Have you ever wondered what helps your car run smoothly on the road? Often disregarded, until it’s too late, the front wheel bearing is among those parts you can drive well without.
Wheel bearings are extremely important for the proper functioning of the car, so they must be in good condition.
Front-wheel bearings, in particular, have higher importance because in most cars makes, the front holds the traction of the car. Thus, the wear and tear are higher in this area.
A faulty front wheel bearing can translate into a lot of trouble. Luckily, it is possible to handle this matter on your own.
In the lines below you will find everything you need to know about how to change the front wheel bearing on Ford F150 4×4.
How does a front wheel bearing works?
Front-wheel bearings are very important parts because they make the connection between the car’s wheels and the axle that controls them.
As you can tell, wheel bearings ensure the correct and smooth functionality of a car’s wheels, allowing it to run smoothly in every condition. What is their main function?
The wheel bearings are placed there to reduce friction as the wheel spins, keeping the car running flawlessly on the road.
Not just the wheel and tires benefit from the presence of this part, but also the hubs and the comfort of the driver and passengers rely on the good functioning of wheel bearings.
How do I know if my F150 truck front wheel bearing is bad?
A bad front wheel bearing on a Ford F150 truck means that the glide and speed of the wheels are affected when you drive.
Because the part is not working right or has been damaged, you will come across a set of symptoms that will indicate a bad front wheel bearing. Here is what you need to pay attention to.
Your front tires display an uneven wear
This is probably the most common sign that there’s a problem with the wheel bearing.
When the wheel bearing is not doing its job, the wheel spins unevenly and, even if you don’t feel it as you drive, it will lead to uneven wear of the tires. Checking the tires periodically may help you identify a wheel bearing problem in its incipient phase;
Hearing a loud grinding noise as you drive
A wheel bearing is made out of metal balls inserted in a metal ring, known as a rise. This is why a faulty wheel bearing will make loud noises once the wheel starts spinning on the road.
The noise occurs when the wheel bearing loses proper lubrication and the wheel begins experiencing a lot of friction and, implicit, heat.
It is worth knowing that only one wheel bearing can produce such sounds, so you don’t need to expect to hear all the wheel bearings manifest this symptom. This noise is usually louder when you make a turn in the car.
You feel vibrations in the steering wheel
While vibrations in the steering wheel can also be produced by a defect in the tires, in most cases they are triggered by a faulty wheel bearing.
Since the wheel is not working right in this situation, you will feel the problem in the steering wheel. The vibrations get worse as you accelerate or when you drive at slower speeds.
The car seems like pulling to the side
When a front wheel bearing becomes damaged and loses its functionality, it is possible to notice that the car starts pulling to one side.
In other words, if you don’t hold onto the steering wheel, the car appears to have trouble maintaining a straight line, even if you’re driving on a straight road.
This is because, because of the faulty wheel bearing, the car experiences uneven vibrations that will make it pull to the side.
The wheels feel wobbly or there’s unusual play in them
This symptom is harder to find, as you need to have the car hanging in the air. If this is possible, even if you do it to one wheel by lifting it with a crank, see if it displays an unusual play.
Do it by trying to shake the wheel to the sides. A proper functioning wheel should not wobble or play in any way and should feel steady in its place.
How to Change Front Wheel Bearing on Ford F150
If you want to change the front wheel bearing on your Ford F150, you must know that this part is located in the vehicle’s hub. This is because this truck make uses a combination of hub and rotor.
Also, the truck features two types of bearings, the outer bearing, and the thrust bearing. As a recommendation, you should grease these two bearings after every 30,000 miles, for proper functioning.
Secure the car and raise its front part by using adequate jack stands. Then proceed in removing the entire wheel from its place. With a socket, remove the bolts that keep the brake caliper in position.
Then do the same for the bolts securing the mounting bracket. Finally, take off the grease cup, located in the center part of the rotor.
With the help of a wirecutter, take out the cotter pin. Then with an adjustable wrench, remove the nut holding the large hub.
To make the outer bearing and spacer to come out, rock the entire rotor with your hands. Do so by positioning both hands on the sides of the rotor and rocking it until the parts get loose.
The hub nut should be screwed on a couple of threads. Then grab a hold onto the rotor, by securing its top and bottom, and pull it off the spindle by applying a certain amount of pressure.
The screwed nut will take care of the rear bearing, pulling it out with the grease seal as well.
With a chisel, take the bearing races out by gently hammering on them. Insert the new races in their place by pushing them as far as they can go.
Take the old race and placed it on top of the new one, tapping on the old race once it is in place. This will make the new race fall into its place right. Repeat this process for all the bearing races.
Take the new bearings and pack them well with grease. Position the bearings into the hub, installing the grease seal once they are in place.
