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1997 Explorer AWD Front Drive Shaft

sirkt

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May 30, 2011
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City, State
Moscow ID
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XLT AWD V8
I have a 1997 AWD Explorer with the 302 5.0L V8 (157k miles) that apparently needs a new front drive shaft.

About a week ago the exploder started making a noise that to me sounded like a wheel bearing was shot. I took it in Saturday to have the bearing replaced the shop told be both bearings were good and both hubs were solid but the CV joint on the front drive shaft was the culprit. He went on to tell me it would be $750 for the part/labor to install it! :eek:

The bid broke down to $525 for the part and $225 for the labor. I did some googling this afternoon and found what I believe to be the correct part on ebay for $295 with free delivery (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Ford...r_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item53e75ba64d) Is this the correct part (P/N # XL2Z4A376BA)? Is this a common problem on these Explorers? Anybody got a better/less expensive source online?

Thanks all! :feedback:
 



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very common problem, rockauto sells a rebuild kit for the joint for like $100.
 






there's a guy on this site named Eric that also sells new shafts at a discount. I acquired mine form him a couple yeas back and service was excellent. Not sure he's still around (ericautopart).

If you wanna rebuild, the bearings for the front of the shaft can be had many places. Once apart, note the part number and cross-ref on google.
 






Had the same problem, and ended up doing the hub bearings before I knew what the real problem is...

PLEASE bring the car in and have the tire circumferences measured to make sure they are all even. Otherwise there is tremendous strain on the transfer case, front prop shaft and front differential. If the tires aren't equal, something has to give and usually the weakest part fails first.

Not sure if your shaft has the CV joint at the TC end, but they can also be retrofitted with a u-joint since the CV isn't known to be very reliable. See if you can get one at a salvage yard first, then go for a reman second. The OE shaft is pretty good compared to some of the aftermarket solutions.
 






Thanks for the feed back guys!

I had a client of mine do the job for me he was able to rebuild my original shaft for 200 and install it for 90... $303 out the door and the exploder is back on the road... taking a short road trip in the am for work to test it out!
 






Not sure if your shaft has the CV joint at the TC end, but they can also be retrofitted with a u-joint since the CV isn't known to be very reliable. See if you can get one at a salvage yard first, then go for a reman second. The OE shaft is pretty good compared to some of the aftermarket solutions.

You can retrofit the TC end of the FDS with a u-joint on an AWD X??? Does anybody have any other info on this??? I have a 98 with the 5.0 and AWD, and I was considering swapping out the TC for a 4406, but this sounds more appealing. I can put up with AWD all the time as long as my TC doesn't keep spitting out driveshafts.
 






You can retrofit the TC end of the FDS with a u-joint on an AWD X???

That's what my transmission guy said... he didn't do it however. They send out the shafts to be rebuilt and the machinist welds on a u-joint on the end. It is like that on earlier models, but Ford switched to a CV at the TC for whatever reason... I can't imagine that there is THAT much of an angle change in the front prop shaft to warrant a CV, but I could be wrong! :)
 






Hmmmm.... I may need to look further into this. While I can afford the TC swap, it would save me enough money, time, and hassle to be worth having full-time awd. I gotta talk to my tranny guy about this.
 






'think you need to put a double cardan up there to work right.
 






'think you need to put a double cardan up there to work right.

Yes, we talking about converting a stock single cardan joint (front diff) / CV joint (TC) into a double cardan for greater reliability.
 






Let me rephrase. I think that you need a double on one end of the front shaft and a single on the other end of the front shaft for the swap to work properly.
 






Let me rephrase. I think that you need a double on one end of the front shaft and a single on the other end of the front shaft for the swap to work properly.

Awesome! Do you know if this works properly on second-gen applications like the 5.0L awd? The CV joint to many of us just feels like a useless point of failure. My CV was eaten up after little use, and the replacement shattered after only a couple of days of use in the snow.
 






And does anybody have a cost estimate for fabbing up a driveshaft as such? And I assume by cardan joint you are referring to U-joints...
 






there's a guy on this site named Eric that also sells new shafts at a discount. I acquired mine form him a couple yeas back and service was excellent. Not sure he's still around (ericautopart).

If you wanna rebuild, the bearings for the front of the shaft can be had many places. Once apart, note the part number and cross-ref on google.

somebody took over ericautopart's spot... not sure who, but it's not him any more.

And does anybody have a cost estimate for fabbing up a driveshaft as such? And I assume by cardan joint you are referring to U-joints...

don't waste your money. You'll get vibrations due to the horrible pinion and t-case angles. I spent, in total, $500+ on a shaft with a double-cardan joint.

edit: I'll add some info..
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221366
this thread is after I got a shaft converted from a single-cardan to double-cardan

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222959
is another thread I made discussing differences in the 2nd gen V8 drivetrain, which may or may not be relevant. Early 2nd gen's did come OEM with a double-cardan front shaft, but an OEM front double-cardan shaft is too long to fit in my '97 that came OEM with the GKN-style CV-joint shaft.
 






Okay thanks, I'm gonna stick with swapping out my T-Case and driveshafts for a 4406 with the F-150 ds's... Yeah it will be expensive and a pita to do, but at least I won't be chewing up cv-joints and going through driveshafts like they are diapers... And I will get my 2wd back. (Actually, I will get my 4wd back, as I have removed the front driveshaft for now :D)
 






just an FYI, although I'm sure it's mentioned in the numerous 4406 swap threads, even with the swap you will get vibes from the front shaft if going ~35-40+ in 4WD.

the issue is that the pinion is angled toward the ground, and the t-case output is angled upward.

for a double-cardan shaft to work, the pinion needs to be pointed at the t-case.
 






I heard that the Rockauto rebuilds were a waste of time. I did get one from Ericautoparts (he was still here in central NJ as of last year.) His shafts are irreproachable (better than factory.)
 






As long as I don't have to deal with replacing/reman'ing driveshafts all the time, I am not concerned with a little vibration. :p:
 






Cv joint

I've experienced this before, so I can give 1st hand account of it. The CV joint will last a LONG time if properly maintained. Sure the tire circumference is a little issue, but hey, who plays Fred Flinstone these days? :)
The issue of the the driveshaft failing, is that 95% of the time, the CV Joint is going out due to inadequate lubrication (Once the Boot rips or comes off).
This causes the grease to fly out, henceforth the joint fails. If you keep it lubed, or better yet, replace the rubber boot with a new one, should be a keeper(Just keep a boot handy) . As some have mentioned above it's due to the angle, this is what causes the rip in the boot. Seems like the cheapest way, in the long haul.
 



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