Bad wheel bearing or ball joint? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Suspension Tech General discussion of suspension for the Ford Ranger.

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Old 07-10-2018
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Bad wheel bearing or ball joint?

So yesterday on my way to work, as i pulled in I felt like the truck was pulling to the left side and the wheel (drivers side) feels like it wobbles. And on my way back it was doing the same but only as I was leaving the parking lot. At low speeds (30 or so mph) the truck was shaking real bad. It went away at higher speeds.

So this morning I jacked up the drivers side and spun the wheel to visually inspect it for a wobble. Didn't see anything but I did hear slight grinding noise that's probably from the new brake pads I installed, right? I moved on to the next test and shook the tire from the 12 o clock and 6 position and visually seen and heard a clunk in the tire. I know that could indicate a shot ball joint but I read on another post how it could also be a bearing. I recently changed the bearings out saturday with the seal, outer and inner bearings in the right orientation and used more than enough grease. Also, I didn't use the two metal pieces that came with the bearings as two different videos said they should already be installed in the new rotor assembly. This was my first time changing out wheel bearings so i wouldn't be surprised something didn't go in right. Both tapered bearings were facing inward if that makes sense.

yesterday I changed out the shocks in the front and rear with MONROE shocks I got from rock auto. The truck didn't start vibrating and pulling like this til after the new parts were installed. So either, i installed something improperly or something recently gave out.

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if it's not one thing it's another. Your 2 cents will be appreciated!
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Old 07-10-2018
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How tight did you set the bearings? if their too tight they will die very quickly - too loose and you get a wobbilly wheel and **** poor brakes. How did you pack the bearings? To do it right it should take several minutes (ive taken up to 10 minutes on larger ones) really packing it inside the bearing not just the outside. There should be plenty of youtube vids showing how to properly pack a bearing.

Yea those metal rings that came with the new bearings are called bearing races. They are the other half of a bearing. Yes new hubs come with them already installed.

You did install the grease seals in the back of the new hubs right?

You need a buddy neighbor anyone to rock the wheel 12 and 6 while you look on the inside to see if you can see the slop at the ball joints or at the hub. If the bearings are grinding id assume you roasted the new bearings. While theres tons of videos about this its best to have someone experienced over your shoulder to teach you. Im not sure how to explain it myself to set them correctly but ill try. I like to grease em up put the washer on tighten the nut with channel locks down pretty snug to seat everything. Then back it off completely so the nut is free to spin by fingers and give the rotor a spin. I then snug it up as hard as i can by hand while slowly rotating the rotor. I set the final "torque" so there is ever so amount if detectable slop when rocking 12 and 6. I mean like hardly detectable by feel (meaning about .001" slop - no preload). This is done cold btw. If you cant get it lined up cotter pin hole wise ALWAYS back off the nut to align the pin - dont tighten it. The bearings will expand ever so slightly when hot and take up that slop so it runs nice and good without binding and galling/grenading.

I would stop driving your truck till you figure this out as you wheel can come off or lock up the bearing ruining the spindle. Then youve got new bearing and spindle to replace...
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Old 07-11-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dngr Rngr View Post
How tight did you set the bearings? if their too tight they will die very quickly - too loose and you get a wobbilly wheel and **** poor brakes. How did you pack the bearings? To do it right it should take several minutes (ive taken up to 10 minutes on larger ones) really packing it inside the bearing not just the outside. There should be plenty of youtube vids showing how to properly pack a bearing.

Yea those metal rings that came with the new bearings are called bearing races. They are the other half of a bearing. Yes new hubs come with them already installed.

You did install the grease seals in the back of the new hubs right?

You need a buddy neighbor anyone to rock the wheel 12 and 6 while you look on the inside to see if you can see the slop at the ball joints or at the hub. If the bearings are grinding id assume you roasted the new bearings. While theres tons of videos about this its best to have someone experienced over your shoulder to teach you. Im not sure how to explain it myself to set them correctly but ill try. I like to grease em up put the washer on tighten the nut with channel locks down pretty snug to seat everything. Then back it off completely so the nut is free to spin by fingers and give the rotor a spin. I then snug it up as hard as i can by hand while slowly rotating the rotor. I set the final "torque" so there is ever so amount if detectable slop when rocking 12 and 6. I mean like hardly detectable by feel (meaning about .001" slop - no preload). This is done cold btw. If you cant get it lined up cotter pin hole wise ALWAYS back off the nut to align the pin - dont tighten it. The bearings will expand ever so slightly when hot and take up that slop so it runs nice and good without binding and galling/grenading.

I would stop driving your truck till you figure this out as you wheel can come off or lock up the bearing ruining the spindle. Then youve got new bearing and spindle to replace...
Thanks for reply dngr I wasn't notified and didn't see your post til now.

As for how I packed it, I seen 3 different videos and carefully packed it with grease as much as I could. Yes I tapped the new seal in after I put the outer bearing in and put the inner bearing along with the washer and nut in the opposite side. I then tightened the nut by hand while spinning the rotor, backed it off and repeated the step. Snugged it with a pair of pliers and set the cotter pin in.

I drove it yesterday to work and the truck doesn't pull at all when I let go of the wheel. I noticed after installing the new shocks (the old ones were completely shot) any quick slight turn of the wheel, whatever direction, feels real exaggerated. I thought maybe thats the new shocks at work that I'm not used to.

I checked the ball joints this morning with the truck on jack stands and with the help of my phone, I was able to record and check that the upper ball joint is clunking.

I'll have to check the bearings though to rule it out of the equation :)
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Old 07-15-2018
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cant hurt to check bearings but your clunk is your ball joint for sure. Generally they all have the same amount of miles on em so its best to replace them all at the same time. You can replace them one at a time but how many Saturdays do you wanna waste? haha
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Old 07-16-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dngr Rngr View Post
cant hurt to check bearings but your clunk is your ball joint for sure. Generally they all have the same amount of miles on em so its best to replace them all at the same time. You can replace them one at a time but how many Saturdays do you wanna waste? haha
Certainly bad ball joints and bushings!
Had the front suspension done Saturday and no more clunking. The steering wheel is finally centered too. Just need an alignment now
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