Repacked the front wheel bearings today - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 12-19-2004
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Repacked the front wheel bearings today

It's not so hard really.

I jacked up the truck using an hydraulic jack under the front crossmember. I put jackstands under the normal jacking points on the lower control arms (a-arms).

I removed the wheels. Basically, you'll see what's in the first picture.

You have to remove the brake caliper mounting bracket, which you can do with the caliper attached. First, tie off a piece of cord to the top bellows for the caliper mounting bolts. Then tie it off to the upper control arm so it's tight. Why tie it off first? So you don't drop it, and it's on a cord/rope that is the right length to mount it again.

Now get ready to grunt and remove the two bolts that hold the brake caliper mounting bracket to the spindle. They have loctite on them and they come off pretty hard, but manageable. Then slide the brake caliper and bracket off the disc and let it hang behind the spindle. It then looks about like the second photo.

I didn't get many more pictures because I was getting too greasy!

You have to remove the "dust cap" over the bearing nut and that requires a nice sharp chisel or similar thing. Just tap gently in the seam between the dust cap and the rotor. A screwdriver won't do it -- too blunt to get in the seam.

Once it's off, remove the cotter pin and the nut cover, and back off the nut. Mine was positively loose! My mechanic did a wheel alignment and told me I was developing play in my bearings which is why I did this. Once the nut is off, slide off the rotor -- it comes off very easy. Picture 3 is the rotor with the inboard side facing up and you can see the "tone ring" for the ABS.

Remove the outboard washer and bearing and clean them. To get the inboard one out you must remove the seal. Ford says put on a new seal but I didn't because I forgot to get one and mine was in perfect shape. To remove the seal and bearing, take a large socket just large enough to fit in the hole from the outboard side. Lay the rotor inboard side down, put the socket in (on an extension), and tap gently around the edge of the inboard bearing until it and the seal pops out. Don't hammer wildly -- you don't want to mess up the bearing race. Photo 4 is a close up of the seal from the inboard side.

Now clean everything up, including the center hole area in the rotor, and the spindle itself.

Put a thin coat of grease on the spindle down it's entire length and on the flange at the base where the seal rubs. fill the center section of the inboard side of the rotor hole with grease, work grease into the inboard bearing, grease the lip of the seal, then put the bearing in. Now fill the area behind the bearing with grease, and put the seal back in place. Tap the seal into place lightly with a hammer.

Wipe off any excess grease. Try to keep grease off the rotor braking surface!!! I didn't and had to drive around for awhile burning off the residue by braking hard even though I cleaned the rotor!

Now slide the rotor carefullly back on the spindle shaft. Pack the inside with grease, pack grease into the outboard bearing, and slide the outboard bearing on the shaft, and the washer. Keep pushing and releasing until any air blats out.

Tightening is a specific process. Put the nut on and tighten it to 21 ft/lbs while simultaneously rotating the drum COUNTERCLOCKWISE. Now back off the nut 1/2 turn, then tighten it to 17 ft/lbs while turning the drum CLOCKWISE. Replace the nut cover and cotter pin, and tap the dust cover back in place.

Reassemble the brakes and the wheel and you're done. The little in/out play I had is gone as is a slight hum/grumble from the front of the truck. Good deal.

By the way, you can use that tightening procedure to just tighten your front bearings if they have play. If you don't have a problem, you don't HAVE to change the front grease.

I do anyway, because I go in deep water so much. I used a Lucas grease (I didn't have any Amsoil on hand!) called "Red N Tacky #2". It's a waterproof grease containing lithium and synthetic grease, as well as special anti-seize agents. It has a 540 F "drop point" (where it liquifies) which is nice and high. It's good for bearings that may get wet. It's spec'd as a marine grease as well.

I think that pretty much does it.

Last edited by n3elz; 12-19-2004 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 12-19-2004
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nice post...
you must have been busy today..lol
installed the shims and repack!
good job!!

