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Discussion Starter #1
just looking for a little info, wondering what are the tell tale signs that your front wheel bearings are going and how much time involved in replacing them.
just incase I take it to a mechanic. thanks leo
 

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Check and see what the grease looks like. If you enjoy mud like me every 3000 mile is a good idea. If you're on the road I'd guess 40k miles
 

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put the truck on a lift and let it idle in gear or in drive.

Get a stethoscope and place it as close to the bearing as you can and listen for a scraping or grinding noise.

I've seen wheel bearings so bad that you could move the wheel around, as if the balljoints were shot.
 

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Grab the tire at the top, push and pull like hell. If it moves replaces bearings
 

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I am not sure if it is the same on all trucks but I worked on an s-10 with bad wheel bearings and it mad a rythmatic vibration, hard, soft, hard, soft and it was only at certain speeds.

As far as replacing them, if they are anything like a Ranger, they are a piece of cake. I did my Ranger's myself in a couple of hours. At the shop I worked at I did them a lot faster because they had a lift and all the speciallized tools. But I don't know if I have actually done a full size ford. But I think it is just the same except bigger.
 

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rvcam said:
I am not sure if it is the same on all trucks but I worked on an s-10 with bad wheel bearings and it mad a rythmatic vibration, hard, soft, hard, soft and it was only at certain speeds.

As far as replacing them, if they are anything like a Ranger, they are a piece of cake. I did my Ranger's myself in a couple of hours. At the shop I worked at I did them a lot faster because they had a lift and all the speciallized tools. But I don't know if I have actually done a full size ford. But I think it is just the same except bigger.
yes, I just did an FSBers wheel bearings for him with the bronco parked out on the street. takes about 1-1.5 hrs. per side
 

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Wheelbearings are simple.. the hardest part that takes the longest on our bronco is taking off the tire..

Pop the tire off. Pull the hub off and bamn.. everything is there ready for ya.. pretty simple and easy.
 

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guys on my 87 i got over 120k on them with just normal maint every 25k.being a tapered design you compensate for wear by tightening the spindle nut.it will get to a point that the rollers have gotten small enough in diameter that it will require an unusual amount of torque to keep them adj.on oem bearings there is a wear indicator on the edge of the roller that indicates excessive wear.bottom line they should be replaced if they seem to require frequent adj. regards shovelhead
 

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shovelhead said:
guys on my 87 i got over 120k on them with just normal maint every 25k.being a tapered design you compensate for wear by tightening the spindle nut.it will get to a point that the rollers have gotten small enough in diameter that it will require an unusual amount of torque to keep them adj.on oem bearings there is a wear indicator on the edge of the roller that indicates excessive wear.bottom line they should be replaced if they seem to require frequent adj. regards shovelhead
I you wheel your rig in any mud/water, I hope you are doing better than normal maint. every 25k.

I check mine after every trip. Usually pull the hub and at least clean/regrease the bearings 1x a year. Does not take much to get contamination in there, and if not caught immediately, many parts end up damaged.
 

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I can tell you that if you don't do it, it costs a lot more money.

I had to replace the spindle because the threads got bunged up and the surface where the inner race rides got gouged. ($260, dealer only)

I had to replace the bearing hub because the outer race spun and gouged that. ($160, dealer only)

I ruined the bearing retaining nut. ($30 iirc, dealer only) On a side note, Ford changed the design on this part. Originally, mine looked like kf4amu's. It was three parts now it is only one. I believe they call it the ratcheting style now.

Obviously, the bearings had to be replaced. ($13-15 inner or outer) Another side note: if you buy the bearings from Ford, they do not come with the outer race because the outer races are already installed in the bearing hub if you have to buy that. If you go to a regular parts store, they come with the outer races.

I also had to replace the locking hubs. ($60-90 depending on Mfr.) These usually last pretty well unless you really destroy it and then keep driving on it. Mine looked like k4famu's by the time I got to someplace where I could fix it. Mind you, I believe that is a worst case.

So... a little mental cost/benefit analysis shows that it is easier/less expensive to take a proactive approach rather than waiting. You might consider doing the job yourself. It is one of the more interesting maintenance jobs you can do with your Bronco.
 
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