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87 4000Q Carrier bearing.....HELP

Another day, another new noise.  I've got an 87 4000QCS.  Getting noise with movement direct center of car.  Pretty sure it is the carrier bearing going out (just turned over 170K).  Please help if you know the following:
1)    Is the bearing available to purchase, part number etc.
2)    Procedure for replacing.
3)    If none of the above, what's my best chance at a fix?
4)    Once noise starts, how long until complete failure, what the heck happens when it fails completely, so on. 
Thank you for any information you can help with, love the car, just need another 100K out of it :-)
please respond directly to me unless you think this will benefit others (I attempted to find the info in the archives but was unable to, any suggestions appreciated)