Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement Issues | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement Issues

mindseye1

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September 10, 2012
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City, State
Michigan
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Ford Explorer 4WD
Hello, this is my first post but I've been getting tips from this forum for many years. So first off, let me just say thanks for all the knowledge!

Now to my questions. I've been using Tyler92's excellent thread ""How to" '02 explorer rear wheel bearing replacement (pictures)" to replace my rear wheel bearing. I have a 2002 Ford Explorer 4WD. I've got everything disconnected and am to the point where I need to remove the hub from the spindle. I've attached the hub puller and started to turn it to pull the hub off. My problem is when the knuckle tilts out too far it seems to pull the half-shaft right out of the differential and I end up turning the half-shaft which starts to get the rubber boot all twisted. Is this normal? Should the half-shaft be able to slide out of the differential so easily?

Second, even when I am able to keep the half-shaft in place while cranking on the hub puller, I am not able to get the hub off the spindle. I have already completely stripped one hub puller along with some of my lug nuts from all the pressure trying to turn it. I am going to try and get another hub puller tonight, but I am just worried that the same thing will happen. I've heard that heat is an option or PB Blaster. Is there anything else I may be missing? Should the hub be this difficult to remove from the spindle?

Thanks again for all your help over the years. Hopefully I can get this thing figured out. I can also post pictures of any parts of my issue later tonight if that would help.

~mindseye1~
 



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The entire stearing knuckle has to come off, lube it heavily around the splines and from behind the hub as well. I temporarily put the upper ball joint back into the knuckle to prevent the rotation while i got most of the heavy lifting out of the way. I had my other half tap the hub(from the side) with my 5lb sledge while i turned my hub puller and both of mine came right off. Hope this helps. For future reference anytime your are working with any part of the vehicle pertaining to the suspension hit all threaded fasteners with some PB blaster/WD-40/Other penetrating oil and let it sit overnight prior to going nuts, will save you such a head ache later.
 






I temporarily put the upper ball joint back into the knuckle to prevent the rotation while i got most of the heavy lifting out of the way.

Thanks, this is what I was hoping to hear. So you did have to leave one of the 3 connections on in order to prevent the axle from slipping out so that you could actually turn the hub puller. I was just worried that I broke something when the axle slipped out of the differential.

As for actually getting the hub off, now I've got a few ideas. Lots of lube, heat, and maybe a bit of hammering. I just hope the bearing hasn't fused onto the spline! Thank you!
 






spray the splines with WD-40 from the hub side (the straw lines right up and just let em have it) and wait till tomorrow, I took an offset wrench and stuck it in between the hub puller and a wheel stud to stop that from spinning, and then i would tighten the hub untill it got "hard" to turn, then my other half gave it a couple of taps to knock it free. We continued that process untill it was off, near the end you need to remove the upper ball joint. The axels on these trucks have a lot of play in both directions. Did the Axel itsel come off the the differential? like at the case? Or is there just play at the CV joints that go through the frame holes?
 






Did the Axel itsel come off the the differential? like at the case? Or is there just play at the CV joints that go through the frame holes?

I'm not 100% sure, I just know that the whole shaft (and rubber boots) started to turn, not just the axle inside the shaft. I think the spindle that goes into the differential just comes out of place when I pull out the knuckle. So I just have to pop it back in, and tilt the knuckle back into a working position.

On another note, I don't think my hub is coming off. I tried again last night after soaking it with PB Blaster and still couldn't get it to budge. We were turning the hub puller so hard that the wheel studs were starting to bend, the wrench was starting to bend, and the pointy tip of the hub puller was just digging into the spindle tip.

I think the only place I can go from here is to take the whole half-shaft out with it and have a shop press it out. Any last minute ideas before I go that route? Also, does anyone have any instructions for removing the half-shaft?

Thanks again for the help so far!
 






Did you apply force with a hammer? you would be suprised how far you can get with some light tapping. Can you post some pictures of what you are working with? this sounds unreal!! Try my method and if that fails, get your hub puller on and start heating the hub around the splines untill it starts to glow a little, then apply some force with the hub puller and some taps with the hammer. Worse case is you need to replace the entire knucke and half shaft.
 






Did you apply force with a hammer? you would be suprised how far you can get with some light tapping.

I have tried some hammering, but I am trying to be careful because a lot of places say not to use the hammer much. In particular not on the spline. Where would you say is the best place to hit it? Somewhere on the knuckle?

I will try to get some pics tonight and post them. I will also try the heat/hammer/pull method and see if that gets me anywhere. Thank you!
 






I was hitting the hub itself (wheel lug nuts and engaging splines) and the knuckle from the side with a hammer. Basicly i would get the puller on tight and give it a couple of decent hits (just enough that the hammer isnt bouncing back from the hub) and then retighten the puller and repeat. I was able to actually shoot penetrating oil through the splines all the way through the Hub from the outside of the vehicle firing towards the differential. My WD-40 can had a straw that i was able to use. If your going to do the fire method done use anymore oil and wear some thick gloves bud, burns suck!!
 






Just wanted to follow up on this post: I was never able to get the hub off and had to put everything back together and take it to the shop. The mechanic told me they were able to get it off using an air hammer and it wasn't much trouble for them. It cost me $375 for the new hub and bearing and an hour of labor. I'm bummed that an easy job like this ended up being so hard, but I guess that's the way it goes. Thanks for the help anyways!
 






Glad to hear you were able to get it taken care of, ive never seen a hub that difficult to remove! Thanks for the update!
 






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