Last edited by TReff; 12-19-2004 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 12-19-2004
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i see a new how too coming...
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Old 12-19-2004
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Well, maybe on a how-to. I didn't take enough pictures for a good one, sorry about that!

Yes, this was a day I could get some stuff done so I did. Other stuff also, that wasn't truck-related.

Thanks for the comments!
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Old 12-19-2004
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so it wasnt hard at all? i had that problem a while back and i payed the big bucks to get it done.
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Old 12-19-2004
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It's time consuming is all, like anything else. You paid mainly labor. I was trying to save that money, lol! I work on my truck because I'm cheap, not because it's fun! Some things are fun, but stuff like this is generally just a pain in the tookus. I think it took me about 3 hours to do the repack. I'm sure I'm slow but it would still take a bit of time in a service bay.

I'm definitely sore in the muscles. Between the two jobs I did today and the VERY tight bolts, I can feel it. You young men might not notice it if you do it, lol!
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Old 12-19-2004
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lol...
I use air tools at work for that reason...(tight bolts and alot faster!)
but some poeple dont have air tools orair supply..
you did a good job...
you are right that is 90% labor ..parts are cheap ..its always the labor that will get you!
I LOVE working on cars ..its always fun to me....well maybe not all the time lol..but most of the time

I'm not good at how-to's its hard for me to explain somethings!

Last edited by TReff; 12-19-2004 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 12-19-2004
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Actually, I do get something out of EVERY job like this, Tom -- and thanks for the "atta boy" by the way. Not being a mechanic I appreciate the compliment from those of you who are. I'm mainly an electronics and software guy. I almost ALWAYS enjoy that!

I'd love to have all that stuff like air tools and what not. Over time I'll get some stuff. Actually, I want to get a floor jack like the one I used -- it was borrowed from my neighbor who is a mechanic.

There are some things, like crank pulley bolts on an old engine -- that you just can't get any other way. The amazing thing is, you can have an old engine with low compression, and an impact gun will hammer and spin that bolt right out and scarcely move the crankshaft. But put a breaker bar on it and all that happens is the crank turns! I did a seal job for a buddy with an old Taurus and I had to take it to my neighbors shop to do it with his tools because I couldn't get the blasted crank pulley off!!!
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Old 12-19-2004
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lol...yeah i have had the same problem @ work..
thankfully the motor rotation was the right way....
LOL..put a breaker bar on the the bolt and turn the motor over with the starter and that busts the bolt loose ...
some times air tools are just to strong for low compression motors..lmao
hopefully in the next few months i will be getting my project truck!!
I'll post some stuff as i am rebuilding it...(some people wontlike it cause its an S-10..350 or 327 swap..:D)
but thats what i like to do...lol
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Old 12-19-2004
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A guy at work has an S-10 with a 350, carbuerated, but with Edelbrock EVERYTHING: carb, manifold, headers, cam -- you name it. Nice rumbly thing but not really a truck anymore with the suspension he's got on it. One fast Chevy, though!
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Old 12-19-2004
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lol..
yeah..I was think of going with all Edelbrock but they dont make some of the stuff i want
the carb and intake will be Edelbrock for sure!! the best for chevy


lol..this post went from you posting about what you did today to what i plan on in the future...LMAO
o well

Sorry!!

Last edited by TReff; 12-19-2004 at 05:30 AM.
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2004
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That's one of the things I plan on doing this christmas break... How much were the new bearings? and where did you buy them?
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Old 12-19-2004
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I didn't get new bearings because there was nothing wrong with the old ones. Unless your bearings have been damaged, worn, scored, etc. -- there's no need for new ones. The little bit of noise and what not was due to axial play from wear -- but the wear was not such as to require replacement, just tightening. I repacked them mainly because I wanted the more water resistant grease in there and I was afraid I might have compromised the factory grease by going through deep water so much.

