Loaded Rear Knuckles | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Loaded Rear Knuckles


Well-Known Member
January 4, 2013
Reaction score
City, State
Jonestown, Pa.
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer XLT
Anyone out there ever install one of the loaded rear knuckles on their truck? Just wondering how difficult it might be. My Explo is fairly rusted out underneath and I'm concerned about getting it all apart in one piece. I'm pretty sure the bearings are bad and I'm also hearing the ball joint "popping" now and then. I figured this would be much more efficient that having to replace things part by part. Plus I have no press for the bearing.


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That’s the one I put in my Explorer this year. It was a bear with air tools but a good soaking with PB Blaster and an air hammer makes it a lot easier.

There are some good videos on YouTube.

I’ve changed the front upper ball joints, piece of cake with a good ball joint service tool.


Long time lurker, first time poster. I just got done installing one of these on my 2005 explorer eb and it seems just like the old one but better. Heavier duty it seems to me, only issue I am having is getting the brake caliper to go into place correctly so I can screw in the guide holes. domct did you have any issues with getting the calipers on? Mine don't seem to want to sit down on the knuckle all of the way and line up with the guide bolt holes.

Do your pads have a retaining lip on the bottoms? Those need to be placed in at an angle first then the tops will slide.

As far as the loaded knuckles, I have never used them. It is nice to have a warranty on the whole deal though. They would be slightly quicker than pressing the bearings yourself but honestly I would take that extra money and buy a press, they come in handy.

I always use just a bearing either National or the Ford (***). Beware though, Ford has a 'kit' with the bearing, hub and retaining clip now but the bearing is a no name unit, the hub is Chinese and the clip is the wrong size! The bearing has quite a bit less rotational breakaway torque so we will see how it lasts.

Quick tip on the tie rod end and upper ball joint, if you have a small motorcycle all metal tire iron, it works perfect for breaking the corrosion loose where the studs are.

I finally got it to go on, I had to do exactly how you said kydirtscooter. I got the Moog one that is listed here and it went in great, like I said it seems to be of better quality than the original one that was on it. If we could have gotten the snap ring out I would have just put in new bearing and the hub assembly but that wasn't possible. Had several mechanics try, they even took a cutting torch and cut the snap ring in a few places and used an air chisel and it wouldn't come out. I soaked it in penetrating oil for a few days before taking it to them too...it was kind of crazy.

Glad you got it buttoned up! They can next to impossible to press the old bearing out, the outer race gets corroded in place which already has a very tight interference fit. My 20 ton press sometimes has issues. Do you recall what name was one the bearing? Federal Mogul?