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5.0 AWD front differential problems...please HELP.

Discussion in 'Explorer & Ranger Transmissions, Transfer Cases, &' started by tguth3, June 13, 2010.

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    1. tguth3

      tguth3 New Member

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      Hello.
      I am hopeful I can get answers to some of my questions here. I have a 97 5.0 AWD Explorer. it has 158,000 miles on it. I just purchased it used. I have never owned an AWD vehicle before. I knew this one had some issues, but since I have access to to an auto dismanteling facility, I figured that I could handle most any repair.
      Here is the two main problems I am having.
      1. The font end was making a horrific howling and grinding noise. I assumed that the previous owner had fried the front differential, so I replaced it. The noises pretty much went away, but they were still noticable. I was careful to get a replacement front differential from a Explorer V-8 AWD.
      I was in a pinch and I used the vehicle. I noticed smike billowing behind me.
      Prior to install, I checked the seals, cleaned them and lubricated them prior to installing the cv joints. I also made sure that the vent tube was clear.
      It was my own fault for using the car, and I fear that with the limited time in the vehicle the new unit is cooked as well.
      Now when the car is run the noise is back and it seems to kind of jerk when making tight turns. This symptom was present prior to replacement of the front diferential.
      I had red in another thread about the VC joint having a problem. I don't know here to turn next. I need the car, and have limited resources. I am not opposed to just making this a 2 wheel drive vehicle either.
      Since I am going to have to replace the front diferential again, can I use one from a 4.0 Explorer provided that it has the same gear ratio(3.73)? or am I stuck sourcing a diferential from a 5.0?

      Secondly, I have an over heating problem. I noticed that the heater does not work either. I could be operating the vehicle and by all indications, the temp is fine (lower 1/2 of the tem gauge) then all of the sudden the temp climbes and is near the red. Of course I pull over and let things cool down.

      I hope you experts can assist me with out too much criticizm. I really was in a pinch and had to use the car. Of course, now I am paying for it.

      Thanks,

      Tom
       
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    3. my pos mounty

      my pos mounty Well-Known Member

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      A front differential, is a front differential in these trucks.
      As long as the front diff you buy to replace the one that is in the truck now does not have the Vac disconnect on the passenger side, it will be fine provided that the gear ratio is the same. There is nothing special about the front diff in the V8 verses the V6 model.

      Your second question: I think your thermostat needs to be replaced. Sounds as though that may be sticking.

      I suggest taking out the front driveshaft before doing anything with the front differential. AS LONG AS you parking brake works and you use it every time you leave the drivers seat. (might even want to bring along a wheel chock of sorts) That will take the strain off of it and the transfercase.
      Then go for a drive and see if all your troubles are gone.
      You say you saw smoke coming from the truck as you were driving it, then the noises returned.....where was this smoke originating? Did the front differential overheat? What are the condition of your tires? Are they all the same?
       
    4. tguth3

      tguth3 New Member

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      Thank you for responding.
      Yes the diferential over heated. All the lubricant came out through the rear and l front seals. I was out in the middle of no where and luckly i had a bottle of gear oil. I filled it twice in order to make it the 30 miles home.
       
    5. tguth3

      tguth3 New Member

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      What would removing the front drive shaft do? Is'nt the diferential still going to rotate when the vehicle is rolling?
       
    6. my pos mounty

      my pos mounty Well-Known Member

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      yes, but since his truck is an all wheel drive it would relieve the pressures that are currently present. Resulting in stopping further damage from occuring. If he continues to drive the truck and he has different sized tires (circumferantially) he could further damage other components. Namely the transfercase (if it is not already damaged), the front driveshaft, rear driveshaft and his rear differential.
      Don't ask me how I know other than to say that if you look under my avatar over there <-- you will notice that my truck is now a manually shifted 4 wheel drive. It was once an AWD truck.
       
    7. my pos mounty

      my pos mounty Well-Known Member

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      One last thing, and I see you signed off so I hope you see this.
      You will of course need to keep a close eye on the front diff fluid, keep it full and if it the diff overheats again, replace it soon.
      You can remove your front differential, split your CV's at the outermost joint and use them as a stub axle. I did that for about 7 months until I got the cash together to fix everything.
      You can not just remove the CV's as the trucks weight will crush the hub/bearings without the support of the axle shaft passing thru it.
       
    8. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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