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CAUTION! AWD Front Drive Shaft Removal --Drifts in park.

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Old 05-15-2008, 12:13 PM   #1
fordpartsguy
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Question CAUTION! AWD Front Drive Shaft Removal --Drifts in park.

If you take out your front driveshaft on a 1998 5.0 AWD Explorer, it will not stay put in park.I had my driveshaft go bad. I was too cheap to buy a new genuine Ford driveshaft. I decided I dont need all wheel drive in Florida.One day the wife noticed the Explorer had backed itself half way out to the street.The parking propertys are 65 % to 35 %. The front driveshaft controls 35 % of your parking.I have found a used one to remedy my problem. Weird huh ?
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:18 PM   #2
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Well I'm glad nobody was hurt.
This issue has been talked about several times, however the posts are hidden in drive shaft problem threads. I think I will sticky this.

This issue affects all 96-2001 5.0l AWD Explorers and Mountaineers.
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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I'm having the same problem, Is this where you park on a hill, and I'll put it on park and the X will move forward as if it was on N. And also, if the X is on P and I push it it will move backwards with making a clipping noise coming under near the transmission. But I have the 1997 4.0, is it the same?




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Old 07-14-2008, 02:18 PM   #4
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That issue is probably the same for all Ford AWD viscous coupling units. The other 4WD transfer cases should not do that.




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Old 07-14-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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Is there any reason why My X should be doing this? I don't understand where when the engine is on the car won't move back or front when in Park, but when I turn it off, it will move.




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Old 07-14-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by xdviper View Post
I'm having the same problem, Is this where you park on a hill, and I'll put it on park and the X will move forward as if it was on N. And also, if the X is on P and I push it it will move backwards with making a clipping noise coming under near the transmission. But I have the 1997 4.0, is it the same?
If the truck is moving like you say then the issue is the parking pawl. All automatics have a steel pawl(finger) which engages the output shaft drum teeth. There are teeth on the outer portion of a drum at the back of the trans, which are only for park. If the vehicle is moving like that with the sound of the teeth/pawl jumping, they have become damaged.

Under all circumstances it is very wise to apply the parking brake to keep the vehicle from moving while parked. The transmission should not be used to hold the vehicle still. The parking brakes are far easier to service than the trans.




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Old 11-09-2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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Is there any reason why My X should be doing this? I don't understand where when the engine is on the car won't move back or front when in Park, but when I turn it off, it will move.
Well, when you have it in park, your transmission is disengaged and isn't giving power to the drive wheels. So no matter how hard you press on the gas, the tranny will be spinning air.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:26 PM   #8
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Had the same problem, even as i was disconnecting the worn out one i started seeing it roll a little bit. Thanks to be blocking the rear wheels it only rotated a few inches.
If you don't have the money for a new one i would suggest you go to a pick and pull scrap yard. They range around $25. You just need to make sure it's not bent (a nice level will ensure no bends. The only other thing you need worry about is the boot and make sure it is throughly greased.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:51 AM   #9
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Is there any chance of damage to the transmission/viscous coupling by driving an AWD without the front driveshaft? Would the truck be better on gas without it?
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Old 01-06-2009, 02:48 AM   #10
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Is there any chance of damage to the transmission/viscous coupling by driving an AWD without the front driveshaft? Would the truck be better on gas without it?

My Chevy astro is the AWD model, and I've had the rear differentials replaced due to loud sounds while driving, and since then we had to remove the transfer case, and drive shaft when we got the differentials, because it was from the 2wd model, now the van is only rear wheel drive, and i've been driving it for 3 months now and transmission and all is perfectly fine... and much more fun in the snow

but overall, the truck is the same, no diff in MPG... mind you the truck gets loaded up with heavy loads once a week from Jetro (wholesale supplies for father's restaurant), and travels about 40miles a day....




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Old 01-06-2009, 02:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by xdviper View Post
My Chevy astro is the AWD model, and I've had the rear differentials replaced due to loud sounds while driving, and since then we had to remove the transfer case, and drive shaft when we got the differentials, because it was from the 2wd model, now the van is only rear wheel drive, and i've been driving it for 3 months now and transmission and all is perfectly fine... and much more fun in the snow

but overall, the truck is the same, no diff in MPG... mind you the truck gets loaded up with heavy loads once a week from Jetro (wholesale supplies for father's restaurant), and travels about 40miles a day....
Your astro probably doesn't have the same transfer case that the explorers/mountaineers do, so that info doesn't really pertain to him.

