How to Replace the Rear Hub Bearing on a Ford Explorer

Automotive wheel bearings are a very important component on a vehicle. They are responsible for allowing the vehicle’s wheels to roll on the ground with as little friction as possible. They hold the entire weight of the vehicle and are subject to the harsh conditions of the road, as well as exertion from the torque of the engine.

When they fail, they will begin to make a howling noise, which will progress into a grinding, and when completely failed may seize, rendering the vehicle undriveable. In this step by step guide we will go over how to replace a wheel bearing and hub on a 2002 - 2010 Ford Explorer.

Part 1 of 1: Replacing the hub bearing

Materials Needed

  • Axle nut socket set
  • Basic set of hand tools
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Long handle breaker bar
  • Mechanic’s wire
  • Pry bar
  • Wheel hub puller
  • Penetrating oil
  • Torque wrench
  • Wood blocks

Step 1: Loosen the nuts. Loosen the lug nuts from the wheel which the bearing is going to be replaced.

Step 2: Raise and secure the vehicle. Raise the vehicle and secure it on jack stands, and then remove the wheel.

Place blocks of wood underneath the front and rear of the wheel diagonally opposed from the one you will be working on.

person removing caliper bolts with ratchet socket

Step 3: Remove the caliper and its bolts. Once the wheel is removed, proceed to remove the caliper bolts, and then remove the caliper.

If the caliper is still tight once the bolts are removed, wedge a flathead screwdriver between the pad and the caliper and gently pry until the caliper can come loose.

Once the caliper is free, secure it somewhere on the vehicle, out of the way, using mechanic’s wire. Also take this time to disconnect the parking brake cables.

picture of brake hub assembly with caliper removed

Step 4: Remove the rotor. Once the caliper is removed, remove the rotor to expose the hub.

If the rotor appears to be stuck, make sure that the parking brake is disengaged, or try striking the rotor hub face with a hammer until it breaks free.

Step 5: Remove the axle nut. Remove the axle nut using your long handle breaker bar and the appropriate axle nut socket.

one of the pinch bolts that secures the spindle to the vehicle

Step 6: Remove the upper control arm. Remove the two pinch bolts that secure the upper control arm and the toe link ball joint ends to the spindle.

upper control arm ball joint being removed from pinch bracket of spindle

Step 7: Separate the control arm and toe link ball joints. They should be separated from the pinch brackets on the spindle.

Spray them liberally with penetrating fluid, as they will probably be rusted, and then use the pry bar to pry them loose. If they will not separate, wedge the chisel in-between the pinch brackets and pry them apart until the joint loosens.

Step 8: Remove the lower control arm bolt. Once both joints are separated, remove the lower control arm bolt from the spindle.

removing hub and spindle

Step 9: Pull the hub from the vehicle. The spindle should now be completely unbolted from the vehicle and ready to remove using the wheel hub puller.

Install the wheel hub puller using a few lug nuts, and then tighten the puller center bolt until the hub is pulled free.

Step 10: Install new hub components. At this point the spindle should be removed and ready for the new parts.

As the hub and bearing are pressed into the spindle a shop press will be required to remove the old bearing and hub, and install the new components. If a shop press is not available, you can a have professional do this for you.

reassembled brake hub assembly

Step 11: Reinstall hub on vehicle. Once the new components have been installed into the hub, reinstall it onto the vehicle in the reverse of the removal procedure.

Torque the axle nut to the manufacturer's specified value and then reinstall the wheel on the vehicle.

In most cases replacing a rear hub bearing on a Ford Explorer is a straightforward task, however there can be instances where it may become difficult, such as when the ball joints are rusted to the spindle or when the axle nut is extremely tight and difficult to remove. In these instances, it may be a good idea to contact a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to replace your wheel hub assembly to ensure that the job is completed properly.


Next Step

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Recent Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(355)

Rating Summary
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Mazyar

8 years of experience
336 reviews
Mazyar
8 years of experience
Lexus LS430 - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - Duluth, Georgia
I didn’t know what to expect today getting my car fixed. He showed up on time , finished in good timing., and also did a great job. I would recommend him..
Honda Civic - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Lithonia, Georgia
He was very thorough. Was impressed that we went for a test drive after work was complete. Would recommend him again.

Shawn

12 years of experience
152 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz E320 - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - West Chester, Pennsylvania
Shawn is great, does what he says and does it well. I feel fortunate to have found him to work on my cars and truck.

Francisco

11 years of experience
35 reviews
Francisco
11 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Rear) - Pflugerville, Texas
Came ahead of schedule. Finished the job ahead of schedule Took the time and gave me a thorough explanation of why and how service was performed. Extremely satisfied would you recommend the service

Torrieanto

12 years of experience
632 reviews
Torrieanto
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Venture - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Palm Harbor, Florida
Torrieanto was great he completed the job with no problem and was quick and efficient I would definitely request him.

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Related questions

Is there vibrations and humming that gets louder when speed is increased then stops when vehicle stops a wheel bearing problem

From what you describe it is the front wheel bearings in the front hubs that need replaced. You should also check the tires for uneven wear and need for tire rotation or alignment issues causing uneven tire wear.

Road noise from the front end. I thought the tires were bad. replaced the tires and the noise is still there?

If you are hearing noise from the front wheel bearings, then you will have a noise that will get louder the faster you go. The noise may get more or less as you turn the wheel left or right. ...

Grinding noise while driving and turning right.

The origin of the noise should be apparent to a mechanic once he or she road tests the vehicle. If not, installing remote wireless chassis ears at a few key spots in the front end will pinpoint the origin of...

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