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View Full Version : Front Wheel Bearing: Convert, R&R or Machine?



BobGPz
01-30-2005, 12:53 AM
I have a few questions, especially interested in hearing from any machine shop people’s opinion.
I have a growling sound coming from my front wheel bearing. My bird has pretty much been sitting for 6 months or so. Even after new HG’s, motor mounts, radiator, ABS repairs. After inspecting the wheel/rim, hub, spindle, all checks out fine except for the bearings. I have concluded they (remanufactured wheel hub/bearing assemblies) are junk after going through 5 (Yes FIVE) of them in two years. :mad:
My questions are:

1: Should I convert to a later model wheel hub/bearing assembly, as they are cheaper and easily available. Besides the bearing hub assembly, will I then have to change my spindles, ABS rings, brake calipers, etc to make it work? Or is it a direct bolt on part without having to modify anything like changing my rims/tires to a different bolt pattern?

2: Should I just replace it with a new remanufactured one and do this all over again in 6 months or less? At $150 - $235 EACH I might add. :mad:

3: Replace it with a used one and take my chances on how long this will last? :(

4: I am thinking this is the most cost effective and hopefully the most longest lasting alternative. Can I take my hub assembly to a bearing supplier (Which are abundant here) and have them order me the bearings, then take them to a machine shop and have the hub assembly rebuilt? Is this something a local machine shop can do? I mean someone has to press out the old ones, and re-install the new bearings on these hubs somewhere, right?

Thanks in advance for any input… :)
edit...I called Ford and they have discontinued this part as well.. :rolleyes:

MIKE 38sc
01-30-2005, 01:09 AM
Bob I'm not a machinist but I have stayed in a Holiday inn express. :p LOL!!!
Heres my thoughts on this and why.
I own a 90 SC myself and have spent many years totaly rebuilding that car in every effort to make it much easier to service and maintain with cost foremost in my mind. The only time cost has'nt really come into play for me is when cheaper is not better, so heres what I think about your front end problem.
I myself am going to the 93 front spindles, hubs and brakes. The reasons for me on this issue is that there better parts and the hubs are cheaper when it comes time to replace them and as you have learned you WILL replace them.
The boneyards here get $25.00 per side. That includes the spindle with hub,brake rotor,break caliper and ABS sensor. Thats $50.00 for both sides complete, you cant beat that with a club.
The bolt pattern is the same so you dont have to change your wheels either.
My mind says thats a win win situation so I'm gonna jump all over it.
Thanks for being up so late and giving me something else to do other than the useless crap thats going on in the other thread. I would much rather be doing this than that crap. :)
Hope I was some help to you.

BobGPz
01-30-2005, 02:09 AM
..Bob I'm not a machinist but I have stayed in a Holiday inn express. :p LOL!!!...
ROFL!!! :D :p You're killing me Mike!! :p :D


..The boneyards here get $25.00 per side. That includes the spindle with hub,brake rotor,break caliper and ABS sensor. Thats $50.00 for both sides complete, you cant beat that with a club.
The bolt pattern is the same so you dont have to change your wheels either.
My mind says thats a win win situation so I'm gonna jump all over it.
Thanks for being up so late and giving me something else to do other than the useless crap thats going on in the other thread. I would much rather be doing this than that crap. :) Hope I was some help to you...
That's what I was thinking too. So I will need the 93' and up: Rotors, Spindles, and Hub/Bearing Assemblies? I'm releived I won't need to change out my rims/tires. I spent two years find the Stainless center caps to replace my LX plastic ones on my stock rims :rolleyes: , and I have a fairly new set of Michellin XGV Pilots mounted on them. As far as Boneyards go, we lost all our good "U-Pull-It's" around here as they are now owned by some guy who wants almost new prices for junk. There's also a guy called Bob's Fords in Portland that wants $50 for 1 used hub assembly, so I guess I won't bother asking him what he wants for a 93' and up complete set. Still have lots of other junkyards around so I'll take a peak Monday and see what's out there. I would assume I need a 93' and up SC only? Or will a LX WITH ABS work? Any probs with converting the ABS pickup?
So you think that having a machine shop R&R my bearings might not be the best solutuion?
Thanks again Mike....and it's only 10pm here.. OH! Desperate Housewives is on..gots to go :D

MIKE 38sc
01-30-2005, 04:17 AM
Bob I'm not sure about the plug on the ABS sensor. That was'nt a concern of mine since I'm ditching the ABS on my SC. Go ahead and check around yourself for the used parts. I'll see if I can get you a set around here for the same price I'm giving, if I can I'll get them for you. Hows that?
I'll Email you if I find them Bob because I may not be around here anymore after tonight.

