That's all I replaced for now. Hopefully the greasables will last longer. Probably should have done the front wheel bearings while I was in there, they didn't have any play, but seems like there may be a slight hum, but I'm hoping it's the rears since I did notice play in one of those.
     
  13. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    The rear bearings are a mother to replace. You can literally break a press trying to get them out. Or break the spindle. I removed my spindle and busted out the bearings, leaving just the outer race. Then I cut thru the race on a 45 degree angle with a thin whiz wheel. This weakened the race enough that I was able to break the race when I started pushing on it with the press.

    Prior to that, I tried to press the bearing out. It didn't budge, and I could tell I was getting close to breaking something. They use bearing race loctite on the entire race, I think. It's really in there good. Also be careful pressing the new bearings in. It's one outer race, two tapered bearings facing each other inside. If you don't press on the outer edge of the race when pressing them in, you will be pushing on the bearings with the press. One is tapered, and will push towards the race. The other is tapered, and will get pushed out of the race if you aren't careful. Either way, you're pressing on bearings and that will lead to premature failure.

    I've had mine in for a few years now, and they are still going strong. Others have had the replacements fail prematurely, and I'm pretty sure its because they weren't careful when pressing in the new ones to not be pressing on the bearings.

    The kits come with new snap rings. I also bought new dust seals for $7 each.

    The front ball joints look like the 96-01 style, where it's a whole arm and you are supposed to replace it with a whole new arm. In my 98, I bought a new arm from the Moog problem solver line. It replaces the arm, but also has a replaceable ball joint for future easy repairs. Unfortunately, one of the moog boots is already junk. I was unhappy to see that, considering it was only about 2 years old.
     
  14. MerkurRS

    MerkurRS New Member

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    This is a great write-up and thread- thanks! I am looking so forward to doing this (not). I am getting tires today- I will have them inspect the complete suspension so I know exactly what to order. Steering feels tight- just some minor abnormal tire wear indicating an alignment is needed. Plus....major bearing whine. Next up after all this- transmission "chatter" from valve body or torque converter. Then- it will be like a new truck!
     
  15. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    Could you describe your converter chatter? Mine has what sounds like a bad catalytic converter heat shield or rocks in the exhaust. It's always made that sound since I bought it, and it's not the exhaust. I feel it's the converter.
     
  16. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    I've got that noise. It does it worse when I'm stopped idling in gear. If I put it in park I don't hardly hear it. I don't notice it at all driving. There is a thread somewhere about the torque converter rattling. I thought I fixed it once, I noticed both heat shields around the manifolds were broke off. I got in there an put a couple of hose clamps around them to hold them in place. Evidently that wasn't the noise I was hearing. You also mentioned that the stock front ball joints aren't replaceable in the stock a-arms. I was able to replace mine with the moog greasable ones. I would check the bushings in the control arm though, it may be worthwhile to change the whole arm.
     
  17. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    I got my left side all tore down today. I had more trouble figuring out how to rig the knuckle up in the press to press the hub out of the knuckle without bending the brake shield. I got it out and got the bearing out in this new piece. It felt like it lost all its lube. Really hard to turn. I have a question. Does the cross axis ball joint in the lower control arm press out either way? They told me it was bad when I wanted it aligned a while back. It looks to me that the bolt took more wear than the bushing, but the metal in the bushing may be wore some too.
     
  18. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    I don't remember much about the ball joints in the back, except that I had a hard time getting mine to pop out of the spindle when I removed the spindle. Eventually, I soaked it with PB and pryed on the pinch bolt gap, and tapping on the side of the spindle eventually shocked it loose.

    The brake backing plate can be unbolted during the pressing out stage, but you have to remember to bolt it back in at the right time when you press it all back together. I forgot to do that, and ended up having to cut the shield on the cut line, tap an empty hole and bolt it back in, in two pieces. Just think about what you're doing there.

    I went to Lowes and got a big brass water valve to use as a press tool for putting the bearing back in. It was the only thing I could find that was the right size, since the press I used had almost no tools with it.

    I also remember that the rear steering arm was hard to remove without damaging the boot, which I did. The stupid thing didn't have a puller lip on it, and I'm still not sure how you would remove it without beating on it. I used a fork, but damaged the boot in the process. Stupid design.
     
  19. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    I got it all apart. I have the lower arm off, just wondering if that bushing that goes to the knuckle can be pushed out either way. It's so rusted it's hard to tell by looking. I see the cut line you're talking about on the brake shield, the shield won't come off thought until I press out the hub right?
     
  20. roush9799

    roush9799 Active Member

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    anyone know if anyone makes a boot for the rear upper ball joints? One is rotten and I didn't want to have to replace the whole joint.
     
  21. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    The shield won't come off until... something... I just can't remember what. LOL. I do remember that it could, and should, come off at some point. And that you have to remember to put it back on before you press in the new joint. Otherwise, you will have to cut it, tap a blank hole, and reinstall it in 2 pieces like I had to.

    I'm not sure what bushing you are talking about. I just remember there being a ball joint or two, and a steering rod that was very difficult to get off without damaging the boot.
     

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