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zepper

Front Wheel Bearings

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I'm also on my 4th set of wheeling bearings and I had the front suspension replaced as well. I've also had 3 power door lock actuators go bad and tie rods ends rust stuck. I currently have 150,000 miles.

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Any idea if the wheel bearing issue has been "fixed" in 2016 TC? A friend works for a company with a fleet of Connects and says approx. every 30K miles they need replacing.

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My 2014 is closing in on 30000 and there is no issue yet.

With a sealed bearing, the bearing life depends on how well the grease

seal keeps the water out. Hopfully Ford has Improved the seal quality.

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mine was in a flood and wish there was some way to grease as a preventative measure...worth asking, anyone know?

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If there was a way to grease the bearings the rate of bearing failure would go down 90%  Almost All the failure's are water related.

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This post will not add anything of substance to the discussion. But I had a left wheel bearing replaced in my 2011 at 160k Miles. I bought it used with a bearing making noise. $800 to replace the bearing. Right hand side is the next candidate. It is distressing to read about the high frequency of wheel bearing failure on these trucks. Mine is a company truck and I depend on it for income.

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I would like to see the break down of that bill.  The Front Bearing is between 45.00 and 85.00 and the flat rate is less than 4 hour's  Sounds like you should shop the next bearing job around.

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It is two years since the last post in this topic and my fear is that I am resurrecting a discussion which was put to rest long ago. I hope that is not the case.

I have two white TCs one from 2011 and the other from 2012. I bought both used. The 2011 needed wheel bearings when I bought it. The 2012 is quiet now, but I anticipate it will need bearings within a year.

I have read much about the nature of the failure of these bearings. I have read three failure sources and every one of them makes some sense:

1. Insufficient lubricant in bearings or a fault in the application of lubricant during the manufacturing process. (Only partially likely since replacement bearings apparently last no longer than OEM)

2. Water induced failure. (Only partially likely since the Ford Focus does not seem to suffer from the same weakness.)

3. Bearings too light for the load. (Makes sense)

Parenthetically, I am thinking about getting a pair of knuckles with new bearings already pressed in to use as spares. I can swap out the knuckles in my garage but I don't have a press to put the bearings in. I would only do that if I could get them cheap.

But here is a thought:

The bearing is the first solid link between the road and the chassis. That means that bumps, ruts, and roughness in the road is first absorbed by the tires and wheels and then by the wheel bearing. The design of the suspension borrowed from the Focus including to a large extent the wheel and tire size yet the TC weighs 400 to 600 pounds more. If the mass of everything between the bearing and the road were increased, then that mass would resist movement and would absorb more of the roughness of the road. By the time the forces were applied to the wheel bearing, they would be attenuated by the additional absorption of the wheel and tire. This puts less stress on the bearing and might increase the life of the bearings.

My thought is to increase the mass of the wheel and tire by moving to a slightly larger wheel and tire. I am thinking of a tire which is not taller but just wider than the OEM. Mine are 205s and I am thinking of going to a 225. I would also move to an inexpensive chromed steel wheel what would replace the OEM wheel and wheel cover. The slightly wider tire might also improve handling of the van.

So....Two questions:

1. Does my logic make sense? (I am a career Navy electronic technician and officer and a retired university professor of electrical engineering. I am not dumb but I am no physicist)

2. On the 2010-2013 TC, how wide can you make the tires without having them interfere with other components under the truck...(Wheel wells, frame, and other "stuff")?

 

Edited by Doc Hoy
Found and error

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The tire theory is interesting . The only way it would help is if you could run a lower pressure , without sacrificing handling or load rating.  The possible down side is you are increasing the  UN-sprung weight which could cancel the lower impact benefit. 

If you can find a good used set of hubs from the right salvage vehicle getting the press work done at a shop could be quite reasonable.  This would take the inconvenience out of the repair.    

I have changed a lot of wheel bearings over the years and the leading cause that I have seen  is water getting in. The sealed cartridge bearings can not be re lubricated so if any water or contamination gets in the replacement clock starts to run. 

Edited by G B L

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Thanks GBL....

What about running a wider tire? Will it fit?

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The van is a bit too heavy for Focus bits so it wears out the wheel bearings prematurely. One of the causes are also dragging brakes which bake the grease in the wheel bearing.

You can go one size up with a soft tire to take away some of the stress. I have heard of 225 mm wide tires at factory height but that's not helping you. Just makes the steering heavier and more sensitive to road grooves.

Just had a front right bearing replaced in my 2012 the other day, €52 for the bearing plus €62 for the labor. Also required a new ABS sensor.

Edited by mrtn

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Going to a wider tire on a wider wheel with a different offset would likely exacerbate the problem and not solve it  -  The load on the bearings would be much higher with a wider tire on a wider track wheel

But  -  The 'real problem' could be just the quality of the bearings themselves.  If you pay someone to do the change and they have a choice of a $40 bearing, a $70 bearing or a $100 bearing, guess which one they'll probably buy for you?  -  $400 for labor to install a $40 bearing isn't any bargain

www.rockauto.com lists 5 different wheel bearings ranging in price from about $40 to $117.00 

http://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/ford,2012,transit+connect,2.0l+l4,1501993,brake+&+wheel+hub,wheel+bearing,1672

Don

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mrtn That is a great price but getting the Tc to your shop  is hard for us.  Did you see the old bearing ? most of the one's I see there is definitely water intrusion and rust  and little evidence of heat.

