I can not stress enough how important it is to fix a damaged front wheel bearing of the Ford F150. Once, I ignored the issue for an extended amount of time. And eventually, the wheel began to separate from the housing. It created a lot of handling and steering issues, which was not safe at any level.
After the issues became severe, I finally learned how to change front wheel bearing on Ford F150 4×4. Trust me; it is way easier than you might think it is.
Generally, you would need to support the truck and raise it, work with the cotter pin and other parts around it, take the rotor off, and replace the old bearings with the new ones.
But you would need to follow the correct procedure, which is where the trouble appears. So, I took the initiative to share the proper process that I learned through a professional mechanic friend. And I suggest you go through the entire article if you want to all about the process in-depth.[toc]
What Is a Front Wheel Bearing?
It is pretty essential to understand what a front wheel bearing is before going through the replacement steps. First, let me describe what a wheel bearing is. It is a set of steel balls that a metal ring will enclose. And a front wheel bearing will be at the front metal axle shaft. These will fit tightly in the hub.
Now, you might be wondering what a shaft is. Well, it is a hollow chunk of metal. You might have already noticed it when you took a look at the center of the wheel. The hub holds the lug bolts in place. And the lug bolts connect the tire to the wheel.
What Does a Front Wheel Bearing Do?
What is the point of a front wheel bearing anyway, right? Well, the bearings are crucial for the hub to function correctly. Without it, the wheel and the tire assembly will not work appropriately as well. The wheel bearing basically makes the movement friction-free.
Additionally, it allows the hub assembly to rotate correctly. As a result, the tire and wheel rotation becomes smooth.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Front Wheel Bearing?
Before you do move into the entire process of replacing the wheel bearing, you should ensure they are bad to begin with. But the question is, what signs confirm that the bearing needs a replacement? Well, that is exactly what I plan to focus on in this segment. These are the common signs:
1. Squealing and Growling Sounds
Worn-out wheel bearings will typically make growling and squealing sounds. You will also notice that the sound will intensify as you ramp up the speed. If you try to pinpoint the location of the noise, it will generally lead to bearings.
2. Humming Noise
Apart from the squealing and growling sounds, there will be humming noise too. It is one of the most common signs of a bad front wheel bearing. But sometimes, this issue can be linked with other issues. So, I would still recommend ensuring the source.
3. Wobbling Wheel
Wheel wobbling might not be felt that much when you drive on the road, but it will undoubtedly be noticeable after lifting the car if the bearings have given up.
4. Clicking Sound
The clicking sounds can also refer to different issues. But if the sound increases in terms of frequency as you accelerate, it will mostly be for the front wheel bearing.
5. ABS Failure
You will notice that the anti-lock light is illuminating when the bearing has gone bad.
6. Tire Wear Is Uneven
When the bearing has given up, the wheels will wobble a bit. And that will cause uneven wearing.
7. Steering Will Feel Loose
There will be a high level of play with the steering wheel. And the steering will be less responsive, which will tell that the bearings have worn out.
Can You Change a Front Wheel Bearing Without a Press?
The hub of the F150 is not non-serviceable. That means there will be no need for a shop press to replace the bearings.
Can You Replace a Front Wheel Bearing Yourself?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to change the front wheel bearing. The process is pretty simple and does not require that amount of tools or parts. Do not believe me? You need to go through the next segment.
How to Change Front Wheel Bearing on Ford F150 4×4?
As I have mentioned, the process of replacing the front wheel bearing is pretty simple. But the thing is, you would need to follow the steps properly to carry the operations out correctly. So, I decided to keep things straightforward. That being said, these are the steps that you would need to follow:
Step 1: Get the Required Tools
Before diving right into the process, you need to gather around these tools:
- Adjustable wrench
- Sockets for the bolts
Step 2: Raise the Truck and Support It
First, you would need to work on raising the front of the pickup truck. Using jack stands would be my suggestion because they will offer the right amount of support to carry out the replacement procedure. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly once the front has a proper amount of support.
Then, use a socket to remove the bolts that secure the brake calipers. Remove the bolts that are holding the mounting bracket using the same socket. And use a removal tool to disassemble the grease cup that is in the center.
Step 3: Work on the Cotter Pin and Other Parts
Once the bolts are off, take a wire cutter and take off the cotter pin. You would also need an adjustable wrench to work on the large hub nut. Force the spacer and outer thrust bearing off the place by rocking the rotor. Place both your hands on the sides and rock the rotor laterally to do so.
Step 4: Pull the Rotor Off
Take the help of a screwdriver to screw the nut of the hub a few threads inside. Then, grab the rotor on both the bottom and topside. Pull it off from the spindle. Loosen it up first by applying a small amount of downward pressure if you are struggling. After this, the nut of the hub will hold the rear bearing. Pull it off along with the grease seal that is on the rear.
Step 5: Take the Old Bearings off and Install the New Ones
Using a hammer, take out the bearing races. Then, use a chisel to take the race out of place. You might need to tap on the races housing with a hammer to make them come out. Then, take off the bearings and work on the new large bearing. Pack it with grease and place it into the hub.
Make sure that you use the rear grease seal after placing them in the hub. Use the hammer again to tap the seal in place. It should not look jaggy. Instead, it needs to stay flush with the hub.
Step 6: Place All Things Back
Now, you would need to install the rotor back to the spindle. Insert the front bearing after placing the roto in place and then place the washer. Make sure that the large hub nut is also in place. Tighten the hub nut to the point where it shows a lot of resistance. Then, do a half-turn back.
Finally, you would need to put the grease cup and cotter pin back. Use the hammer to tap the grease cup and make it seat flush. Do not forget the mounting bracket and caliper. Follow the reverse disassembly process. Put the tires and wheel back into the truck, and you will be all done.
See Also: How to Open Ford F150 Hood From Outside?
When to Change Front Wheel Bearings on Ford F150?
As you can see, the process of replacing the front wheel bearing is a bit time-consuming. So, it would be best to change it at the right time.
The proper time to change the bearing is when the signs are getting too intense, especially when the steering degrades massively. You would not want to keep the worn-out bearing when it becomes impossible to handle the vehicle.
Should You Change Both Front Wheel Bearings at the Same Time on F150?
Both the bearings have racked up the same amount of miles. In that sense, even if one is showing worn-out signs, the other should show the same signs pretty soon. For that reason, when you are changing one, it is a wise idea to change the other one as well.
Can You Replace a Wheel Bearing Without Replacing the Hub on Ford F150?
The F150 does not come with a non-serviceable hub. That means you can change the bearing without needing to change the hub. The hubs that are non-serviceable are the ones with press bearings. Those will demand a shop press to remove the bearings.
What Is the Cost to Replace a Front Wheel Bearing on Ford F150?
Labor cost is the thing that will bump up the price of the replacement. But as you are going to carry out the process on your own, you would be looking to spend anywhere from $159 to $162. The labor cost, however, would add $76 to $96 to the total cost.