Missing front end parts | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Missing front end parts


January 4, 2017
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City, State
Middlesboro KY
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
OK I purchased a 98 awd explorer about a month ago it was priced cheap I checked it out and the guy said the awd was messed up it drove fine had all the parts so the next day I meet him to switch registration and all that crap I got it mainly for a rough vehicle bro hunt and fish and not worry about messing up paint now I have a wheel bearing going out and as I check it all out the guy had removed the front shaft and CV joints are gone on both sides they were on it when I checked it out but he got one over on me by taking them off after so main question is that it drives fine but can I replace bearings and hub assembly without buying a new CV for both sides or am I just screwed idk where to start other than hunting the guy down which I've tried IDC if the awd works it does fine so far without it my question is can I replace bearings without the CV or is the CV missing the reason my bearing has went out?

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Hello, Someone else will probably chime in. But. From what i remember you can replace the hub assembly without removing the cv joint/axel. On these 2nd gen explorers the bearings come in the hub assembly and just just replace all of that. With out the cv axle you wont have a nut in the center of the hub that you will need to remove (which is usually a pain). So from what i remember just pull the wheel the caliper then the rotor should come off then you will have to remove the 4? bolts that hold the hub assembly on the car. You may be able to just replace the the wheel bearing from the hub but im not sure its worth it?

Hope this helps

But if all your missing is the cv joint I would just go to the junk yard and buy two. At the local yards here you can get two for about 15 bucks. Make sure you get the center nut while your at it. Now would be the time to do it since you have to remove the hub and all of that stuff to install them.

Awesome thanks been putting it off so I know what all to do with it got my hands full with this one it runs great but a ton of small typical ford problems wasn't sure if I should give up on it or jump in and fix but you gibe me hope

In order not to have the hub assembly come apart you MUST still have the part of the CV axle that goes through the hub and has the axle nut on it. Having the bearing come apart will result in you loosing a front wheel at speed... not pleasant.

Give** sry fat fingers and spell check haunt me

Yea I read that about the hub coming apart I've driven the truck about 800 miles before I noticed the CV joints missing when I took the hub off it seems like standard bearing failure over time so was curious about the CV being part its obviously important but had me on the fence of it being essential or just a parts guys trying to sell stuff I can live without thanks for the advice will pick a few up better yet wish I had noticed he removed them when I paid for the truck to start with people amaze me

I rarely disagree with Koda.

But I have to on the hub coming apart without the nut.

I've got an 02 and an 04 in the driveway, both are 2WD.

I'm telling you that the hubs are identical, except for the spacing of the 3 mounting bolts, and they don't have axles with that nut.

The 02 is closing in on 200,000 miles and still has the original hubs.


01 and prior 4dr and all sport trac are NOT self retaned and NEED and axle or stub to stay together. 02+ are retained as they use the same hub for 2wd and 4x4 models.

Good to know I'm amazed I didn't have any issues with it being gone before just could hear the bearings going bad and when I removed the wheel I was amazed the joint was gone checked the other side it was gone as well I have a front drive line to put in it but seeing how the tc is messed up I'm not even gonna mess with that luckily I've not had an issue with it rolling while in park like some here have had and I've parked it on some steep spots guess I've been lucky so far thank god for this forum you guys have already schooled me so much

Here is another bizarre question the hubs I see online for it have a slot in the center that I assume the CV joint hooks into but when I look at my wheel where the metal tube thing is that a CV boot clamps to its sealed off just a cone inside but I don't see how a CV can stay in mine looks different than what I've seen is it possible the guy rigged it up all crazy

For clarification, does the bearing currently on your truck have a hole through the center that you can see right through to the other side? If not, I suspect he just removed the shaft and left the CV joint installed to support the bearing.

