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Help/tips removing rear axle shafts.

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by dacaur2, July 19, 2019.

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  1. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    Dang, I meant axles, not driveshaft... Is there a way to edit a post title?
    So..... Latest of many issues, my rear differential is toast. Planning on a junkyard swap, but trying to remove the rear driveshafts, is not working.
    After 3 days (well, 2 hours a day for 3 days) I had my brother help and we got one out, but the other is not coming out...

    So for those that have done it, what is the trick to getting them out if you DON'T have access to a lift. I just have it up on jackstands, so limited room under there.

    I have the spare out for a little extra room. I watched a video that showed someone prying on it and hitting it with a hammer, but he had it on a lift so had good leverage. That's how we got the first one out, but it's not working for the second one.
     
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  3. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    I have to ask - how many miles on your Ex?
     
  4. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    To be clear - rear diff failures are rare on this gen Ex. You may be the exception - but you might need to rethink a swap. Can you back up a bit and tell us why you think your diff is toast?
     
  5. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    If you have everything unbolted and the half shaft hanging free, have someone hold the end of the shaft so its center/level with the diff case. The circlip should then release.
     
  6. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    07EddyB, see pic from op's post of July 12. Sure looks like it was submerged in water.
     
  7. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    I'm sorry but I've gone through his posts and I don't know what I missed. You are going to have to point it out to my frequently dense brain.
    I see the post currently as someone who is blaming their rear diff when the problem is likely something else.
     
  8. Explorer_PL

    Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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    If everything else fails, remove the knuckles on both side as if you were replacing the bearings.
     
  9. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    It was the last thing I suspected as well. Brakes all check out, parking brakes as well.
    #1. Pinion has play. Up/down, side/side, and slight in/out.
    #2. With the drive shaft disconnected, I can sit underneath and have my wife spin one tire and hear crunches from the diff.
    #3. Putting a wrench on the pinion nut and spinning it by hand, I can spin it, accompanied by occasional crunches, and it will now and then get stuck, so I have to pull hard to break it loose, and sometimes I can NOT continue spinning it, I have to spin it the other way to break it loose.
    #4 diff fluid was Brown and VERY magnetic, as shown in my other post.
    I'm all ears if you have other ideas what it could be.

    Not possible due to the swaybar at being in the way (edit- this is actually how we got it, thanks)
    The last water crossing I did was two years ago. I suspected water in my diff so I had a shop change it. Have not been in water since. But, due to condition of the fluid, I suspect they didn't actually change it....
    It would be great if you were right. Any ideas what that something else may be? Driveshaft disconnected so it's SOMETHING in the rear diff/axle assembly...
     
    Last edited: July 21, 2019
  10. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    So its out, and the diff is out. I popped off the cover... I haven't seen the inside of too many differentials, but I don't think this looks good. There was definitely water in there. I don't think the shop I paid to change it did anything...
    (You can see water droplets on the first two pics taken right after opening, second two are after I wiped it a little.)

    20190721_140628.jpg

    20190721_140612.jpg

    20190721_141026.jpg

    20190721_141040.jpg
     
  11. 07EddyB

    07EddyB Active Member

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    Nope - no other ideas and it appears you were right. That just looks nasty and it looks dry even though I'm sure there is still some gear oil on it.
     
  12. ThunderbirdSport

    ThunderbirdSport Active Member

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    Yup, that diff is shit.
     
  13. MotorCityFats13

    MotorCityFats13 Active Member

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    i was kind of expecting it would of had broken teeth or something screaming im broken its gotta be on the pinion gear
     
  14. Explorer_PL

    Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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    So in the end what did you have to remove to get the pumpkin out ?
    Yes, it was submerged and that killed it. Mine is at 288k and quiet like 13 years ago.....
     
  15. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    I disconnected the knuckles from the suspension arms, (24mm socket and wrench to hold the nuts x3 and a 21mm socket for x3 bolts that are threaded into the knuckle) remove the calipers (10mm), disconnect the parking brakes, then remove the abs sensor. I did not touch the axle nut, because I don't plan on replacing the axles, and the nuts look SUPER rusty and threads are in terrible shape, so I'm not confident I can even get the nut off without destroying it, so I removed the knuckle and axle as an assembly.
    I didn't touch anything not connected to the knuckles.
    Once that was done, we were able to drive the axles out of the differential. I think leaving the axles in the knuckles made that part a lot harder. In the end what worked was having one person grab the knuckle and pull gently (don't pull so hard you tear the boot, it's all that holds the axle together) while the other person underneath put a pipe on the axle where it meets the diff and wack the other end of the pipe to drive it out. Once the axles are out, use a 12point 12mm socket to disconnect the driveshaft (a 6 point will NOT work), then two 18mm and two 15mm bolts are all that hold the pumpkin in. I could not locate the breather tube before we removed it, but it popped off fine as we lowered it. The 02-05 have an electrical connector on the diff, 2006+ doesn't. The breather was at the top right, well hidden.
     
    Last edited: July 22, 2019
  16. D Hook

    D Hook Elite Explorer

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    Any chance this vehicle came from a state that saw a lot of flooding a few years back? Just curious.
     
  17. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    i belive it came from someplace back east, so definitely possible, though it doesn't look super rusty in areas visible without removing parts.
     
  18. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    Final update.
    New (junkyard) rear diff is in. huge PITA, but the expoler is on the road again. All noises are gone, it was definitely the rear differential.
    Choosing to leave the axles connected to the knuckles came back to bite be again on the reinstall, as I was unable to bash (gently) the axles back into the differential since all the suspension was in the way of the knuckle.... I just got them in as far as I could, then used a peice of 1x2 metal with a rounded end, stuck through the hole in the frame to hammer them in.... I needed something with a rounded end because I had to put it on the boot.... I didn't put any holes in the boots, but probably didn't do them any favors....
     
  19. Bill MacLeod

    Bill MacLeod Active Member

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    If you had the axles unbolted form the knuckle, they can be reinserted with just a plunging action. Light coating of gear oil on the shaft and circlip, hold level and start "plunging". You will feel/see the axle bottom as the circlip compresses.

    Can you pull a cap off one of the carrier bearings for the old diff? The noise that was heard and felt was likely either the carrier bearings or pinion bearings seizing.

    And big thanks for posting this. Lesson to be learned by all with regards to water damage in differential. Same for transfer case, transmission, etc.
     
  20. dacaur2

    dacaur2 Active Member

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    Yea pinion bearings were definitely bad. Before unbolting anything i could grab the driveshaft and move it up and down and side to side.
    Despite the extra work, I think I made the right choice on leaving the axles connected to the knuckles. The axle threads on one side were basically non existent, and were almost as bad on the other side, I dont know that I could have gotten either axle nut off without damage, and then getting them back on would have been work as well.....
     

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