Another newbie in need of expert advice (1999 Explorer Sport) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Another newbie in need of expert advice (1999 Explorer Sport)


New Member
November 15, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Seattle, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1999 Explorer Sport
Hi all,

I'm new to the forum but not to car forums and modding, etc. My wife has an Explorer that's making a noticeable whining noise from the back (little like a jet engine). We took it in to a local transmission shop and they said it needed the following:

Ring gear and pinion
Pinion bearings all around
Pinion shaft oil seal
Differential side bearing (cone and cup)
Carrier housing gasket
Axle shaft seal and bearing

The total price is $1,319.80.

This car is already on it's second transmission, seems to be getting more rickity by the mile, and has 150K+ miles on it. Based on the maintenance record I'm tempted to call the thing a lemon. As a total newbie to the Explorer ownership thing (she had the car when we met and got married) I'm looking to this community for advice.

Is it worth paying for this work to keep the beast going or should we throw in the towel and get a new car? I can't help but wonder if I'm throwing good money and a beast that's just waiting to fall apart (more). Is the price quoted for the work fair, high, good deal?

Thanks in advance for you help.

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I would just go out find another rear axle.. $1300 is alot for a R&P, bearings, etc and labor.. And how do you know its your R&P that are damaged? Are there are chewed up teeth?

Thanks for the replies fellas. My wife is the one who let her mechanic take it to the transmission shop. They apparently got an okay from my wife to spend minimum $500 to take it apart and eventually put it back together (repaired or not). That sounds like BS to me. Min $500 to diagnose means I'm over a barrell to use these guys. They also said after I find a decent used rear axle and have them put it in it's going to be about $1300. Is that remotely accurate? Thanks.

Those prices are ridiculous. To swap out axles is a pretty simple job, and no way in hell costs 1300$. If i were you id take a look at the paperwork and have them put it back together and get it out of there.

damn $1300!!! you could buy the 8.8, and then buy a EF memeber a two-way plane ticket have them come up there, pay them to put it in and send them on there way for less then $1300...

Grreeeeat. So I'm getting totally F'd by this shop and they're saying I'm out 5 bills even if I don't have them do anything but put it back together. Nice touch. I found a used axle with 44K miles on it for $525. Should I bother putting in a used one? What does a new one cost (I can find out myself - just thought I'd see what you guys say)? How much should I pay to have the shop install it?

Id ask to see the parts they say are bad. If the gears are bad you will see obvious marking on them. Did you actually look at the paperwork she signed? Just make sure that the paperwork matches what they are saying.

She gave them a verbal ok to inspect the car but there was no discussion about it costing anything. If we decide to go to battle with these guys she'll rip 'em a new one. The last thing they want is to end up in small claims. She doesn't mind at all.

They said there's a strange wear pattern on the gears. Who knows. I should go down there tomorrow and see what the hell is going on. They're getting back to me with a labor estimate to install a used one so we'll see where that comes in. I'm sure they've marked up the parts and would rather I used them for the whole thing. This is sure fun.

If she signed nothing then they have no right to keep you from your vehicle. Im not even sure they can tear it apart like that with only a "verbal" agreement. But for sure go look at the gears, and make sure you see what they are talking about.

Thanks for the good advice. I'll check it out tomorrow and report back to the forum.


I got a call this morning from the guy who actually spoke to my wife. I told his buddy that I wanted an estimate on labor to install a totally new rear end that I found at a parts yard for $500. He tells me he found one "for a good deal" for $650 and he's going to charge me $400 for labor to put it in. So, he says since we're going to be around $1150 anyway he would put in all new parts a charge me that price "since we had a little mix up yesterday". I told him I found a used rear end, 410 possy ratio, with only 44K miles on the car it came out of for $450. He says he doesn't trust those used parts because all the lube shops end up replacing the fluid with the wrong stuff and they wear badly and fail quickly. I'm only going to keep this car another year, maybe two at the most. It sounds to me like the guy is marking up his parts and hammering me on labor for the work he wants to keep in house.

What are your thoughts? I need to make a decision soon. Thanks.

If it were my truck and there was nothing signed for them to do the labor, id show up with a flatbed tow truck and take it home and do the swap myself. There is no way they should have ever torn the rear end apart without a written and signed estimate. Id tell them to throw the rear end back on and youll be picking it up and taking it elsewhere, or doing it yourself but you dont want them to do anything else on it.

Do you say that because they tore off the rear end without getting approval or because their price is way too high? Or both? I need to get the work done eventually so I'm just wondering if I should bite the bullet and get it done rather than get into a pissing match and cause myself a bunch more hassle. If I were going to counter their price what is a reasonable request? $850 to do all the work?

They tore apart the rear end with no approval from you or your wife. The 850$ for everything out the door seems like a good counter offer. Be sure to remind them they didnt have you permission to pull anything apart in the first place. Make sure they give you a warranty on thier labor just in case also.