2000 Ford F150 Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

by Kyle Sanstrom

The rear wheel bearings in a 2000 Ford F-150 are designed to support the rear axle shafts and allow them to spin with a minimal amount of friction. Both bearings are lubricated by a small stream of gear oil that runs down each axle tube from the differential. As these bearings wear, they can create excess noise. This bearing noise is most audible at highway speeds when the axles are turning faster. In 2000, Ford used more than 50 different rear axle configurations for the F-150, each one a variation of the 8.8 or 9.75-inch ring gear setup. Replacing the rear wheel bearings is similar for each axle variation, with the only differences being the locking mechanism for the differential gears and a disc or drum brake setup.

1

Place the transmission in neutral, raise the rear of your vehicle with an automotive jack and support it with jack stands. Remove the lug nuts using a 19 or 21 mm -- depending upon your vehicle options -- lug nut socket and a 1/2-inch ratchet. Remove the rear wheels.

2

Remove the 10 mm bolts holding the rear brake calipers in place. Gently pry the brake calipers away from the rotors and tie them to the rear leaf spring with a piece of string. Do not allow the brake calipers to hang by the brake hose. If your truck has rear drum brakes, remove the adjuster plug on the back side of the brake backing plate and use a brake adjuster tool to adjust the shoes slightly inward to allow the rotors to slip off. Remove the brake rotors and set them aside.

3

Break the differential drain plug free with a 3/8-inch ratchet. Slide a drain pan underneath the rear differential and remove the 13 mm differential bolts. Use a putty knife to separate the differential cover from the differential and allow the gear oil to flow out into the drain pain. Set the differential cover aside.

4

Rotate one of the axles clockwise until you can see the center of the differential carrier. If the center of the carrier has a large S-shaped spring inside it, you have the 8.8-inch rear end. If it does not, you have the 9.75-inch rear end. If you have the S-spring inside your differential, note its orientation and then remove it with a pair of locking pliers.

5

Hold the ring gear still with a pry bar and remove the differential shaft lock bolt on the bottom of the carrier housing with a 3/8-inch socket and a 1/4-inch ratchet. Slide the differential shaft out of the carrier and set it aside on a clean towel. Grab onto each axle hub, one at a time, near the wheel studs and press it into the axle tube as far as it will go. This creates enough space to remove the axle c-clips. Remove both axle c-clips and set them aside. Be sure to label them “R” and “L” so you can reinstall them in exactly the same position. Remove both of the axle shafts and inspect the surface where the bearing rides for pitting. Replace any axle shafts with pitting on the bearing surfaces. Be sure to store the axle shafts vertically by standing them on the wheel-stud end. Laying them down horizontally can warp the axle shaft.

6

Use a seal puller to remove both axle seals from the axle tubes. Install the bearing puller attachment for a slide hammer into the left side axle bearing. Screw the tip of a slide hammer into the bearing puller attachment and use the slide hammer to pull out the bearing. Repeat this process for the right side wheel bearing.

7

Clean the axle tubes with a small amount of brake cleaner or similar solvent and a clean shop rag. Coat the inside of the axle tubes where the bearing rides with a small amount of fresh gear oil. Coat both wheel bearings with a small amount of gear oil. Align the left side wheel bearing in the axle tube and drive it into place with an appropriately-sized bearing/seal installer and a hammer. Repeat this step for the right side axle bearing. Drive both of the new axle seals into place with an appropriately-sized bearing/seal installer and a hammer.

8

Reinstall both axles and replace the c-clips in their original orientation, and then replace the differential shaft. Apply a small amount of blue thread locker to the differential shaft lock bolt, reinstall it in the carrier and torque it to 15 to 30 foot-pounds. Replace the differential S-spring in its original orientation if your vehicle is equipped with the 8.8-inch rear axle.

9

Use a gasket scraper, brake cleaning solvent and clean shop rags to clean all traces of old sealant from the differential housing and the differential cover. Apply a continuous bead of RTV sealant to the differential cover. Replace the differential cover and reinstall the cover bolts. Tighten them hand-tight, then torque them to 28 to 38 foot-pounds in a crisscross, alternating pattern.

10

Reinstall the brake rotors and the brake calipers. Torque the caliper bolts to 20 foot-pounds. If you have drum brakes, adjust the brake shoes out slightly until they are barely touching the rotor. Rotate the axle in a clockwise direction; there should be a slight drag from the brake shoes when they are properly adjusted.

11

Remove the differential fill plug and fill the rear axle with 75W-140 synthetic gear oil until it begins to spill out of the differential fill hole. Immediately replace the fill plug and torque it to 15 to 30 foot-pounds.

12

Reinstall the wheels and lug nuts. Torque the lug nuts in an alternating pattern to 100 foot-pounds for 19 mm nuts and 150 foot-pounds for 21 mm nuts. Shift the transmission back into park. Raise the vehicle off the jack stands, remove the jack stands and then lower the vehicle to the ground. Retorque the lug nuts once the vehicle is on the ground. Test drive the vehicle and verify proper operation.

Tips

  • check A slide hammer and bearing puller attachment is required to do this job. The rear wheel bearings are pressed in and there isn’t a way to remove them without these tools. Attempting to remove them without the proper tools can result in damage to the axle tube. These tools can usually be rented or purchased from most auto parts stores.
  • check The new bearings and seals must be installed using a bearing/seal driver. This tool matches the diameter of the bearing race and allows the bearing to be driven into place without damaging it. These tools can be rented from most local auto parts stores. Most bearing/seal driver tools come as a set with many different diameter drivers. Make sure that you match up the bearing/seal driver diameter to the diameter of your bearing race so that you’re using the race portion to drive the bearing into place and not the bearing rollers. Do the same thing with the axle tube seal and match up the diameter of the bearing/seal installer to the outer diameter of the axle tube seal.
  • check Ford requires 75W-140 synthetic gear oil in the rear axle. Ford also requires 4 ounces of friction modifier to be added to limited-slip differentials. Most synthetic gear oils already have the friction modifier added into the gear oil. If you aren’t sure if your truck has a limited slip differential, it’s best to use fluid that already has the modifier in it. Using this fluid will not harm non-limited slip differentials, but omitting it can cause problems with limited slip differentials. Look at the label on the bottle of gear oil to make sure it says that the limited slip additive pre-mixed into the fluid.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Kyle Sanstrom has been writing professionally since 2008. His articles have been published on several websites including eHow and Automobile Insight. Sanstrom has undergone advanced automotive training at the Dunwoody College of Technology, holds an Associate of Arts in general studies from Century College and has more than 10 years of experience in all aspects of automotive repair and diagnosis.