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MoT failure on your classic Ford due to excessive bearing wear? Here’s how to change wheel bearings.

Replacing wheel bearings is a common task that needs carrying out on all ages of classic Ford. It’s well within the grasp of a home mechanic, and shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. 

You can test for worn bearings by jacking the relevant corner of the car off the ground, grabbing the roadwheel at the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions, and rocking it back and forth. Slight play that cannot be adjusted by tightening the hub nut, or a noticeable grinding when rotating the wheel, means that you’ll need to replace the bearings. 

Our guide covers tapered roller bearings on a hub with disc brakes. 

how to change wheel bearings

1. Prise off the hub grease cap and wipe away the surplus grease from the end of the stub axle.

how to change wheel bearings

2. Remove the split pin, retaining cap, nut and washer. You can now withdraw the hub and disc as a unit.

how to change wheel bearings

3. Remove the outer bearing, then take out the inner oil seal and inner bearing. 

4. The inner bearing races can take a bit of persuading to part company from the hub. Make sure that the hub’s properly supported for this.

5. Always make sure you replace bearings as complete assemblies and take extra care not to confuse parts of bearings from one side of the car to the other.

6. When installing new bearings, be sure to work cleanly. Any dirt that gets in will only accelerate wear on the bearing. Press in the new races.

7. Lubricate the bearing races with a general purpose grease, making sure you work it in well with your fingers. Partially pack the hub with grease, then install the tapered bearing.

8. Install a new seal with the lip facing the inner bearing. It’s vital to use a new seal because this provides protection against destructive dirt or water getting into the bearing during everyday use.

9. Lubricate the seal and then push it fully on to the hub. Take care when doing this so the outer bearing doesn’t become dislodged. Now put the hub back on the stub axle. Fit the washer to the stub axle and screw on the nut finger-tight. Reinstall the brake pipe, calliper and steering arm. Everything needs to be tight enough to keep play to a minimum, but not so tight that the hub can’t rotate freely. Adjust the hub by tightening the nut to 5 lb.ft, then backing it off one flat.

10. Install the retaining cap and retain it with a new split pin.

11. Put the hub grease cap back on, and replace the roadwheel.

how to change wheel bearings

This Classic Ford guide to how to change wheel bearings first appeared in the Summer 2018 issue

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