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How many tools does it take to add oil to the rear diff?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by koda2000, September 14, 2018.

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  1. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Note: There are no questions in this thread, so read it for entertainment value if you want, or ignore it.

    When I was installing new rear brake pads on my daughter's RWD 5.0L '00 Mountaineer last week, I noticed that the rear diff housing was caked with mud (not surprising) and was wet with gear oil (surprising). I figured at 250-260k the pinion seal finally had given up the ghost. I plan on changing the pinion and trans tail shaft seals when it gets cooler out, but I figured I'd better add some gear oil to the diff, as I didn't know how much had leaked out. I began with the following tools and supplies...

    Large piece of double-thick cardboard to lay on
    Ramps
    Protective eye wear
    Large metal oil catch pan
    2" scraper
    Roll of paper towels
    Fluid transfer pump
    3/8's long-handled ratchet (for the diff fill plug)
    12" piece of pipe for added leverage

    After scraping off about a half pound of oil soaked mud off the diff housing I put the ratchet in the fill plug, but it wouldn't move. I added the length of pipe for leverage. Still couldn't move it. Got out more tools...

    1/2" Impact wrench
    1/2" to 3/8" adapter
    Air compressor and air hose
    Electrical extension cord

    The fill plug still would not budge and the square hole in the plug was beginning to wallow out. This is a southern vehicle with zero rust, so I was surprised that the plug was stuck. Got out more tools to remove vent tube...

    Pliers
    Utility knife
    Small screw driver - to remove remains of vent tube.

    Found vent tube was plugged by a mud wasp (those freaking wasps plug any hole they can find. I've even had them plug an A/C drain line on another vehicle). Broke off the vent line, cut of the remaining inch of vent hose off the vent nipple. The clogged vent tube probably lead to the pinion seal leaking. Test fitted my transfer pump hose to the vent nipple. It fit well, but decided to add a hose clamp to make sure it didn't pop off. More tools...

    Small worm-drive hose clamp
    Medium-sized flat blade screw driver for hose clamp (couldn't use it because the sway bar was in the way).
    1/4" ratchet
    8" 1/4" extension and appropriate sized socket for the hose clamp

    Attached transfer pump to quart of hypoid gear oil and to vent tube nipple, tighten hose clamp and started pumping, which was difficult because there's no where for the air to go except out of a seal and the vent nipple is a small hole. I had no way of knowing how much oil had been lost so I have no way of knowing how much to put in. I put in 1/2 a quart and then decided that a little too much was better than not enough and put in a 1/4 quart more. This didn't take many pumps, but they were slow hard pumps. This should protect the gears/bearings until I get around to replacing the pinion seal. I guess I'll add a fill plug to the diff cover and refill the diff with 3 qts of fresh hypoid at the same time.

    Cleared the blocked vent hose with the small screw driver and blew it out with the air compressor (needed go back to the garage to get the blow gun attachment). Trimmed the broken/rough end of the vent hose and reattached it. I'm curious to see how much it will leak with the vent tube now unclogged.

    I found I could not manage to get the hose back into the clip that holds it to the frame. More tools...

    Bottle of slippery stuff (Amorall)
    Pair of needle nose pliers

    Clean up my mess, and put everything away. Drove it about 5 miles to see if it would puke any oil out the vent tube (it didn't). Total time spent about 1 1/2 hours for what should have been a 10-15 min job.

    This vehicle was to have been retired this past Spring, but life got in the way. Hopefully it will get replaced in Spring 2019. It still runs and drives great, but it's getting long in the tooth. I hope to sell it for around $1500. Well see how much interest there is for it next Spring. If I detail it and replace the driver's seat bottom cover I think I might get $2000 for it, but I'll see how ambitious I feel (I'm getting long in the tooth too... LOL).
     
    Last edited: September 14, 2018
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  3. allmyEXes

    allmyEXes Active Member

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    I see that I'm not the only one using the "cardboard creeper". It actually works better than the board with wheels on it !
     
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  4. 974X4BLACKSPORT

    974X4BLACKSPORT Active Member

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    I love cardboard to lay on when working on cars, have been doing it for 30+ yrs! I use nothing else, it's cheap and easy to throw around, it soaks up spills, it's easy to slide around and position your body on, you can always refreash with new cardboard, refrigerator boxes are great for this! Just throw away when it becomes undesirable to lay on (dirty)!
     
