In/out free play in half-shafts to front diff? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations
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In/out free play in half-shafts to front diff?

jsun

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Welp I finally diagnosed my front end clunking noise, or at least I'm sure this is it...

I have free play in my half-shafts connecting to the front diff. Should there be any or some free play? I mean I have ~1/2 of free play. Also, when I move it in and out it "clunks" to the outer hub of the diff.

What is required here to fix? Diff or Half-shafts?

Ideas, suggestions?

Thanks!
(BTW, I also found my stabilizer links to be a bit loose but not the issue)

J
 



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IAmTodd

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Not sure if there is suposed to be play, but I had a clunking in my front end and it turned out to be the sway bar bushings where it attaches to the frame. Good Luck!
 






jsun

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Originally posted by IAmTodd
Not sure if there is suposed to be play, but I had a clunking in my front end and it turned out to be the sway bar bushings where it attaches to the frame. Good Luck!

I was considering replacing the stabalizer links due to being loose from torque specs.

I truely feel that this play in the shafts are not the norm for this front end. No play up and down, only inwards/outwards.

I have the repair cd for this, but I don't think it mentions anything in regards to this. No detailed info pertaing to movement?

Cheers!
 






jsun

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Originally posted by jsun
Welp I finally diagnosed my front end clunking noise, or at least I'm sure this is it...

I have free play in my half-shafts connecting to the front diff. Should there be any or some free play? I mean I have ~1/2 of free play. Also, when I move it in and out it "clunks" to the outer hub of the diff.

What is required here to fix? Diff or Half-shafts?

Ideas, suggestions?

Thanks!
(BTW, I also found my stabilizer links to be a bit loose but not the issue)

J

Can anyone please confirm if this is normal???

Anyone crawling under their truck anytime soon that can check a comparison of how their halfshafts mount to the diff?

Please?

J
 






410Fortune

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Jsun:

The passenger side inner shaft is held into the diff with a C clip and should not move in and out.

The outer axle shafts on both sides should slip in and out a little bit, but they have a retainer C clip (behind the hub) that should not allow them to pull out or go too far into the hub.
A little bit of play is normal.
Also nothing up front is rotating unless:
you have a bad hub
you are in 4x4

HOWEVER the TTB is a pretty noisy front end when crawling slowly over bumps, some clicking and squeeking is normal.

I too would first look at the sway bar bushings for wear, make sure the bolts are tight.
Look at the shocks for the same thing
Check to make sure the coils are seated properly and tight.
 






Opera House

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Think the CV's have a lot of play in and out but none rotationally. Inside is just U joint and outside is CV. Apply torque in each direction as you move it in and out to detect any wear notch. Have you looked at the shaft from transfer case to the diff. That one easily has over a half inch in and out. In fact you can pull it out, something I wouldn't recommend! You can remove it and drive around as a test. And yes, they do rotate all the time.
 






GJarrett

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Jamie, he's got a '99, not a TTB. The halfshafts (both driver and passenger side) in mine have grooves to put a C-clip in, but no C-clips. Those suckers are loose and once you remove the hub assembly you can pull them right out of the differential. If the hubs are not tightened or fit close to the assembly, the halfshafts can theoretically float in and out for however much room there is to do it in.

And yes, I have that clunk too, but after installing new gears, a locker, and 35's, I don't know what to blame it on :D
 






410Fortune

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Man I always ASSUME its a TTB if they are looking for worn parts of hearing noises, I always forget to check the sigs. :)

hahaha oh well....

the axleshafts have grooves for c clips but no clips???

Ford is weird.
 






GJarrett

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I think the diffys are utilizied in multiple applications, I've heard that Dodge Durangoes use an extremely similar setup and uses C-clips.... maybe one factory makes all of the axleshafts and builds them so that both applications can use the same shaft.
 






jsun

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Originally posted by Opera House
Think the CV's have a lot of play in and out but none rotationally. Inside is just U joint and outside is CV. Apply torque in each direction as you move it in and out to detect any wear notch. Have you looked at the shaft from transfer case to the diff. That one easily has over a half inch in and out. In fact you can pull it out, something I wouldn't recommend! You can remove it and drive around as a test. And yes, they do rotate all the time.

Opera House,

you mention to apply torque in different directions while moving in & out. This is just the half shaft being twisted in opposite directions?

I actually never noticed any free-play in the CV joint at the transfer case to diff???

Can I drive in 2 wheel by removing the front shaft on a regular basis until I find root cause? Any error codes on the dash for this?

Thanks man!!!

J
 






jsun

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There is clunking from the halfshafts...

Is there a dampener for the halfshafts that may have fallen apart/off at the connection of half shafts to the mounting of the diff?

I'm serious when I think my clunking is comming from this area. I can easily pull the halfshaft away from the diff and bring it back with a clunk and no effort to move this piece. To me, if I'm going down a bumpy road this will just move in and out clunking down the roads.

I also had the wife sit in the trunk to tell me if the sound is the same ;)

Oh... There was mention that if the hubs were not tightened that there will be the same amount of free play in porportion to how loose the hubs are? Correct? How do I verify if my hubs are loose or tight?

I greatly appreciate all of your feedback so far! :D

I will "remove" the sway bar bushings to see if the noise is still there, but IMO I truely feel the halfshafts are at cause.

