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PTU and Rear Diff Fluid Change - 2011 Explorer XLT

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by 182RG, May 30, 2016.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. ExPlat

    ExPlat Elite Explorer

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    I found this on another forum, it has some good pictures of a new replacement PTU that shows the drain plug:
    https://www.fordflex.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=17247
    -
    I have a 2016 Platinum and was having some warranty work done at my local rural Ford Dealer when I asked my Service Writer about doing a preventative PTU oil change. He had to look it up, then told me that Ford does not recommend any maintenance to the units in my particular car. So I said I wanted it done anyway and how much would it cost, that stumped him. He walked into the back to talk to the Tech in the garage and came back to announce that this Dealership would NOT change the PTU fluid, the mechanic didn't like doing it and said it wasn't necessary. I was amazed and left wondering if I really trusted this Dealer with any difficult repair on my ExPlat. Apparently this Dealer only has one Tech that knows how this procedure is done and if he doesn't want to do it the customer can look elsewhere.

    After that experience I called a trusted repair shop I'd used in the past and told them that PTU story, he could not believe that any Ford Dealership would say that, was astonished. However, he would be happy to do an oil change on the PTU any time I wanted, said 'yeah, it is difficult but we have the expertise and technology to do it'. At least I know where it can be done but I worry about having that service at a non-Ford agency while this vehicle is still on warranty. What if the old fluid comes out with metal shavings or chunks in it?

    I plan to start calling a few nearby Ford Dealers and asking this question, hopefully there is one that is brave enough to service the PTU.
    Still, it is hard to believe that any Ford Dealership would deny a service to a Ford vehicle if the customer wants it.
     
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  3. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Could be that since Ford says it isn't required that if the tech did change it and something went wrong with the PTU later on, that they are worried they may be on the hook for out of warranty repairs.:dunno:

    Peter
     
  4. ExPlat

    ExPlat Elite Explorer

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    Might be.

    I just looked at my Owner's Manual,
    Supposedly this 2016 has a PTU Lube Life Monitor that shows in the info display (p492) but I can't find it on any display. I even looked in the hidden instrument panel display that Tech's use, called Engineering Test Mode, but didn't see a reference to the PTU Lube Monitor there either.

    FTA:
    Exceptions
    There are several exceptions to the Normal Schedule:
    Axle maintenance: The Power Transfer Unit (PTU) in your vehicle does not require any normal scheduled maintenance. The system is electronically monitored and notifies the driver of required service by displaying a message in the information display. The PTU lube will be more likely to require a fluid change if the vehicle has experienced extended periods of extreme/severe duty cycle driving. Do not check or change the PTU lubricant unless the unit has been submerged in water, shows signs of leakage or a message indicating required service is displayed. Contact your authorized dealer for service and to reset the PTU lube life monitor.
     
  5. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    From just reading the info you posted, I think that a message will pop up when service is required. I don't think it means that there is a display you can check like the Intelligent Oil Life Monitor. Will have to check my Manual.

    Peter
     
  6. StudlyMC

    StudlyMC New Member

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    I believe that the message is triggered from an "overtemperature" condition. Part of my research on the Ford Parts site showed that, just like some PTUs appear to have drain plugs while others do not, some PTUs also have an integrated temperature sensor (again, it's the Ecoboost models). Apparently, running the PTU hard and hot causes the lube to break down, which requires replacement. Apparently us naturally aspirated folks have to live without both the drain plug and the temp sensor.
     
  7. ExPlat

    ExPlat Elite Explorer

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    I looked at the ET Mode items again thinking that maybe the PTU Monitor was labeled as a heat or temp item but didn't see anything that made sense to me. The Tech may use the IDS laptop to reset that PTU .
    Well, if these EB models have an over-temp sensor I am glad to hear it - hope it works. I wonder if there is a wire to a temp sensor plug on the PTU case, that would be a way to check. Pretty hard to see in that area through.
     
  8. 182RG

    182RG Active Member

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    True. A drain is only on the EB models.
     
  9. ExPlat

    ExPlat Elite Explorer

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    I just looked at the Motorcraft Parts website using my ExPlat VIN and it showed the PTU that has a cooler.
    Power Take Off Assembly

    Left Hand Drive 4WD (FTD) Power Take off Unit With Cooler ; 3.5L Dual Over Head Cam T/C V6 Gas


    The temp sensor is integral with the PTU cooler.
    I guess that if an Explorer model has a PTU cooler then there should be a over-temp monitor. Now, if I could just see a cooler on my PTU I'll quit worrying. ;)

    Part #
    12A648
    (DY-1307)

    Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor

    Left Hand Drive 4WD (FTD) Power Take off Unit With Cooler

     
  10. Kpwweb

    Kpwweb Active Member

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    The temp sensor is on the EB models as well. You are supposed to fill fill through the sensor hole--that would take divine intervention, or dropping the motor and subframe! I ended up doing the breather tube mod and refilling through there.

    The fluid was almost tar-like. Extremely dark and thick. And we don't drive the car hard or tow... It had about 20k on it! Glad I changed it when I did...
     
  11. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    That's what he has.;)
     
  12. Dr3mb0y

    Dr3mb0y New Member

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    Hi guys!

    Been trying to do research on PTU and Rear Differential fluid changes. Read on my December 2012 Edition Manual for the 2013 Explorer on page 432 this " Rear axles and power take-off units with synthetic fluid and light-duty tucks equipped with Ford-design axles are lubricated for life; do not check or change yada yada.... This interval can be waived if the axle if filled with 75w140 gear fluid meeding Ford Spec WSL-M2C192-A, Part numberF1TZ-19580-B or equivalent. Add friction modifier XL-3 (EST-M2C118-A) or equivalent for complete refill of Traction-Lok rear axles (see technical specifications in the Capacities and Specifications chapter for details)." On the Police, Taxi Livery, it says the amount of XL-3 is 118ml (4oz).

