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


roush9799

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When it finally did let loose I swear the press actually cleared the floor it jumped so hard. Sounded like a 50 cal in single shot.
That's about what mine did, I didn't heat it though. I kept putting a little more pressure on it, finally I thought heck with it and really put some to it, then BAM! it was out. And no damage to the knuckle.
 


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Opera House

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Just to add to the frey, I was on vacation when started hearing a noise 300 miles from my destination. There is always a bit of cosmic angst when you are about to do a repair as things will just happen.

Took a week to get the car fixed. We arrived on Friday late. Sunday got around to figuring out what was bad, rear bearing and half drive shaft, and ordered the parts online, less than half the cost of local and couldn't get one part anyway. Think you are smart, just try ordering parts online. I like it when there are only two choices, dirt cheap and love my car more than my wife. My 02 was made April 01 and my history with Ford is what the catalog says fits isn't always the case. I ordered the half shaft A1 66-2194 and bearing hub PH 295-21000 from RockAuto.com $114 including shipping. Only plan to keep this vehicle six months. Wasn't expecting any problems because I had done the two rear bearing (pressed them out myself) 90K ago and replaced the rear springs after that.

Tuesday afternoon got email that parts would arrive that day, FEDEX said they hadn't even been picked up. Parts arrived Wed. Guy loaned me a breaker bar, snapped that the first time I used it. It was Sears so got a new one for him the next day. That one didn't break but it bent a lot so bent it back straight and gave up on 1/2 inch crap. Drove it down the street to a guy that had an illegal garage in a residential area and he got off the stuck nut with an air wrench. Tried to get the half shaft out at 8pm and it pulled apart. Splattered grease but it is probably a good thing to do since it is easier to pull out the stub and not damage the seal. I wanted to replace this half shaft 90K ago but was leaving town and could only get one from Ford which took weeks. Universal boot was crap and a few years later held it together with duct tape. Pulling the shaft out is quite easy to do except when jacked up in a driveway. Not enough force with a short crowbar and not enough room with a long one. Friday neighbor drove me down to the machine shop to get the bearing pressed in. That afternoon driven back to get the pressed bearing, $43. Once installed it is back up the street to torque the nut to specification. It takes a village, but proves it can be done. That weekend I bought a HF 12 ton press for $45 to keep at the camp. Need the jack anyway to lift up the camp. I regret buying the 36MM socket for $20 and it being only a half inch. The Ford nut was 35MM but it worked. HF should sell these, they only go up to 32MM.
 




black_dog106

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*@*^***

:(:(
Good afternoon gang:
Another rear bearing replacement nightmare. Have had all four bearings replaced in the last 2-3 years. First two by a "professional" shop and the last two I did in the driveway after tiring of paying $$$. The left rear was done by the repair shop, I did the right side( and it was a crude replacement). The left side has gotten very noisy so this weekend was the time...
Last night I removed parts to get to the spindle/hub and used a two jaw gear puller in attempt to pull hub. Broke the gear puller. Overnighted an OTC 6574 heavy duty(?) hub puller, so I could do this on the weekend. Broke that also. Using a strong 1/2" impact wrench I wasn't surprised I broke the first puller but I didn't expect to break the second one. The nut is removed from the axle... what am I missing? Things are going to get violent soon... Thinking about getting the torches out and may "accidently" set the car on fire...
BTW 04 Explorer
As always, THANK YOU!!
 
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Hawkeye61

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:(:(
Good afternoon gang:
Another rear bearing replacement nightmare. Have had all four bearings replaced in the last 2-3 years. First two by a "professional" shop and the last two I did in the driveway after tiring of paying $$$. The left rear was done by the repair shop, I did the right side( and it was a crude replacement). The left side has gotten very noisy so this weekend was the time...
Last night I removed parts to get to the spindle/hub and used a two jaw gear puller in attempt to pull hub. Broke the gear puller. Overnighted an OTC 6574 heavy duty(?) hub puller, so I could do this on the weekend. Broke that also. Using a strong 1/2" impact wrench I wasn't surprised I broke the first puller but I didn't expect to break the second one. The nut is removed from the axle... what am I missing? Things are going to get violent soon... Thinking about getting the torches out and may "accidently" set the car on fire...
BTW 04 Explorer
As always, THANK YOU!!
You'll never get it apart with a gear puller. It's going to have to be pressed out and in.
 




black_dog106

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You'll never get it apart with a gear puller. It's going to have to be pressed out and in.
Haven't got to bearing...
Using puller, trying to push half shaft out of hub/knuckle. :mad:
 








Pontisteve

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Having done this job twice, I can tell you this video is excellent. The only thing I would add is that if you beat the bearings out first (after removing knuckle from vehicle), then cut the bulk of the race in half at the thickest part of the race, when you go to press it out it will break free much easier as it breaks the race in half. Without that, man does this thing pop out violently!

