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How to: How I changed my 05's Front Wheel Bearing

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Just ordered my LF hub from 1aauto this morning. Looking forward to replacing it and getting rid of my intermident roaring noise!!

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did mine

I just finished replacing the front wheel bearings on my wife's 2005 AWD Explorer. When my wife mentioned that her car was making a noise, and I listened to it, I would have sworn it was tire noise (thrumming like out of balance or out of round). I used this thread as reference to do my work.

I have one hint, a question, and a comment.

Hint - I used the curved end of a prybar to get my hubs loose from the king pin - Just light pressure in several spots and the hub came loose. My hubs appeared to have been installed with some RTV/tar sealant which I believe made them a little hard to remove.

Question - My original bearings had a coating on the seal that looked like RTV/tar. My new bearings do not have a coating. The bearings seems to be sealed and shielded. Why the coating?

Comment - Why is everyone so excited about using Ford OEM parts. The originals are crap (which is why this thread grows and grows and grows).:)

I took these pics of my old bearings:

Here are both of my old bearings. The one of the left was the bad one. I could feel the roughness when I turned the hub.

The black stuff on the bearing looks like tar but scrapes right off. A friend at work says it could be some kind of gasket prep stuff.

The outer shield popped right off.

Next the seal comes out with a little urging.

Here I have cleaned off some of the grease so I can see the rollers and the plastic (ugh) bearing cage. FWIW, I can't see any reason why this bearing was failing.

Here is a close up of the shield that shows the bearing manufacturer and the bearing number. Seems like this is identical to the aftermarket bearings available at the big auto parts stores.

I just replaced mine this morning. Piece of cake, took about 45 mins. Thank goodness it is a 2WD !!

It dawned me after I did this job from prep to test drive in under 2 hours that this post applies mainly to 4X4s and not 2 wheel drive Explorers. After disconnecting the speed sensor by the battery, jacking it up on stands, popping the center cap and lossening the lugs, I noticed that there wasn't an axle nut nor was there a shaft that aligned with the splines in the hub assembly. I thought "wheeewww, this might go easier than this thread led me to believe." I was still a little worried about the pesky bolts that hold the hub on, but after removing both caliper bolts and hanging the caliper on a coat hanger, I put a breaker bar on those bolts, applied a little pressure to all 3 (one at a time) they all broke loose and easily removed them. Like others have mentioned, the RTV compound that the factory hubs on presented a little problem but with a paint scrapper I was able to break the seal and pop the hub assemblies off with no problem. A little cleaner for the inside of the knuckle and I bolted the new assembly on, torqued the bolts down, put the rotor back on, put the caliper back on and torqued those bolts down, routed the speed sensor cable and connected it, put the tire back on, torqued those bolts and put the center cap back on the rim and whalllahh! Test drove as expected with no more grinding noises from the front end (ok, a little, but I'm going to replace the driver side next then the rears if needed. After all the worrying, I can't believe I did this in under 2 hours. Thank you to all the posters that prepared me for this job! I couldn't have done it otherwise with such little effort. Now to return a bunch of tools that I didn't need.

What I've found

Great tips and a very helpful thread!! But, I've gotten the 3 bolts off holding the hub assy onto the knuckle but can't free the assembly!! It seems there's some glue or gasket material holding the assembly to the knuckle. I've got a hub puller and have been able to compress the axle shaft 1/2 way through the splined ID of the hub, but it seems that the puller bottoms out and the CV joint won't compress anymore. Any tips would be great, thanks:thumbsup:

I've read a lot of good posts but found out a lot more.....
I have to do my 02 explorer bearings, bought them from Rock $138 each w/cables but no bolts. If I can get them for $140 pair on ebay they go back Monday. As for what I found out #1 you need to replace axle spindle nut....
"It seems there's some glue or gasket material holding the assembly to the knuckle", I think thats a hub seal. That maybe why some have problems (seprating hub), and others don't. Longer bad berring goes, more seal melts together. Thats a guess. I found seal at Tousley Ford web site...Nowhere else, no mention anywhere not even here...,2512&groupid=20135&subgroupid=60768&componentid=0&make=10&model=Explorer&year=2002&graphicID=T170070&callout=2&catalogid=1&displayCatalogid=0

Don't know if the link will work but it shows the parts $7, they also sell spindle nut assembly for $6, washer, nut, and retainer. If that dam Chilton manual had better repair info I'd have the job done already. And not need to get more info. I'm going to buy a seal and nut assembly before I start. One dealer said I'm looking at $15 for a nut. But I'll try online, I'll try to post results......
BTW,,,offset wrench at Harbor Freight for $15 as a set 8mm to 22mm. And You need 29mm socket for axle nut I have two 30mm, no good. Bought a 29mm @Autozone..

how come people say you need a 30mm and some say a 29mm? I hope mine is a 30 because that is what I bought. and plus a craftsman 13mm/ 15mm offset box end wrench.