If a larger tire  205/70/16 would give almost .5 inch  more side wall and could improve the ride with out changing the off set, and should clear all the wheel openings.  You would need to make sure the tire has the load rating

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No I didn't. I could ask the shop if they noticed the problem.

It was really noisy.

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My 2017 I bought used a couple weeks ago need the front drivers side replaced.  I'm at 15k miles and it was covered under warranty by Ford at my local dealer.  I didn't notice the oscolatting noise until after I had owned the TC for a few days.  I took it down to my tire dealer and they balanced and rotated the tires to eliminate that as a cause and then I made an appointment with my dealer.  They fixed it in about an hour after they called to confirm it was the bearing.  The dealer didn't know if this was a common problem as they "don't see that many TCs."  I asked how long it was going to be under warranty for the wheel bearings and a cost after warranty.  I was told 60k miles and $174 for parts and labor after the warranty was up.

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With the right bearing tool the strut does not have to be pulled and the job is fast. 

That's a fair price.

Your bearing failed early, sounds like a defect.

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I realize this bit of the discussion was a while ago but...

 

Speaking as someone with a suspension design background, increasing unsprung mass is ALWAYS the wrong choice. Unsprung mass is anything that's between the road and the springs so we're talking tire, wheel, rotor, hub, knuckle, caliper, half the strut, etc. Increased unsprung mass always makes it harder for the suspension to track the road resulting in less performance, less safety, and greater risk of crashing.

 

If the truth is that the bearing is under-sized for the job, then realistically the impacts don't matter. The extended dynamic loads during cornering and going to be putting more wear on the bearings than hitting normal bumps in the road. If you want to try to do something to soften the impacts anyway, the only thing you can do is to move to a smaller wheel and run a tire with a taller sidewall. Shock loading of the unsprung mass, and the entire chassis for that matter, is inversely proportional to sidewall compliance (taller sidewalls flex more easily). Taller sidewall, smoother ride. Find out if 15" wheels will clear the brakes and then run tall tires.

 

More likely, if the TCs are experiencing a higher failure rate than the Focus on the identical part numbers heat is to blame. The van is heavier and all that extra energy gets converted to heat each time you stop. Most of that heat goes into the front brakes. For another car with major wheel bearing problems (Subaru Impreza), I helped develop a solution that dramatically increased bearing life. We simply made thin (around 1mm) titanium spacers to go between the brake rotor and the face of the hub. The shims resulted in dramatically less heat transfer during braking from the rotor to the bearings. By keeping the bearings cooler, they lasted longer. A LOT longer.

 

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Williaty,

Does the titanium plate reduce the temperature due to lower thermal conductivity (about 1/2 of steel) or due to the mechanical separation and poor heat transfer?

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1 hour ago, Don Ridley said:

Williaty,

Does the titanium plate reduce the temperature due to lower thermal conductivity (about 1/2 of steel) or due to the mechanical separation and poor heat transfer?

The lower thermal conductivity is the big one. The additional joint probably inhibits transfer a little as well, but with 5 fine-thread lugs torqued relatively high, the clamping forces are huge and the joints are pretty damned tight, so I'm not sure it has a meaningful effect.

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That sounds like a neat solution.

The gen 2  wheel bearings are larger than the gen 1, that alone helps some.

The way my tc is loaded the rear pads and rotors are loaded and needed replacement first. 

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Just now, Willygee said:

Any link to these titanium thermal shims?

We only ever made them to fit 5x114.3 and 5x100 Subaru hubs. A quick Googling looks like the company has since discontinued them.

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Do you have a sorce for sheet titanium?

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34 minutes ago, G B L said:

Do you have a sorce for sheet titanium?

Not that I've used personally. The fab we contracted to do the laser cutting supplied the base stock. It looks like OnlineMetals will sell you small amounts of titanium sheet. I've never done business with them.

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To a great degree, how much your brakes heat up your wheels and wheel bearings has a lot to do with the driver

 

Many who never learned to drive standard transmission cars have developed a terrible habit in how they drive their automatics . . . . namely with one foot on the gas and the other foot resting lightly on the brake pedal almost all the time.  They would all SWEAR that they're not actually pressing on the pedal, but no doubt like me, you routinely follow several cars nearly every day where the brake lights are constantly flashing on and off.  If you don't keep your left foot on the floor, you can burn up all sorts of things, not to mention getting terrible gas mileage

 

The TC is my very first automatic, purchased about 50 years after I learned to drive.  I transferred a Toyota Supra to my son some years back with 160,000 miles on it and he sold it a couple years later when it had about 190,000 miles on it  -  It still had the factory disc brake pads when he sold it that Toyota put on it at the factory . . . . and all 4 wheel bearings were original too.  It was on it's third exhaust system though

 

I routinely get more than 100K from the factory brakes on most vehicles I own  -  Anticipating the need to slow before you have to slam on the brakes to do it makes all sorts of parts last longer.  Now, if I should report a failed wheel bearing on my TC in the near future, we'll all have a good laugh . . . . and you can throw me off my soapbox  ;-)

 

Don

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