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  5. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    And when you're done with the cardboard you can recycle it. I do. I have a padded creeper with an adjustable headrest, but I'd rather use the cardboard. It doesn't get hung up on small rocks or tools, I don't catch my shirt in the wheels and the headrest doesn't collapse on me. I've wondered if the dog-bone shaped plastic creepers with the brushes around the large wheels work better, but I'll just stick with cardboard. I used to have a spare 6' piece of padded vinyl flooring that also worked well. It was easy to slide around on, but sometimes it was a little too easy to slide around on. Easy to clean and lasted for many years.
     
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  6. swshawaii

    swshawaii Elite Explorer

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    Phil, probably too late now but I believe the 8.8 fill plug is heavily coated with Ford's heat activated blue threadlocker we've seen before. Same stuff used on body mount, bed, torsion, and other bolts. Sure you considered it, but heating around the plug may help if the 3/8" square drive is not too wallowed out.
     
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  7. delexploder

    delexploder Well-Known Member

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    Yes one more tool , plumbers torch , watch your cardboard when using said torch , i too have been a cardboard fan for most of my life , i sometimes use it even if im using a lift just to make cleanup easier
     
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  8. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Hey Steve. Yeah I thought about hitting it with the hot-wrench, but with all the oil on the diff I was afraid it might catch on fire. When I go to change the pinion seal I'll clean it up better and de-grease it. Then I can try heating the plug with a torch. Hopefully the 3/8 square plug hole isn't too chewed up. If it is I'll just stick a universal drain plug (as a fill plug) in the diff cover. I need to remove the cover to change the oil anyway.

    -Thanks
     
  9. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Update: The pinion seal is leaking quite a bit and I have no idea how much fluid is in there, as I couldn't get the fill plug out. This afternoon I decided to clean up the oil on the diff and to hit the fill plug with the hot wrench. I hit it with my MAP gas torch for about 1.5 minutes and that damn plug will will not budge. I figure I have 2 choices, well 3 but I'm but spending $100 on a diff cover with a fill plug.

    1. Remove the diff cover, drain all the oil out then refill the diff with 3 qts of gear oil thru the vent after replacing the pinion seal.

    2. Install a fill plug in the diff cover (I already have a universal trans pan drain plug I can use), The problem may be that there isn't a flat enough area on the diff cover to to this.

    2.5 Have a NPT bung welded to the diff cover and install a plug.

    I may have to talk to my mechanic buddy on this one.
     
  10. donalds

    donalds Elite Explorer

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    Is there a speed sensor on top of the diff ?
    ThIs how I filled mine it was just easier
    My plug was not stuck tho it was just easier
    Just a thought
     
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  11. donalds

    donalds Elite Explorer

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    Oh and I use cardboard to
    I can't afford them fancy creepers lol
     
  12. 429CJ-3X2

    429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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    Years ago a friend of mine gave me the idea of using a piece of wood paneling to lie on. It's slick enough to slide on, and is the way to go if you're working on gravel. At the time he gave me the idea, Car Craft was paying $25 for tips like that if they actually put them in the magazine. I figured that tip was a cinch, but never sent it in.
     
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  13. massacre

    massacre Elite Explorer

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    I keep some luan around for this
     
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  14. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    The VSS hole is probably bigger than the drain plug I was thinking about using. I didn't think of that. Good idea. That way I don't have to worry about blowing a seal out by using the vent and the pumping should be a lot easier.
     
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  15. Centaurus5.0

    Centaurus5.0 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah for $100 a new cover would solve the problem, add strength to the diff and make your rig look better from the rear.

    I like using the carpeted cargo pads that come with our rigs to lay on but something you can can slide around easy on is nice too!
     
  16. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    I believe ya all missed a trick I thought up many years ago, constantly swapping out Ford 9-inch center sections. Works only with solid rear axles. Ya yank out an axle, either side, jack that side up a bit to make the OIL you funnel into the axle tube run downhill into the center section. Those axles were super-easy to pull out and in. 'Course, if you were changing out the C-section, the axles were already out! Sometimes I'm an A-hole!

