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Can't Find Non-ABS Wheel Bearing Assemblies for '00 Cougar

Help! My husband has a 2000 Mercury Cougar 2.5 V6. He needs to have the rear wheel bearing assemblies replaced. We thought this would be a trivial matter. However, no parts store anywhere can find a non-ABS variant of these assemblies. In fact, they all say this car never shipped without ABS. (Google suggests otherwise. Google suggests ABS was an option on early versions of this car.) Anyway, my husband says the ABS version has gears on them. They absolutely won’t fit on his car. A mechanic did something to try and make them fit, but one broke. Thus, he needs a version without the gear. Any ideas? Please advise. -Trista

A rear wheel hub assembly should fit the rear spindle with or with out the tone wheel, the ABS hub assembly should fit both applications eliminating the need for a second part in the inventory… If you wish you can knock off the tone wheel but I think there is another problem.

I looked up some specs for the 2000 and 2002 Cougars. The 2000 is shown NA with ABS for that year but the 2002 does show ABS.

I’m wondering if someone along the line producing parts just assumed that they all have ABS. It’s likely that one company is producing rear wheel bearings that are being marketed under a dozen names.
Even browsing through eBay shows they all are for ABS.

Is the tonewheel hitting the knuckle? Is that why it won’t fit? One should be able to knock the tonewheel off and in the event that there’s something strange about it that makes removal near impossible then why not have a machine shop shave the teeth down?
Making it ABS no more should be quick and easy to do.

The ford parts website shows the same part number for all models with the note to remove the ring if not required.

I can’t speak to the interference problem, but the reason the wheel bearings are involved with the ABS is b/c the ABS computer needs to know the speed each wheel is turning, and that is accomplished with a gadget (the tone ring) located near the wheel bearing that has ridges, and the ABS sensor counts those ridges as they pass by to measure the wheel speed. If you don’t need the ABS function, and lack the ABS sensor, then it would seem like it would be possible to just remove the tone ring and it would eliminate any mechanical interference.

I suspect there may be a problem with the particular part you are trying to use, maybe that after market parts vendor didn’t anticipate it would be used on a non-ABS mount. I expect there are compatible parts that will fit ok on either ABS or non ABS, you just may have to try another parts vendor is all. Have you asked at a dealership parts department about this? If not, that’s probably where you should go next.