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Guide: How to Change the Wheel Bearing on a 1998 Ford Explorer’s Front

by | Dec 3, 2023 | How To

Welcome to our step-by-step tutorial on how to change the wheel bearing on the front of your 1998 Ford Explorer. Whether you’re experiencing issues with your wheel bearing or simply want to perform some maintenance, this guide will provide you with all the necessary instructions and tips to successfully replace the wheel bearing on your vehicle. Follow along, and in no time, you’ll have your front wheel bearing functioning like new again.

Key Takeaways:

  • Replacing the wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer is a manageable task with the right tools and instructions.
  • Make sure to have all the necessary tools and equipment before starting the replacement process.
  • Properly removing the wheel and brakes is essential to access the front wheel bearing.
  • Take precautions to remove the old front wheel bearing without damaging the CV joints.
  • Cleanliness and preparation are key to a successful front wheel bearing installation.

Tools and Equipment Needed for Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

To successfully replace the wheel bearing on the front of your 1998 Ford Explorer, you will need the following tools:

  • Jack and jack stands
  • Various millimeter sockets including a 32mm socket for the center hub nut
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Torque wrench (up to 150 foot-pounds)

These tools are essential for the removal and installation process and will ensure that you have everything you need to complete the job effectively.

Additionally, it is always a good idea to have some penetrating oil on hand to help with loosening any stubborn bolts or components. This will make the process smoother and prevent any unnecessary damage to the parts.

With these tools at your disposal, you will be well-prepared to tackle the front wheel bearing replacement on your 1998 Ford Explorer.

Removing the Wheel and Brakes

To begin the process of replacing the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer, you will first need to remove the wheel and brakes. This step is crucial as it allows you to access the front wheel bearing for replacement.

Start by jacking up the vehicle and securely placing it on jack stands. Then, use a screwdriver to pry off the wheel cap and remove the lug nuts. With the lug nuts removed, carefully take off the wheel and set it aside.

Next, you will need to remove the brakes. Loosen the lug nuts that hold the caliper and bracket in place. Once loosened, raise the vehicle further using a jack stand, and secure it to ensure stability during the process. With the vehicle raised, remove the caliper and bracket bolts, as well as the rotor and dust shield. These steps will give you the necessary access to the front wheel bearing, allowing you to proceed with the replacement.

By following these steps, you can successfully remove the wheel and brakes from your 1998 Ford Explorer, preparing the way for the front wheel bearing replacement.

front wheel bearing removal and installation on 1998 ford explorer

Removing the Old Front Wheel Bearing

Now that you have successfully removed the wheel and brakes, it’s time to move on to the next step: removing the old front wheel bearing. This is a crucial part of the process, as it will allow you to replace the worn-out bearing with a new one, ensuring optimal performance and safety for your 1998 Ford Explorer.

To begin, you will need to disconnect the ABS harness. This can typically be done by gently pulling the harness away from the hub. Once the harness is disconnected, you can move on to unbolt the hub. Use the appropriate socket and wrench to remove the bolts that secure the hub in place.

Next, you’ll need to break the axle loose from the hub. This can be done using a hammer or an axle puller. Carefully apply force to break the connection, making sure not to damage any surrounding components. Once the axle is loose, you can proceed to remove the three bolts that hold the backing plate. Apply some penetrating oil to the bolts on the hub to make them easier to remove.

With the hub now loose, you can remove the bolts and carefully take off the old front wheel bearing. Take extra care during this step to avoid damaging the CV joints. Once the old bearing is removed, you’re ready to move on to the next section: cleaning and preparing for the front wheel bearing installation.

changing wheel bearing on 1998 ford explorer front wheel

Table: Torque Specifications for Front Wheel Bearing

Component Torque Specification (ft. lb.)
Upper Ball Joint Nut and Bolt 41
Front Disc Brake Caliper Anchor Plate Bolt 85
Disc Brake Caliper Bolt 24
Hub Nut/Washer Assembly 162
Wheel Lug Nuts 90

Tips for Successful 1998 Ford Explorer Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

When it comes to replacing the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer, there are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure a successful and efficient process. Following these tips will help you achieve a smooth and trouble-free installation, ultimately ensuring the optimal performance and longevity of your new wheel bearing.

