How to Replace the Front Wheel Bearings in a 2004 Expedition

by Robert BaylyUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Channel-lock pliers

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • Wire

  • Seal remover

  • Shop rags

  • Parts cleaner

  • Hammer

  • Punch set

  • Bearing race installer kit

  • Feeler gauge set

  • High-temperature wheel bearing grease

  • Block of 2- by 4-inch wood

  • New grease seal

  • Torque wrench

  • Inch-pound torque wrench

The 2004 Ford Expedition was equipped with a 4.6-liter or optional 5.4-liter V-8 engine with sequential fuel injection. Available in two- or four-wheel-drive, the standard two-wheel-drive Expedition used coil springs with upper and lower control arms to provide independent-front suspension. The front wheel bearings in the Expedition are tapered roller bearings, housed in a hub and rotor assembly. The wheel bearings can be serviced separately.


Park the Expedition on a level, paved surface and set the parking brake. If equipped with air suspension, turn off the control switch located in rear driver trim panel. Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels. Raise the front of the Expedition with a jack and support with jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

Grab the dust cover on the hub with channel-lock pliers. Twist and pull on the cover to remove it. Do not grab the cover too tight. If it does not want to come off, use a flathead screwdriver to pry it out, working your way around it. Use a pair of pliers to remove the cotter pin from the spindle. Note how it is bent so you can bend a new pin the same way.

Remove the caliper bracket bolts with a ratchet and socket. Remove the caliper and bracket. Tie it to the coil spring with a piece of wire.

Remove the spindle nut retainer. Remove the spindle nut and washer with a ratchet and socket. Tilt the hub a little to force out the outer wheel bearing. Remove the bearing and slide the hub assembly off the spindle. Lay the hub face down and use a seal remover to remove the grease seal. Remove the inner wheel bearing.

Clean the hub and spindle with shop rags and parts cleaner. Remove all of the old grease from the hub.

Remove the bearing races from the hub with a hammer and punch. The hub has notches in it where you can access the race. Work back and forth between the notches, striking the punch just hard enough to move the race a little bit. Repeat for the other bearing race.


Install new races with a hammer and race installer. Make sure the races are fully seated in the hub by trying to slide a .015-inch feeler gauge between the back of the race and the hub. It should not go in.

Put some high-temperature wheel bearing grease in the palm of your hand. Pack the new bearings by holding the bearing with the big end of the taper facing down. Drag the edge of the bearing down through the edge of the grease and against and across your palm, forcing grease between the rollers. Keep doing this until grease comes out through the top of the rollers. Repeat this motion, turning the bearing a little at a time until grease is forced out all the way around the bearing. Repeat for the other bearing.

Pack the cavity in the hub between the bearing races with grease until it is level with the inside of the bearing races.

Lay the hub face down. Set the inner bearing in the race. Spread a film of grease around the outside edge and inside lip of a new grease seal. Set the seal on the hub. Lay a block of 2- by 4-inch wood on top of the seal. Tap the wood with a hammer to seat the seal. Rotate the block of wood around the seal to drive it in flush with the hub.

Mount the hub on the spindle. Slide the outer bearing onto the spindle. Install the washer and nut. Rotate the rotor in a clockwise direction while using a torque wrench and socket to torque the spindle nut to between 21 foot-pounds. Loosen the nut one half turn. Torque the nut to 17 inch-pounds with an inch-pound torque wrench. Install the spindle nut retainer so the notches in the retainer line up with the hole in the spindle. Install and bend a new cotter pin. Mount the dust cap and tap it into the hub with a rubber mallet.

Mount the caliper and bracket. Install and torque the bolts to between 125 and 168 foot-pounds. Place the dust cap against the hub and tap it on with a rubber mallet. Mount the wheel and install the lug nuts. Raise the Expedition, remove the jack stands and lower it to the ground. Torque the lug nuts to between 83 and 112 foot-pounds. Remove the wheel chocks. Turn on the air suspension, if equipped.


The bearing race installer can be rented. Check your pads and rotor for excessive wear. If the rotor has deep grooves or you cannot run your fingernail across the rotor without stopping, consider replacing the rotor and pads. New hub and rotor assemblies usually come with the bearing races pre-installed.

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