How to change pinion seals | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to change pinion seals


Well-Known Member
December 22, 2013
Reaction score
City, State
Roxborough CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 Sport Trac
I just wanted to leave this here for others to find while searching:salute:

Sorry about the pictures, they are rotated on my computer but uploaded funny :(

Be sure to read up on any project you are thinking of doing before you begin and make sure you have all of the needed tools and parts so there is no temptation to cut corners!
I used a breaker bar, pipe wrench, 3/8 ratchet, 1/4 ratchet, t-30 torx, 8mm socket, 1 1/8 socket, random size adapters for sockets, and a torque wrench that will read 15inlb of torque accurately. You should not need the RTV in the picture but if you are paranoid like me it is cheap insurance and the brake parts cleaner is good for cleaning up after.
The link below is installation instructions for a crush sleeve but has torque ratings as well and is worth browsing.

Start by finding your differential drain plug and make sure you can actually break it loose; if you cannot get the plug to move you are done!


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Once the drain plug is loose remove the torx screws on the front of the drive shaft and then the 8mm bolts that hold the rear of the shaft to the transfer case. Pull the driveshaft out and set it aside. it is much easier to drop the transfer case skid to get at the bolts but a body lift gives you room to work.
After the drive shaft is out of the way raise the truck and set it on jack stands.


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Now that the truck is up in the air and the tires arte not touching the ground it is time to measure the rotational torque before anything else is removed. This must be done to make sure that you put the right torque on the crush sleeve and not trash the bearings! Start turning the torque wrench until the axle starts to move and note the amount of torque since this is where it needs to be when you reassemble! You should be between 12 and 20 inch pounds from what I have read from others as well as seen from crush sleeve manufacturers but you will note that my wrench is reading over 20 - that was the first clue that the seal had been changed before.


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With the rotational torque recorded break out the pipe wrench to hold the yoke and use the breaker bar to remove the nut holding it on. The yoke will then pull off but be sure to have a catch pan ready for the gear oil that will start to run out!


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Remove the old seal and let the housing drain then install the new seal. I used RTV on the lip for added insurance but this is not needed since most seals will have something built in.
Wipe a little gear oil on the yoke and slide it in place and run the nut on hand tight with a drop of locktite.
Now the process slows down as you need to check the rotational torque and slowly tighten the nut until the rotational torque matches what you had at the beginning. I moved the yoke nut about 1/8th of a turn at a time and then checking with the torque wrench.


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Reinstall the drive shaft and transfer case skid if it was removed.
Add gear oil to bring the differential up to level (a pump is much easier but I only had a funnel and tubing on hand) and then clean the bejimminy christmas out of everything so you can better see if anything leaks when driven.

Not all that bad and only takes a few hours to complete if you take your time.


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Very well done!

Seth K. Pyle