If the knuckle is completely loose and able to pivot, you can (but shouldn't) air hammer that axle shaft out the back side of the knuckle. If the knuckle is still bolted up at the rear tie rod, then it can't pivot and when you push on that axle, you are compressing the CV joint and damaging it.

An easier tool on the axle is the OTC hub puller:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/OTC-...are-Locknut-/321755775301?hash=item4aea238145

This gently presses out the axle thru the hub. You might soak it with some PB blaster first. And before you start, make sure you've removed that large axle nut, and if there are any burrs or high spots you might want to file them off first. The hub has splines, and so does the axle. If those splines have any crooked spots or burrs, that needs to be attended to before trying to press it thru. Along with lubrication.

Some people might try to hammer on the axle. This could not only ruin the CV joint, but it could also mushroom the head of the axle and prevent it from being pressed thru the hub. And that would be a problem. And again, be sure to have the knuckle loose and flopping before trying to push that axle thru. Otherwise, you're just pushing on the CV joint internals and can damage them.
 




black_dog106

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Thanks Steve

Haven't touched the explorer since the first posting. Hope to get back to it this weekend.
I have the knuckle disconnected from the car. Nut is off axle. And yes, I have burred end of axle from the abuse. Will need some tidying up before I remove(when I get it to move?:(). As I said before, broke two pullers trying to push axle back through hub/knuckle. The second puller is a rugged puller.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/OTC-Tools-6...hash=item339ede58ee&item=221708703982&vxp=mtr
This is the second puller I broke...
Not sure what I am missing.
Again, THANK YOU, for the response.
 




Pontisteve

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Haven't touched the explorer since the first posting. Hope to get back to it this weekend.
I have the knuckle disconnected from the car. Nut is off axle. And yes, I have burred end of axle from the abuse. Will need some tidying up before I remove(when I get it to move?:(). As I said before, broke two pullers trying to push axle back through hub/knuckle. The second puller is a rugged puller.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/OTC-Tools-6...hash=item339ede58ee&item=221708703982&vxp=mtr
This is the second puller I broke...
Not sure what I am missing.
Again, THANK YOU, for the response.
There is almost nothing except a little corrosion holding the axle inside the hub. So if you have the entire knuckle out of the car, and the axle is also removed from the rear end and still attached to the hub, then one of two things is happening. Most likely, somebody has smacked on the end of that axle with a sledge, and mushroomed the crap out of the axle head.

Or, there is some massive amount of corrosion locking the threads together.

You could try taking a file, and making the axle look like factory again, basically filing off the mushroomed parts, and making sure to clean the grooves out of any excess metal that has been folded over into them. If it's mushroomed, chances are the axle was moving just fine, right up until it got to the mushroomed part. So you would have to push the axle back in again, without damaging the CV joint.

If it's really bad, you can easily get new bearings that come with new hubs. It used to be that was the only way you could get the bearing. Now you can get the bearing with or without the hub. With a new hub, all you would need is either a new axle, or cut the old hub off the old axle. Given that it's still got the bearing on it, you would actually have to cut the axle off and pound it backwards thru the old hub. That might make the hub reusable, but destroys the axle.

Does the axle freely move until it hits a mushroomed part of the axle tip? Have you tried soaking it with PB blaster? I think the file is going to be your best friend. When you're in a ditch, stop digging. Correctly evaluate the situation, and make the necessary repair. In your case, that's probably filing the axle back to a normal shape that will slide back out of the hub. In order to free it up so you can push it back in the hub more (to work on the threads with a file), you can heat the hub up with a MAP gas torch. It would ruin the hub bearing, which is obviously bad already. But you don't want to ruin your CV, so monitor axle temps near the CV side.
 




black_dog106

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Again, THANK YOU Steve

The axle hasn't moved, the slightest amount. I have "peened" the end of the axle alittle from hammering, and alittle from the puller. Like previously said, I broke a decent puller trying to push out the axle. It hasn't budged. Pulling so hard with the puller, I wouldn't reuse hub now, afraid I have bent it(don't want to screw up the new bearing).
Again, Thank you, David
 








madflower

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The axle hasn't moved, the slightest amount. I have "peened" the end of the axle alittle from hammering, and alittle from the puller. Like previously said, I broke a decent puller trying to push out the axle. It hasn't budged. Pulling so hard with the puller, I wouldn't reuse hub now, afraid I have bent it(don't want to screw up the new bearing).
I have done all of mine. The "stuck" one, I used a puller and put an impact wrench on the bolt. I got the impact wrench for doing the front 3 hub bolts since I couldn't get them to budge when I did the front.

