Our Ford truck recently started making a racket in the front end. The bearings in the right wheel hub went bad and needed to be replaced. The noise sounds like a rub combined with a squeal and sounds worse when you make sharp turns at slow speeds.
To diagnose the problem further, you must jack your vehicle up and attempt to move the wheel in, out, and up and down. Our wheel moved at least four inches in either direction, which is not good. We were about to have the right wheel fall off, literally.
The bearings cannot be replaced without replacing the entire wheel hub on this model truck. They are sealed in the hub.
After speaking with a friend who just replaced their hubs, we found having an auto shop do it would cost a small fortune. Buying the wheel hub assembly ourselves and doing it would only cost us a few smashed knuckles plus parts.
The removal of the old hubs proved to be a hassle. The bolts holding the brake pad assemblies were froze to the unit and required a breaker bar plus a dose of Kroil, a lubricant, to loosen them. Once free, we found we needed additional tools, a puller, to free the hub assembly from the axle. The old hub had seized itself to the axle.
The Timken wheel bearing hub assembly does not come with the o-rings you need to reinstall it. However, neither Auto Zone nor any other shade tree auto shops carry the o-rings. They are dealer only parts, which is rather strange since they do carry the hubs.
You are also supposed to re-use the studs that mount the assembly to the truck. These studs are not easily removed from the old hub and can be trashed during the process. For peace of mind, we bought new studs when we purchased the o-rings from the dealer.
Once you have everything you need to get the job done, the process is quite simple. The hubs fit on the axle perfectly. The four-wheel drive switch went back together just as if it had never been removed.
The entire job took about 4 hours to complete. This time may seem long but my husband was working with a broken wing and only me as a helper. We also decided to replace both front hubs, the brake pads and rotors while we were there.
Upon test-driving, I found the front end did not make the horrific noise it had been making. In addition, the steering felt extremely good and tight. I would have never thought replacing the wheel hubs would make such a difference in how a vehicle drives, but it does.
The Timken hub assembly comes with a 1-year warranty.