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2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac All questions related to the 2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac model.

Rear-end went very bad

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:47 PM   #1
gobowsgo
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Rear-end went very bad

I have a 2002 Sport Trac 4x4 with about 125K miles. On Thursday evening I heard a clunk in the rear end when moving slowly and turning to the right. On the way to work the next morning, I heard a couple more clunks again at low speed and on right turns. At lunch, I drove a few miles and it went downhill very quickly with increasingly louder noises that caused the vehicle to jerk. I managed to get it to a dealer for service. After taking a peek, they said that the rear-end (I'm guessing the limited-slip differential?) pretty much exploded and it's a real mess in the housing. They are planning to start rebuilding it this week after getting the replacement parts, which they said was pretty much everything inside the housing. The estimate is currently in the $1800-$2000 range but I should get a better number tomorrow. Based on what I experienced, I have no doubt it is going to be expensive but does this sound like the right ballpark for what such damage would cost? Thanks for any help!
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:49 PM   #2
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Buy a used axle for about $200 and throw it in. No way should you be letting the dealer work on your stuff. $2000?!

Welcome to the forum!

I'm sure there are some members around Sammamish who could give you a lending hand.




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Old 12-06-2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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X2 what he said! $1500-$2000 for a rear end is insane!!




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Old 12-06-2009, 08:12 PM   #4
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I wouldn't let the "stealer" near my ride. I just replaced my whole rear axle assembly for under $300 and 6 hours time with my wife as my assistant.




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Old 12-06-2009, 09:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, I'm glad I asked. I work right around the corner for a dealership and I didn't think I could go much farther without ending up being towed. I'm not exactly sure what to search for to replace the entire rear axle but I guess I have some homework. Thanks again!
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:16 PM   #6
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I found a schematic of the rear axle assembly.

https://www.fordpartscenter.net/oem-...FR5HagodXWDWpw

Are you folks saying I should be able to buy this complete assembly used and replace it as a unit? Since there is no way I can do this work myself, I'm going to have to pay someone for the labor at least. If it takes six hours for two people, isn't this going to run nearly $1000 for labor alone plus a few hundred at least for the used assembly?
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:31 PM   #7
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6 Hours with my wife as my assistant...as in.. I do the work and she fetches the tools from the toolbox because I can't get up and down very often due to the fact i had MAJOR back surgery 2 weeks before I did this job.
Get an axle at the junkyard, open it up to drain fluid, remove axles (easy as pie outlined in detail on this site), clean the gunk out that is visible (rags and brake cleaner), replace axle seals (pry them out carefully any way you can without F'n up the bearings, get a big socket close to the same size of seal and gently tap it into place), check brake dust sheilds, whatever ones are better, use them, replace axles, on the truck disconnect sway bars & shocks, loosen U-bolts, drop drive shaft, remove brake line from drivers side Tee (I bought a bolt to stick in there to minimize brake fluid drain), disconnect electrical connector plug, remove old assembly. Fill new assembly with fluid while on jack stands (easier), replace cover, place assembly into place, install U-bolts and all that other stuff you took off, MIGHT have to replace the brakeline going accross the top of replacement axle. Bleed brake line on passenger side first, replace U-joints on driveshaft, reinstall, open beer, enjoy life. Seriously, you can buy another rear axle at the junkyard for around 150-200 bucks (thank you cash for clunkers).

(edit) If you REALLY must have a garage do the work, get the assembly from a junkyard and have an INDEPENDENT shop do the work. It sounds like a daunting task, but everything you need to know is on this site!! You CAN accomplish this.




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Old 12-06-2009, 10:37 PM   #8
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Heh, for all I knew your wife was the super-mechanic in the family

Okay, thanks for the play by play, I appreciate the very thorough help from you kind folks.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:30 AM   #9
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First thing you need to know is the gear ratio you have, which is coded on the sticker on the door. Look @ it and go by this list of available ratios.
46 — 3.73 ratio, non-limited slip
42 — 4.10 ratio, non-limited slip
D4 — 3.73 ratio, limited slip
D2 — 4.10 ratio, limited slip
If I had a non-limited slip and was going to replace the axle I'd be putting a limited slip back in! You'll need a 2001 or 2002 axle for a simple direct fit since you have drum brakes on the rear. I would say if you got a later model the brakes could be easily swapped though.
You can search here for parts in you area: http://www.car-part.com/

Oh, and an independent shop should be able to swap it out in 2-3 hours. In a shop, with air tools, it's a simple operation!




