Replacing front hub assembly on a 2004 4X4 - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 02-04-2011
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Replacing front hub assembly on a 2004 4X4

Hey guys,

The left wheel bearing in my front hub assembly just went out on my 2004 4X4 with only 48,008 miles on it. The previous owner must have drove it like hell for it to go out this early.
(Keep in mind that this is my first 4X4 and I knew nothing about them before today)
First off, I was blown away when the tire shop told me it was going to be $378 to replace the thing. (I thought they were trying to rip me off) Then I went to Pep-Boys and they wanted almost $100 more.
Then I decide to do it myself because I know from previous experience that a wheel bearing is only $15. So, I called around for this "bearing" and I'm told the part is $218.
Then that's when I find out that since I have a 4X4 that I'm actually buying a whole hub assembly and not just a bearing. (Then things started to make sense)

I couldn't even buy the part at Pep-Boys because there was two different types of hubs. One of them was $265 and had some kind of Pulse Vacuum thing on it and they didn't know which one I needed, so they told me that I would need to take my old one off first and then match them up. They asked me if I had 4WABS too ...

Now since I have the hub assembly pulled out, I was wondering if I should replace both of them with manual locking hubs to save on gas.
Right now I have a live axle, and I'm just wondering how much more gas I'm burning with a live axle.

Any suggestions would be appreciated,

Thanks,

Brian

Here's a few pics of the part that failed way too early.

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Last edited by BlackRanger04; 02-04-2011 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 02-04-2011
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well im probably not the best guy to answer this
but it should not be pulse vacume
and yes an the 4WABS
dont know about the manual locking hubs
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Old 02-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BILTRITE BULLIES View Post
well im probably not the best guy to answer this
but it should not be pulse vacume
and yes an the 4WABS
dont know about the manual locking hubs
Hey Koyn,

You're right on both. (I wish you would have been at the parts store today)
I think the last year for the PVHs were 2000.5
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Old 02-04-2011
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Brian you are right the PVH's ended in the 2000 model year. In order to install Lock out hubs on your truck you would need both wheel bearings, both axle shafts, the snap rings for the axles, and the locking hubs. When you add up the cost, its an expensive conversion but can be done. I'm not sure how much mileage would increase so it's hard to figure out if its worth it.
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Old 02-04-2011
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Hey John,

Thanks for answering my question. Sounds like this would be a really expensive conversion.
(And it sounds to me like Ford went backwards on this whole live axle thing)
I know this might sound crazy to you guys up North, but I'm thinking about converting my 4X4 to a
2WD. I'm only getting like 12 MPG with this 4X4.
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Old 02-04-2011
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I can't see it being worth it. It would take YEARS to offset the price to change it over in saved fuel.

BTW if doesn't mean the previous owner drove it like hell... I take it fairly easy on my truck and I had to do one with a lot less miles on it than that!
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Old 02-04-2011
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^ I was meaning that to change to manual hubs, not changing to 2wd.
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Old 02-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRanger04 View Post
Hey John,

Thanks for answering my question. Sounds like this would be a really expensive conversion.
(And it sounds to me like Ford went backwards on this whole live axle thing)
I know this might sound crazy to you guys up North, but I'm thinking about converting my 4X4 to a
2WD. I'm only getting like 12 MPG with this 4X4.
The reason they went to the live axle was probably due to the poor design of the pulse vacumn hubs. They are unreliable and poorly designed.
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Old 02-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FULLSCALE View Post
I can't see it being worth it. It would take YEARS to offset the price to change it over in saved fuel.

BTW if doesn't mean the previous owner drove it like hell... I take it fairly easy on my truck and I had to do one with a lot less miles on it than that!
Are you serious? Your front hubs went out with less than 48K miles?
(I hope it was under 36K so the stealership had to fix them)
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Old 02-04-2011
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My driver side went out at 62,000km (38,500 miles) or somewhere around there. Not too far out of warranty but it wasn't a big deal... grabbed one from work and threw it on!
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Old 02-05-2011
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My passenger side went out at 60000ish and now my driver side is going out out 94000.
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Old 02-05-2011
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trying to find reliable long term bearings these days is like a crap shoot
( you just never know )

i have the axle shafts and the manual hubs
just looking around for a good price on the bearings though
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Old 02-05-2011
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had to have my LF replaced at 58K
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Old 02-05-2011
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i had the pvh system and hated it. i never new if my 4x4 was going to work when i needed it. since switching to the live axle i havent noticed much of a difference in my gas mileage. also when switching to the if you were to keep the pvh hubs instead of the manual locking ones you would have to replace your knuckles or else the hubs would never lock. i would stay with the live axle, it make the bearing replacement easier and being able to go into 4x4 easy. so that you dont have to get out of your truck everytime you want to lock your hubs and be in 4x4.
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Old 02-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRanger04 View Post
I couldn't even buy the part at Pep-Boys because there was two different types of hubs. One of them was $265 and had some kind of Pulse Vacuum thing on it and they didn't know which one I needed, so they told me that I would need to take my old one off first and then match them up. They asked me if I had 4WABS too ...
Yes, you have 4WABS.
No, you don't have the POS PVH hubs.
Live axles are a better, stronger design. They don't cost you anywhere near enough in fuel to be worth switching to PVH or aftermarket selectable hubs.
Due to friction and weight, 4WD vs 2WD will cost you some fuel, probably about 2 MPG.
If you're really getting only 12 MPG, then you need to alter your driving style and/or fix whatever is wrong with the truck.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackRanger04 View Post
Any suggestions would be appreciated,
Don't buy the Chinese hubs that are available everywhere on eBay or at just about any chain parts store. Look for OEM Ford or a quality aftermarket brand like Timken. You can get the Timkens online at RockAuto for way less than the Pep Boys prices that you quoted.



