2004 Ford F350, Front Wheel Bearing Replacement

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience. We’re talking Ford trucks again, how’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we have a 2004 Ford F350 that you had to do some wheel work on, what was going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: This vehicle came to our shop, the client had a concern about his drivetrain, there were some noises present and he was concerned that there was a problem and brought it in and we proceeded to do a road test and a steering and suspension inspection and what we found was very interesting.

Mark: So what did you find that was wrong?

Bernie: Well let me go straight to the vehicle, so basically what we found was the front left wheel bearing was extremely badly worn so let’s just go right to the video

Mark: Whoa, is there an earthquake?

Bernie: Yeah, I know, it looks like that. I know we’ve done hangouts on these type of issues before but I just thought, you know this is just so badly worn, I just had to do it again. So let’s have a look at that wheel bearing again. Take a look at that movement, this is the brake rotor flopping around, the axel’s moving, that’s the front drive axel and the wheel of course, you look at that amount of movement, it’s just phenomenal.

Yeah, so that’ all we found was wrong. Now whenever we have an issue like this, we do a complete drivetrain and steering and suspension inspection to see if there’s anything else because there could be other issues as well but in the case of this vehicle, that’s all we found was wrong, which is plenty of problem.

Mark: So like you said that’s pretty worn and nothing else damaged but how often do you seen wheel bearings with that much play?

Bernie: Not that often, I mean we do see wheel bearings that have play, but a lot of times it’s just minor, this one is extremely badly worn and obviously I would guess that it’s probably been making noise for quite some time before it starting failing worse.

Mark: And what’s the ramifications of that much play?

Bernie: Well like ramifications in terms of driving it or in terms of …?

Mark: Well potential other failures etc, how bad can it get, does the wheel fall off?

Bernie: Well, the wheel completely falling off is pretty unlikely, it could just come to a kind of grinding halt on the road which would not be a good thing if you’re going down the highway but other damage, you could see that universal joint that’s being flopped around in there and if things could much worse it could actually cause that to hit against something and cause the actual axel to hit different parts in the housing. And also with the brakes, the brakes are moving around a lot so that could cause some excessive brake pad or brake rotor wear or even damage the brake calliper. The wheel bearing on this vehicle, is a unitized wheel bearing so the good news is that all that damage is kind of contained, all that wear is all contained to one area. I’ll just share one more photo here, this is the wheel bearing hub assembly, so this a whole unit that gets replaced, this part here where my mouse pointer is, this bolts into the wheel hub, sorry, the steering knuckle area, and this housing contains the bearings, so there bearings are inside here, this is the wheel hub where the wheel bolts onto. This wiring, these bits and pieces are for the ABS brakes. Again, all these parts, if you didn’t have, if there was a different bearing replacement, you may have to replace the hub or something else but because it’s  all unitized, the good news for the customer is it’s probably not going to cost him a lot more money than it did had he not fixed it sooner.

Mark: And I guess tire wear? How was the tire on that vehicle?

Bernie: Well the tired definitely had some wear and that’s another thing having a wheel bearing like that it can affect your tire wear as well. I mean these tires on that truck looked from what I remember, they’re not in great shape. If you had a real nice set of tires, yes of course that could damage them but I think the tires on this truck were pretty near worn out anyways, so not a huge consequence.

Mark: And are wheel bearings a pretty common failure on super duty vehicles? 

Bernie: We do a number of them, not a really common failure but by the time you get to 200,000 kilometres or a little more, you probably have replaced your front wheel bearings, they do wear out at that sort of rate but unfortunately they are pretty expensive but I mean, once you use the word “Super Duty”, it is a super duty truck, it’s tough, it’s got big stuff, big front end parts, big bearings and the job is pricey. So the good news is they do tend to last a long time, but they will fail.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for a service on your F350 in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website, pawlikautomotive.com or our Youtube channel. Just search for Pawlik Automotive on Youtube, we’ve got hundreds of videos on there, including a few more on the F350’s. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark.

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