    Page 406 of the said manual, the Rear axle recommended fluid is 80w90. I am a little lost if i can use the same Gear oil of 75w140 PTU uses to the rear axle and will i need to add XL-3? if I do need to add some, how do i mix or dilute the 118ml(4oz) to the 2.4pints (1.15L or 1.22qt) of axle oil? or is there a brand with the right dilution and friction modifier already included? Does the Explorer limited have Traction-Lok Rear Axle?

    Can you use gear oils like royal purple, lucas etc that already has friction modifiers for the PTU and for the rear axle/differential?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: August 6, 2017
  13. StudlyMC

    StudlyMC New Member

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    Having an issue with PTU fluid change - can anyone help?

    Hey guys - so, it's been almost a year since I posted here and 18 months since I bought the car, but I finally hit the 10k mile mark (yeah, I don't drive very much). I decided to attempt the PTU fluid change, based on all the nightmare online stories. I have the 3.5L N/A engine, so no drain plug for me, just the fill plug that you have to vacuum the fluid out of. I have a 12V DC vacuum pump for that purpose. However, when I put the hose in the hole, I couldn't get it to make the 90-degree bend down into the fluid. I was only able to drain about 150ml of the 900ml+ capacity. It seems like as soon as you get into the hole, there's a gear blocking your path. It's damn-near impossible to get a tube to make such a hard bend downwards. Does anyone know any tips or tricks for doing this?

    The good news is that at 10k miles the fluid didn't look too bad. Just a little bit darker than new and only a little bit smelly (but, you know, it's gear oil so it's not going to smell like roses)

    I haven't attempted the RDU fluid change yet, but I checked out the location of the fill plug there and that looks even more nightmarish!
     
  14. 182RG

    182RG Active Member

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    No. It is not a limited slip diff.

    I used Amsoil 75W140 in the PTU. I used Amsoil 80W90 in the rear. Do not add modifiers.
     
  15. Daheim111

    Daheim111 Active Member

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    Sorry but: the (also mine) EB has a PTU temp sensor: will the temp sensor at higher temps send a failure code that means that the conditions (bad oil = high friction) are bad ? Can I trust on it ?
     
    Last edited: August 22, 2017
  16. Keith N

    Keith N Elite Explorer

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    I did my ptu last summer on my NA 2011. I used the 12v pump. I purchased a copper tube from Home Depot. The soft kind that comes rolled up. I think 1/4" id . The plastic tube fits around this. I cut about a 12" length. I bent it into a big French curve basically and was able to get it to the bottom of case pretty easy. I sucked out about 15 of the 16 ounces. You can feel the gears as you push it in the hole and fish it around. I did the drain and refill three times over a few week period. I could do the whole thing in 30 min by the last time. I filled it to bottom of plug or just under by a few mm maybe.

    My fluid was not as bad as others. Did not smell bad and was not sludgy at all. I had 60k miles on it.

    Good luck
    Keith
     
  17. Odrapnew

    Odrapnew Active Member

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    Thanks for the write up, it came in handy, I did a full fluid change this weekend(engine, transmission, PTU, rear diff) My 14 Sport has just over 61k miles on it and the only fluid I've changed is the engine oil. I'd say 75% highway with a bunch of 150 mile trips to/from Minneapolis to Duluth(all freeway). Very little towing.

    Since I have a Sport, I have a drain plug on my PTU. I cut an old 1 qt oil bottle to fit up around the drain plug to direct it into another container and keep it off the exhaust(based off of another person's duct tape method).

    Pictures below of the fluid and drain plug. Fluid was definitely brown, but still liquid. Plug had some shavings on it. I saved some of the fluid and will send it into Blackstone for analysis. I was able to drain 12oz out of the PTU, so that's what I filled through the vent tube. I used a 2ft section of 5/16" ID fuel hose and a pump to fill. Getting to the vent tube was easy once I figured out to crawl under the driver's side and reach up to the top off the PTU. I thought I read that there's a clamp for the vent hose, but mine didn't have a clamp and just pulled off. I used Amsoil 75w-140 Severe Gear to fill and still have enough left of the qt. that I bought to do another change.

    I also changed the rear diff. Similar story, brown, but didn't look terrible. I got just about 1qt out of that. I filled it back up until it started to dribble out and that was right around the 1qt mark as well. Amsoil 75w-90 Severe Gear for that(no pictures).

    Last, I did a drain and fill with the transmission. I got about 4.25 quart out and when I refilled with the same amount, it didn't even register on the dipstick. I drained it while it was hot(city street driving), so I was thinking it would be warm enough to check right away. Anyway, I took it for a few mile drive(again, city streets) and came back and checked it again, still not registering(yes, checked while idling in park). It took about another 1/2 qt. to get it to the upper side of the dipstick acceptable level. Similar story for the color, brown, but not terrible. Since it's so easy to change the transmission, I might do another one during my next oil change. I used the Motorcraft stuff for the tranny.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Pete165

    Pete165 Member

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    wow is that plug from the ptu? Lots of metal on there!
     
  19. Odrapnew

    Odrapnew Active Member

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    It is from the PTU, but the magnet does protrude from the end of the plug a 1/2" or so and is about 1/8" in diameter. Not pretty, but could be worse from what others have seen.
     
  20. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I thought only the 2016 + models had a PTU drain plug.

    Peter
     
  21. Odrapnew

    Odrapnew Active Member

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    Sport and interceptor models had it from the beginning I believe.
    Maybe all AWD models received them in 2016.:dunno:
     

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