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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sort of new here. Hope this is the correct place for this.

I have a '78 Bronco Ranger XLT that my grandfather bought from the original owner in 1981. The truck has over 250,000 miles on it.

I was out today running it pretty hard through some creeks and stuff, and I noticed when I got home that my drivers side front wheel is leaning in at the top. I jacked up the front and I can move the wheel up and down by hand. I'm assumeing there is some sort of wheel bearing in there that has self destructed? I have built several cars, but have no experience with 4x4's. How much of a job will this be to repair, and is it something that someone with good mechanical aptitude, but no experience with 4x4 front axles can accomplish in an afternoon?

Also, I had a slight fender bender with a tree a while back which took out the hood, grill, passenger fender and door. I have a '76 F150 with a decent body and perfect grill but no drivetrain or suspension. Am I correct in thinking that I can use the door, fender, hood and grill from the F150 on my Bronco? Does anyone make replacement floorpans for these Broncos? The entire body on my Bronco is rust free except the drivers side floor. Some battery acid got spilled there years ago and was never cleaned up. It has a pretty huge hole there now.

Thanks.
 

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Are you sure it's the wheel bearings and not the ball joints? You say you can move the wheel up and down, is it the wheel and not the whole knuckle assembly. If it the wheel bearings then changing out the front axle bearings is not hard as long as you have everything you need.

First, I would highly suggest you pick up the Haynes or Chiltons, or both repair manuals for your vehicle. Both give easy to follow instructions on how to replace the front bearings. Read through the section and make sure you have all the tools you will need. If you do, changing bearings out can be done in a day as long as you didn't damage the spindle or hub, then it may take a little longer. Take your time and you should be good to go as long you follow the manual, pay attention the the seating of the bearing and torquing of the bearing nuts.

Second, in order to change out the front bearings you will need a special socket for the bearing retaining nut. You can pick this up at a good auto parts store, tell them you need the socket for the "Dana 44 wheel bearing retaining nut".

Third, like I said earlier, you may have damaged more then just the bearings, the spindle may be damaged as well as the hub itself. Be prepared for added cost due to hidden damage as you get into it. Rebuild both sides just to be sure, if one side went bad, then the other side is sure to follow.

Good luck and keep us informed.
 

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Might be a good idea to replace the seals too while you have everything apart, otherwise you'll run the risk of ruining your new bearings in a short amount of time.
 

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Yes the '76 grille will fit on but, you have to change the rad. support. Mine had a '75 grille for a year before I got the parts to fix it. Everything else is bolt in. And as stated the frnt wheel bearings are pretty easy to replace, about the same as a rwd car. Same idea anyways, just more parts in the way.
 

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Wheel bearings are easy, once you get the retaining nut tool. But dont forget to replace the seal, or it'll fill with dirt and water and you'll be doing it again next year.........
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, I appreciate the help. I will probably try to replace the bearings and seals in the next month or so.

The grille on my F150 looks the same as the one on my Bronco. I was told it was a '76 when it was given to me, but I suppose it could actually be a '78. Good tip on useing the floor from the F150, never even thought about that.
 
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