Tip 1: Thoroughly Clean the Surfaces

Before installing the new front wheel bearing, take the time to clean the CV shaft and the back of the hub where the seal rides. Remove any dirt, grease, or grime using brake cleaner and emery cloth. This will ensure a proper fit for the new bearing and prevent any potential issues down the line. Keeping the surfaces clean is crucial to prevent damage or contamination during the installation process.

Tip 2: Use High-Temperature Grease

When applying the new seal onto the CV shaft, make sure to use a PVC coupler and a pin punch to press it on. Only press on the steel part of the seal to avoid any damage. Before pressing the seal, apply a thin layer of high-temperature grease to the seal lips. This will provide lubrication and ensure a smooth operation of the front wheel bearing.

Tip 3: Torque Components Properly

It is crucial to torque all the components properly during the front wheel bearing replacement process. Refer to the specific torque specifications for your 1998 Ford Explorer and use a torque wrench to tighten the nuts and bolts to the recommended values. This will ensure that all the components are securely fastened and prevent any potential issues or loose fittings.

Component Torque Specification (ft. lb.)
Upper Ball Joint Nut and Bolt 41
Front Disc Brake Caliper Anchor Plate Bolt 85
Disc Brake Caliper Bolt 24
Hub Nut/Washer Assembly 162
Wheel Lug Nuts 90

Following these tips will help ensure a successful front wheel bearing replacement for your 1998 Ford Explorer. Remember to perform regular maintenance and inspections to keep your front wheel bearings in optimal condition and ensure the safety and performance of your vehicle.

Installing the New Front Wheel Bearing

Now that you have removed the old front wheel bearing, it’s time to install the new one. Follow these step-by-step instructions to successfully complete the installation.

Clean and Prepare

Before installing the new front wheel bearing, make sure to clean the CV shaft and the back of the hub where the seal rides. Use brake cleaner and emery cloth to remove any dirt, grease, or grime. It’s essential to have a clean surface for a proper fit and to prevent any damage or contamination.

Press the Seal

Begin the installation by pressing the seal onto the CV shaft using a PVC coupler and a pin punch. Pay attention to only press on the steel part of the seal to avoid any damage. Once the seal is in place, apply a thin layer of high-temperature grease to the seal lips to ensure proper lubrication.

Pull the Axle Shaft

Next, use a hub installer to pull the axle shaft into the hub. This step will secure the new front wheel bearing in place and ensure a tight fit. After pulling the axle shaft, reassemble the upper ball joint, brake rotor, caliper, shock (if removed), and tie rod if necessary.

Remember to refer to the torque specifications provided in Section 7 to ensure all components are properly torqued during the installation process. Once everything is secured, you can move on to the final steps of reinstallation and testing, as outlined in Sections 8 and 9.

DIY front wheel bearing replacement for 1998 Ford Explorer

Step Procedure
1 Clean the CV shaft and back of the hub.
2 Press the seal onto the CV shaft.
3 Apply high-temperature grease to the seal lips.
4 Use a hub installer to pull the axle shaft into the hub.
5 Reassemble the upper ball joint, brake rotor, caliper, shock, and tie rod if necessary.

Torque Specifications for Front Wheel Bearing

Proper torque specifications are crucial for the successful replacement of the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer. Torquing all the components to the specified values ensures a secure and safe installation. Here are the torque specifications you need to follow:

Front Wheel Bearing Torque Specifications

Component Torque Specification
Upper Ball Joint Nut and Bolt 41 ft. lb.
Front Disc Brake Caliper Anchor Plate Bolt 85 ft. lb.
Disc Brake Caliper Bolt 24 ft. lb.
Hub Nut/Washer Assembly 162 ft. lb.
Wheel Lug Nuts 90 ft. lb.

When torquing the upper ball joint nut and bolt, front disc brake caliper anchor plate bolt, and disc brake caliper bolt, make sure to use a torque wrench and tighten them to the specified values. For the hub nut/washer assembly, a higher torque of 162 ft. lb. is required. Finally, tighten the wheel lug nuts to 90 ft. lb. to ensure the wheel is secured properly.