The video in the previous post rocks. :) I borrowed the puller, and the bearing set from the parts store. The bearing set was actually the HF one. I used the old rotor with the center cut out for extra height instead of the drum brake. I had a problem getting the circlip/snapring out of the knuckle. I ended up taking that in. They used an air chisel to beat on it, then they gave up, air chiseled the ring in half, and then worked it out.

The bearings came apart in the knuckle but the harbor freight adapter fits exactly in the hole and on the ridge of the bearing case to press it out. Then I used the bearing case to press in the new one, since the HF adapters aren't big enough. The only issue pressing in the hub was I was worried I didn't have enough support under the bearing as I used the old bearing covers that popped off. they weren't quite thick enough but the bearing didn't come apart.

you just have to be -really- careful. I would recommend paying the 30-50 bucks to have a shop do it. Things can fly on the press.
 




Pontisteve

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The axle hasn't moved, the slightest amount. I have "peened" the end of the axle alittle from hammering, and alittle from the puller. Like previously said, I broke a decent puller trying to push out the axle. It hasn't budged. Pulling so hard with the puller, I wouldn't reuse hub now, afraid I have bent it(don't want to screw up the new bearing).
Again, Thank you, David
You do have the spindle loose, so there's some place for the axle to go, right? Beating on that axle, you could easily damage the CV joint as well as mushroom the end of it.

Heat will also most likely damage the axle. But if you can't get it out, you could always take the entire axle and spindle out as an assembly.

PB blaster in the axle splines would be my only other suggestion. Or a torch to the hub. Which would almost certainly ruin the axle also.
 




N2FORD

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Long time Explorerforum member just now starting to mess with this body style Explorer. I have had several gen1's and 2's plus currently have 2 Sport Tracs. Enough about that, bought a 02 XLS that the owner was selling because something was messed up in the rear end. I found the problem pretty quick, as my pictures show the wheel bearing was completely chewed up. The only thing keeping it together was the axle. On to why I wanted to share this. The upper ball joint boot and the link bar boot were both torn but the joints were still good. I got a used assembly from the junk yard since the rotor had ground into assembly. I wanted to just replace the boots but no one seems to make them. I did find some at a Honda dealer that work as my other pictures show. The part numbers are 51225-S84-A01 and 51225-SR0-A01. Hope this helps if anyone else just needs the boots as they are easily torn during removal of the assembly.
 

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springwater

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I REALLY dont want to do this job.

My right rear is getting noisier by the day.
 




madflower

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Remove the knuckle which is pretty fast, then you can take it to a shop to have them press out the old hub and bearing and install the new one with the new hub and circlip. Somewhere between 25-50 dollars and you will be good to go. It is a LOT easier that way. :)

Pressing out the bearing and hub is really the tricky part.

Test the axle to make sure it isn't going bad, since replacing that is easy while you have it all apart as well.
 




EMStaxi

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I was active on this forum way back in the day when I had 97 mountaineer. I recently acquired an 02 explorer and thought I was good with it. It had 138,000on it. about a week after I got it (This past Sunday), I was on my way home from a trip to Delaware when I started hearing noises from the rear end. I made it home safely and the next day I jacked up the rear and found that both wheel bearings were shot. Yesterday following the diy was able to take each spindle off after about 10 min of working on each side. Hardest part was separating the both joints from the spindle. I ran to autozone and grabbed 2 bearings and dropped everything off at a shop. Turns out one hub was bad and wouldn't come off the spindle. I bought a replacement hub kit and that was that. Mechanic charged $100 to replace the one bearing and one hub. Reinstalling each spindle took about 5 mins. Another 5 min it took to make sure axle nuts were torqued and throwing wheels back on. Cost $250 to get back on the road within 5 hours. 3.5 hours was wasted getting the parts and waiting for the mechanic to press the bearings and hub.
 




madflower

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Hardest part was separating the both joints from the spindle.
.
Glad you got it fixed!! :) The ball joints can be a PITA to get off. Even with a pneumatic chisel and ball joint separator attachment, they don't always pop right off like they should. :)
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Explorer Forum has probably saved you that much already, and will continue to save you money as you learn how to diagnose fix problems yourself and learn which modifications work without having to experiment on your own. Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private Conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




black_dog106

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the SOB

Hey gang:
Sorry I didn't post anything sooner. As Lincoln said, finally got the torches out. Alil heat did the trick. I would have never imagined the axle stuck in those splines, to that extreme.
Again, Thanks to everyone for the help... :chug:
 




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