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Old 12-08-2010, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default Removing front brake hub/rotor on 2wd

The truck is an 06 F150, 2wd. I am getting ready to install new brake hubs & rotors on the front. I considered buying a 3/4 inch torque wrench but did not like the price, so decided to borrow one from a friend.

I bought the hubs/rotors, new spindle nuts, pads, etc., but have a question: How difficult is it to actually remove the spindle nuts? Is it a two man job (one to hold the socket on the nut to prevent it from slipping off and one to turn the wrench? The nuts look so shallow I suspect the socket will easily slip off the nut unless someone or something is used to hold it tight to the hub.) Is this your experience? Do I need a cheater bar? If so, how long? Or should I be able to loosen the nuts with just the torque wrench handle? I am a 190 pound guy with average strength - not a weakling, but not a muscle bound person or weight lifter either. Just an average joe.

Is it a good idea to spray the nut & spindle threads with a good penetrating oil such as PB Blaster or is this a no - no? Is it a good idea to loosen the spindle nuts while the truck is sitting on the ground, not after it is on jackstands? Is it best to do the final torquing as a last step when the truck is back on the ground. I figure 150 pounds of torque would be fine until I get it off the jack stands and back on the ground, then torque it to 296 pounds. Anything else I should know? Any tips or tricks of the trade that would be helpful?

I hate surprises so I am trying to prepare to the point that I don't encounter any.

Thanks in advance for any advice or helpful tips.
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
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ive never did these brakes... but ive did similar... you can do it with one person... ive always had better luck leaving it on the ground to brake them loose...or atleast getting it moving...(always apply e-brake to keep it from rolling that tiny little bit).. same thing with final torque..
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:46 AM   #3
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Just did this yesterday. You can do it on your own with some kind of cheater bar. I used a long piece of pipe and the 1/2 in drive socket i rented from autozone. It's the 36mm. I did everything with the truck on jack stands and the steering wheel locked with no problems. By the way if you look around you can save some serious cash if you get the rotors turned. There was one shop here in town with the adapter and it cost me 25 bucks vs 180+ for new ones. And they came out perfect.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:28 AM   #4
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im gonna do mine soon. think ill replace the rotors. i have alot of miles and want new wheel bearings. is it 180 for a parts house brand or is that oe?
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. It makes me feel better.

I know I have the option to resurface the discs at $13.00 per axle, but I learned that there is only 1.5 mm of material that can be removed. Many on this site have said Ford rotors and discs are crappy stuff and my very good independent mechanic agrees. So, since I must remove the hubs anyway, I simply choose to replace them. Hopefully the aftermarket hubs are better and will have a good long life with proper care. I bought a 3/4 inch drive, 36mm socket for $18.00 at Northern Tools. Another local company wanted $27.00.

The hub/disc is available from AutoZone, O'reilly, and Advance for about $83.00 and up. The $83 rotors have a one year warranty while the next up is Wagner with a limited lifetime warranty. The Wagner is $174.00. I closely examined both and could see no discernable difference. Does Wagner charge 174 for the warranty? I don't know and neither did the parts guy.

I borrowed a 3/4 inch, 300 ft. pound torque wrench from a friend and got his permission to use a cheater bar. I know I cannot pull 296 ft. pounds without a cheater bar, but my friend did ask me "not to jump up and down on it."

I am gonna experiment on the old hub. I want to find out how feasible it is to replace the bearings in these units. Hopefully, I will be able to remove and reinstall them by hand. If not, I'll ask my mechanic to press them out. The bearings are available from several sources for about $37.00 each. A lot less expensive than a new hub.

Wish me luck, guys.

Thanks again for the feedback.

ps. if you take your hubs in to be resurfaced, be prepared to buy new hubs since there is so little material that can be removed. I suspect that many times, the guy turning the discs will come out and say, "sorry, not enough material to save the discs." This would be especially true if either your pads wore out and got into the metal backing or if there is some disc runout. Just be aware.

Last edited by jonquil; 12-08-2010 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:58 AM   #6
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wow great post
yes please let us know if you can replace the bearings
if its possible ill turn mine and replace the bearings

would you mind posting some pics of the job at hand?
i have not even had my wheel off, just wanna know what to expect
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:54 PM   #7
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I cannot post pictures because I do not own a digital camera, cell phone camera, or even a scanner to convert a paper photo into digital format. This is by choice. I'm not interested in that stuff. It is what I consider too hateful to fool with. It is purely a lack of proper incentive, not money.

