Two Bad Wheel Bearings or something else? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Two Bad Wheel Bearings or something else?


Well-Known Member
February 9, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Noblesville, IN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 XLT Sport 4.6L V8
A year ago I replaced drivers front hub assembly with timken bearings because I had a bad wheel bearing. I have noticed vibrations at 65 and shaking when braking. However, there is no noise when turning. So I jacked up the drivers side and grabbed the wheel at 9 & 3. There is lots of play. No play at 12 and 6. I grabbed the axle and there is a little play in it. So I decided to jack up the passengers side. Same issue. Play at 9 & 3 and no play at 12 & 6. There is a little play in the axle but not as much as on the drivers side.

It it likely that I have bad wheel bearings on both the drivers and passengers front hubs? Or is there some other condition that could cause similar symptoms as bad wheel bearings? I don't want to run out purchase 2 fron hub assemblies and not have it solve the problem.

Thanks for the tips.

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jack it up, both sides same time,, have someone do that for you while u watch,, seems like u have bad tie rods or some malfunction in steering gear, but seems most likely tie rods

Jacked up both sides. Move wheel at 9 & 3 and it transfers through the tie rod on one side to the other. The lower ball joints appear fine and I can not move the tie rods by hand when jacked up, I dont see any movement at the steering knuckle, but there is definitely slop when pushing wheels at 9 & 3. How do I further troubleshoot to determine if it is bad tie rods or malfunction in steering gear?

if u put your hand over the tie rod and steerin knuckle end where tie rod connects and cannot feel any movement while moving wheel, by wheel or steering wheel tween them then tie rods ok,, if motion is transferring thru tjen u should certainly start paying serious attentiom to steering gear box or rack whichever u have,, its not sposed to have much loose movement, u shoud watch pitman arm where it goes into box and move wheels as u have been,,, if it has lots movement then u may be able to adjust sklack by adjustmen nut on top but not for first timer without some ole phart lookin over your shoulder as this is a white knuckler if u get it wrong and on the freeway, send pics of toyr steering gear box,, theres prolly amny here can talk u thru that. if u wish u can call me im sure many others will also chime in,, buck


Thanks for the tips. I'm running out of daylight. Here's a quick snapshot of what I am seeing. I will look at this more tomorrow.