Use a hammer to tap the seal until it is perfectly aligned with the rest of the hub.
Put the rotor back on the spindle and position the front bearing in its place. Continue by installing the washer and screwing in the large hub nut.
Screw the nut until it displays a good amount of resistance. Then, unscrew it by making half of a turn.
Finally, place back the cotter pin and, of course, the grease cup. Use the hammer to tap the grease cup securely in its place and seal it well. Place the caliper and the caliper mounting bracket back in their position. Install the truck’s wheel back.
- Jack stands;
- Adjustable wrench;
Depending on your skills, the replacement of front wheel bearings can take a couple of hours. This can also be because the hub’s parts come off with difficulties because of dirt, grime, and rust.
To change the front wheel bearings on both sides of the car, which is recommended for even and smooth operation, will generate costs between $120 and $200.
The costs can be smaller if you don’t need to replace too many parts. Of course, if you need tools you don’t have, you will have to cover the costs for them as well.
Detroit Axle – 515079
This bearing assemble is made particularly for 4×4 vehicles, so it is suitable for a Ford F150 4×4 vehicle.
If your Ford F140 is made between 2005 and 2008, then this assembly will fit without problems. Featuring an ABS sensor and a 10-year warranty, this high-quality product is made to be used for the front of the car only.
Ford F150 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement
As you noticed so far, it is possible to replace front wheel bearings in the comfort of your garage or yard. You just need to be willing to get a little dirty and take in a DIY project that may last for a few hours.
Also, pay attention to the order of the parts when you’re taking them out, so you will place them back in as it should. Apart from this, replacing front wheel bearings is not an impossible mission.
How much does it cost to replace a front wheel bearing on a Ford F150?
Front-wheel bearings can cost between $60 and $100. They usually come in pairs, but you need to make sure this is so when purchasing the parts.
Even if you have only one faulty wheel bearing, it is recommended to replace both front wheel bearings. This will make your vehicle run smoothly, as there will not be any wear and tear differences between the parts of both sides.
The costs can go higher if you need to replace other parts of the hub, which is hard to tell unless you take the hub apart and inspect it.
Do’s and don’ts while changing
- Do make sure new parts are greased before securing them in place;
- Do have all tools in handy for this operation, as you can’t complete it with your bare hands;
- Do check your car before shopping for parts, making sure you’ll have everything you need for a proper replacement;
- Don’t start a front wheel bearing replacement without securing the car well;
- Don’t use brutal force on stuck parts because you risk damaging them. Try using tools instead;
- Don’t work on both sides at the same time. Replace one wheel bearing at a time, so you won’t lose track of parts;
Professional Time & Cost
In case replacing front wheel bearings is not a task you want to deal with, taking your Ford F150 to a car shop will solve this matter.
If you schedule an appointment with a mechanic, you should have your car back on the same day or the next day, if parts need to be ordered.
The costs of such an operation can range between $260 and $480, with parts costs around $60 and $100 and labor between $70 and $140 for only one side of the truck.
FAQ’s of Changing Front Wheel Bearing on Ford F150 4×4
How can I tell if the front wheel bearing of my Ford F150 4×4 is bad?
When a front wheel bearing goes bad, there will be a set of symptoms that will let you know something is wrong.
You may experience vibrations in the steering wheel as you drive, you may hear loud grinding noises when you’re on the road, the car may start pulling to the side when on the move, or you notice your wheels wiggle or have an unusual play.
Can I change the front wheel bearing myself?
Yes, you can change a front wheel bearing yourself, with the right tools and a bit of spare time in hand. It will be a rather messy task, as these parts are lubricated with grease. And you will have to take apart quite a few parts to get the old bearing out and place a new one in its place. But, with a bit of patience and know-how, it is an achievable task.
How much will it cost to change front wheel bearings?
If you choose to change the bearings yourself, it will cost $100 at most for the parts of one side of the car. However, it is recommended to change both sides, for an even performance of your vehicle.
But, if you choose the professional services of a mechanic, the final bill can range between $260 and $480, depending on the parts that need replacement and the labor of the mechanic.
When should the front wheel bearing be changed?
As soon as you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms, you should have your car checked.
It is not safe to drive a car with faulty front wheel bearings, as they may affect the maneuverability of the vehicle. If any of the symptoms occur, you need to seriously consider replacing the bearing.
Changing the front wheel bearing on a Ford F150 4×4 can be an above-average task, especially if you’re not used to doing things like this, but it is possible.
If you’re the handyman-type and you don’t mind getting dirty, you could save a lot of money as the labor is usually more expensive than the part itself.
With the previous guidelines and pieces of advice, you should do this on your own without too many difficulties.
But, if you don’t have time or skills to change front wheel bearings at home, it would be best to opt for the services of a professional mechanic.