Wheel Bearing/Ball Joint noise ? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Wheel Bearing/Ball Joint noise ?

brianmc

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'94 XLT
Recently installed the 5.5 superlift and am running 33" goodyear wrangler mt/rs with 4.56s, however ever since I put on the big rubber I seem to fly through wheel bearings. I've read up on here about wheel bearings and popping and what not, but now I've replaced both sides with fresh wheel bearings and tightened the nut(auto hub nut) as tight as I could make it with my channel locks and then loosened, then re-tightened, then loosened slightly to allow optimum free wheel. However, everytime I change direction in steering, there is a pop which seems to be coming from the right wheel. Also, the wheel has a slight play when push back and fourth and I know that is a wheel bearing issue, however the bearings are brand new. Should I just tighten the nuts as tight as they go on both sides? I know the big rubber on the auto hub nuts arn't exactly best friends causing the nut to come loose now and then but right after a repair?

Seeing as I just replaced the wheel bearings, could the pop when turning be related to a ball joint on the steering linkage? I checked the upper and lower ball joints by using the prybar method of attempting to move the wheel up and down but had no play so I dont think it would be one of them causing my pop.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 


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whitetrash96

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When looking for gremlins an extra set of eyes usually helps. Recreate the situations when it pops and have yourself or someone else watch and see what takes place. I'd re-check your ball-joints though with the extra eyes watching.
 




Happy Jack

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Have you checked the radius arm bushings? Just a thought for another place to look.

Did you install new races with the bearings? How are you greasing the new bearings?
 




brianmc

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I did not install the new races, I couldn't figure out how to get the old ones out and they didn't look worn at all. I grease the bearings by packing them by hand and filling the gap on both sides and also put a rather thick layer around the rollers on the outside, then before installing I packed in a good amount of grease where it would go into the rotor itself. From there I would assemble it like I said, tightening and loosening and repeating... How would I check the radius arm bushings? Can you tell by looking at them if they are bad or would I have to remove them?

Thanks
 




Happy Jack

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I was taught the proper way to pack wheel bearings was to force grease in the big side opening till it comes out the small opening side. You can do this by hand. Your hands must be very clean. Put a glob of grease in the palm of your off hand (if your right handed put it in the palm of your left hand). The bearing is tappered. with it laying flat and the larger open end down pick up the bearing with two fingers through the middle and hold one side firmly. Take the other side and push the big open end down into the grease then drag against the palm of your hand till you reach the edge of your hand. Lift the bearing and move to the center of your palm and push down in the grease and repeat till you see grease beining forced out the small top opening of the bearing. Then rotate and repeat till the whole bearing is full of grease. It's messy but works.

My Chiltons book has a good illistration of this and I would recomend you get a good repair book for your truck.

I was also taught never to install a new bearing with an old race or switch bearings from one race to another. The race removal is not the difficult or critical part. The install of the new ones are. A long punch and hammer will drive the old ones out. Just go slow and hit on one side they the other. I put the rotor/hub assy on a flat surface. If you can't clean it out with rags well enough to see inside I use 3lb old margarine containers with solvent and a parts brush to clean the inside where the races are. Then using the punch and hammer go through the center and drive the lower race out. There is a lip the punch will fit on. Be carefull that you are on the lip of the race not on hub. Once you have driven that side out, turn over the hub and drive out the other side.

You are going to need some additional tool to finish the job. Your auto parts store might rent or loan them to you. If you buy parts from them they many times will loan the correct tools to do the job. A race driver is one I'd check on and use it to drive the new races into the hub. Make sure you have the proper size. The hammer will make a different noise and feel when you seat the race all the way down. There is another install as in a trail fix if no driver is available but it is not the recomended way. You can use the old race to drive the new race in most of the way. Lay the new race in the bore and place the old on on top and lay a hammer head or large wrench accross the top and drive the new race flush. if you go too far you will have both races in the bore and have to drive them both back out. Then you'll need to very carefully use the punch to finish driving the race in. There is a high probability the punch will slip and damage the race. A race driver as you can see will be best if you can find one to borrow or rent. They are expensive to buy.

Another tool you need to consider getting is the proper socket for the axle nut. My book says to torgue this nut to 50 ftlbs. That makes sure the race and bearings are seated fully. The bearing can hang up on the spindle and may be part of your problem. A Torque wrench should be another of the tools your parts store will rent or loan. Then back off a 1/4 to 1/2 turn and my book calls to tighten to an inch pound number. I just use my hand on the socket to tight untill I feel resistance then move tighter to the next spot the locking key will fit into.

Hope this helps. You might do a search on radius arm bussings.
 




brianmc

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Thank you. I'm going to take it all apart tomorrow and change out the races and see if the pop continues. Thanks again for all your help and I'll report back when probelm's solved
 




KPSquared

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Also, if you just installed the lift, did you unbolt the radius arms from the beams? When I put mine back together, I didn't have those bolts tight enough and it made a clunk every time I switched directions (forward to reverse).

Start by getting a proper socket and make sure you crank that outer nut on there HARD. The Dana 35 is a wheel bearing killer at the best of times, with large tires, it just gets worse. Thats the biggest reason to switch to D44 outers. The distance b/w the inner and outer wheel bearings is way bigger, so more support and less leverage to pull on the bearings and wear them out.
 




brianmc

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So i changed out the races, and repacked everything. tightened, loosened, retightened to seat the bearings. There is still that damn pop. Both sides have new bearings, new races, properly tightened and whatnot so I'm guessing its not a wheel bearing issue. I'm taking it in for an alignment on tuesday, so hopefully the alignment guy can help diagnose my mysterious pop. The radius arm bushings and nuts are all good.

The only thing I can think of, is KPsquared, you say crank that outer nut "HARD", now we tightened that nut as hard as we could to where it took the nut had a hard time of coming loose, then loosened it and re tightened it, but when it was real tight, the rotor seemed to hard to rotate so we would loosen it some more. Should the rotor be somewhat restricted or be able to freewheel with no resistance?
 




4x4junkie

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The rotors should spin freely. That info may have been confusing if you have auto hubs (he was referring to the outer locknut on a manual hub setup).

For the auto hub nuts, you just tighten the single nut to 35 ft-lbs while spinning the rotor back & forth to seat the bearings, back it off, then retighten it to 15 inch-lbs. Stick the locking key back in and you're done.

As for the popping, it's likely elsewhere, maybe in the suspension itself. Have you checked to make sure all the bolts on your newly-installed lift are tight? (the radius arm-to-axle bolts, and the beam pivot bolts in particular)?
 




brianmc

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I've narrowed the pop down to two things. One, anti-sway bar was located to far back and the springs were bumping it, Two, it is like you say the beam pivots, the front one in particular. How would I cure the pop from the pivot if the bolt is tight as can be. We modified the drop brackets for the anti sway bar and its no longer an issue, but I'm not sure how to fix the pivot pop.
 




4x4junkie

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If the bolt is as tight as can be (100ft-lbs IIRC), then it shouldn't be moving to cause a pop. Maybe try leaving the pivot bolt loose just to rule it out (it won't pop fully loose either). Is the bracket itself tight on the frame?
 




KPSquared

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The rotors should spin freely. That info may have been confusing if you have auto hubs (he was referring to the outer locknut on a manual hub setup).

Yes I was referring to manual... my bad... didn't read. :thumbdwn:
 




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