Front Hub Bearing Replacement: Ford Explorer 4×4

Vehicles Affected: 1995-2002 Ford Explorer Wheel Hub Bearing
This set of instructions may also be used for 1995-2009 Ford Explorer vehicles, however, small variances may be noticed.

Here is a great set of instructions for the do-it-yourselfers out there. We found these while surfing the web.  Original Posters LINK

Emmett Ientilucci actually created these and deserves the credit. We simply found them and decided to post them here, where many interested do-it-yourselfers may be. So, thank you. We are ASE Certified Auto Technicians with over 15 years of experience in the auto repair industry. Feel free to email us any technical questions you have. We will do our best to answer them as quickly as possible.

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Replacing a Bearing on a Ford Explorer

Some signs you need a new bearing:

-Low growling, humming, or whirring type sound heard best at speeds around 30-45 MPH. This noise may go away and come back if you slightly turn the steering wheel back and forth while driving down a straight road.

-ABS light is on

-Loud screeching noise (people taking notice as you drive by) coming from the front tire area in addition to a grinding noise.

-You can also check the bearing by first, lifting the front tires off the ground. Facing the tire, grab it at 12 and 6 o’clock, then move the entire tire in and out by pressing in at the 6 o’clock position and pulling out at the 12 o’clock position, simultaneously. If there is a lot of play when doing this, chances are the bearing is hosed.

-Lastly, Having a shop inspect and verify what is wrong is usually worth it if you are not completely sure.

Estimated Time: 1-3hrs (Most of the time is spent getting the rusted 14 mm bolts loose)

Tools: – Can of PB blaster to loosen the bolts

– 1/2 in drive breaker bar (or called a flex head handle)

– 32 mm hub socket (for 1995 Explorer with ABS) (you can borrow this from Autozone or Advance Auto Parts or buy it from

– Bungee cord or piece of rope

– 3/8 and 1/2 drive socket sets (English/metric)

– 1/2 in-to-3/8-in drive converter (or called an adapter). A universal will also do

– Slide hammer **May Not Be Necessary**(you can borrow this from Autozone or Advance Auto Parts if needed)

– 1/2″ drive torque wrench (you can borrow this from Autozone or purchase from

Before starting the job, spray all bolts with PB blaster to help loosen them. Before elevating the truck, you need to loosen the hub nut (32 mm) and the lug nuts (19 mm). It is best to do this with a 1/2 inch breaker bar. Then lift the truck and pull off the tire.

You now need to remove the brake assembly. There are two short bolts behind the caliper. Remove these and pull the caliper off.

The caliper comes off best when the rotor is flush with the bearing hub assembly. You can force the rotor to be flush by using one of the 19 mm lug nuts. Tighten the lug nut on the stud opposite the caliper. This will keep the rotor in one place. Once the caliper is off, you should suspend it to the frame someplace with a bungee cord. Do not suspend it by the pressurized brake line.

The pads simply pull out from the caliper support frame. Then you need to remove the caliper support frame. This is attached via 2-14 mm bolts (that are usually rusted pretty good). Once the caliper support has been removed, the rotor simply slides out. Also, it might be a good idea to remove the “rotor shield” on the right side of the hub assembly. Once the rotor is off, the bolts for the shield are exposed. The shield is held in place by three small bolts. A 1/4 inch drive and metric socket can easily remove these.

Now it’s time to remove the 3-14 mm bolts that hold the bearing hub. A 14 mm 1/2 inch drive socket will do the trick.

However, a 1/2 inch breaker bar (or ratchet head) is too large to fit in the space, as is. This is because the CV boot is in the way (for all 3 bolts). I found that if I use a 1/2-drive to 3/8-drive adapter with a 3/8 inch breaker bar, I can fit the socket in the space. If I had a universal adapter, I could probably use the 1/2 breaker bar. The only problem is, there is not enough leverage (using the 3/8 breaker bar) to loosen the bolts. I can make the 3/8-drive breaker bar longer with a short piece of pipe.

Once the 3-14 mm bolts are off, you need to pull the bearing off the spline. This can be done using a “slide hammer” or many times it will come right off without much work and without the puller. We rarely ever have to use a puller to remove these in our shop!!

Mount the slide hammer plate to the bearing hub studs. Then simply pull the bearing straight out and off the spline. In this photo, you can see the spline for the CV joint as well as the old bearing on the floor with the ABS cable still attached. Also, you can see the two holes for the caliper support bracket and two (of the three) small holes for the rotor shield, which is on the floor to the right.

Now you just need to install the new bearing over the spline. You can draw the spline through the bearing by using the hub nut. Do not overtighten the hub nut just yet. First, you should install the 3-14 mm bolts that hold the new hub in place.

These should be torqued to about 74-96 lb-ft. Then the entire re-assembly is done in reverse order. The hub nut should be fully tightened last (to about 175 lb-ft) with the truck tire on and truck off the jack. It is extremely important that this nut is not overtightened. Using an impact wrench to tighten this nut is the main cause of premature bearing failure. It is strongly recommended that you tighten this with a calibrated torque wrench!!!!!!

Torque Specs:

Axle Nut   157-212 Ft Lbs.      Ideal: 170

Hub to Knuckle Bolts       70-96 Ft Lbs.


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