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Maintenance and Performance Tips

These tips are not endorsed by Ford. They are provided for use at your own risk and discretion. These tips have come from other Explorer owners who would like to share the information they have gathered about their Explorer.




Caliper Slide Pin Maintenance
by Rick Horwitz

One of the keys to long brake pad and rotor life for the '91-'94 Explorer is the proper care and feeding of the caliper slide pins. These pins allow the caliper to float when the brakes are applied and released. In time and after off-road use the caliper can stick causing excessive wear of the rotor and pads. Dirt and water are the two biggest enemies of the slide pins. With frequent maintenance long rotor and pad life can be achieved. I have 115,000 mile on my original rotors and I'm on my 3rd set of brake pads, this is with my heavy 33" M/T tires which have been on the Explorer since it had 500 miles. 

Step 1. After jacking up and supporting your front wheel remove the tire and wheel assembly.

Step 2. Using a screwdriver and hammer drive out the caliper slide pins strike one side of the pin then the next until the tabs on the pins clear the caliper and bracket. Drive the pins in towards the center of the vehicle.

Step 3. Lift off the caliper assembly and place it on top of the upper ball joint for support. Do not let it dangle by the hose.

Step 4. Using brake cleaning solvent use a rag to clean the caliper slide pins and the grooves in which they travel, check for burrs and caked on grease in the grooves. Remove the burrs with a light filing and remove the grease with a scraper.

Step 5. Using brake caliper grease such as Sta-Lube Synthetic Grease lightly coat the grooves and slide pins with a VERY thin layer of grease.

Step 6. Place the caliper back in the bracket, insert the top pin with the V towards the top (it's not actually a V it's just narrower at one end). Only insert about 1/2" at this time. Insert the lower pin with the V pointing down and proceed to drive both pins in until the tabs pop out the back side.

Step 7. Pump your brakes to build pressure and seat the caliper and brake pads. Bleed the brakes to remove any accumulated air. Reinstall wheel and tire assembly tighten lug nuts and continue to the next side. 

Conversion from Auto to Manual Warn Hubs:

Necessary Equipment:

  • 1/2" socket wrench and/or 1/2" drive torque wrench
  • Hub socket/tool (for '86 and newer fords with the Dana 44 axle)
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Magnet
  • Regular screw driver
  • Jack, and jack stand
  • 3/4" deep socket for removing the lug nuts
  • Warn Hubs p/n 29071
  • Conversion kit p/n 27997 (early '90  and later 27 spline axle)
  • *** for earlier vehicles - p/n 27988 ('83-early '90 with 23 tooth spline axle)

The cost of the hubs and the conversion kit was $185. Then the cost of the
wheel bearing socket was $13.  Time to do the conversion at a leisurely
pace was about 1.5 hours. 

1.  Start by removing the center caps of the wheels and then loosen the
lug nuts while the tires are on the ground with the 3/4' deep socket. 
Once the lug nuts are loosened,  jack one side of the vehicle off
the ground and secure with jack stands.

2.  Remove the lug nuts and the wheels

3.  Once the wheels are off, you can remove the speed nuts (if
present) and the auto-hub from the drive shaft.

4.  Remove the axle shaft ring with the regular screw driver and hammer
(gently).  Once the shaft run is removed, the axle shaft spacer can be

5.  Now give a gentle pull on the plastic cam assembly, it comes free
from the wheel bearing nut. 

6.  Now you have to remove the locking key from the wheel bearing
adjusting nut.  Make sure the key is centered with the wheel bearing nut
and it comes out very easily with a magnet.  They also suggest a paper
clip to retrieve it if you don't have a strong magnet. 

7. Now with the locking key removed, you have to remove the wheel
bearing nut.  Mine was six sided, not the normal 4 sides that you usually
hear about. The local parts store did not have a bearing socket large
enough to fit it, not even the one for a 3/4 ton Ford.  If you have a
bearing socket that fits, just remove the wheel bearing nut with that. 
If not, that is where the chisel and hammer comes in.  Pound on the
wheel bearing nut on a flat side with enough angle to get it to thread
off.  Mine was already scored from this service by a local tire company
a few years ago, so it made it easier. 


8.  No you have everything removed.  You need to keep the axle shaft
ring and spacer to reuse with the manual hubs. Remove everything else,
you can toss it or whatever.

9.  Install the inner adjusting nut (nut with the pin; the thickest of
the 2 nuts supplied with the conversion kit from Warn).  Toque that to
35lb-Ft and then back off 90 degrees and re-torque to 16lb-Ft.

10. Then install the bearing retainer washer ( the one that is thin with
many holes in it) against the the adjusting nut. This washer is keyed,
and takes the place of the locking key from the auto hubs.

11.  Now install the outer bearing nut and torque to 150lb-Ft. 

12.  Replace the axle shaft spacer and the axle shaft ring.

13.  Install the new manual hub.

14.  Replace the wheel and the lug nuts.  Torque the lug nuts to
75-100lb-FT with the wheel on the ground.  Then replace the center cap
and repeat for the other side.

This is a very easy job to do.  If you have never taken apart the hubs
on the Fords, allow an extra 30 minutes to figure it out.  There is also
a lot of other services that you could do at the same time such as:

  • Front brakes
  • Use brake grease on the caliper slide pins
  • Repacking front wheel bearings
  • The needle bearings inside the spindle need to be greased
  • The right front drive shaft splines need a bit too
  • The u-joints in the front need to be checked/replaced as necessary.
Submitted by,
Matt Bobbitt


Copyright 2008 Rick Horwitz Photography