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.


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Recent Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating

(408)

Rating Summary
384
10
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9
384
10
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9

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Dodge Journey V6-3.6L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front, Passenger Side Front) - Denver, Colorado
Robert was awesome. I was unable to make my appointment so I arranged with Robert to get the parts and keys from my brother. He was obviously very knowledgeable in what he was doing as the work completed was done in about half the time that was estimated. By far the best mechanic experience I have ever had. Robert kept me up to date along the way and and was more than willing to work with my brother since I could not be there. I also requested that Robert didn't fill the transmission since my car has a silicone gasket. Robert was understanding of this and went as far as to let me know how much fluid he recovered so I could fill it myself once the silicone was cured. Most shops will suck out the ATF Fluid and replace what they pulled out. Robert did the full service on the transmission including dropping the pan and replacing the filter. I verified all the work once I got home and everything looked great. I am truly impressed with the service received from Robert and Your Mechanic. I will be having more work done through them in the near future.
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Denver, Colorado
Amazing he was on time completed the job and checked his work, also made sure I was happy. Thank you so much.

John

27 years of experience
1019 reviews
John
27 years of experience
GMC Sierra 1500 V8-5.3L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - League City, Texas
John was on time to the appointment, knowledgeable about my repair and other aspects of my vehicle, and completed the repair efficiently and in a timely manner. I would DEFINITELY recommend John for future repairs of my own and anyone seeking repairs on their vehicles. 110% happy with this service.
Nissan Frontier - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Front) - League City, Texas
Actually, I am pleasantly surprised. John is personable and arrived early which I appreciate. We spoke for a few moments -- discussed the work that needed to be done and then he began the Wheel Hub Assembly service. I was able to sit by as the truck was being serviced -- and John is definitely a professional. Although we had to reschedule due to parts delay -- and I had more than ample time to think about having someone else perform the service, I am glad I waited for John to complete the service. He worked swiftly and with finesse -- a smart finesse with many years of experience--no mess or muddle. I have driven the truck and so far so good. Hoping to have John complete other services in the next few weeks.

Ben

41 years of experience
1410 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Passenger Side Rear) - Houston, Texas
Ben was very kind, helpful and fast! I did not have to miss work or anything because he showed up on time and got the job done! Thanks Ben!
Chevrolet Equinox - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front) - Houston, Texas
Ben was timely, courteous and very professional. He arrived on time and went above and beyond customer service. He was efficient and did the job in a timely manner. I would highly recommend!

Nathaniel

10 years of experience
326 reviews
Nathaniel
10 years of experience
Subaru Impreza H4-2.5L - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front, Passenger Side Front) - Norfolk, Virginia
Nathaniels is a devoted and skilled mechanic. He changed the two front wheel hubs on my Subaru Impreza 2010. Despite one side of the wheel hub was very rusted and stucked, Nathaniels ran to get a new tool to get the rusted wheel hub out. I am very appreciative of his hardwork.
Nissan Quest - Wheel Hub Assembly Replacement (Driver Side Front, Passenger Side Front) - Norfolk, Virginia
Mr. Nate was friendly, professional and very knowledgeable about wheel hub assembly. He made quick work of replacing rusted wheel hubs with new wheel hubs for my 2006 Nissan Quest. I would recommend him again. Tim D.

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