Full Size Ford Bronco Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1989 EB, 302 5.0L, 149,000. 2" lift.

Folks, when is it time to consider changing the wheel bearings? I am not experiencing any wheel issues now, and generally subscribe to "if it ain't broke don't fix it.", but want to avoid future problems. The job looks fairly straight forward but time consuming. If I decide to go in and replace them I plan to switch over to locking hubs at the same time.

Thanks,
Sig
 

·
Registered
1996 EB 5.8L, E4OD, 2.5" RC Lift, 33" tires, 3.55 gears
Joined
·
89 Posts
Just from personal experience, when I bought my Bronco, one of the first things I did was a complete brake job (pads/shoes, hardware, lines) b/c the rotors were pretty rusted and I just felt better knowing everything was brand new and functional. In hindsight, I wish I would have done ball joints and front axle ujoints at the same time. I’m regretting having to basically disassemble everything again to attend to those items. So my input is whenever you do the wheel bearings and hubs, maybe do the ball joints and u joints while you are at it. Just my .02.
 

·
Eric
Joined
·
2,560 Posts
You will usually hear a bearing going bad first. If you're suspicious, you can always just do a teardown, inspection, and re-pack. It'll give you a chance to put fresh seals in, at the very least. Personal opinion: If it's in the budget, just install new bearings and races. Then you know exactly the condition and mileage on your wheel bearings and there won't be any guessing. Then it's just a matter of regular maintenance.

Just my $0.02.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Just from personal experience, when I bought my Bronco, one of the first things I did was a complete brake job (pads/shoes, hardware, lines) b/c the rotors were pretty rusted and I just felt better knowing everything was brand new and functional. In hindsight, I wish I would have done ball joints and front axle ujoints at the same time. I’m regretting having to basically disassemble everything again to attend to those items. So my input is whenever you do the wheel bearings and hubs, maybe do the ball joints and u joints while you are at it. Just my .02.
I did brakes early on and now just completed a front end redo, all the way to pulling the third member to fix a leak at the axle housing. I also recommend redoing it all while you are there. The only things I didn’t do were radius arm and axle pivot bushings. Neither were really bad and I plan on a suspension lift in the near future and will have them done at that time.
I didn’t replace bearings. The outside ones had been replaced before, and both sets looked great.
I did front track bar bushings as well since the front end was accessible. The bar in under a bit of tension but nothing a large pry bar couldn’t get into place to get the last nut started.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
623 Posts
I'll just throw a semi-random number out there for the heck of it.
Replace the bearings every 150K miles, assuming the original are factory or high-quality replacements.

Or re-grease/pack them every 75k miles.

I'm pulling these numbers out of nowhere but it seems logical to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
I just did mine because I started hearing a "whirring" noise from the right front wheel area while driving. They were repacked probably 12 years ago, but this is the first time they've been replaced. 186k miles.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,559 Posts
there's a bit of time, effort, and money involved with changing all the wheel bearings. i wouldn't do it until needed. but as silver mentioned above, it wouldn't hurt to break it apart and inspect them.

if you're not seeing any issues, that would probably be my recommendation. just take it apart, inspect, and then determine what you need to replace. put them back togehter and acquire the parts to do everything needed.
 

·
Man of endless projects
Joined
·
8,955 Posts
i usually repalce them any time i do any work related with touching them. so like doing balljoints, rotors, or such. however i dont ever reuse them either, they can be 6 months old i still replace them. but im harsh on my stuff and paranoid about wheel bearings because i had enough blown out over the years and its not fun. also i seen enough people screw up doing wheel bearings to know that jsut because it isnt giving an issue doesnt mean its correct. my current 96 the previous owner converted to manual hubs and did not get the conversion spindle nuts, im surprized the wheel didnt fall off while i drove home. same thing with my friends truck but they did back off on his truck and i had to replace the nuts. even with the proper spindle nuts, if not installed correctly they can sill back off and fall apart
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
The dumb stupid answer is..... Replace when it crosses your mind. So many times it has happened to me: "I should look at or fix that" An wham, that is the next thing to break. Not saying that a Bronco is any sort of spiritual being, but if you have a hunch that something is going bad, it probably is...........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So if I’m inclined to tackle this project what needs to be purchased? Inner and outer bearing for all wheels and grease. Plus the Manuel hubs. Any special tools?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,559 Posts
You'll need a socket for the spindle nuts. You need grease and a bunch of paper towels. Hex socket for the hub lock bolts. Something to hammer out the races. A bearing race press set to install the races. Wheel seals. And if you're up for it, do the spindle bearings, too. You'll need something to get out the spindle bearings, though, like a slide hammer and a puller. Picks for the hub lock retaining ring and snap ring pliers for the ring on the axle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts

Spindle nut adapter for slide hammer unless you like torturing yourself.
If you pull the spindles, I would seriously consider ball joints and u-joints unless you are sure they’re good. I’d also invest in some new spindle nuts since on my 80 they’re a self locking type that aren’t designed for an infinite amount of on/off cycles.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top