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How to Replace Rear Wheel Bearings on a Ford Explorer

by April Kohl

The rear wheel bearings on a Ford Explorer are prone to wear and will eventually need replacement. This is often signaled by an audible hum while driving the car. Fitting replacement parts can be expensive, if you take the vehicle to a shop, so knowing how to replace rear wheel bearings on a Ford Explorer can save you money.

Step 1

Place chocks under the front wheels of the Explorer, to prevent the car slipping while you are working. Lift the rear of the car on a car jack. Remove the first rear wheel. Disconnect, and remove, the tire assembly from behind the wheel. Locate, and remove, the bearing nut and the washer that comes with it. If a new nut came with the replacement bearing, you can discard the original nut; otherwise, keep it safe.

Step 2

Remove the bolts from the back of the brake caliper bracket. Hold the caliper while removing the bolt, to prevent it falling and damaging the brake line. Slide out the brake caliper. Separate the toe link from the wheel knuckle, by removing the nut and bolt. The nut can be discarded.

Step 3

Separate the upper ball joint from the wheel knuckle, by removing the nut and bolt. Again, the nut can be discarded. Push the outboard CV joint loose of the hub, and store it in a safe place. Push the axle to ensure it is disengaged from the hub. Remove the nut and bolt. Remove the wheel knuckle, the hub and the bearing as one assembly. Remove the three bolts on the assembly.

Step 4

Remove the hub from the wheel bearing. Take out the retainer ring, and remove the wheel knuckle from the bearing. Attach the wheel knuckle to the new bearing, and install the retainer ring. Insert the new wheel bearing into the replacement hub. Reassemble the assembly by re-installing the three bolts. Install the assembly in the car around the axle, and re-attach the nut and bolt to hold the assembly in place.

Attach the wheel knuckle to the upper ball joint with a nut and bolt. Re-attach the toe link to the wheel knuckle with another nut and bolt. Install the brake caliper, and hold it in place, while you re-attach the bolts on the back of the brake caliper. Replace the wheel bearing nut and washer. Re-attach the tire assembly and the tire. Lower the car on the jack. Repeat for the other rear wheel.

Tip

  • If possible, get someone to help you, by pushing down on the brake pedal, while you are removing the rear wheels. This will stop the axle from turning while you work, which makes getting the wheel off a lot easier. If nobody is available to help, a brick on the brake pedal works just as well; o,r you can do it without the pedal pressed, but this can be a little more difficult.

Warning

  • The outboard CV joint can be difficult to remove from the hub without a little pressure. Under no circumstances should you bash it free with a hammer, as the impact can damage the internal threads and components. If this happens, a new CV joint will be required, which adds extra cost to the repair.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks
  • Car jack
  • Replacement wheel bearing
  • Replacement wheel bearing hub
  • Torque wrench
  • Socket wrench

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