Apparently some are and some are not. I bought a 30mm socket because the computer list at NAPA said that it was. I tried the 30mm socket only to find that it had way too much play. Didn't want to put an impact wrench on it. I had a 1 & 1/8" deep socket that fit it perfectly. Inch and an eighth pretty much equals 29mm.

I'm in the middle of changing mine now. I'm about to go get the parts. I have the dealer holding a bearing. Autozone is $30 higher. Any other alternatives that you guys are happy with?
FWIW, I pulled the spindle. Probably about 45 min in so far and dissassembly is complete. If it wasn't 100 degrees outside this wouldn't be a bad job.

You can add an upper ball joint to the list as well. Hopefully this will fix the noise I keep hearing in right hand turns and straights. It goes away in lefts. If not, I guess I'll do the drivers side tonight/tomorrow.

I am going to do the front ones on my 2006 Explorer. It looks like this initail thread post was done on a four wheel drive, which mine is not. The later pics are more like mine. It looks like a straight forward job. I can see where having to work around an axle shaft would be a pain. Glad I don't have to.

You know, I shouldn't gripe. The Mounty has 133k on it and we've never done anything but tires and brakes. However, I've changed a rear wheel bearing and 1 front wheel bearing in the last 100 miles. I still have noise in the front end. I would feel stupid if it weren't for the fact that both bearings thus far have been noisy after removal. Back to work!

Here's a tip to help those with 4 wheel drive to get a socket on the hub bolts. Before you attempt to remove those 3 bolts which are 15mm, get a standard gear puller (mine has 2 arm's, jaw's or whatever they are) and put it on the hub to depress the axle shaft back out of the hub. Push the axle shaft back out of the hub with the puller as far as it will go. It will not go all the way out. You'll be able to tell when it get's hard to turn the big center part of the puller. You really don't even need to go that far. Push the axle shaft back far enough to get a socket on the hub bolts. The top one is the hardest to get at. With the axle shaft out of the way, you can get at the 2 lower bolts fairly easily with a 1/2" drive ratchet and a short extension. I needed a swivel adaptor to get the ratchet on the top bolt but it was easy to get a socket on it with the axle pushed back. This makes it much easier to get the hub off too once the bolts are out. A few whacks with a hammer and it fell right off. Take the time to clean off the end of the hub bolts too. There's about 2 or 3 threads that extend out of the hub that likely are very rusted. I'm in northern NY where salt is plentiful in the winter so mine were bad. Get as much of the rust as you can off with a wire brush and whatever other tools you may have for the job. I used dental tools to clean them good and it really paid off. Then spray them with penetrating oil before taking them out.

I am going to second Grbullets post. I did the left side this morning. However, I already had the upper BJ and tie rod loose from the spindle. Rather than try to get the LBJ off, I pushed the axle back and had no problem getting an impact with a swivel on the bearing bolts. A few hits w/ a hammer and I was GTG. Could have probably done the left side in under 45 min. that way with no aggravation.

Anyway, all my probs are solved for now.

got my bearing from tousley ford the other day. Came with new bolts. It had a bag of 5 bolts?

But I will be attempting this job here soon. Thanks again for all the good advice! Wish me luck.

The two bolts w/the larger head are for the caliper. The other 3 are for the spindle.

got it done in about 2 hours.

Offset 15mm wrench is a must.

My hardest part was getting the wheel bearing off the hub due to the sealant/gasket maker they put on there . AND the worse part was getting the bearing off the splines of the axle. I put the nut back on and wacked the hell out of it with a hammer and it came loose. Tried a puller and no luck.

Alll is better and smooth. I think the rear ones are not far behind. :(. But... Now I did the front one and it wasnt Horriable, just a little tricky. My 3 bolts for the bearing came off pretty easy. I soaked them PB blaster penatration oil. And I put some gasket maker stuff back on the bearing as there has to be a reason that is on there. And alot of anti seize on stuff! .

Over all glad I got the tousley Ford OEM stuff. new bolts, wire plug fit and was the correct length.

I ordered a no-name brand of hub, and didn't get the bolts. Can I get just the three hub bolts from Ford? (or the 5 the OEM hub comes with)

You should be able to get the bolts from Ford. Just make sure that you get the right grade. I think those are 10.3 grade bolts. You should be able to re-use the caliper bolts and possibly even the hub bolts but you should get new ones for the hub.

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mine came with everything for 170$ shipped. And made in USA. (timkin)