front bearings/hubs; any brands to avoid?

Discussion in '3rd Gen - 2007 - 2017' started by richs fishes, Dec 2, 2019 at 2:43 PM.

  1. richs fishes

    richs fishes Full Access Members

    Posts:
    96
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I've been noticing a bit of a "hum" while driving, that I can now start to feel through the floorboards if my foot is flat, I can sort of feel it in the gas pedal and steering wheel as well. I can make it disappear completely if I turn slightly left. Makes no difference if I'm accelerating or decelerating and does not go away if I shift into neutral.

    I'm 99% sure its a front bearing and based on some other threads I've been reading through I'm going to guess its the left side. I did struts within the past few months and tried to look for bad bearings but found no symptoms. Again, based on some older threads, still seems possible that this bearing is bad so the plan was to replace both fronts at the same time (truck just ticked over 100K). But the options seem a bit more expensive than I had been hoping for.

    So are there any brands that should or should not be used? Off the top of my head I figured the motorcrafts were likely the best option and surprised to see 2 choices. The "OE Design" and the "Service design". Any idea the difference between them and/or if I should look at something different altogether like Moog?
     
  2. 762mm

    762mm Full Access Members

    Age:
    39
    Posts:
    376
    Likes Received:
    211
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    Other than the factory brand (Motorcraft in case of Fords), Timken and Moog are the only brands I'd use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 2:53 PM
  3. p38fln

    p38fln New Member

    Age:
    37
    Posts:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2016
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I've heard nothing but bad about all the big chain brands, I had really good luck with some NAPA store brand hubs on a Suburban though. I had to replace both front hubs and they were still going strong about 20,000 miles later
     
  4. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    1,654
    Likes Received:
    795
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2017
    Location:
    Rockaway Beach, NY
    Motorcraft "OE Design" should be equivalent to what Ford built the car with. The "Service Design" is a version marketed to compete with aftermarket, "for higher mileage use where new-car-quality is not required". I was disappointed to just receive a Motorcraft hub that was marked "Made in China".

    My experience with Moog lately has been poor. I also read that Timken is now Chinese.

    So good luck. I'd stick with a Motorcraft product unless you can find an American-made bearing.

    At all cost I'd avoid the auto parts store chain stuff. It's just junk, marketed to those seeking price over quality.
     
    RogerD1959 and 762mm like this.
  5. 762mm

    762mm Full Access Members

    Age:
    39
    Posts:
    376
    Likes Received:
    211
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada

    Unfortunately, according to my auto parts supplier, almost all (if not all by now) bearing factories have either migrated to or opened new shops in China, because that's where most of the stuff that needs bearings is made (appliances, etc). This allows them to save millions a year on overseas shipping costs to China.

    I was told that quality control and materials used have not been compromised, but even the Swedish bearings (SKF, etc) are now marked "China". So no surprise that Timken and Moog would fall in the same boat nowadays... :(

    A word of caution was that there is a huge black market of bootlegged bearings coming out of China too these days, which may explain some of the failures on trusted name brands. It's pretty bad, as they infiltrated the supply chain at so many levels that even your trusted parts sources (NAPA, dealerships, etc) may carry counterfeit bearings without even knowing it... because these counterfeit bearings look identical to genuine units. Sometimes they even are genuine units which failed to pass quality control and were bought by a third party as scrap metal in China, then sold off again as genuine new units. Yikes...!

    :eek:


    (roll the dice, lol)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 9:29 PM
  6. TobyU

    TobyU Full Access Members

    Posts:
    1,678
    Likes Received:
    580
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Location:
    Ohio
    It is probably the left one but check it first. Had a friend with newer Sonic a few years ago take his to the dealer and they printed up that it was a bad right hub so he bought the whole spindle/hub assembly as this was the only way it came and only from GM at the time.
    He came over and I had no reason to inspect it....he had a right side he wanted put on.
    So I put it on.
    We test drove it and exactly the same!
    IT was the left.
    I showed him how to test and it was plain as day.


    Very easy on FWD if you can turn off traction control.
    On those you just jack up front wheels and put it in gear and let them spin.
    Put your fingertips on the top of the strut spring and you will feel the roughness.
     
  7. richs fishes

    richs fishes Full Access Members

    Posts:
    96
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    May 20, 2019
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    so it sounds like my options are limited to nothing but expensive and potentially crap anyway. awesome!

    Yeah I'm not looking forward to doing the job and finding out I picked the wrong side. Just few thousand miles ago I had the car up in the air and checked both front bearings by using an 8 foot 2x4 as a lever to pry under tire. Got no movement or clicking or anything out of the ordinary from either side. I guess I'm still a long way from there being any slop in the bearing but I'd rather get if swapped out now before it's more noticeable if possible! Hopefully I'll be able to tell that one feels a bit "grittier" than the other when I get it up in the air again and before I have to tear down all too much.
     
  8. TobyU

    TobyU Full Access Members

    Posts:
    1,678
    Likes Received:
    580
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Location:
    Ohio
    That's about all you can do because they want make the rough sounds way before they get any slop in them. Unless you want to get all four tires off the ground and let them spin and gear and see if you can feel a roughness difference on one by placing your fingers around the surrounding will area Etc.
    It will probably be quite difficult just trying to spin the tire my hand to feel the difference but you might be able to.
    It's a shame that a lot of people are still paying the big money for some parts like Moog Etc that are now made in China and are not holding up like they used to. So you pay more money and still get crap.
    It's been eight or ten years ago but then all the parts stores carried their house brand which was cheaper made in China and they had the BCA National which was made in the US. Now all the BCA Nationals are made in China along with most everything else as other posters pointed out.

    I have great luck with most aftermarket things but I have had one or two of the house brand hub assemblies go out between 9 months and right after a year. These all had a one year warranty. These also were on GM front wheel drive where there is an issue with the nut and they even tell you to replace it if it's a certain color and the torque is quite specific.
    These are ones where the bearing is under pressure from the nut so if it's too tight you will shorten the life or damage it.
    I torqued mine to spec but one loosened up in just a few weeks and I had to retype it tighter than it probably should have been to keep it tight. I can't even remember now if that was a side that failed or not as the vehicle didn't make it that long and we junked it.
    That's the only ones I've had failures on though. I have done other ones Square The Hub is not under pressure at least the bearing is it. You're just tightening down the nut against the center and as long as it's tight it doesn't really matter how much type or you go as long as you don't strip the threads.
    That's the better design anyway.

    A while back when I checked the local part stores there were a couple of options I think some with a one-year warranty and some with a 3-year warranty. I'm not certain if anyone had a lifetime warranty or not locally. I know the one with the 3-year warranty or maybe it was the lifetime warranty if there was one, was only about 25 to $30 more and that would have been worth it for the percentage difference in price. So I think I just might by buy the warranty as opposed to the brand.
    Something like that that we can't have too much faith in I would want to buy locally so I can have it easy swap at the parts store same day if I have to do it again in the future.
     
  9. WEDGE

    WEDGE Member

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    18
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2019
    Location:
    Kimberley BC Canada
    I just replaced a rear bearing in my sister's 2007 Limited. Went with a motorcraft, cant go wrong!
     
  10. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Old School Member

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    1,654
    Likes Received:
    795
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2017
    Location:
    Rockaway Beach, NY
    Have a noisy bearing on my 2010 Explorer. Sounds like the left, but spinning them reveals nothing and with all-time 4wd, I'd have to run the thing in the air on jackstands... I'll go for the left and then do them both if that doesn't help. The two usually fail within a few months anyway.
     

Share This Page