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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,

I have now replaced the driver side wheel hub bearing twice in under a year.

I get all of the usual grinding noise fluctuating at different speeds and steering angles.

Once replaced, the issue is gone and the vehicle is very smooth. Then a couple of thousand miles goes by and the issue returns.

What else could be causing this? It’s only the driver’s front side.

I am thinking of doing it one more time and then going to go get an alignment. The car may have a slight pull to the left (drivers side), but I contribute this more to the way the highway is graded to the left. I don't get a slight pull when on level back roads.

ALSO - I have now used the Timken product twice now. Looks like a very nice manufactured piece. But the last one I took off looked destroyed with only a couple thousand miles on it. Should I go with the National Brand this time and an alignment?

Any help would be appreciated.

The car has 115,000 miles on it now. 2004 w/OHV Vulcan

ALSO – When I have the front wheels up in the air, the tire\rim has no play up and down or right and left. I do not think it is the Ball Joints or the Tie Rod ends contributing to the problem.

Thanks.
 

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I have replaced both my front wheel bearings with national and passenger side noise stopped but the drivers side continued to squeal like you mentioned. It's been bugging me too and the only conclusion I can come to is advance auto sold me a bad bearing. Maybe the bearing design for these cars is poor. Let me know if you figure it out but i feel like im going to have to spend another 80 bucks on a new bearing.
 

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I'm thinking I need to replace the front passenger side wheel bearing on my Sable. I didn't see any instructions on the Wiki. Does anyone have a how to guide I could use? How difficult and expensive is the replacement?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have replaced both my front wheel bearings with national and passenger side noise stopped but the drivers side continued to squeal like you mentioned. It's been bugging me too and the only conclusion I can come to is advance auto sold me a bad bearing. Maybe the bearing design for these cars is poor. Let me know if you figure it out but i feel like im going to have to spend another 80 bucks on a new bearing.
I'm also thinking a OEM Motorcraft replacement might be the right way to do it this time. When the first bearing went - I saved my receipt for its replacment. So now I'm going to go to Autozone this weekend and get a free replacement per their 1 year warranty.

Yes - I have been thinking the same thing - could I just have gotten two bad parts twice in a row?

I also replaced the passanger side front as well - its still perfectly quiet - no issues at all.

thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Does anyone know if hub bearings are easy to change yourself with a small tool set?
No!

I wouldn't attempt it - unless you have another means of transportation and are willing to park the car for some time as you go back and forth to buy more tools.

Now that i have done mine several times - its a piece of cake - but I have the following on hand everytime I do one:

Air compresor w/impact gun
Cold forged chisel and mini crowbar
claw puller tool (can be rented at Autozone for free)
Quality socket set with breaker bar (30mm socket as well)
Quality wrench set
Jack stands and car jack
swivel socket adapter
various lengths of rachet extensions
WD-40
...and god knows what else I used the first time I did it (o'ya I remember a Hammer!!!)
 

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Does anyone know if hub bearings are easy to change yourself with a small tool set?
The first time I changed one, it took about 4 hours on a freezing February night. I didn't have/need any air tools, but I did borrow the suspension tool kit, axle nut socket kit, and 2 jaw puller set from Advance. (About a $250+ deposit) The hardest part was beating the old seized hub out of the knuckle (life in the Salt Belt!). The next time was a warm day, took about 2 hours start to finish. Also, you may want to have a spare sway bar end link on hand before you start. It needs to be disconnected for the job, and sometimes it gets trashed. (Salt Belt, again). Good luck!
 

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OK, Here's my experiences and recommendations for the front hub/wheel bearings....

My 1st set of wheel bearings lasted 140K miles (Motorcraft). I replaced them with Motorcraft parts because I didn't want to have to do rework. Keep in mind the front hubs handle more weight than the back, so if you are going to go cheap start with the back bearings - but NOT the front. Just my philosophy.

These wheel bearings can be replaced some what easily if you have the right tools. If you don't have the right tools then buy the tools or take it to a shop.

The tools are:
front axle nut socket 35mm (I think)
Puller see Haynes manual for a picture and size, I have a Craftsman
15mm socket
torque wrench

I think the only tricky thing here is the puller. If you don't have a puller you'll never separate the axle from the bearing/hub. The other trick is to separate the hub from the axle evenly as you remove the 3-bolts. Unscrew the bolts evenly. Same can be said to install the new wheel/hub, install evenly as you go.

The top bolt is a real PITA if you have anti-lock brakes because of the ABS brake ring. This needs to be a short well 15mm socket, Craftsman socket is perfect for this application. If you have the ABS ring this will be a tight fit to get the socket in and out but will work. Be careful not to ding up the ring too much.

