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Wheel Bearing Replacement with Manual Hubs - Log

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by Occ, November 6, 2012.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^
  1. Occ

    Occ New Member

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    So I was following Glacier's Brake job Diary as a reference while changing out my rotors, pads, and wheel bearings. Started as a wheel bearing replacement job, then figured it would be easier to just get new rotors instead of messing with replacing just the races (rotors still had some life left, but they were nearing the end, so whatevs). Good reference, but doesn't have much info for manual hubs, so I thought I'd post a little diary of my own with a couple of pics for reference. Might help out some other newbies.

    Here's how the manual hubs look like for comparison. There isn't a weird key thing like the auto hubs have, and the inner nut is different, and I guess the auto hubs don't have the outer nut (which must be torqued on pretty good, preferably with a specialty socket). It's not super complicated, though. The washer with all the holes lines up with a pin on the inner hub nut, and it also has a keyed part that goes into the groove on the spindle.

    Manual Hub Assembled:
    [​IMG]

    Manual Hub with Nuts/Washers Removed:
    [​IMG]

    Nuts/Washers on Display (Left to Right is Outer to Inner):
    [​IMG]

    Captain's Log, Stardate 2012.11
    Upon inspection, my front tires had a lot of play grabbing them top/bottom, left/right and wiggling. This was OK, because I knew the bearings needed to be replaced or maybe repacked (I was opting for the nuke-from-orbit approach: 4 new bearings for the front, they're cheap enough). Removed tire and outer hub piece, and realized my truck has manual hubs as opposed to the auto ones in Glacier's guide. I mean, I knew that, just didn't think about how they would be different inside. They weren't terribly difficult to figure out, but the first side I did, the outer nut was finger loose.

    Took out all the nuts/washers, removed the rotor and bearings. Packed new bearings with grease into new rotor, installed wheel seal. So far, so good. Now, because the outer and inner hub nuts had been finger tight before, I reinstalled them the same way. And when I got the tire back on, I noticed there was still some play, although less than before.

    Note: there are 2 sizes of rotors listed for my truck (1994 Ranger XLT 4WD V6 4.0), I'm not really sure what to look for to tell you what size you have, apart from measuring what's on there already or guessing and seeing if the size you picked fits. My door doesn't have the sticker with the axle code that might have this information. Anyway, turned out my truck uses the smaller size brake rotor. Maybe because it's not ABS, I dunno.

    So I go to do the other side, and it's a mess. The o-ring on the outer hub piece got trashed (Napa part # 727-2153; 3 1/2" inner diameter, 3 11/16" outer diameter, 3/32" wide), and everything is brown and shitty inside. The outer nut is on tight, had to whack it loose a bunch of times with a hammer and punch. Now, I made an assumption here that this was because of how shitty it was inside, but really, they are supposed to be on tight. So got this side cleaned up and installed the new hardware, play was better than before, but still there (because I didn't torque outer nut).

    So, I did some research and found out the procedure for manual hubs: Torque the inner nut to 35 ft lbs to preload/set the wheel bearings, then back it off a little, then hand tighten it (people are saying 16 INCH lbs if you care to measure). Then the outer nut gets torqued to 150 ft lbs, although some people are saying the outer nut will come loose, and this should be 200 or 250. I don't off-road as a hobby, so I just did it to 150, keeping in mind to check the wheels periodically for play.

    To torque these nuts, a special socket is needed (to do it right). Was a little hard to find, when I talked to NAPA, their computer pulled up the one used for the auto hubs. Turns out they had what I needed just sitting in one of the aisles. Part #776-9026, 1/2" drive spindle nut socket.

    Socket Description:
    [​IMG]

    Socket:
    [​IMG]

    Now all my wheel play is gone. :salute:

    TLDR:
    Installed new wheel bearings for manual hub
    Missed step to torque outer nut
    Wheels still had play
    Went back in and torqued outer nut
    Wheels no longer have play
    ???
    Profit
     
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  3. RangerX

    RangerX Elite Ranger Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    FIRST post and you're doing a writeup?!?! You get my vote for newbie of the year! :salute:

    A couple thoughts I had while reading your post:
    The two choices for rotors and bearings should be for the D35 front axle that you have, or the D28 that came on Rangers with smaller engines. But it seems like the D35 ought to have the larger rotor...?
    Judging by the 1st pic, your hubs may have way too much grease in them.
    There's a better version of the manual hub spindle nut socket, it has a fat lip around the pronged end, less slipping off. I know you already bought the one, but just mentioning for others.