Following these torque specifications will help maintain the integrity of the front wheel bearing and prevent any potential issues or failures. It is essential to check and double-check the torque values to ensure they are accurate before and during the installation process. Remember, proper torque is crucial for the safe operation of your vehicle.

Torque Specifications for Front Wheel Bearing image

Always consult the manufacturer’s instructions and refer to the specific torque values provided for your vehicle. Sticking to the recommended torque specifications is essential for the longevity and proper functioning of the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer.

Reinstalling the Wheel and Lowering the Vehicle

Now that you have successfully replaced the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer, it’s time to reinstall the wheel and lower the vehicle. This final step will ensure that your wheel is securely attached and ready to hit the road again.

Start by carefully placing the wheel back onto the hub and lining up the lug nut holes. Once in place, thread on the lug nuts by hand to prevent cross-threading. Use a lug wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque of 90 ft. lb. This will ensure that the wheel is securely fastened and won’t come loose while driving.

With the wheel properly tightened, it’s time to lower the vehicle. Slowly and safely remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle to the ground. Once the weight of the vehicle is fully on the ground, use the torque wrench to tighten the hub nut to the required specification of 157-213 ft. lb. This will ensure that the front wheel bearing is properly seated and secured.

Finally, secure the hub nut with the cap to protect it from debris and prevent it from coming loose. With the wheel reinstalled and the vehicle lowered, you are now ready to take your 1998 Ford Explorer for a test drive to ensure that the front wheel bearing replacement was successful.

step-by-step tutorial for changing wheel bearing on front of 1998 ford explorer

Front Wheel Bearing Inspection on 1998 Ford Explorer

After successfully replacing the front wheel bearing on your 1998 Ford Explorer, it is crucial to perform a thorough inspection to ensure its proper functioning. A comprehensive inspection will help identify any potential issues and allow you to address them before they lead to further damage or safety concerns.

Start by visually examining the front wheel bearing for any signs of wear, such as excessive play, grinding noises, or leaking grease. Rotate the wheel by hand and listen for any abnormal sounds or resistance. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may indicate a faulty or improperly installed wheel bearing that requires further attention.

In addition to the visual inspection, you can also perform a practical test to evaluate the front wheel bearing. Take your vehicle for a test drive on a smooth and straight road. Pay close attention to the steering and braking, checking for any vibrations, pulling to one side, or unusual noises. These issues could indicate a misaligned or damaged wheel bearing that needs to be addressed promptly.

Remember, a properly functioning front wheel bearing is crucial for safe and smooth driving. Regular inspections and maintenance will help ensure that your 1998 Ford Explorer remains in optimal condition and provide you with a comfortable and reliable driving experience.

Front Wheel Bearing Inspection Checklist

  • Visually inspect the front wheel bearing for signs of wear, such as play, noise, or grease leakage.
  • Rotate the wheel by hand and listen for any abnormal sounds or resistance.
  • Take your vehicle for a test drive on a smooth and straight road to check for steering and braking issues.
  • Pay attention to vibrations, pulling to one side, or unusual noises during the test drive.
  • If you notice any issues, consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the problem.

By regularly inspecting and maintaining your front wheel bearings, you can ensure the safety and performance of your 1998 Ford Explorer for years to come.

Maintenance Tips for Front Wheel Bearings

Proper maintenance of your front wheel bearings is essential for the longevity and performance of your 1998 Ford Explorer. By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your wheel bearings remain in optimal condition, preventing premature wear and ensuring the safety of your vehicle.

Regular Cleaning and Lubrication

To keep your front wheel bearings functioning smoothly, it is important to clean and lubricate them regularly. Use a high-quality wheel bearing grease and apply it to the bearings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help reduce friction, heat, and wear, ensuring that the bearings operate efficiently.

Inspection for Wear and Damage

Regularly inspect your front wheel bearings for any signs of wear or damage. Look for excessive play or looseness in the wheels, unusual noises while driving, or any grinding sensations when turning. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may indicate that your wheel bearings need to be replaced. It is recommended to have them inspected by a qualified mechanic.

Seal Integrity

Check the integrity of the seals that protect your front wheel bearings. Ensure that they are intact and free from any cracks or damage. Damaged seals can lead to water and debris entering the bearings, causing premature failure. If you notice any issues with the seals, have them replaced promptly to prevent further damage.