Those are all the tricks I know of. If you need more details you may want to look at a Haynes manual.

Monsoon
 

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You sir are wrong on two counts. You do NOT need a puller to seperate the hub from the axle. And the main bolt on the axle is 30mm not 35mm. All I've EVER done to seperate the axle from the hub is to remove the nut from it, then put it back on until the top of the nut is about 3mm from the face of the axle tip. Take 2 ball peen hammers of the same size (big ones preferably) and set the ball end into the nut and smack the **** out of the first hammer with the second. You could use a regular hammer and one ball peen as well, I just happened to have 2. It will easily knock the axle loose from the hub without damaging the axle threads. Just make sure that you have everything else loose before you do this method.
 

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So i got quoted by Ford about $310 parts and labor to do this, does anyone else want to give me the confidence to do this myself before waste too much money on it?

I do only have 1 car for myself but i can take the bus if i really had to get to work.
 

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You sir are wrong on two counts. You do NOT need a puller to seperate the hub from the axle. And the main bolt on the axle is 30mm not 35mm. All I've EVER done to seperate the axle from the hub is to remove the nut from it, then put it back on until the top of the nut is about 3mm from the face of the axle tip. Take 2 ball peen hammers of the same size (big ones preferably) and set the ball end into the nut and smack the **** out of the first hammer with the second. You could use a regular hammer and one ball peen as well, I just happened to have 2. It will easily knock the axle loose from the hub without damaging the axle threads. Just make sure that you have everything else loose before you do this method.

I'm sure smacking hammers on hammers is not the best approach (or safe). Using a puller is safer and easier. You may want health insurance when smacking hammers. BTW I didn't see anybody in the Haynes manual using hammers either.

This isn't difficult to do, go by the tools, parts (Motorcraft) and the Haynes service manual and do it yourself. It might take you 2.5 hours tops with hand tools. It's nothing but nut & bolts and common sense.

Monsoon
 

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When you replace the hub assembly are you also replacing the axle nut and torquing it to 180 Ft Lbs? It is imperative that it be the correct torque for bearing life. Also the axle nut is a one time use torque to yield type.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When you replace the hub assembly are you also replacing the axle nut and torquing it to 180 Ft Lbs? It is imperative that it be the correct torque for bearing life. Also the axle nut is a one time use torque to yield type.

dbf,

No - I have not been replacing the axle nut - nor am I torqueing it to 180 ft lbs. I really have to replace the nut?

I do have a torque wrench and will certainly use it next time. Thanks for the tip.

Does any one have the correct Motorcraft part number for a front wheel hub with ABS? The Motorcraft website wasn’t very clear.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So i got quoted by Ford about $310 parts and labor to do this, does anyone else want to give me the confidence to do this myself before waste too much money on it?

I do only have 1 car for myself but i can take the bus if i really had to get to work.
Go for it man. Don't let anyone tell you can't do it.

Reading everyone’s reply’s so far – it sounds to me that everyone has a different approach and tool set to accomplish the same thing.

Can it be done with an adjustable wrench and screw driver – no.

I say go for it – as working on your car will only give you more experience and you will learn. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable – stop and reverse everything you have done and take it to the shop – no big deal.
 

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If i were going to rent the tools from autozone or whatever which ones would be good to grab just incase?
 

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I am going to have the dealership do this for me unless i can find it cheaper $310 sounds about the best i can get it done.

Does anyone think i can have a mom and pop shop put the part on any cheaper?
 

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I say go for it – as working on your car will only give you more experience and you will learn. If at any point you don’t feel comfortable – stop and reverse everything you have done and take it to the shop – no big deal.
I've taken a few hubs apart. Some definitely come apart easier(read 'no puller') than others. Break the lugnuts loose, jack it up, and put jackstand under it , take the wheel off, and spray all of the fasteners you need to remove with penetrant(don't get any on braking surfaces). I like Silikroil, but this site pointed out that ATF and acetone is better. Put the wheel back on and drive it for a day. Then start your project. If you can't get it, follow ddnguy's post.
 

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I'm sure smacking hammers on hammers is not the best approach (or safe). Using a puller is safer and easier. You may want health insurance when smacking hammers. BTW I didn't see anybody in the Haynes manual using hammers either.

This isn't difficult to do, go by the tools, parts (Motorcraft) and the Haynes service manual and do it yourself. It might take you 2.5 hours tops with hand tools. It's nothing but nut & bolts and common sense.

Monsoon
Beating your half-shaft out with a hammer may well indeed remove it, but what do you think is absorbing all that striking force? That's right, your CV joints and trans-axle assembly! I always use a puller.
 
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