That being said you should probably be ok for a while, people have run without them for a month or 2 and not had any problems, myself included. For me it's more economical to leave the shaft in since there was no noticeable difference in gas mileage or performance. And I was eating up tires making pretty white smoke.
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:25 PM   #12
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According to the Ford service manual, AWD models have a transfer case that uses a center planetary gear differential to transmit power to the front and rear driveshafts. The movement of the front and rear driveshafts relative to each other is limited by the viscous coupling.

So when the front driveshaft is removed, the vehicle will drift in "Park" because the parking mechanism engages the input to the center differential, and NOT the individual driveshafts.

I think that driving an AWD with no front driveshaft places a great deal of stress on the viscous coupling since it would always be working to limit the motion of the front flange, which could lead to failure. Further I would recommend against this practice, since the vehicle could creep while placed in "Park".

Last edited by leon63; 11-01-2009 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:00 PM   #13
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When my transfer case went bad and I removed the front driveshaft, the X didn't move in Park. probably because the VC was fried and locked up. After replacing the TC, recently my front drive shaft went bad and I removed it. I left the X for my wife to drive but didn't think to mention that it might drift in Park. Well... after it ended up in the middle of the street and she called me to ask what might have happened....let's say that I didn't win any smart points. LOL!
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:01 AM   #14
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The factory AWD TC is a bias split torque unit if you dont have the front DS in it will destroy the Viscous coupling inside. How long depends on how hard you drive it. It is like a clutch style locker but preloaded to one side. Once you wear the clutches enough it will just slip. The BW 4406 and what not are not bias. the viscous coupling is just a precaution.
How a Viscous coupling works.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viscous_coupling_unit




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Old 05-10-2010, 09:10 AM   #15
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I was thinking of removing my front drive shafts, I appreciate the caution and information provided!

The problem I am having is that I notice at idle speed and mostly when turning (like coasting through a McDonald drive thru) it feels like my brakes are sticking (slightly grabbing). Also makes a slight growling sound (best I can describe). I haven't been able to pin it down (while driving), I was wondering if there is a problem starting with a drive shaft or the transfer case.

I would appreciate your thoughts. Looks like there is some experience out there.

Thank you, Gordy
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:15 AM   #16
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Welcome Gordy, the front shaft is the weakest link, but your symptom sounds like the AWD viscous coupling in the TC. What exact size are your tires, first determine that they have identical diameters. If they are off 1/8"(worn differently) or more, expect AWD problems, that kills the viscous clutch.

With equal tires then you should remove the front shaft and see if that frees up the truck. If it does, then either you have tires that are not the same diameter, or the AWD is shot.




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Old 05-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #17
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Thanks for the fast reply CDW6212R,
I am confident on the tires. They are about a year old and were all replaced at the same time. I've been careful to rotate every 6,000 miles or so. I will try removing the drive shafts and see if this improves. The funny thing is, the symptom isn't always noticable. Doing early research on replacing the viscous coupling, looks like it might not be a cost effective fix for a 12 year old vehicle. (155,000 miles).
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:53 AM   #18
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Right, those run about $350 on the low side for just the part, some here have built there own feasibly. Until recently the best option is to find a low mileage used AWD, but those are rare now. My 98 AWD is original with 176k, and I have a 97 spare with 75k I believe. Look around and shop carefully.




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Old 05-23-2010, 02:27 PM   #19
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I've been thinking of removing my front driveshaft due to some binding when taking sharp corners. My question is, is the park gear not holding the only thing that is not going to work correctly? I will still have "full" 2wd right? If I want awd for winter can't I just throw frt drivshaft back on. my truck is a 5.0 limited awd system. I also thought it would reduse wear on the front driveline plus increase fuel economy a little.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:31 PM   #20
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I've been thinking of removing my front driveshaft due to some binding when taking sharp corners. My question is, is the park gear not holding the only thing that is not going to work correctly? I will still have "full" 2wd right? If I want awd for winter can't I just throw frt drivshaft back on. my truck is a 5.0 limited awd system. I also thought it would reduse wear on the front driveline plus increase fuel economy a little.
Refer to post 11 & 14 and the rest.. Its not recommended.
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