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Front axle shaft replacement

themishmosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
743
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City, State
NE Ohio
Year, Model & Trim Level
2020 Explorer ST
So at 65,000 miles, my right axle shaft started spitting grease everwhere on my MY2020. Honestly, it's been so well reported that I'm surprised mine made it that far. This is normally covered under your Powertrain warranty but mine expired and I do not have any extended coverage. You can certainly repack the joint with grease and put on a new boot, but new axles are surprisingly inexpensive. I decided I would replace both front axles while I was at it.

I purchased the both axle shafts from forum vendor Levittown Ford: L1MZ-3A428-H Right, L1MZ-3A427-E Left. Thanks to Mike@Levittown for getting the correct parts and Benny@Levittown for the discount code. ~$105 each plus shipping. Main difference compared to the old axle is that the new outer boot has one extra fold.
IMG_7425.jpeg


INSTALL
I
nstall was fairly straight forward. Remove the axle nut (I used a 32mm socket although it is possible it is actually 31mm), remove the ABS/brake line bracket from the knuckle (8mm bolt, you do not need to remove brake line from the bracket), free ABS line from attachments (3, including bracket your just removed), remove the two lower bolts from the strut (once 22mm nuts removed, you will need to tap out the bolts as they are splined; heavy steel mallet used), carefully drop down knuckle insuring that the brake and ABS lines are free and clear (the axle end just fell out of the knuckle--no tapping out needed), finally use prybar to pop out axle. The rectangular undershield center-adjacent to the axles can be opened on the sides/rear and folded to the front to allow access for your prybar (two plastic pop-retainers, 3x 7mm bolts).

The right side is a little more involved. Once you remove the axle, some front differential oil will spill. After replacement, you will need to top off front differential oil from the fill hole which is forward of the axle (T50 torx, Motorcraft® SAE 75W-140 Synthetic Rear Axle Lubricant). If this is your first time opening the front differential fill plug, you may need a breaker bar--it's on tight. The front differential only hold 0.6qts so you won't need much, but the oil is very pricey (Amazon $30/qt).

Pic1: Green: strut bolts, Yellow: ABS/brake line bracket bolt, Red: one of 3 ABS line attachments
IMG_7406.jpeg


Pic2: axle nut, note: I did not have to tap out the axle end
IMG_7408.jpeg


Pic3: Knuckle dropped down. Note brake line and ABS line freed up.
IMG_7412.jpeg


Pic4: front differential fill hole in front of the right axle.
IMG_7413.jpeg
 






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Peter
 






So at 65,000 miles, my right axle shaft started spitting grease everwhere on my MY2020. Honestly, it's been so well reported that I'm surprised mine made it that far. This is normally covered under your Powertrain warranty but mine expired and I do not have any extended coverage. You can certainly repack the joint with grease and put on a new boot, but new axles are surprisingly inexpensive. I decided I would replace both front axles while I was at it.

I purchased the both axle shafts from forum vendor Levittown Ford: L1MZ-3A428-H Right, L1MZ-3A427-E Left. Thanks to Mike@Levittown for getting the correct parts and Benny@Levittown for the discount code. ~$105 each plus shipping. Main difference compared to the old axle is that the new outer boot has one extra fold.
View attachment 441322

INSTALL
I
nstall was fairly straight forward. Remove the axle nut (I used a 32mm socket although it is possible it is actually 31mm), remove the ABS/brake line bracket from the knuckle (8mm bolt, you do not need to remove brake line from the bracket), free ABS line from attachments (3, including bracket your just removed), remove the two lower bolts from the strut (once 22mm nuts removed, you will need to tap out the bolts as they are splined; heavy steel mallet used), carefully drop down knuckle insuring that the brake and ABS lines are free and clear (the axle end just fell out of the knuckle--no tapping out needed), finally use prybar to pop out axle. The rectangular undershield center-adjacent to the axles can be opened on the sides/rear and folded to the front to allow access for your prybar (two plastic pop-retainers, 3x 7mm bolts).

The right side is a little more involved. Once you remove the axle, some front differential oil will spill. After replacement, you will need to top off front differential oil from the fill hole which is forward of the axle (T50 torx, Motorcraft® SAE 75W-140 Synthetic Rear Axle Lubricant). If this is your first time opening the front differential fill plug, you may need a breaker bar--it's on tight. The front differential only hold 0.6qts so you won't need much, but the oil is very pricey (Amazon $30/qt).

Pic1: Green: strut bolts, Yellow: ABS/brake line bracket bolt, Red: one of 3 ABS line attachments
View attachment 441326

Pic2: axle nut, note: I did not have to tap out the axle end
View attachment 441325

Pic3: Knuckle dropped down. Note brake line and ABS line freed up.
View attachment 441324

Pic4: front differential fill hole in front of the right axle.
View attachment 441323
I'm about to have both replaced under warranty in about 2 weeks and at 38K miles.
 






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