Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Listen To Your Ford!

Once upon a time, every shade tree mechanic serviced the wheel bearings on his car, and the bearings usually lasted through the life of the car.  Well, new cars have bearings (wheel units) that you don't service. You run them 'til they die, and then you replace them.  You will know when the time comes with grinding noises, or alarms, like we just had with our '08 Ford Explorer.

The scary part of this part failure was how the car let us know something was wrong. No bearing noise, no wobble in the steering, but in turns the ABS system began applying the brakes, and would grind us down to a dead stop while we pushed on the gas. We were lucky that it didn't kill us, given all the ice we are driving on. When I figured out what was stopping us, I pulled the ABS fuse and we were able to drive again, but still had the RSC (Rollover Stability Control) alarm going off every few minutes.

The service manager had us come out in the shop.  He shook the wheel and told us that it wasn't safe to drive unless we had the wheel unit replaced.  We got out of there for about $500, and it's nice to have the car driving quietly with no alarms. 


Julie said...

Isn't it great how much they tie different systems together? All of a sudden, the cruise control would not engage in my truck last week. We pulled the fuse, and it looked fine, so I looked up different causes online...there were about 10. Going through trial and error, the switch under the brake pedal had gone out, which made it so the brake lights would not come on. I was actually happy that the two systems were tied together, or else I wouldn't have known my brake lights were out until I got pulled over :)

Mr. Engineering Johnson said...

Odd that it would actually stop the car. My 97 had the sensors go out when the bearing runout was still pretty much nil. The abs kicked on any time is used brakes below 5 mph but otherwise worked fine. Changing the hubs was actually pretty easy but I don't reccomend doing it without an impact wrench. The hub nuts get pretty familiar with the half shaft when you never take them off!