SeanMatteson
01-30-2005, 12:21 PM
...So I will need the 93' and up: Rotors, Spindles, and Hub/Bearing Assemblies?

Bob, don't forget that you'll need the '93+ calipers also. I'm not 100% sure, but you may also need the '93+ style sway bar endlinks. I know I replaced mine when I did the swap on my '90 to the Mustang bolt pattern, but I can't remember if that was a necessity, or just preventive maintenance.


I would assume I need a 93' and up SC only? Or will a LX WITH ABS work? Any probs with converting the ABS pickup?


Actually, the front spindles from any '93+ T-Bird with ABS will work, but if you get into one of the '96-'97 T-Bird LX Sports, then you might be getting into the larger (Mark VIII) front brakes, which might be a plus so long as you get everything you need for that (spindles, caliper brackets, calipers, rotors, hubs). To that end, the parts off a '93-'95 Lincoln Mark VIII will work for you also, and I believe that all of those came with ABS, so you can't go wrong there.

As far as converting the ABS pickup goes, I didn't. It was painstaking, but I carefully pressed out the old sensors from my original spindles (don't break those sensors, because their discontinued from Ford, and no jobbers sell them, so the bone-yard is your only option if you wreck one). I then reinstalled them in the newer style spindles. I'm not sure if this is a problem with the '93+ style hubs, but it was for the SN95 Mustang hubs, and I had to also slide the sensor ring down closer to the inboard face of the hub in order for the pickups to be within range.

My motivation for switching over to the 5x4.5" bolt pattern was that I bought a set of authentic '03 Mustang Cobra wheels. In your case, I can understand why you would want to stick with the 5x4.25" bolt pattern. A bonus for me is that the 'Stang hubs are more readily available (and should be for much longer), and cheaper than the '93+ T-Bird hubs.

I'll try to dig up a link to a thread I had running while I was doing the swap. It might have some useful information and pics for you.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Sean

SeanMatteson
01-30-2005, 12:45 PM
I found it...

Here's the link:

Sean's Bolt-Circle Swap Thread (http://sccoa.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44379&page=1&pp=20)

I think that thread grew up to about five pages, so it will take some time to read it all, but you can probably scan it quickly for the information pertinent to your project, Bob.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Sean

David Neibert
01-30-2005, 01:03 PM
I'll Email you if I find them Bob because I may not be around here anymore after tonight.

Mike,

What happened last night that would cause you to say that ?

David

TbirdSCFan
01-30-2005, 03:37 PM
Hey bob. I think you may want to just get one off of a seller here. There are a bunch. I got one from Randall Burnett last fall that has worked out fine. Don't know if he has another left or not but the sides are interchangeable. Also, if you can't find a 90 model hub (look and measure very closely as they vary based on year) a 91 will work with a new rotor. If its one particular side which is wearing out so fast, you may have some other problem; I would think your tires would be getting chewed up as well. :cool:

TbirdSCFan
01-30-2005, 03:46 PM
Mike,

What happened last night that would cause you to say that ?

DavidI think he might have tangled with a Jethro or 2; some of them aren't very bright and when you enlighten them as to their ignorance, they tend to get cross; I ran across one here a few months back as well. When you engage such a dimbulb in a contest of wits, you find some have no wit to contest with. :rolleyes:

BobGPz
01-31-2005, 01:43 AM
Bob I'm not sure about the plug on the ABS sensor. That was'nt a concern of mine since I'm ditching the ABS on my SC. Go ahead and check around yourself for the used parts. I'll see if I can get you a set around here for the same price I'm giving, if I can I'll get them for you. Hows that? I'll Email you if I find them Bob because I may not be around here anymore after tonight.
I will look at my local options Monday (Tomorrow) and see what I can find, but I am not optimistic about the local places around here. Maybe a better bet to get one from someone on here, or from you. If you find a set, please quote me a price BEFORE you go and buy it Mike. I have $170 to do this and I think a conversion and the cost of turning the rotors, and new front brake pads might cover it. Guess I might as well rebuild the front calipers to match the 4 I just did.
As far as that other post, just walk it off Mike. Plenty of people on here KNOW you are a stand up guy. I was looking for that post where you confused me telling someone that you sell SC Tops...you posted quite a respectable post giving high regards to the others and that you "don't want to pull a Wal-Mart on them", and I was going to Quote/add to that other post, but I couldn't find it. Like you said there are people in this world that have nothing better to do, and since Desperate Housewives are now in re-runs :p ;) then sewing circle is in session. You just bite your tounge and continue to hang out until the truth comes out, then you are standing tall and not hunched over on another level. Hell I am the tongue biting master, but that is another story...


