Vibration problems? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Vibration problems?


October 28, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 XLT
Car- Explorer XLT- 1991

Odometer- 191,000

I'm fairly certain I've got excessive vibration in the front wheels/bearings which has recently developed. It "feels" like I'm pulling a heavy the drive train is working very hard.

The Vibration begins at around 20 MPH.

With either the right or left FRONT sides jacked up I get tire movement of about 1/8" when pushing in at the top of the tire and pulling out on the bottom of the tire simultaneously (90 degrees to the road). I get little or no tire movement applying the same method on the left and right side of the tire (parallel to the road).

There are no loose upper and lower ball joints and no loose tie rod ends.

How can I determine if the vibration problem is caused by wheel bearings (either front or rear)?

The tires are wearing fine with no abnormal wear patterns.

Have you front suspension looked at if you don't know how yourself.

Wheel beraing don't vibrate unless they overheated, and I doubt an Explorer is fast enough to overheat one. Is there a loud humming noise?

I had a similar problem on my 91. as the wheel bearings wore out they got more play.
sometimes from unbalanced tires or bent rim they will create undo wear on the bearings. You can give the spindle nut an extra turn or replace the bearings. It's very easy and quick to do.

I go with Nuggethead: replace those bearings! Don't forget the inners ... you'll need new seals for them. Outers + inners + seals, both sides should be about $40. Pack them well with hi-temp grease, and don't forget to put a little grease on the spindles themselves. Now is also a good time to have your local machine shop machine your rotors, too, since you'll have to have them off the spindles to get at the inner bearings (brake shops always seem to mess those up).