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Old 12-07-2009, 08:18 AM   #10
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I don't know why'd you'd buy an entire rear diff for a clunk. You'll be replacing your old diff with another old diff. Why not just fix what's wrong with it? That's like replacing an engine because it's making a noise.
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:42 AM   #11
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can't he just replace the parts inside the axle housing? if he's worried about using used parts on something like that i'm pretty sure he could just buy the internal parts and do that. then again it would be a PITA to line up the gears correctly on his back but he would have to do alot less disassembling of everything else.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:26 AM   #12
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When I bought mine the rear was pretty bad, I put a new center section, new gears, heavy duty Cobra carbon fiber tracloc kit and a Mac cover/girdle. Total was $600 for a better than new rearend.
There is a detailed post on this forum that will guide you step by step how to do it yourself.




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Old 12-07-2009, 11:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ericautopart View Post
I don't know why'd you'd buy an entire rear diff for a clunk. You'll be replacing your old diff with another old diff. Why not just fix what's wrong with it? That's like replacing an engine because it's making a noise.

If you read his post, he went to the Ford "stealership" and they told him he needs to spend $1800 to $2000 on rebuiling his differential. THEY are the ones that made that determination and that estimate. His concern was the cost involved, my post, if you read this thread from start to finish, was to suggest he use a used rear axle assembly to replace the junk one in his truck since the "pick-and-pulls" are overflowing right now with the cash for clunkers program. They can be had cheap and if he does his homework (ie:go online and choose exactly which one he wants ... low miles) he could get one back under his truck for less than the parts cost to rebuild it. He was apprehensive about replacing it himself, so im thinking he does not have the knowledge nor the tooling required to rebuild his own differential. AND, if my engine needed a $1800 - $2000 part because it was making a noise... im thinkin I would pull that as well




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Old 12-07-2009, 11:47 AM   #14
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I did read the thread from start to finish. The clunk could be A spider gear. It could be A bearing or 2 bearings. He's concerned with cost..so why even spend 200-300 and lug the stupid thing around all day when he could need a $70 part. What I am saying makes sense..so there really is no need to jump all over my post.

"if my engine needed a $1800 - $2000 part because it was making a noise... im thinkin I would pull that as well "

Your comparing a part in your engine to an entire differential. What I was saying is if he needs a $70.00 part to repair his differential..why replace it with a whole other one. At least you know what your up against also instead of throwing someone else's nightmare into your truck.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:55 AM   #15
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Again, I was using the information he furnished, from the dealer. The dealer said its the whole differential, its junk.

" I managed to get it to a dealer for service. After taking a peek, they said that the rear-end (I'm guessing the limited-slip differential?) pretty much exploded and it's a real mess in the housing."

Next point is where you say "thats like replacing a whole engine because its making a noise." and if a dealer gave me a price to fix this alleged noise of $1800 range(the price he was given), then your damn right I would rather pull that engine as well.




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Old 12-07-2009, 12:01 PM   #16
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Which is why I'd pick up my truck from the dealer and go somewhere who knows what they are talking about. Example: I bring my 1998 to Larson Ford because it's right next to the office and my front brakes felt mushy. $880.00 later I have new rotors, calipers, lines, pads, alignment, etc. Now I know I didn't need all of that but that's what they said I needed and I didn't feel like dealing with it so I just told them to do it and hung up. Essentially any repair you bring to the dealer that isn't under warranty, they're going to tell you it's destroyed and needs to be replaced ESPECIALLY if they don't have someone there who can rebuild a diff (which most don't). That is why you take everything they say with a grain of salt and go somewhere reputable and only spend the money you need to spend and not waste your time with a used differential. Or we can simply agree to disagree and leave it at that.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:14 PM   #17
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My very first post to this thread says the same thing. I will never let the "stealer" near my ride. I absolutely agree with you %100 on that point and he needs to get it somewhere else to have it checked out by someone with some integrity. If it turns out to be something like the bearings or spiders, then I agree with you there as well, replace those parts and stay away from the junkyard one.




