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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 35600
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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2002 Ford explorer: Replacing front wheel bearings...bolts..steering

Customer Question

2002 Ford Explorer XLT. Replacing front wheel bearings. I have removed the three bolts that hold the bearing hub to the knuckle but the hub is stuck fast to steering knuckle. I have a hub puller and slide hammer from Autozone but it is not freeing the hub from the knuckle. How can I remove the wheel hub?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Ron replied 5 years ago.
Hello and Welcome to Justanswer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am here to try and assist your with your question.

Is this a 4x4?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yes it is.
Expert:  Ron replied 5 years ago.

Please remember to only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied.
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with the service you seek.

To remove the hub , you need the hub puller to press the outboard CV joint until it is loose in the hub. Once its loose and the three bolts are removed it should pop out and if its not then its likely rusted in place and just stuck. I would try soaking it for a while with some PB blaster. I have enclosed the factory instruction to review to be sure your not missing a step.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have already soaked the joint with PB Blaster. The three bolts have already been removed and the CV shaft has been freed. The instruction manual does not have any new information. I have been following the DIY procedures from It is clearly rusted to gether. Is there anything else I can do to free this?
Expert:  Ron replied 5 years ago.
Yes it is clearly sounds like its rusted together and the only way to get it out is using the heat and a large hammer . They can be a real pain when rusted in place as your finding out. It sounds like your doing every thing that you an. Sometimes if you let the PB blaster soak a while it helps to free it up. I wish I had a better solution but unfortunately there isnt one.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am a little disappointed as you haven't been able to give me any additional information on resolving my problem. I have already tried everything you have suggested without success. I may just have to put everything back together and send it in for service. Damn.
Expert:  Ron replied 5 years ago.
The only other option if your 100 % sure its not going to come out would be to replace the knuckel along with the hub . But in most cases if you stay after it, the hub will come out. I very sorry I can not give you a better soultion. Your are not required to accept if I have not been of any help to you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have done additional reserch on the internet and discovered that Ford had sealed the bearing hub to the steering knuckle with RTV on certain years. I opened my other front wheel and can clearly see black RTV oozing from the gap. Various users suggested applying a sovent (brake cleaner) to loosen the RTV. I have tried it but with no success. I will let it soak overnight.


If you have any suggestions for lossening the RTV, I am all ears. I have tried wedging three screwdrivers in at each bolt hole to try and get some separation so that I can get a pry bar in there but still no success. There is a very small gap now between the bearing hub and the knuckle but it is still stuck tight.

Expert:  Ron replied 5 years ago.
With 2 negative reports , I have nothing further to offer. I will relist your question in hopes others can help.