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Front wheel bearing replacement

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Old 02-10-2012, 11:29 AM
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Front wheel bearing replacement

Aerostar, 2WD.

Service books recommend you inspect and grease the front bearings whenever you have the calipers off for any other reason. The reason is that bearing service is so quick and simple. Replacing the bearings doesn't add much more to the time and complexity beyond inspection and service.

On the Aerostar design, the rotor and hub are combined into a solid hunk of iron. Therefore this procedure could be motivated when the brake rotors need replacement. Here the rotors were within wear limits but the bearings were changed as part of a general overhaul.

I'm supplying pics here, not a detailed step-by-step. It is recommended that you read manuals by the factory or indie publishers to round out the details and pick up torque specs.

******* Supplies and tools ******

- Inner bearing, 2 per van.
- Outer bearing, 2
- Inner seal, 2
- Cottor pin, 2
- Heavy duty, hi-temp bearing grease. Do not sub general purpose grease.

- Chisel or sharp screw driver. For removing end cap.
- Large blunt screw driver. For removing/installing bearings.
- Two Hammers. One light, one 2 lbs.
- Wood block. For installing bearings.
- Torque handle, good to at least 25 lb-ft.
- Socket. It might be 27mm (?), but I got by with 1-1/8.
- Wipes.
- Gloves, most definitely.

Let's assume you have the caliper off. Observe the original offset of the rotor so you can check your work at completion. Pic viewpoint is staring at the edge of the rotor and noting the relationship to the caliper mounting point.

Remove gease cap, cotter pin, retaining nuts & washer...grab the outer bearing as you slide the rotor/hub off the axel (cleaned up for the pic).

Twisting a wide screw driver between the seal and inner bearing gets the seal started.

Tap out the outer races on both sides using the blunt screw driver. The smaller outer side was easy, the inner side required the 2 lbs hammer.
Retain your old races to drive the new ones in.

The (small) outer bearing could be easily tapped in by patiently working the light hammer. Note that the outer side race sits flush to the top of its bore.

The (large) inner bearing needed the block, mallot and the old race used as a driver.

The inner side race sits down about a quarter inch below the top off its bore. Do not allow your driver (old race) to follow the new race below the top of its bore. Two bad things will happen: you'll have trouble retrieving the driver and the sharp edge of the driver may splinter metal off the edge of the bore. I flipped the driver over to use the beveled end and got another sixteenth-inch below the top but that was it. Then I switched to a wood plug/driver that I fashioned to just fit in the hole and catch the edges of the race.

Flip the rotor/hub to verify when the race bottoms out against the internal shelf.

Fill the inside of the hub, coat the bearing.

Use the block, a cloth cover and mallot to install the inner seal. Then fill behind it.

Slide the rotor/hub back on the axel, outer bearing. Secure with washer, nut. There is a torque procedure. As described by one manual: torque while turning, back off half turn, torque to final value. See factory or indie manuals for details.

Verify you are near your original offset. Replace grease cap.

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Old 02-10-2012, 10:14 PM
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I really appreciate your posts RojoStar. They bring back memories of repair .

The old school of Auto Mechanics was to use the weight of the wrench as the final torque requirement. That was back in the days when they did not have precession torque wrenches.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:52 AM
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Indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words. Any driveway mechanic attempting a repair for the first time would be lucky to find one of your posts. Great job.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:26 PM
Kruse Kruse is offline
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Thanks RojoStar.
FYI: 30+ years ago, my auto instructor told me that when putting the preload on a simple front wheel bearing, if doing a roadside repair and NO TORQUE WRENCH IS AVAILABLE, to tighten it as much as you can with a wrench, spin our rotor (or drum) by hand and after the movement of the rotor has stopped, back off on the nut. Without moving the rotor or drum again, tighten the nut by hand, install the cotter pin and you are set to go. It's probably still good advice if you are in a pinch.
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:13 AM
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where did you get that green grease? I tried to find it (having seen it on tv), and everybody went duhhhh?).
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:13 AM
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Short answer: Amazon vendor.

Long answer:
Front bearings get soaked in the heat from the front brake operation, so the bearing grease needs to be not only heavy duty but also designed for a wide temperature range that may go from sub-zero to >500. Interestingly the original grease was also a greenish-blue and I will investigate this further. Until I get more educated, I don't yet consider brand important.

I had to hunt around on the shelf, but Autozone had Hi-temp bearing grease in another brand than I used. My AZ outlet sold Lucus brand but in other product types.

I got mine mail ordered. It has been pointed out by Seniors here that this saves time and gas money, or maybe its the only way to get to a special part or fluid. Large fluids, you don't ship. Especially because...

I noticed that half of mail order outlets have good unit price but outrageous Ship&Handling. They need to have an ABC accountant (activity based costing) tune their pricing software and also allow wider options and control on carrier. One seller with multiple warehouses (vendors, since I suspect virtual warehousing with drop-ship) adds up all the expensive shipments from the multiple sources to give you a S&H total that completely defeats their low-price market position. My doorstep should not be your consolidation point. Listening RA?
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:30 AM
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shipping & handling & processing

thanks. I agree with your ranting, particularly those tv ads that offer the 'not sold in stores" products which can be very handy to have but when you call to order, the shipping & processing & handling is double the cost of the product, so I no longer bother trying to order them.

the "shipping and processing" has become a very profitable if not abusive way of doing business, considering these bulk shippers have high discounts with UPS and US Postal Service. (I don't bother with Fedex, they think they are the Federal government).