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Old 12-07-2009, 05:34 PM   #18
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Hi folks, didn't mean to start a food fight with my post

I'm not really in a position to try to rebuild this myself because of lack of time, tools, space, and knowledge so I have to get a professional to do the work. I'm willing to pay someone to do the job right, I was more concerned with not getting shafted (so to speak). Many of you have convinced me that I could definitely get this done for less expense by going the used part route and a quick search turns up rear ends in the $400-$500 range pretty readily. At the end of the day, though, I've decided to just get the work done with new parts and pay the penalty. I got a second opinion from a local independent garage that has a good reputation with co-workers and is right across the street from our office. He told me it would take about 6 hours of labor and replacing all of the parts would put me in the $1500 range. That's close enough to the dealer quote to suggest that the dealer isn't gouging me. The dealer is going to inspect every part after they are cleaned and will re-use anything that is serviceable.

The cause looks like it might have been one of the side gears losing a tooth and then it just cascaded from there. I suppose each increasingly loud clunk I heard was something catching in the gear and then letting loose to thrash another gear. At a minimum, all of the gears, seals and bearings are probably done.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for their advice. It definitely helped me think things through.
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:27 AM   #19
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i've seen that happen a few times from people shifting from reverse to drive while keeping there foot on the gas.




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Old 12-10-2009, 12:24 AM   #20
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I feel the need to pipe in here because I feel there is a lot of lack of knowledge and misunderstanding here. First off, I found this forum due to this very same issue just about two months ago. My dealership wanted $1600 for a rear overhaul and I knew that was too much. I did not come here looking for advice on what to do but rather advice on what rear ends swapped. First and foremost if the rear blew bad enough to cause jerking then the rear needs a major overhaul no matter what actually broke. This is because the housing must be disasssembled and cleaned to eliminate metal contaminates. In my case the pinion bearings died and not really too bad but the oil is now metallic. You can't leave that in a rear end so even if you are planning on overhauling the rear it it needs to be completely broken down. If a component other than a bearing is broken it actually makes sense to buy a junkyard rear end that is not broken as it will reduce the cost of overhaul (sometimes significantly!). My Explorer is a 2002 Sport and I needed to find out what rears fit and basically what I found was that there are four basic types of used rearends available. There are drum brake rears with and without traction bars and there are disc brake rears with and without traction bars. It really does not matter what type of brakes are on the rear except for the fact that you have to pull the axles to change them so you are ahead if you get a rear that matches what you have. As far as traction bars are concerned, you can use a rear with them in a vehicle without them. You can either get the entire assembly as I did or you can just unbolt them from the housing and leave the mounts empty. I choose to add them and then discovered that the newer Sport will not accomodate the frame brackets as is while a 2001 will (that is irritating) so I just left them off and saved adding them for a later date. Another minor issue is if you have limited slip or not. I did not but when I bought a rear I got one that did. I just simply purchased a 98 rear from a V8 4 door with low miles. The oil was clean so I installed it as is and now have 3000 miles on it (sad truth: I did not even change the oil!). The real beauty of this is a rear is easy to swap if you have a buddy and basic hand tools. I got mine at the local self serve auto wrecker. I pulled it and then installed it. Basically it was a two day job. One day to go find and pull the rear and the second to install it. It could easily be done in one day but I don't like to work that hard for 8 hours! My total cost was $123! When I swapped mine, I removed the calipers and brake lines from my rear before I started unbolting it and tied them up and out of the way so that I did not even have to bleed the brakes! Also, when I pulled the new rear at the junkyard I made sure to leave the emergency brake cables attached so I did not have to swap them. Now, the best part? I took the disc brake parts off of the new rear and the backing plates off of my old rear and put them on Craigslist and got $100 for them! The worst part of the entire job was just washing up! And finally, the sad but true scary thing, right now there are more Explorers than just about any car in the junkyards because the cash for clunkers deal was designed for gas hogs just like ours! If Explorers had 4 cylinder engines there would not be nearly so many in the junkyards right now. Because I had my choice of so many Explorers I bought quite a few other minor things for mine. I got: dual visors from a limited, overhead console with auto dimming mirror and wiring (and the sensor up front), fog lights with radio bezel with switch, 8 sets of tow hooks, floor mats, stock Ford running boards, rear drinkholder for my armrest, a nice drivers door mirror (I scrapped mine at a drive through, ouch!), and a few more tid bits. It was great. My Explorer is nicer than ever! Hawkrod
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