Bob, don't forget that you'll need the '93+ calipers also. I'm not 100% sure, but you may also need the '93+ style sway bar endlinks...........you might be getting into the larger (Mark VIII) front brakes.....I carefully pressed out the old sensors from my original spindles...I then reinstalled them in the newer style spindles.....
Thanks for the info Sean, I figured on the calipers, but forget to type them in last post. Not sure on the sway bar end links though..?? If I go to the Mark VIII won't I have to change my rims? Cause the bigger rotor won't fit inside my rim..?? I see your second post and will read it over. Also I have written down the years/models of what I'm looking for when I call..
Thanks again guys...

BobGPz
01-31-2005, 01:57 AM
..Also, if you can't find a 90 model hub (look and measure very closely as they vary based on year) a 91 will work with a new rotor. If its one particular side which is wearing out so fast, you may have some other problem; I would think your tires would be getting chewed up as well. :cool:
Good point on the tire wear Richard, I used a micrometer on BOTH the bad bearing and the spindle area and also put a T-square up to it as best I could. It all checked out fine. The inner versus outer diameters were almost exact. I'll take a look at the tire next time I sneak it out of the garage, but it feels pretty scary to drive. I can feel bumps in my feet from the floorboard area when rolling over slight bumps or tar chunks in the road. Basicaly any little off-surface thing on the road feels like a pothole, and a pothole feels like someone yanking a floor jack out from under the car while it's in the air. KABANG!! It goes away for a while when I get a new hub/bearing assembly, or at least until that hub wears out. :rolleyes:
Thanks again for the help guys, I'm anxiuos to drive my bird...and get groceries without having to shovel them out the back of my pickups tailgate :rolleyes: :p

SeanMatteson
01-31-2005, 07:43 AM
Not sure on the sway bar end links though..?? If I go to the Mark VIII won't I have to change my rims? Cause the bigger rotor won't fit inside my rim..??

Bob,

I think the mounting point on the spindle might be slightly different for the endlink, and that may be why it needs to be swapped when upgrading to the '93+ spindle. I would suggest you solicit some more feedback on that one from the crew here or on the Members Only section for Suspension. If you're running 16" SC rims right now, then you will be fine for clearance with the Mark VIII brakes up front. ...Any bigger brakes, like 13" Cobra rotors and calipers would require a step up to 17" or larger rims though.

Good luck!

Sean

BobGPz
02-05-2005, 02:46 PM
Well I did the junk yard thing today and if anyone remembers me complaining about the "New Style" of junkyards here, then you'll remember me saying that they will want BIG $$$$ and almost the price for what it would cost to buy new. They quoted me $200.00 for the spindles, calipers, rotors, bearing/hub assemblies. :mad: Friggin rip off's up here. :mad:

So Mike38 if you still have a set, I'd be willing to buy them off your hands, plus a little extra for your trouble.. :) If I don't hear from you, then I guess I'll just bite the bullet and get another '90 hub assembly. This grinding is soo loud, people are looking and pointing when I turn.. :o :o saying look at that Ford... :p :D

TbirdSCFan
02-06-2005, 03:40 AM
That clunking you were talking about sounds a whole lot like ball joints. Hows the tightness of the suspension when you raise it up, grab a wheel with both hands and pull and tug and lift and shift everything around?

BobGPz
02-06-2005, 10:27 AM
That clunking you were talking about sounds a whole lot like ball joints. Hows the tightness of the suspension when you raise it up, grab a wheel with both hands and pull and tug and lift and shift everything around?
Richard, I did the shake, shimmie, wobble, bend, kick, and stretch test on it and it semed to be good. I took it into a front end shop on the last hub problem when it was doing the same exact thing. The guy said everything was tight and good so it was probably a wheel bearing. I took it home and changed bearing and it went away for 6 months. So that, plus as many defective hub assemblies as I have gone through, has to be a bearing/hub again.
It makes a terrible grinding noise that gets slower as the car drives slower, and faster as the car speeds up. It only does it when turning. The clunking noise/feel has to be the fit of the wheel on the spindle making everything feel loose.