Cheers!

J
 






jsun

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Re: There is clunking from the halfshafts...

lol.. I meant truck not trunk...



J
 






Opera House

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"I actually never noticed any free-play in the CV joint at the transfer case to diff???"

If you take the bolts out of the CV at the transfer case, you can pull the CV apart. To remove this from the transfer case, you must hit the center section with a chisel to knock it off the transfer case flange. Heard there are some updates to this assembly so things may be a little different. In and out movement always has to be allowed. Shaft can be removed without any flashing lights. U joints can wear in an egg shape and CV joints can have wear sections too. By applying a little torque to the shaft as you move it in and out that wear can be detected.
 






jsun

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Originally posted by Opera House
[BIf you take the bolts out of the CV at the transfer case, you can pull the CV apart. To remove this from the transfer case, you must hit the center section with a chisel to knock it off the transfer case flange. Heard there are some updates to this assembly so things may be a little different. In and out movement always has to be allowed. Shaft can be removed without any flashing lights. U joints can wear in an egg shape and CV joints can have wear sections too. By applying a little torque to the shaft as you move it in and out that wear can be detected. [/B]

Opera House,

Thanks for the informative info. I do have to disco the driveshaft from the front diff to diagnose a small vibration I am getting in the gas pedal under load, but I think were talking about two different areas here.

I have inwards/outwards freeplay in the halfshafts connecting to the auto hubs and front diff. I mean maybe more then a 1/2" of play. It's very loose to move the halfshaft around also. I also think this contributes to the vibration under load but will be able to determine that better after removal of the upper driveshaft as per your notes...;)

Thanks man! or am I confusing myself?

J
 






nole99

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just curious if you ever solved this clunk ... I think I may be experiencing cv failure in a similiar fashion....


TIA
 






jsun

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Originally posted by nole99
just curious if you ever solved this clunk ... I think I may be experiencing cv failure in a similiar fashion....


TIA

LOL... Ma and my lazy azz... No!

I was actualy going to remove my front drive shaft and stablizer links this weekend!!! For sure... I will post with results, but never did find out if I have tooo much play in my half shafts. I Figured I was going to have to take it to a front end shop to clarify this???

Cheers,

J
(If I get an answer, I'll let you know bro)
 






Jefe

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Originally posted by GJarrett
I think the diffys are utilizied in multiple applications, I've heard that Dodge Durangoes use an extremely similar setup and uses C-clips.... maybe one factory makes all of the axleshafts and builds them so that both applications can use the same shaft.
This "c-clip" groove is sopposed to have a circlip in it. That is what keeps the the half shaft locked into the diff. All my rebuilt half-shafts came with a new circlip already installed on the shaft.
 






nole99

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Originally posted by jsun
LOL... Ma and my lazy azz... No!

I was actualy going to remove my front drive shaft and stablizer links this weekend!!! For sure... I will post with results, but never did find out if I have tooo much play in my half shafts. I Figured I was going to have to take it to a front end shop to clarify this???

Cheers,

J
(If I get an answer, I'll let you know bro)

I bet we have the same darn problem ... I have about the same amount of play as you see my thread here: rattle and clunk in front wheel well

on the second page I have pics ... lemme know I am heading back to the dealer first thing tommorrow and will let you know ...

Jefe ... thanks for chiming in ... do you think our free play could be caused by the circlips missing or failed?? I am getting a loud clank between the CV and diff when I move the cv in and out

TIA
 






Jefe

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I know that the first time I ever pulled a half axle it was a pain. took a prybar and a sledge. Ford reccomends replacing the circlip every time its used, but I put the same shafts back in and the next time it was much easier to pull the shaft. So it doesn't take much to wear out the circlip. I don't recall having any play when I got the truck. I did have play after I put in the Powertrax, but thats because it isn't properly machined to accept the circlip.
Also, with as much play as the pictures are showing, the axle seal probably isn't doing any good, and i noticed the axle is actually rusting. May want to check the diff fluid.

If it were me, I'd grab a couple circlips and axle seals from Ford and pull the front end apart. While you're doing that you'd be able to check all the other componnents for wear at that time; Tie rods, ball joints, hub assemblies, CV joints, axle bearings, and diff fluid (I'd change it out while you got it all apart).
 



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jsun

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Originally posted by nole99
I bet we have the same darn problem ... I have about the same amount of play as you see my thread here:

I'm sure it's the exact same issue! Man were soooo close, only that you have spent alot more time and money into this.

See here is my senerio: my clunking is always noticable when going over bumpy pavement or rough terain. I also feel vibration in the gas pedal under load, but not all the time. Some days my truck feels like new, other days it feels like a buket of bolts, or good and bad in one day. So my problem is intermitent. Execpt I always, always, get the clunking. I am still to remove my front drive shaft tomorrow(I had beter do it) to isolate this vibration from the front end, and take it from there???

I have had an allingment done, tie-rod ends replaced, and ball joints are fine.


Do we have anyone with a second gen to compare if this freeplay in the cv is from the factory, or if this c clip was broken and requireing replacement???

What is involved to install this c clip??? It sounds like the front end has to be taken appart???

Cheers!

J
 






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