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Article from ‘ The Ranger Station Technical Library ‘
Story By Valley Customs
now you’ve probably realized that the replacements of the 98-00 Ranger
hubs suck. Not only are the parts expensive, but you need “special
tools” to replace them, hopefully this article will help make that
replacement a little easier.
Step 1 – Locating Replacement Parts
After realizing that the hub bearing units are not serviceable, I began
my search for replacements. After days of searching I came up with these
numbers as of 1/07.
Advanced Auto: $275
Ford Dealer: $277
I was surprised to see that the Ford dealer’s price was actually lower
than the aftermarket stores. That would have been my top choice if I had
not found AutoPartsDirectToYou.com. Of course I’d look into seeing if
the Ford unit came with all the parts if you are going to pursue that
avenue. I was told by the associates at AutoPartsDirectToYou.com that
this unit comes with a mfg. lifetime warranty.
Here’s the picture of the bearing from AutoPartsDirectToYou.com
Step 2 – Removal Remember this is just a rough guide on how I replaced the bearings using
bits and pieces of info from my repair manual, on the Internet, and from
Ford. I’m not sure if this is the correct repair procedure, but it
worked for me.
For those of us without the special 6 piece Ford hub removal tool you
will need to locate
(6) jig saw blades or similar size steel strips and
a roll of tape. (You’ll see why in a little bit). You’ll also need
standard hand tools, metric wrenches & sockets, a few hammers,
screwdrivers, snap ring pliers & a large c-clamp.
1.) Loosen the front lug nuts and secure the front end of the truck up
on jack stands.
2.) Remove the tires and brush any mud or debris off the hub assembly.
3.) Remove the dust shield
4.) Compress the disk brakes with a c-clamp and remove the caliper.
5.) Remove the rotor
6.) If you have the hub removal tool, remove the hub and move on to step 8?
6a.) If not, take the 6 jig saw blades and gently insert them in the hub
hold down tabs. After you’ve inserted them carefully pry up the tabs by
pushing down on the blades, I found it helpful to tape over each blade a
few times holding it securely in place, as seen in the picture below.
7.) Now that you’ve released the hub clips you will need to pull off the
hub. I found the easiest way was to take a medium size standard
screwdriver and twist between the tape on the metal hub and the plastic.
If you’re lucky it will move about 1/16th of an inch or so. If it does,
rotate the hub and continue with this process in the 5 other slots. I
also found it helpful to keep constant pressure on it by pulling away;
this kept the hub from sliding back into the original position. Again,
as you can see in the picture below.
7a.) Once you’ve cleared the clips, you can pull it out the rest of the
way, just make sure you are pulling perpendicular to the hub as it will
reduce binding and make the removal easier.
7b.) If the hub doesn’t move use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove
the outer cap of the PVH system. A 1/8″ turn CCW will disengage the
pins and allow you to pull out the guts of the hub system. Don’t worry
if they all come apart, I’ll show you later how to clean them and put it
all back together. Once the guts have been removed you can spray some
penetrating oil inside to help loosen things up.
Another tip: The day I did this job it was 13 degrees F out and I
found that since everything was frozen, heating up the hub with a
hairdryer helped loosen things up.
8.) Remove the dust shield and the three bolts holding the bearing
Tip: Use that penetrating oil generously, it’ll only help loosen
things up & the longer it sits on the parts the more effective it
9.) Now that you’ve got the bolts loosened up, tap the bearing assembly
around with a hammer; hopefully it’ll loosen up. Remember though its
still connected to the drive axel so don’t just pull it out.
10.) You might have to clean out all the grease, but there is a plastic
and metal snap ring inside, use the snap ring pliers to remove it.
Tip: I found that every time I went to pull out the snap ring it
would fall off the pliers, to solve this problem I would open up the
snap ring and rather then pull the snap ring out, I’d push in the drive
axel until it was over the shoulder.
11.) After you’ve removed the snap ring and the hub is loose, you should
remove the ABS wire (if your truck has front ABS). Then just pull the
hub/bearing assembly out.
I decided that now would be a good time to clean out the PVH. You’ll
notice that the system contains just 6 major parts: the hub body, 2
white pieces, a spring, the rubber diaphragm and the cap.
How it works.
To engage the hubs, the system puts a vacuum on the rubber diaphragm
which compresses the white assembly about ¾ of an inch. This releases
the spring and puts pressure on the ring gear which connects the hub to
the drive axel. It takes an average of 45 seconds to pull enough of a
vacuum to engage.
To disengage the hubs, the system puts less of a vacuum on the diaphragm
only pulling it down about ¼ of an inch; this aligns 2 small tabs
inside the white assembly and keeps the spring compressed. As a result
of the spring being compressed the ring gear disengages from the hub and
drive axel, unlocking the hubs.
The whole system works kind of like a click pen.
If the guts spilled all over the place when you removed the cap, here is
a picture showing the order they go back together.
Step 3 – New Hubs
The new hub/bearing assemblies did not come with new o-rings and mine
were in pretty good shape so I decided to reuse them. Note: I’d suggest
using new ones to keep the shaky vacuum system in good working order.
You can see in the pictures what o rings I’m talking about.
The reinstallation is pretty straight forward; just reverse the removal
process. Remember to put some wheel bearing grease on those o-rings and
all mating surfaces; this will help with the install and removal if you
ever have to take them out again.