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Discussion Starter #1
I'm preparing to do some work on my 1997 T-bird Sport's rear suspension (replacing rear wheel bearings & all rear suspension bushings/toe link compensators), and I'm wondering if it might not be a wise idea, since my Thunderbird has just turned 197,000 miles, to go ahead and replace the CV axle half-shafts at the same time, since everything will already be apart.

How long do those things usually last? I'm not, as far as I'm aware, having any problems related to them, and the rubber boots aren't ripped or torn (as far as I'm aware; I'm going to get under the car first chance I get this coming week and check for sure), but they're relatively inexpensive at $52.00/each (and, those are new, not rebuilt).

Should I not worry about replacing them if I'm not having problems, or would it be smart to do it now, as opposed to having to tear everything apart again, if needed, in the future?

How do the half-shafts pull out of the differential? Is there some type of clip holding them in, or do they just pull out?

What is the axle shaft bearing? I'm assuming that's in the hole on the differential, where the axle shaft goes into it, or is it actually on the axle shaft? And, the axle shaft seal (I'm looking at these parts on RockAuto, right now); that's also in that hole? Or, is the axle shaft seal the dust seal Ford recommends replacing when you pull the knuckle from the axle shaft? Would a new half-shaft come with a dust seal already on it?

Sorry for any stupid questions I've asked! :)

Thanks,

Dennis
 

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I'm preparing to do some work on my 1997 T-bird Sport's rear suspension (replacing rear wheel bearings & all rear suspension bushings/toe link compensators), and I'm wondering if it might not be a wise idea, since my Thunderbird has just turned 197,000 miles, to go ahead and replace the CV axle half-shafts at the same time, since everything will already be apart.

How long do those things usually last? I'm not, as far as I'm aware, having any problems related to them, and the rubber boots aren't ripped or torn (as far as I'm aware; I'm going to get under the car first chance I get this coming week and check for sure), but they're relatively inexpensive at $52.00/each (and, those are new, not rebuilt).

Should I not worry about replacing them if I'm not having problems, or would it be smart to do it now, as opposed to having to tear everything apart again, if needed, in the future?

How do the half-shafts pull out of the differential? Is there some type of clip holding them in, or do they just pull out?

What is the axle shaft bearing? I'm assuming that's in the hole on the differential, where the axle shaft goes into it, or is it actually on the axle shaft? And, the axle shaft seal (I'm looking at these parts on RockAuto, right now); that's also in that hole? Or, is the axle shaft seal the dust seal Ford recommends replacing when you pull the knuckle from the axle shaft? Would a new half-shaft come with a dust seal already on it?

Sorry for any stupid questions I've asked! :)

Thanks,

Dennis
I'll try and help here too. If it were me, I would leave the stock shafts if there is no issue. They normally only break when you throw gobs of power/torque at them. But if you feel better about it, it surely wouldn't hurt. It really wouldn't be hard to swap them later if necessary.

Axle seal and bearing are in the differential. As for when and how to change those, I'll let someone else chime in. I've never done that task.

To get them out you need to remove the 36mm nut in the center of the hub. As said in the other thread, that's a one use nut and it should be torqued to 250lb/ft. It will be tight. Push the shaft out of the hub (It may not push back far enough to clear. That is fine.). Then you want to remove the UCA to spindle bolt. This will allow you to rotate the spindle out and give you some room. At the differential side you just need a big flat screwdriver or prybar. Pry them gently away from the pumpkin and they'll pop out. They have a c-clip on them if I recall. You should then be able to pull them out of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So, what's involved in replacing the axle shaft bearing & seal in the differential? Does the seal just pry out with a screwdriver? What about the bearing? If I'm going to replace the half-shafts, I might as well replace the bearing and seal on each side too, with 197,000 miles on them!
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Replacing the bearings requires more or less a teardown and rebuild of the pumpkin. The seals you pry/knock out with a screwdriver and can knock the new ones in with block of wood and a hammer without needing to open it up or remove the pumpkin.
 