https://www.ranger-forums.com/drivetrain-tech-37/my-tire-just-flew-off-going-50mph-111839/
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Old 02-07-2011
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Well, I got the hub assembly replaced today.
And I'm 99% that this is the 3rd hub assembly because all the studs were marked with a green paint marker.
The name of the company that makes the POS bearings is TIMKEN. (I'm assuming the things are made in China)

Can someone tell me if the ABS sensor is in the hub assembly that you buy at a parts store or do you have to use your old one?
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Old 02-07-2011
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Sensor should be with it. Had the driver side go at 10K and 15K for passenger. Truck was bearly droven for two years (3 cars). Put Napa SKF's on havent had a problem.
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Old 02-07-2011
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Sensor should be with it. Had the driver side go at 10K and 15K for passenger. Truck was bearly droven for two years (3 cars). Put Napa SKF's on havent had a problem.
Hey Mark,

Thanks for answering my question. I kinda figured that the hub would already have the sensor becuase I tried to remove my old one and re-use it and that plastic piece broke off right at the base of the hub.
The stupid a** at the salvage yard didn't even bother to unplug the electrical connection and just ripped it right off the doner truck. Those are like the easiest things to unplug, so I don't understand why he just ripped it off.
When this hub goes out (and I'm sure it will soon) I'm definitely going to Napa and get a SKF hub assembly.
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Old 02-08-2011
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Ok, Bad news ... The hub assembly I just got from the salvage yard failed after 4 short miles. I know I should have never bought a used hub. (Don't be too hard on me ...lol) This thing almost came completely apart, because I almost lost total control of my truck when I was just going 35 MPH in 3rd gear.
I went ahead and and bought a new SKF hub assembly from NAPA like I should have in the first place and I'm going to install it tomorrow.

Can someone please tell me what the torque spec is on the center hub nut? (The one that takes a
1 1/4 socket) I didn't over tighten the first one, but I know the JR will tell me I destroyed it by
over-tightening the thing.

Last edited by BlackRanger04; 02-09-2011 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 02-08-2011
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If it failed that quick then it was installed incorrectly I'd say.

Also, Timken bearings are some of the best available today as far as our hubs are concerned.

If the parts (bolts) had paint markings on them, then they were the original parts and were marked with paint at the factory after being checked by a quality control technician.

It's a 32mm socket and the torque spec is listed in my Haynes manual as: Driveaxle/hub nut (4wd) - 162ft lbs.

Use loctite on your brake caliper bracket mounting bolts!!


GB :)
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Old 02-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird76Mojo View Post
If it failed that quick then it was installed incorrectly I'd say.

Also, Timken bearings are some of the best available today as far as our hubs are concerned.

If the parts (bolts) had paint markings on them, then they were the original parts and were marked with paint at the factory after being checked by a quality control technician.

It's a 32mm socket and the torque spec is listed in my Haynes manual as: Driveaxle/hub nut (4wd) - 162ft lbs.

Use loctite on your brake caliper bracket mounting bolts!!


GB :)
Thanks for the info Gerald but I installed the hub right and those TIMKEN bearings are nothing but junk IMO

Last edited by BlackRanger04; 02-09-2011 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 02-09-2011
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i doubt the hub failed due to improper install, how could you really mess it up? i would put money in the fact it is a junkyard part probably sitting on a truck laying on its frame cause it has no tires. i wouldnt be surprised if the hub was full of water and rusted out inside
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Old 02-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger4.0 View Post
i doubt the hub failed due to improper install, how could you really mess it up? i would put money in the fact it is a junkyard part probably sitting on a truck laying on its frame cause it has no tires. i wouldnt be surprised if the hub was full of water and rusted out inside
Thank You!
You hit the nail right on the head

I think the bearing was about shot when I put it on, because there was a lot of grease build up on the plactic clips that go around the ABS sensor.

Last edited by BlackRanger04; 02-09-2011 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 02-09-2011
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Timken bearings are some of the best. Trust me. Ford uses Timken. You didn't even mention anything about how tight you got the axle nut the first time. You just said that you might have overtightened it. The 162ft lbs is a surprising amount and if you didn't tighten it to that exact amount then that right there is an improper install and a really good reason for failure after only 4 miles.

To Kyle, how could you mess it up? Well firstly by not tightening the axle nut to the proper torque specifications. What are you talking about with that "junkyard truck" stuff?? He said he put another hub in and it failed in 4 miles from what I'm understanding.

EDIT: I guess I must have missed reading something..



GB :)
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Old 02-09-2011
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he said the junkyard bearing failed after 4 miles.... and most hub assemblies like are trucks use have crush spacers inside to prevent failure even when over tightened
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