    Welcome to the forum.
     
  4. Occ

    Occ New Member

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    Haha, thanks! I've been lurking for awhile (used to have a 1997 Explorer), and just thought it'd be a decent addendum to the brake diary thread, didn't really want to make a whole new thread, just add to that one. This forum has tons of good info and has helped me out quite a bit.

    About the rotor, from what I remember, I got the large one, and I think it might have fit around the axle, but the problem was the distance from the axle to the caliper. So... yeah, still confused on that one. As for the grease, yeah I think I went a little nuts (have a big bottle of it and nothing else to use it on). Is it so much that I should go back in there and wipe it down? Good to know about the socket, I think I saw some other guys saying the same thing, but I didn't see that type at NAPA, and they really wanted to give me the one for the auto hubs, so I considered myself lucky to get a pronged socket at all!

    Also, I meant to complain about the Chilton manual being generally worthless (it is).
     
  5. 4x4junkie

    4x4junkie Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the sockets with just the prongs on the end tend to slip off.
    Here's the better one:
    http://www.summitracing.com/parts/wmr-w1269

    That one doesn't quite fit around the D35 inner nut (it's a tiny hair bigger than the outer nut), however with only needing 15 inch-lbs, you can get it that tight with just your fingers.
    The grease should be fine as long as it's not all packed down into the hub itself (maybe just wipe off the end of the axle shaft).

    The two different rotors listed for 91-'94 Rangers is extraneous clutter left within the parts look-up systems the chain stores use which no one seems interested in removing after 21 crazy years. :confused:
    Easy way to ensure you get the correct rotors, wheel bearings, u-joints, ball joints, steering parts, etc. for your '91-'94 Ranger 4WD front axle, just tell the dude behind the counter to punch in you have a '91 Explorer 4WD (transmission does not matter, if they ask). This avoids all the clutter as none of it was ever applicable to the Explorer.
    (it's apparent no one ever got the memo that 1990 was the only year Ranger with axles that took two different sized rotors and such)

    I should also add:
    Always use Timken brand #SET-37 bearings & races. Anything less tends to not last in these axles, especially if you have non-stock (wider-offset) wheels.
     
  6. Occ

    Occ New Member

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    Thanks for the explanation; that's an awesome tip about the '91 explorer for parts, sir! I'll probably pull that trick in the future. For bearings, I just got whatever was in the store. The Timken brand seems highly recommended around here, just don't have a place locally that has it. I don't really off-road and run stock tire size and stuff, so hopefully it will be OK. Main job is to daily drive in snow and rain and haul my motorcycle around when needed. Your Ranger, on the other hand, looks much more badass and in need of the strongest parts available. :D
     
    Last edited: November 8, 2012
  7. 4x4junkie

    4x4junkie Well-Known Member

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    You don't have Autozone near you? (I know they carry Timken)

    There's always online too (Rockauto.com, Ebay, & others).

    If you're running stock tires & wheels, you should be OK as long as they weren't "value"-priced bearings, just make sure not to over-preload them. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Occ

    Occ New Member

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    Ah, I do have an Autozone near me. NAPA and O'Reilly's are closer though, and between the two they usually have the parts I'm looking for (if not the brand, in this case). I'll have to keep them in mind for next time. Online is good if I plan in advance, but I tend to do these things somewhat impulsively (bad, I know). At least I know what to look for and fix if the new ones don't hold up.
     
  9. leftoverture

    leftoverture Member

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    I agree...great write up! As for Timken vs other bearings...I tend to go with the experiences of other forum members. That said, I would have picked mine up at O'Reilly if Autozone wouldn't have had the Timkens in stock. In the end, if you see my post on the subject, turns out I didn't need the bearings at all. The Timkens already installed were fine, just not torqued tight enough.
     






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