Yea sry I can't see the hole so that part of it is still in but the CV shaft is what's missing could have clarified I guess a lil better on that one I'm only familiar with lock in hub type 4x4 and it being different has me out of whack I miss my ranger honestly r.I.p lil truck

So the good news is the guy wasn't a complete lunatic since this is "technically" the correct way to remove front CV shafts but still retain the bearing. Of course the proper and safe way is to have the complete shaft installed. Sounds like you just need shafts and a new bearing to continue with diagnosing the non-operational AWD, if you want to.

BTW, Typically the reason people remove the front driveshaft is because the AWD t-case is screwed up (ie: the viscous coupling is fried). If it is, that's a much bigger deal than a missing front drive shaft, CV axles or hub bearings.

Another less serious reason that someone might remove the front drive shaft is if the drive shafts CV joint (where it's bolted to the t-case) goes bad. This is easily repaired for around $80.

To be clear regarding the truck "rolling away" w/out the front axle installed... It's not the the truck rolls away in PARK, it can slowly creep away. While this doesn't always occur it typically does. I guess it depends on what's wrong with the t-case.

If the front driveshaft and part, or all, of the CV axle half shafts were removed, it could be that the front diff is bad.

Please clarify - When you remove the front hub caps, do you, or do you not, see the stub axle and nut in the center?

These kinds of troubles are often from having tires that are not the identical diameter. Any mismatched tires will ruin an AWD TC, usually, or wear it out fast.

Leaving out the axles from the front diff, that will let the grease out fast and kill the bearings in the diff, plus the gears over time. It's not wise to just remove parts and keep driving the car.

My latest truck had been treated like that. The front driveshaft had been removed seven years ago due to a "bearing" noise, by someone who said it would save the owner from having to replace the TC. They didn't really diagnose the problem, it could have been the CV in the drive shaft, or the front diff, or the TC. But I found the front carrier empty of grease, one axle seal was letting it out, the axles and hubs were still intact. I had a spare AWD truck, so I used the known good hubs, axles, drive shaft, and front carrier to get it running right. The AWD fluid was basically black, but I changed it and it works so far, for 3000+ miles.

I suggest starting with the tires, be very sure the tires are all identical in diameter. Then restore all of the parts, be sure that all of the bearings in the front carrier are good. Gladly now the parts to replace all of those things are cheaper now than in 2003 when I had to do some of it with my first 98. Hubs and axles are not much over $50(Moog etc), and the CV repair for the driveshaft is available now, that didn't exist ten years ago.

Koda I will have to get back to you on that my new hubs should be in sometime today and I will jump in thanks for the help

CDW yea the guy has 4 different brand tires on it haven't gotten around to getting a new set yet its a secondary vehicle its nothing I'm gonna fix up perfect it looks like hell but had a strong engine and very little rust I fell in love got it for $600 so I can't complain to much intended only to use it on short trips to save my newer one some scratches and what not but its growing on me for sure have black oil dripping out underneath that I assume is from what you stated engine oil is clean this is dark like ink gonna get on it I have the tools for just about anything so with the advice I'm getting here I'm sure I can right the ship I'm getting attached to this explorer its a smooth ride

If you find that your AWD is shot (and was the reason he took all those other parts off) I HIGHLY recommend you get a 4406 manual T-case for your hunting beater.

I threw one in my beater and it is wonderful, more MPG, easy to use, few parts to worry about, just pull the lever and have true 4x4 and low if needed.

EDIT......When the VC goes bad inside the AWD unit the fluid turns Black as sin. If your engine oil is clean and the drips you see are back farther then I'd say the AWD is shot so once you get all the parts back on be ready for an awful sound from the AWD unit.

This is a great thread on the 4406 swap.

It might sound like a lot to do but looking back I would do it again in a hart beat.

I agree with that. I have one BW4406 to put in my new truck, I just need the AWD to survive until then. I want to get a 2nd 4406 also, to rebuild and see how tough they are to work on. None of them are cheap to pay to have rebuilt.

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I had mine open and they are very simple to work on. My case had the dreaded groove worn in it by the pump like most do so look out for that.