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Trying to change rear wheel bearings and I'm stuck getting the rear wheel knuckles to drop out. I have the upper and lower control arms loose, axle ready to slide out of the hub...only thing holding it up is where the knuckle bolts to the frame forward of the hub. The bolt is out, should just drop down, but it won't come out. What am I missing???? Thanks!
I think your talking about the bolt that holds the control arm to the frame if Thats right there is a cam that the bolt slides in and the cam goes to the frame bracket.I had to break out what I could and bend the frame mount to remove the part.After doing this I had to set the part up in a drill press and use a 5/8 masanary drill to drill the sleeve out for it is a hardened part.I think if you can get it to move enough to pull the axel out I Would try to do it on there.If you can get a big washer and some threaded rod to pull the new wheel bearing into place then to pull the hub back into place.There is a good write up on rock auto for the front wheel bearing replace wiki that tells tools to get from harbor freight.
Buy American your job depends on it.
Yeah, this sounds like a pain. Some other stuff I've read looks like a shop can change the bearing in place, so I'm now thinking about putting it all back together and just having it done that way. Thanks for the reply!
Replace Rear Wheel bearing IN PLACE - much more better
For whatever it might be worth, I have recently done both front and rear wheel bearings on an 04. For the front it is best/easiest to take the knuckle out and haul it (hub still in) over to a shop press (whatever that means in your case, hydraulics in a frame or a porta power or threaded rod), push out the hub, push out the bearing, push in the new bearing, push the hub back in. For the rear, I believe it is easier NOT to take the "wheel knuckle" (cast steel swing arm and bearing carrier) off the car. Take the halfshaft out (just makes it when both control arms and shock absorber are off). Jack the hub out of the "wheel knuckle" from behind the hub, pushing on the inner part of the brake backing plate. (I used rod couplings and grade 8 bolts, held with one open end wrench, turned with another -- yes, a little bit of time spent turning wrenches, but easier than fighting with the caster alignment cam, etc. you could use a pair of small short rams, etc.) Once the hub is out, do the snap ring, then pull out the bearing with threaded rod, nuts, round plates. (I used 1 in threaded rod and Greenlee turned flats from an electrical equipment punch set - 3/4 rod and some 3/4 sockets would work. Bearing came out into a 2-1/2 inch pipe coupling, If you use responsible diameters, bearing comes out easily and intact. Installation -- push on the outside rim of the sealed unit, then do the snap ring thing. I put the hub in using the end of the halfshaft (bad behavior) but you can do the right thing with threaded rod through the center of it and a plate with a hole behind the knuckle.
For whatever else it might be worth, my experience with the bearings is that they can make a bit of noise for quite a while -- and that is all that is happening, they are making noise. Then, at some point, they lose it. Cause generally seems to be tiny bits of rust and grit getting in past the stainless steel side seals. If you take apart a bearing that is just making a little noise, the races will still be smooth and shiny. When the bearing loses it, the races will show small irregularities and a dullness pattern.
Breeve. I have to take exception to your comment regarding the rear half shaft "just making it" when you remove the control arms and the lower shock bolt. I just did my rear driver side wheel bearing last night. It was one of the most frustrating 6 hour experiences I have had working on this Escape (2003 4WD).
Once the control arms and shock were removed (oh the upper control arm removal is another PITA as it interferes with the brake line bracket before the ball joint bolt clears the knuckle - but that is another story), the half shaft was still too long to clear the knuckle - even when pivoting the knuckle up and down to try to gain some clearance.
I tried removing the half shaft from the carrier to see if I could get it out that way - but still no go. Subsequent internet searches located Ford service manual docs that indicated the knuckle had to be removed. I tried heat, lubrication etc to get the final wheel knuckle to body bolt out but with 9 yrs of Michigan winter road salt exposure - there was no way it was coming out with out a cutting torch - and I do not have one.
I finally had to remove one of the ABS wire retainers forward of the axle on the knuckle and the brake line retainer clip that is mounted to the frame (rear of the axle) so I could maximize the downward travel of the knuckle without damage to these items. Even so, it took EXTREME prying pressure and contortions to get the half shaft to clear the knuckle so the old bearing could be removed and the new one pressed in with a bearing press kit (I used the Harbor Freight kit). (That was the easy part.)
Then, an equivalent amount of force and contortions were required to re-insert the half shaft into the new bearing race. I was seriously worried about damage to the CV joint as it was severely torqued in the process. I will have to seriously think twice about taking this on again if the other bearing fails. The front bearings are a piece of cake compared to the rears. At least on the 4WD model.
For those with a 4WD Escape and thinking of doing this, beware. If your pivot bolt on your knuckle can be easily removed, it may be a much easier task - but on an older vehicle with a lot of rust you may want to re-consider.
I do have some Ford service docs with photos and instructions for a 2008 model that may be useful that I will try to post.
Exception is okay. Take all that pleases you. I agree that none of this "chassis" work on this car is any fun at all. (I just got my *** handed to me a little while ago from a front lower arm bolt on one of these cars that was rust-melted into the blind threaded hole in the body. Turned into a reconstructive surgical event, using welder and taking time. No fun.)
But I am mildly suspicious that you may not have had the car in question high enough (like four feet above the floor to the pinch weld rail) off the ground. The half-shaft comes out best when everything can go waaaay down... and out. Yes, the brake line fitting has to come off -- you have about a sxity/forty chance at snapping that little bolt no matter how much you soak it. And room means you may need some room to put something that brings the arm down -- a lever-ish thing -- in a corner of the arm whilst pushing lower.
I agree that the front bearings in this car are considerably less pain. I agree that these things just rust and rust -- in the worst places.
Hey Breeve. Been there done that on my fronts. Fortunately the rust was not as bad as the one you did and some time, heat and PT Blaster helped the cause when it came to replacing my lower control arms and dealing with that blind threaded hole in the body.
Back to the rear knuckle. I did not want to remove the hydraulic brake line for fear of loosing the bolt and/or hydraulic line coupling nut due to the aforementioned rust, so I lowered the arm to the point where the hydraulic line became taught. I did not use a lift for this job and only jacked up the rear right side and supported the frame with a jack stand. All other tires were in contact with the garage floor. That was more than high enough to move the knuckle downward to a point that the brake line tightened up - but I guess not down to the point you may have.
I guess that is why shops charge so much for this job. It could very easily entail replacement of several other broken parts - just to get the half shaft out and back in. If you ask me, this was a poorly designed aspect.Then again, I guess the Escape may not have been designed to last long enough for things like this to require attention. Ford most likely designed it for an easy build instead - like so many other vehicles these days.
I bought mine used and now have 161K on the clock. So far I have replaced both front lower control arms and sway bar links, tie rod ends, front driver side half shaft, front wheel bearings, brakes and one rear wheel bearing.
Don't get me wrong. I love this little truck. I may not consider it in FWD configuration, but in 4WD it rocks in wet weather, winter and when doing mild off roading to get to and back from my favorite hunting and fishing spots or pulling a small trailer of fire wood from a damp hilly wooded area. Let's just hope the other under carriage issues remain minor.
Thanks for your insight! That is why I love this website.
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