    Don't damage the seal!! imp
     
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  17. fordmanwv

    fordmanwv New Member

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    A piece of scrap or old carpet is nice to use under the car.
     
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  18. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Update:
    Today the outside temp was pretty nice, so I decided to get started on the rear diff pinion seal change. Before I started I took an ibuprofen and used by microwavable heating pad for 30 mins to loosen up my sore old back. That actually helped a lot (made me feel 60 again).

    Got the Mounty backed up onto my ramps, set the parking brake and chocked the front wheels.

    Got out my big sheet of cardboard, crawled under there and disconnected the drive shaft. Then I marked the pinion nut and flange and removed the pinion nut counting the turns (16.5). Used a 2-jaw puller to remove the flange and pried out the old pinion seal with my seal removal tool.

    Next I pulled the diff cover, catching and measuring what came out. It had a little over 2.5 quarts in it, so not too bad, but I'm glad I added 3/4 of a quart last week to be safe. I then removed the VSS to make sure it would come out in one piece (it did with quite a bit of wiggling). Cleaned out as much oil as I could get out of the case and scraped off the old gasket goop from the cover and case surface, finishing with parts cleaner on the case and Purple Power on the cover and hardware.

    Applied Permatex Ultra-Black to the cover and reinstall it finger tight (as per the directions). It's supposed to cure for a few hours before tightening it down all the way and for 24 hours before adding oil.

    Went to town to purchase a new seal, installed the new seal (applied grease it and the flange surface) reinstalled the flange, somehow managed to over-tighten the pinion nut 1/4 turn (meh...) and reinstalled the drive shaft.

    Tomorrow, after lunch, I plan to add 3 qts of gear oil through the VSS hole. I don't know it I can just pour it in or whether I'll need to use my transfer pump (@donalds any advice?).

    So once that's done I get to relax until the next breakdown. Woohoo! The job went very smoothly. I don't think I had to swear even once and no blood was lost. I did swear a few times while driving to AutoZone to buy the new pinion seal due to several a-holes on the road, but I did get the better $10.99 seal for $6.99 because the guy couldn't find the $6.99 seal that their computer said they had in stock.

    It's about time for another ibuprofen now. Gotta go.
     
    Last edited: September 30, 2018
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  19. donalds

    donalds Elite Explorer

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    I just put a tube on my bottle of gear oil and squeezed it in that worked great just go slow or the tube may pop off from the pressure

    The 1/4 turn extra may be a good thing as you put some of the preload back to the crush sleeve

    And check the o ring on the vss

    As for the seal the National seal ant to bad all the house brands are national I have used them in every case I didn't want to go to ford
     
  20. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    I thought the same thing. There's got to be wear at nearly 300k. This has been such a great vehicle. Bought it for $2300 in 2012 w179k on it and still runs/drives great. I'll probably use my transfer pump rather than a tube on the gear oil bottle. I've had too many pop off doing it with a tube. I'll make my daughter help me. It's her vehicle (which I had sold to her for $1) so she can get her hands dirty.

    Thanks for the idea of putting the oil in through the VSS hole.
     
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  21. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    Final Update:
    Pumped in 3 quarts of gear oil through the VSS hole today (well I held the hose and the bottle upside-down and made my daughter do the pumping). Went around the block and got a howl when decelerating.

    I did some research and found this meant the pinion nut was too loose. I thought I'd over-tightened it 1/4 turn, but apparently it was 3/4 of a turn too loose. Hard to judge, due to the press-fit of the flange. The site I found this info on listed symptoms for all sorts of diff noises. Pretty handy info. Apparently it takes around 200 ft lbs to compress the crush sleeve, so anything under say 150 ft lbs on the nut and you should be okay. It's almost impossible to get anything near 150 ft lbs lying on you back in the driveway so I just tightened the pinion nut as much as I could. There was a point at which I couldn't budge the breaker bar any further so I guess that's how tight it needed to be. Took it for a spin around the block and no more howling noise. No leaks either, so I'm a happy camper. I Learn something new every day. What did we ever do before the internet?
     
    Last edited: October 1, 2018
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