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So, what's involved in replacing the axle shaft bearing & seal in the differential? Does the seal just pry out with a screwdriver? What about the bearing? If I'm going to replace the half-shafts, I might as well replace the bearing and seal on each side to, with 197,000 miles on them!

A Seal Remover works good on those Pilot Bearing Seals:


Once you have the Pilot Bearing Seals removed..You need a Pilot Bearing Puller..This attaches to the end of a Slide Hammer..

It might take a couple of wacks but they'll come out..Make sure you don't shove the tips of the puller so far in you damage the carrier..

After all that's out..You can use a Bearing Race Installer to tap the new Pilot Bearings into place..

If you're careful..You can use the Bearing Installer tools to tap the Pilot Bearing Seals in as well..

Put a little oil on them, and make sure to tap them in straight so as to avoid a bad seal later on down the line..

The same goes for when you install your new halfshafts..Make sure to insert them straight-in..So you don't tear the seal..

Unless you already have the tools handy..You can rent them from O'Reilly's, or another parts store..

Slide Hammer


Pilot Bearing Puller


Bearing Race Installer




Rayo..
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Replacing the bearings requires more or less a teardown and rebuild of the pumpkin. The seals you pry/knock out with a screwdriver and can knock the new ones in with block of wood and a hammer without needing to open it up or remove the pumpkin.
So, are you telling me that the pilot bearing, or whatever the bearing is where the CV axle half-shafts go into the differential case, cannot be replaced without tearing open the pumpkin?

Dennis
 

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So, are you telling me that the pilot bearing, or whatever the bearing is where the CV axle half-shafts go into the differential case, cannot be replaced without tearing open the pumpkin?

Dennis
The bearings are bolted into the case.

They also hold the pumpkin in place, iirc.
 

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The bearings are bolted into the case.

They also hold the pumpkin in place, iirc.

The Pilot Bearings are not bolted in..They can be pulled out with the pumpkin still bolted in place..

Like I said..Just remove the Pilot Bearing Seals..Then use the puller to remove the Pilot Bearings..



Rayo..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Pilot Bearings are not bolted in..They can be pulled out with the pumpkin still bolted in place..

Like I said..Just remove the Pilot Bearing Seals..Then use the puller to remove the Pilot Bearings..



Rayo..
Got it! Again, thanks.

With this much mileage on my car, it will just give me piece of mind to, while the suspension's already apart to replace rear wheel bearings & all control arm/knuckle bushings, just go ahead and also replace the CV axle half-shafts and pilot bearings/seals.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm not sure if I'm looking at the correct parts on RockAuto.com, and I want to be sure I'm ordering the correct items.

I prefer to use Timken parts for all bearing needs on my car, and the axle shaft bearing I'm looking at has a Timken part #FC66998, and the axle shaft seal is Timken #714569.

Does anyone know if these would be the correct parts?

Thanks,

Dennis
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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The Pilot Bearings are not bolted in..They can be pulled out with the pumpkin still bolted in place..

Like I said..Just remove the Pilot Bearing Seals..Then use the puller to remove the Pilot Bearings..



Rayo..
Nope, but the pinion bearings are... :)

I'm not sure if I'm looking at the correct parts on RockAuto.com, and I want to be sure I'm ordering the correct items.

I prefer to use Timken parts for all bearing needs on my car, and the axle shaft bearing I'm looking at has a Timken part #FC66998, and the axle shaft seal is Timken #714569.

Does anyone know if these would be the correct parts?

Thanks,

Dennis
Yes, those are the right ones.
 

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I was not aware of any bearings you can change aside from the carrier bearings and pinion bearings. Changing carrier bearings would require removal of the axles and the carrier, then a press. The pilot bearing remover above looks like the thing I put on my slide hammer to remove pilot bearings/bushings from the crankshaft on manual trans cars.
 
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