If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

How Easy Wheel Bearings Can Be

So it turned out that my sister’s car needed some wheel bearings. She was pleased to learn that this wasn’t nearly as big of a hassle as she experienced on her old Explorer.

Quick recap: changing the rear wheel bearings on her 2004 Explorer involved disconnecting/removing several items: the brake caliper, brake rotor, toe link, parking brake actuator, upper and lower ball-joints, and axle. Once the knuckle was removed, there was a snap-ring to remove, and of course it took a press to drive the bearing out. FordTechMakuloco has a good video on this if you want to see more about the process:

So when we found worn front wheel bearings on her Mustang, she couldn’t help but expect the worst. Boy, was she in for a treat!

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It bothered me that we never really got a good look under the car to perform a complete inspection prior to purchase. All I was able to see was that it was less rusty under there than on mine. But these SN95s are pretty easy cars to work on (for the most part), so I knew that if something did come up, it would be manageable.

And sure enough, after driving it for a couple of weeks, she began to notice a shudder under moderately hard braking. Fully understanding that she had bought it as-is, and had no warranty to lean on, she brought the car to me, where I finally had a chance to get a better look at things. The brakes themselves seemed fine, except that I was getting inconsistent readings when I tried to check the front rotors for runout. Lo and behold, there was play in the wheel bearing, which was allowing the rotor to wobble around inside the brake caliper.

So she got some new bearings to do both sides, and was surprised to see that they were actually whole hub assemblies. After removing the brake caliper and bracket, all that was left was to pop off the dust cap and undo the spindle nut. Slide the old bearing/hub assembly off, slide the new one on and reassemble.

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And the cost wasn’t all that bad, either. Less than $100 in parts to do both sides, and no need to use a press! (And yes, the new bearings took care of the shudder.)

Old bearings

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