Regular maintenance and inspection of your front wheel bearings are crucial for the safe and efficient operation of your 1998 Ford Explorer. By following these tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your wheel bearings and ensure a smooth and comfortable driving experience.

Key Maintenance Tips for Front Wheel Bearings:
Regularly clean and lubricate the bearings
Inspect for wear or damage
Check the integrity of the seals

Conclusion

There you have it! You have successfully completed the front wheel bearing replacement on your 1998 Ford Explorer. This step-by-step tutorial guide has provided you with all the necessary information and instructions to ensure a smooth and efficient replacement process. By following these steps, you have taken an important step towards maintaining the optimal performance and safety of your vehicle.

Remember, regular maintenance and inspections are crucial to keep your front wheel bearings in optimal condition. This includes keeping them clean and lubricated, checking for any signs of wear or damage, and replacing them when necessary. By taking care of your front wheel bearings, you can prevent premature wear and ensure the longevity of your vehicle’s components.

Thank you for following this wheel bearing replacement guide. We hope that you found it helpful and informative. If you have any further questions or need additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. Safe travels!

FAQ

What tools do I need to replace the front wheel bearing on a 1998 Ford Explorer?

You will need a jack and jack stands, various millimeter sockets including a 32mm socket for the center hub nut, a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and a torque wrench that can go up to 150 foot-pounds.

How do I remove the wheel and brakes to access the front wheel bearing?

Start by jacking up, securing, and removing the wheel. Use a screwdriver to pry off the wheel cap and remove the lug nuts. Next, remove the brakes by loosening the lug nuts, raising the vehicle, and securing it with a jack stand. Take off the calipers and bracket bolts, as well as the rotor and dust shield.

How do I remove the old front wheel bearing?

To remove the old front wheel bearing, you will need to disconnect the ABS harness and unbolt the hub. Use a hammer or axle puller to break the axle loose from the hub. Remove the three bolts that hold the backing plate and use penetrating oil to loosen the bolts on the hub. Once the hub is loose, remove the bolts and take off the old front wheel bearing.

How do I clean and prepare for front wheel bearing installation?

After removing the old front wheel bearing, thoroughly clean the CV shaft and the back of the hub where the seal rides. Remove any dirt, grease, or grime to ensure a proper fit for the new front wheel bearing. Use brake cleaner and emery cloth to clean the surfaces effectively.

How do I install the new front wheel bearing?

To install the new front wheel bearing, start by pressing the seal onto the CV shaft using a PVC coupler and a pin punch. Make sure to only press on the steel part of the seal to avoid damage. Apply a thin layer of high-temperature grease to the seal lips. Then, use a hub installer to pull the axle shaft into the hub. Reinstall the upper ball joint, brake rotor, caliper, shock (if removed), and tie rod if necessary.

What are the torque specifications for front wheel bearing replacement on a 1998 Ford Explorer?

The torque specifications are as follows: upper ball joint nut and bolt (41 ft. lb.), front disc brake caliper anchor plate bolt (85 ft. lb.), disc brake caliper bolt (24 ft. lb.), hub nut/washer assembly (162 ft. lb.), and wheel lug nuts (90 ft. lb.). Make sure to follow these torque specifications to ensure a secure and safe installation.

How do I reinstall the wheel and lower the vehicle after front wheel bearing replacement?

After properly torquing all the components, reinstall the wheel on your 1998 Ford Explorer. Lower the vehicle to the ground and tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque (90 ft. lb.). Finally, torque the hub nut to the required specification (157-213 ft. lb.) using a torque wrench and secure it with the cap.

How do I test and inspect the front wheel bearing after replacement?

Take your car for a test drive, but be cautious and check for any looseness or abnormal noises in the steering or braking system. Ensure that the front wheel bearing is functioning correctly and that there are no issues with the installation.

What maintenance tips should I follow for front wheel bearings?

To maintain the longevity and performance of your front wheel bearings, it is essential to perform regular maintenance. Keep the bearings clean and lubricated, check for any signs of wear or damage, and replace them if necessary. Additionally, inspect the seals regularly and ensure they are intact and functioning correctly.