Front Bearings Keep Failing 2WD | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Front Bearings Keep Failing 2WD

Mymeatb18

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February 5, 2021
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03 Explorer Limited
Can't figure out why my front wheel bearings keep failing on my explorer. I have changed the left one about 3 times and the right one 2 times. It only lasts a short while before I start getting vibrations again. I supposedly bought timken bearings, they look legit, with a lifetime warranty from eBay. But have to pay $40 each every time I need a replacement. They look like 4wd ones due to the spline, not sure if it's supposed to be like this for a 2wd. Jacking up the vehicle the wheels have about 2-3mm of play when checking wheels for movement. I do have 23 or 28mm wheel spacers and I make sure they and my wheels are always torqued to spec.

I kept my last failed bearing and seems like the bearing races may be backing out.

I'm thinking of getting a bolt and washer with big enough washers to compress them back and then slightly loosen to keep them on permanently to prevent them from backing out again.

Good idea?
 



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Are you getting the sealed units or the insert?

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What makes you think they are bad?

If you jack up the front and grab the top bottom of the wheel, does it have play? (Note, not all bad bearings will.)

The primary sign, is road noise. That sound of off road lugged tires on turns.
 






Yes the wheels have play when lifted off the ground. I have a slight vibration and steering has slight shake, rotors and breaks are new.

This vehicle had a vibration the day I bought it and is my first ford and rwd.

I changed:
Wheels and tires
Ujoint
Front Lower control arms
Front Upper control arms
All 4 struts
Sway bushings
Last thing that finally fixed the vibration was all 4 wheel bearings

I changed all these things because it needed it as well.
 






After replacing all the suspension parts, did you get a wheel alignment done? Another thing to consider is having your wheels road force balanced. I have a car that has to have it done otherwise the front wheels vibrate at highway speeds.
 






You have spacers? What is your tire/wheel set up?
 






After replacing all the suspension parts, did you get a wheel alignment done? Another thing to consider is having your wheels road force balanced. I have a car that has to have it done otherwise the front wheels vibrate at highway speeds.
I did get an alignment done after. I could try a road force balance as the tires are about 2.5 years old at this point. Doesn't help with the play in the bearing though.

You have spacers? What is your tire/wheel set up?
I thought maybe tires and wheels might fix the issue, also wanted something that looked nicer. I have 20" 2015 explorer wheels and cooper tires, 235/ 50 maybe, I tried to get tires that were as close to original wheel/tire dimensions. Wheels wouldnt fit without spacers due to offset of wheels. I got a spacer that just made them work and so that wheels sit flush with body.
 






Could be the spacers accelerating wear. The hubs were not designed for that. You might be able to get HD bearings & get them pressed into the hubs.
 






Could be the spacers accelerating wear. The hubs were not designed for that. You might be able to get HD bearings & get them pressed into the hubs.
Yeah, seems to be the only thing I can think of. I'm going to try my idea first.

Thanks for the insight
 






Throw the wheel spacers .28mm it is a huge offset causes the hubs to be overloaded
 






I do have 23 or 28mm wheel spacers and I make sure they and my wheels are always torqued to spec.
That will do it and void the warranty.

Dump the spacers and get these:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=3984294

I've had no problems with them.

The "best" ones available are supposedly SKF: https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=1840134

I'd question whether or not your ebay ones are even genuine because none of the brands offer a lifetime warranty on wheel bearings.
 






So got around to finally trying out my idea, so far I think it's been a success. Vibration definitely reduced by a lot, probably need tires to be balanced, but way better than before.

Got 3/4" x 4" threaded bolts and nuts and 2 washers on front and back of bolts that are about 2/16" thick each. The washers fit in the center of the hub with about 1mm of wiggle room. Jacked it up enough to relieve the pressure on the bearings and without tire off the ground and tightened it as tight as I could with my regular 3/4" ratchet. I can get to the nut through the center cap to check it as i drive it a bit.
 






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