Heck, I even refuse to carry a cell phone. Before I retired my boss tried to force me to carry one, but in some instances, I had more power than he. So, he could not get the job done. I did compromise and agreed to carry a pager. Sadly, I can see the time coming when circumstances might force me to carry a cell phone.

Better than any pictures I could post anyway is the Haynes manual for your truck. It costs about $26.00 at Autozone and is worth its weight in gold. On the down side, the pictures appear to be printed with a 65 line screen (grainy) and the manual is printed on high quality newsprint. This causes one to need to get a magnifying glass, get in excellent light and closely examine the hard to distinguish details in the pictures. But it is all there and I would hate to be without it.

I will relate, in writing, some of the interesting/helpful details of what I encounter. For instance, today I went to pick up the torque wrench from my friend who was a professional mechanic at one time. The wrench is a 3/4 inch drive, 44 inch long device with a torque range up to 600 ft pounds of torque. It cost him $600.00 several years ago (he bought it off one of those tool trucks and they get a premium for tools). I bet I can crouch down, put my shoulder to that sucker and using just my legs, get that 296 ft pounds PDQ. BTW, he did advise me to do the original loosening and final tightening of the spindle nut while the vehicle is on all four wheels.

Later...
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:51 PM   #8
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If you haven't started yet, make sure your 36mm socket is a deep one. I would loosen the spindle nut with the truck on the ground because it will take some effort to move it. The spindle nut is a concave locking thread that is supposed to be replaced after removed (some here will argue its not necessary, I figure you dont replace rotors too often might as well do it right or as recommended by manufacturer). OEM rotors for these trucks are crap. My originals were toast at 20K, and my replacements from brakeperformance.com have 55K on them and still plenty more miles on them to go (were about $150 each). Bearings have to be pressed in. It's not a difficult job, good luck with it.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:09 AM   #9
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Well, I got er done today. I bought a 3/4 drive, 20" breaker bar (17.99 at Harbor Freight) along with a 60 inch piece of 1-1/4 inch galvanized pipe at Lowe's for a cheater bar. Using the 20 inch breaker bar alone, I put my feet against the wheel and pulled (loosening) with all my might but the spindle nut did not budge. I put the 60 inch galvanized pipe on the breaker bar and began pulling from a standing position this time. WOW! What a difference. It took an estimated 50 - 60 ft pounds of pressure and that sucker came right off.

I looked high and low for a 36mm, deep socket in the 3/4 drive, but to no avail. What I found were deep sockets for a 1/2 inch drive and shallow sockets in the 3/4 inch drive. Then, I remembered a master mechanic once told me that in the larger sizes, SAE and Metric sockets were interchangeable. So, I marched over to Northern Tools with my new spindle nut in hand. Sure enough, that 36mm spindle nut fit a 1-7/16 SAE socket perfectly (both had a surprising amount of play) and it worked like a charm.

I was surprised to find that the hubs were very difficult to remove from the spindle. I had to use heavy pressure with a pry bar to get the things off. However, after cleaning the spindles, the new hubs went on with no effort at all. This concerns me because a bearing that is too loose on any shaft is not a good thing. In the military, we used a center punch to put very slight dimples on opposite sides of electric motor shafts to create a tighter fit for loose bearings. I was tempted to do this on my spindles today, but decided to wait and watch because of the cold temperatures outside today. I know cold temps will result in greater clearances for bearings than hot temps. I am thinking that the brakes will heat the bearings and spindles up pretty quickly and this might be enough to resolve the problem. For tight fitting bearings, I have put them in a 400 degree oven to expand them while putting the electric motor/shaft in the freezer overnight. As a result, the hot bearings would slide right into place on the frozen shaft, avoiding possible damage to the bearing by driving it on by force. So, I'll just watch and wait.

Once installed, I tightened the spindle nuts as tight as possible with the 20" breaker bar. Then, I used my borrowed 44", 3/4 drive, 600 lb torque wrench for the final seating. Using just my 190 lbs to slowly force the handle downward, the tell tale click was easily achieved. No pulling or straining necessary at all. That 44 inch torque wrench took all the work out of the final tightening of the spindle nut. Yes, I did use a new spindle nut ($19.99 at O'reilly Auto Parts). Those ceramic pads make no noise at all.

I estimate a savings of $250 - $300, based on local quotes. (That was my incentive). Savings would have been greater, but I had to buy the tools. Next time, all the savings will be had. Local mechanics are ripping the public on brake work. I don't mind if they overcharge, just not me.

Last edited by jonquil; 12-10-2010 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:43 AM   #10
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i changed mine to these and love them! paid 320 for all 4 discs and all 8 pads

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