Mike8675309
02-06-2005, 01:11 PM
You need to find another salvage yard. For me, the one's within 20 minutes of the metro area are running about 25% less than new for parts. The ones that are 60 minutes out are pennies on the dollar for parts, more like you would think a salvage yard is. And then there is the U-pullit yards, the cheapest rates around if you don't mind getting dirty. But 93+ cars aren't in any of the u-pull lots by me yet. (90 and older)

Check the parts for sale board here. RaceCougar can likely get them for you for a lot less than what your yard was asking for. As can others, as I've seen them for sale there before.

BobGPz
02-15-2005, 10:46 PM
Well I bit the bullet and bought another one..$123.00 :rolleyes:
Federated Auto Parts part #PT513076. Supposedly it has a one year warranty, and no core so I have an old one. Makes a nice paper weight on my office desk :D

BobGPz
03-01-2005, 12:25 PM
Well the ~~~ has gone through another #$%^@ wheel bearing! :mad: :mad:
I really had to scrape to get this bearing and it is grinding from the same wheel again. Wow a whole week it made it. :rolleyes:

I have absolutely had it with this %^@$Y^@# car. :mad:

gldiii
03-01-2005, 01:10 PM
I just cannot fathom that you would be so unlucky and end up with that many bad hubs over the years! I suspect it must have something to do with the spindle or the retaining nut.

Have you used a new Ford nut each time and torqued it to recommended specs of 250 ft/lbs? If the nut was not properly torqued, it could become loose and ruin a bearing. If somehow the center of the washer was worn and was letting it slide down the spindle a little bit, it could be putting too much pressure on the bearing and that would also ruin a bearing.

I read that you had check the diameter and squareness of the spindle. The other thing you might check is the distance from the flat part where the washer would sit to the machined face of the spindle where the rear bearing would sit. If this distance is too much or too little as compared to the good spindle, it could also let the nut exert too much or too little pressure on the bearing.

You could also purchase a used old style spindle for the bad side. Should be pretty inexpensive from someone who has upgraded to the newer style spindle.

TbirdSCFan
03-01-2005, 01:27 PM
Well the ~~~ has gone through another #$%^@ wheel bearing! :mad: :mad:
I really had to scrape to get this bearing and it is grinding from the same wheel again. Wow a whole week it made it. :rolleyes:

I have absolutely had it with this %^@$Y^@# car. :mad:At this point, I'd get ahold of one of the sellers here (I know of at least 2 who are relatively reliable) and get a new set of spindles+hubs and just replace the whole setup. Possibly the upper and lower control arms while you're at it. I can't imagine that the replacement parts you're using are all so poor quality that they don't last a week. :confused:

RustyUL
03-01-2005, 01:52 PM
I'm with TbirdSCFan....you have another problem someplace. Even cheap imported bearings would last longer than you have been experiencing. I would venture a guess also that there is a problem with the spindle. They are really a foolproof installation if you are even minimally technically astute, as I'm sure you are.

Jason Wild
03-01-2005, 03:22 PM
Are you useing and aftermarket hub. If so I was reading some place they do not take 250ft/lbs.
You might want to look and see if there is paper work with the new hubs saying something about this.

BobGPz
03-16-2005, 01:06 AM
I just cannot fathom that you would be so unlucky and end up with that many bad hubs over the years! I suspect it must have something to do with the spindle or the retaining nut. Have you used a new Ford nut each time and torqued it to recommended specs of 250 ft/lbs? If the nut was not properly torqued, it could become loose and ruin a bearing.

Yes I AM that unlucky cause my phsyco pagan ex-wife must have put a bad luck spell on me. :D and yes I did use a new $12+ spindle nut EACH time I took it off. Update, AGAIN :( I gave in and took it to a reputable front end/brake shop. This guy knows his stuff.
First, he told me that both sides of the lower control arm bushings were shot, thus explaining the "Slinky Feel" over bumps and potholes as the wheelbase expands and contracts some. Wow! I have an expandable wheelbase Thunderbird! :D He wanted $400 for that but I passed.
Second, was my struts/shocks were gone. Didn't even want to ask how much those would be.
Third, he took off my one week old bearing that was shot and put a new hi-quality bearing/hub on AFTER inspecting the spindle. He assured me that the spindle was fine along with everything else other than the shocks and LCA bushings.
Please, please, please you **** hold together longer than one week or 6 months.