Tom, I'm not much one for caring if my threads stay "on topic". I know some do really care and that's cool. I just don't happen to! :)
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Old 12-19-2004
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i have to move close to you...u know u're stuff and i'm sure my truck needs some work done to it! i typically just drive it and try to take care of it. i've already done a thourough tune up for it, but i'm sure theres more to be done, i just dont know what to look out for to indicate what needs to be done....

good job on the project!
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Old 12-19-2004
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Well, thanks or the compliment, but I'm learning just like you guys. I've learned SO MUCH since I got this truck. Keep learning and trying some easy things and over time you'll be able to tackle more and more just like I do. But I'm not ready to do an engine swap, or tear down a transmission! I'm still a novice to intermediate level in the mechanical arena.

As I've said, my main talents are electronics and real-time software programming. This is somewhere I'm "stretching" into, lol. :)
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Old 12-20-2004
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you said the word tookus bwahahaha im sorry but ive never herd that

good job on the repacking of the bearings. (i have to keep this on topic a bit)
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Old 12-20-2004
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It's a real pain in the tookus today! I have the usual muscle soreness from exertion, and some of the muscles that are sore are -- guess where? -- in my tookus. :p
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Old 12-20-2004
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^^lmoa..i cant beleive you havent heard of that ,kurt
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Old 12-20-2004
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I have never heard of it...

I think i might need that done too mine. Ive been meaning to ask tommy, but im not here, when hes on..

Freakin wierd noise coming from the left front wheel, the one we took apart..
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Old 12-20-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
and I was afraid I might have compromised the factory grease by going through deep water so much.
So had you? Had you compromised the factory grease job?
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Old 12-20-2004
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I'm not a tribologist, nor did I have it evaluated. Furthermore, I don't know what wheel bearing grease should look like after 45,000 miles.

However, the grease on the inboard side was black and thinner to the feel than the grease deeper into the bearings. The outboard bearings (which are better sealed by the cap) was black but didn't seem as thin in texture. I believe the color change is either temperature or very fine metal dispersion. The grease inside the rotor, around the spindle at non-contact points, was deep green -- I presume this is it's normal color.

There were no large particles in the grease that I could feel when I ran it through my fingers. Also, the bearings themselves and the inside surface of the rotor were very smooth and not scored. Very little sign or what I would call (in my admitted inexperience) significant wear.

Although you could see some wear on the seating area of the spindle shaft, they were longitudinal rather than radial; reflecting the tiny lateral play which had developed. Although visible, you couldn't feel anything there at all -- it was just a discoloration (you can see it in my photos at the base of the spindle). The inner race is supposed to remain stationary on the spindle, and under normal circumstances the spindle sees virtually no wear since nothing rotates on it.

So, basically, it looks to me like the grease was deteriorating, but no real damage was done. Certainly, there is no play, no noise, and smooth operation now -- and I'm worried less about water damaging the grease.
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Old 12-20-2004
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Good 'nuf!
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Old 12-20-2004
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That was a good question though, Colin, and a monologue I should have written originally. Thanks for reminding me! :)
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  #24  
Old 12-21-2004
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john, how many times to i have to tell you..... blow torch + loctite = comes off like butta'
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  #25  
Old 12-21-2004
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That's a good writeup John.

I'll need to do that as well when I install the Explorer brakes on the front of my truck...

My truck is making an AWFUL roaring/grinding sound while rolling...

I believe it's a carrier bearing though. It started the DAY we lowered my truck. And the lowering consisted of me swapping in the Explorer axle...and the 3" coils up front.

What puzzles me is, I feel it no only in the steering wheel, but also in the seat, which is indicative of a rearward problem....

Plus the fact that I just had Midas replace the front wheel bearings a month ago, and the noise was still there the minute I left the place. It's gotta be either carrier bearing, or the rear going out. It "clunks" when I put it in reverse. But I want to stuff a Powertrax back there anyways, soooooo......
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