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Ranger Axles Dana 28, Dana 35, Ford 7.5 & Ford 8.8

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Old 04-25-2012, 10:50 PM   #1
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Default Front wheel bearing - how long do I have?

Just bought a(nother) Ford Ranger, 1997 year, it's 4WD with manual locking hubs. (and the 4.0L 6cyl engine in case that matters). The passenger side front wheel bearing is starting to go. Currently it's making a whirring/buzzing noise. I realize it's gonna need replacing, and I'm shopping around for new parts, but how long can I drive this truck? Not that I'm exactly planning a road trip but I'd like to know if I shoul 'park' it right now and use the car to get to work, or can I still make little routine trips around town.

The only reason I'm a bit paranoid is after witnessing a 2002 Ford Explorer 4WD truck's front wheel bearing go from slight *scritch, scritch* noise to loud truck-shaking buzz within 3 days - and then the wheel CAME OFF while I was driving!! Now, I *did* go and do an online search and discovered that the Exploder's wheels do have a recorded tendency to do this as soon as the wheel bearings "go" - they seize and heat up in short order, which blows the backing plate off the wheel which allows the wheel to strip its own lug nuts off and fall off, too. On the other hand I personally knew a guy who drove around for more than a year with failing wheel bearings on his Mercury Sable.

Can anyone advise me here? I realize there are ?no guaranteed, but I'm kinda curious about the trend overall. How long will wheel bearings last from first audible detection before total failure?
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:00 PM   #2
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If it's making noise, get new ones now... Mine made it over night, from squeaking coming home from work to full on seizing failure in 15km the next day.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:02 PM   #3
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Personally if you are hearing wheel bearing noise it is already to late and the vehicle should be parked for your saftey and others on the road. When a wheel bearing locks up it can do alot more damag ethen just having a wheel come off the vehicle. It will most likely damage the spindle and hub assembly as well. Addign to the cost of thing what will have to be replaced. If the wheeel comes off you would end up looking at brake lines, rotor, brake caliper, front suspension components and most likely some body work depending on the direction the wheel comes off. The look at the fact it is a front wheel and if you have any speed at the time it decides it is no longer hangin g out with you the vehicle could actually roll making fo ra really bad day for you and anyone else on the road around you.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:14 PM   #4
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Do it right now, or you'll be putting a spindle on it when the bearing starts to lock up.
Run it after that and the inside brake pad will fall out.
Run it longer than that and you'll ruin the lock-out.
Run it even longer and the spindle will start to tear into the inside of the wheel.
Then make a slight left turn and the only thing that'll connect your wheel to the truck will be the brake hose.
This is exactly what happened to mine in only 35mi.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:40 PM   #5
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my drivers side went from bone quiet, with a little noise around right corners, to this (see video) overnight...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0WliMa9GjI

and what happened when i removed the wheel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVR9ocgsELU
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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old thread but many may read and wonder how to change as this is a very common issue. Here is my video on how to get it done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epVAlu-aQeI
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