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Front Differential Leaking

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by naiku, June 19, 2017.


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    1. naiku

      naiku Member

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      A couple days ago I noticed about a quarter sized oil spot on the floor of the garage, seems to drop about a quarter size overnight. Today I got around to taking a look underneath and it looks as though the oil is leaking from the bottom of the front differential.

      Is there a seal that can be replaced in there? When I have a little more time I am going to get a rag and clean the whole area to make sure it is leaking from that bottom piece. But, at first glance it appears the oil is just on the bottom. Could this also be the source of some front end noise that I get when making a turn at slow speed?

      Thanks.
       
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    3. Mickalo

      Mickalo Active Member

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      first thing I'd do is check the fluid level. i don't believe there is an actual gasket around the diff., cover just gasket sealer I've used the black gasket maker stuff before. If it's a 4wd unit the front diff., only engaged when you have the 4wd on.
       
    4. naiku

      naiku Member

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      This is going to sound really stupid, how do I check the fluid level on it? Is it one of the bolts that you remove and if fluid comes out the level is good? It is a 4WD but I don't know we have ever actually used the 4WD. Just leave it set to AUTO and I am not sure it has kicked on yet.

      I also went out and took another better look, the leak originates where the drivers side axle goes into the differential. Above that spot is dry, looks like the oil comes out there runs down and drops from the bottom of the differential.
       
      Last edited: June 19, 2017
    5. Mickalo

      Mickalo Active Member

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      there should be a fill plug about half way up on the case usually use a 1/2" or 3/8" drive to remove the plug should be able to either see the oil drip out or stick your finger in the hole and feel the oil level just about level with the fill opening. if you have the 4wd auto it will kick in when needed that's the way my 2010 works I'm not an expert with these auto 4wd setups.
       
    6. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      Looks like the axle seal is shot. Inexpensive part, but few hours of labor since you need to remove the CV axle from that end. And then use some special tools to remove the seal and drive new one in.

      That's my guess, never done that type of job.
       
    7. Davidm53

      Davidm53 Active Member

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      Actually on the 4.0 the front drive is engaged all the time but not doing much of the work until needed.
      Think it's like 10% torque for the front but not exactly sure.
      One reason for the lousy gas mileage.
       
    8. naiku

      naiku Member

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      4.3 V8 here, so it should be doing nothing unless engaged. The axle seal makes most sense given where the leak is coming from, now to decide whether to try it myself or take it to a shop. I have read a couple threads (although earlier generations) that it only cost people around $120-$175 at a shop, since the tool costs $100+ alone it may be worth it to save a headache of doing it myself.

      Especially considering I still have not swapped the stock shifter for the Flex shifter due to the little plunger pin refusing to come out!! I really need to get back to that job.
       
    9. michael loibl

      michael loibl Active Member

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      4.6 liter was the V8. And your front differential turns whenever the front wheels are spinning.
       
    10. naiku

      naiku Member

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      You know as I was writing 4.3 I kept thinking to myself that did not sound right!!
       
    11. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      In this case, the engine does not matter. They all use same differentials. The seal needs to be changed and as Mike said, the whole thing spins inside whether you are in 4x4 HI, or not so I'd check the fluid level first. The front ones do not have a drain plug, just fill plug. When on level surface, the oil should be to the lower edge of the opening.
       
    12. michael loibl

      michael loibl Active Member

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      Please follow up if u do fix it, or cost if a shop does it. Mine has had a tiny bit of seepage on the driver side axle seal for two years, but so far no driveway drips
       
    13. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      Same here :)
      My 06 is the exact contradiction to the theory that the first year of a model year is the worst. At 246k miles, I am on most of the original accessories, starter, alternator, etc.... and my differentials are dry. My transfer case was leaking though.
      But my son's 07 with just 121k miles, both differentials are wet at the CV outputs, no dripping, but you can see that the seals are bad.
       
    14. Davidm53

      Davidm53 Active Member

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      Had one rear axle seal replaced on my 06 a few years ago.
      Paid a local guy that works at home, but thinking it was a couple hours.
      Seems like the Oreily part did not seal right, versus the Ford seal.
       

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