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one ranting about this.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:20 PM
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Shipping has become a high dollar bunch of CRAP. I ordered an air bag actuator for a F-650 from my local FORD dealer. Needed it to be overnight shipped. Part was $13.00, shipping (overnight) was $85.00, received it 3 days later and could not get re-imbursed for the shipping charges........ Rant over.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:01 AM
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I was going to keep ranting that Motorcraft parts are now made in China, so depending on the part, you might as well buy it at any "generic parts" store.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:41 AM
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Made in ???

On this project, the extracted bearings were Timken and made in Japan. The replacement bearings were SKF and made in Mexico. Front seals were Timken.

Both these brand names are transnational companies with overseas manufacturing. SKF looks like a conglomerate across manufacturing sectors. For instance, a press release from this past week says that SKF just now absorbed an existing bearing manufacturer with factories in China. Another press release has Timken touting their relationship with Japanese steel.

RockAuto does a fine job of letting you select brand/manufacturer, but you'd have to be a real industry wonk to know why and how a part comes from a particular country and factory.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:29 AM
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The A* vans are very particular about the washer on the spindle. It must be the factory washer, or the bearing will not adjust correctly.
The S&H costs seem to be THE profit center for some vendors. They're off my list. I will only shop with them if the part is heavy and cheap to mess up their cost/profit ratio. A $1.50 85 pound anvil shipped for $3 across country would be optimum learning for them...
I used to use JC Whitney / Warshawsky back when they listed the weight of individual items and used that sum to calculate shipping costs. They changed their model to a series of ranges of the order total, so light items that were somewhat costly, such as convertible tops or seat covers, were expensive to ship. I more or less don't use them any more either, though I did get a A4LD Banner kit from them.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:45 AM
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remember, the country name on the part is only the country of final assemble. individual components may and often are made in other countries.

Cummins is a prime example of this. The 5.9 and 6.7 final assemble point is their Columbus Midrange Engine Plant (CMEP) just south of Cummins’ world headquarters in Columbus, Ind.
The parts are made in Cummins plants around the world, India, China, S. America. Ford does the same thing with many of it's new engine designs coming out of it's EU design centers.

who can forget the Chinese scam of parts made in USA. they created and named a Chinese industrial city USA and their gov. owned businesses had fake addresses there.

the Jap cars that are supposedly American made by American labor in American plants is a marketing scam and joke.
all the complex engineering, all the major complex high dollar components such as engines, transmissions and much of the individual smaller components are made overseas, usually in the parent company in Japan.
The US plants are managed by Japanese citizens that are sent from Japan, the top plant engineers all come from Japan. All the major plant decisions are tightly controlled by top Japanese management back in Japan.
All that is US is low quality poorly or uneducated labor that will work for next to nothing, that's why we see those plants almost totally in the South.
The Koreans operate much the same way.

lots of faked counterfeit auto parts being sold here in America. the country name on a part or box means nothing anymore. even the big parts houses such as AZ and Carquest get duped in the search for the lowest price.

that "Motorcraft" you're putting in has a good chance of being a counterfeit.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:19 PM
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just a comment for I don't want to get into a who's right or wrong argument: my experience is that auto parts Assembled in Mexico and China are of very decent quality;

Also being a guitarist/musician, I can tell you that Fender Guitars Made in Mexico are superior to those made in Japan or Korea, some say superior to the original California-built Fender guitars. In fact, MIM (Made In Mexico) Fender guitars have become highly sought-after guitars by professional guitarists in the USA used guitar market. No need to wonder why: The Mexicans have over 500-years of experience building Guitars, they learned from the Spanish, and then improved on those instruments to make them better. Mexicans overall want to prove to the USA that they can do quality products, and are told "if one of us does a lousy job with this or that part, eventually we all lose our jobs", so you can guess that Mexicans are preocupied with producing quality work.

Another famous California guitar company, the Rickenbacker Corporation, (maker of the 12-string electric guitars made famous by The Beatles and The Byrds), hires guitar-making skilled Mexicans at their plants in California and their reviews are the same as Fender's.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:13 PM
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I did the comparsion between three B to C-suppliers during the last order. While i'm in Germany, one of the three suppliers to bee compared is german. The basket for each was:
- 2 Cardone reman. Calpier A1 with Pads
- 2 Raybestos Rotor PG
- 4 Raybestos Brake Shoe PG
- 2 Adjuster repair Dorman winns with $490 plus $100 EU import-Tax:
1 package, total weight 64.45 - Commodities value $214 - Freight $276

Means, costs for Freight higher than for Parts. Nevertheless, same order from the german Importer wearhouse accounts $760 for Commodities and $60 for Freight. $ 230 Difference between highest/lowest. delivery did took 12days with FEDEX, which i think, is fast. Since years, i do prefer doing business with the U.S.A directly. Most reliable Customer Support worldwide.

One of the Raybestos PG Rotors has a "made in china" sticker on the box.. The other one has a "made in Canada" Stamp. Hope they will go together.

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Old 02-26-2012, 06:44 AM
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price comparison


Autozone is less expensive, at least it was for me recently:

Calipers: $25.00 USD each. (remanufactured, lifetime warranty)
Rotors: $24.00 USD each, (very fine machining, Made in China, lifetime warranty),
Rack & Pinion unit: $63.00 USD (remanufactured, lifetime warranty).

I think the problem is the cost of shipping to Europe from USA, I have shipped Jaguar parts to friends in England, Germany, and Spain, and the cost is ridiculous by US Mail or UPS. Having said that, I sold and shipped a guitar to a collector in Norway via UPS and the shipping and insurance was $225.00, not bad for the size and weight of the package. Regardless of the costs of shipping, another big problem is that each country imposes Import Duties (taxes) on the merchandise when it arrives at its destination. Everybody wants a piece of the cake.
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