• Register Today It's free! This box and some ads will disappear once registered!

PTU/Trans Leak Passenger side Axle

ULDlose

Member
Joined
January 22, 2008
Messages
14
Reaction score
3
City, State
Lyndhurst, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Explorer XLT 3.5 NA
History.
PTU was replaced roughly 3 years ago at 56-58k. Under 5/60k drivetrain warranty.
Present day.
The Explorer now has 113xxx on the clock. I was in the garage and noticed a few spots on the floor where the Explorer rests. When my wife came home with the car I stuck my head under and noticed that the PTU had a oily film on it. I was able to to get a little smear on my finger of course sniff test it and it doesn't smell like gear oil more like Trans fluid threw it up on the quick jacks and couldn't really pin point the leak as the bottom as the bottom of PTU is wet and so is the Trans near the PTU. Fast forward a few days and some research and FSM reading and the evidence of oil sling on the Passenger side of the PTU, I'm pretty sure its the intermediate shaft seal. 2 out of the 5 local ford dealers quoted me 700 to 1000 to do the job but that is only speculation with out of course a diagnostic fee. I have been searching around and could get the required tools and parts for around 4 to 500. Most of the tools I can use to also service my 14 Escape and the Explorer again in the future if need be, so it makes a little sense the upfront cost is so high considering the seal kit and a few extras only come out to like 40 my cost. I have considered just changing out the PTU but I maintain the fluid in it every 20k and it comes out dark but still flows well(I drain/extract and fill it 3 times using the FSM procedure) and very little to any metal particles in after straining the old fluid.

I think that's everything and one to the question.
How many here have attempted this repair successfully? Should I be looking for a underlying issue as to why this seal failed or is it just a poor(S**T) design like the rest of the PTU on Fords part.

Update. Decided to go under car and spray the hole thing down with brake clean to get a better idea of where the leak is coming from. It's definitely the passenger side and migrating over to the bottom of the transmission case. Interesting finding the plastic dust shield moved while spraying brake clean. Reached up and I can free spin it only feeling a slight bit of resistance at certain points of rotation.

So now I'm at the point of. Do I bother replacing the seals and dust cover or for a few hundred more just replace the entire PTU with a new FORD unit roughly 700.
 


Join the Elite Explorers for $20 per year. Gets rid of the ads! New $5 per month "try out" option.

Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links, can add their own profile photo, upload photo attachments in all forums, and Media Gallery, create and save more private conversations, and more. Join Today. Your support is greatly appreciated.




Keith N

Well-Known Member
Joined
July 3, 2016
Messages
124
Reaction score
15
City, State
Midwest
Year, Model & Trim Level
2011 explorer xlt
I think you should pinpoint the source of the leak for sure and the oil type before making any plans. If unable maybe a shop with a lift can do it. If it is trans fluid I would only fix that seal, as your ptu only has 55k miles with several fluid exchanges already. It should be in good shape.
 




mcpcartier

Member
Joined
October 17, 2015
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
City, State
SoCal
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Ex Limited 4WD
is it gear oil or tranny fluid?

Either way its a big job.

If it's tranny fluid the seal inside the shaft/gear on the blue shop towel are leaking. The axle shaft goes through this into the tranny. If it's gear oil then the seal on the PTU cover (on the ground behind the blue towel) is leaking.

If you have time/abilities I'd do it yourself and change all those seals.

My dust shield spins around and feels useless as well.

I have a very small gear oil leak just behind the dust shield...my install...so its on me. I'm not about to pull everything again. I added a drain plug so gear oil swaps are easy now. I'm doing changes every 15k miles or so. Considering that thing only holds 3/4 of a quart I was a little worried with a small leak. But I just did a 5000 mile change to see how much I've lost and it was almost nothing. I'll continue to monitor...push comes to shove I'll pull it and change the seals again.

IMG_9074
 




KayGee

Explorer Addict
Joined
March 27, 2017
Messages
1,421
Reaction score
340
City, State
Farmington, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'16 & '17 PIU
You may want to fix your comment. Ptu capacity is 18 oz (~1/2 qt), not 24 oz (3/4 qt).

Also, dust shields can, and often do, move.
 




onestout

Active Member
Joined
December 28, 2018
Messages
63
Reaction score
5
Year, Model & Trim Level
2015, Explorer XLT 3.5
The seal is $20 from Ford and a couple hour fix at most, book time is 3 hours and even if you have never pulled an axle before it should take at most 4 hours. I don't see where the design issue is with the PTU, just a simple gear box, positioning not the best with the cat right there is the only downfall I currently see, but time will tell
 




mcpcartier

Member
Joined
October 17, 2015
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
City, State
SoCal
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Ex Limited 4WD
The seal is $20 from Ford and a couple hour fix at most, book time is 3 hours and even if you have never pulled an axle before it should take at most 4 hours. I don't see where the design issue is with the PTU, just a simple gear box, positioning not the best with the cat right there is the only downfall I currently see, but time will tell

True....you can do the PTU seal with the PTU in the truck. Watched a couple of online videos and they have a special tube you use to seat the seal. Probably can do it without the special tool with some help. I may break down and do that at some point...on the rainy day list.
 




onestout

Active Member
Joined
December 28, 2018
Messages
63
Reaction score
5
Year, Model & Trim Level
2015, Explorer XLT 3.5
Socket with correct diameter and an extension, put it in through opening left from the axle.
 




mcpcartier

Member
Joined
October 17, 2015
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
City, State
SoCal
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Ex Limited 4WD
Socket with correct diameter and an extension, put it in through opening left from the axle.
with my luck that would work and fix the gear oil leak...then I'd promptly have a problem with the axle seals upon re-installation of the axle. But definitely doable.
 




ULDlose

Member
Joined
January 22, 2008
Messages
14
Reaction score
3
City, State
Lyndhurst, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Explorer XLT 3.5 NA
Well I cleaned up the PTU with brake clean and it has been dry since the day posted this. I have no changes in level of the trans fluid and PTU oil. I keep checking it everyday as its easy to see with out lifting the truck and will be rechecking the fluid later in the week when I have time to throw the truck on the lift. While it is true the PTU seal is easy to change and so is the intermediary shaft seal you need the right tools to do the shaft seal, need the puller and installer for it. Pull the axle do the PTU seal and not change the axle seal you'll probably end up doing the job all over again.
 




ULDlose

Member
Joined
January 22, 2008
Messages
14
Reaction score
3
City, State
Lyndhurst, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2013 Explorer XLT 3.5 NA
The seal is $20 from Ford and a couple hour fix at most, book time is 3 hours and even if you have never pulled an axle before it should take at most 4 hours. I don't see where the design issue is with the PTU, just a simple gear box, positioning not the best with the cat right there is the only downfall I currently see, but time will tell

The design flaw is the lack of easy preventive maintenance, the close proximity to a catalytic converter and low amount of gear oil used in it. Last I checked they are on revision G of this particular PTU, and yet still no drain plug still the same amount of fluid. Just a few changes to bearings and trust washer designs. Other than that its a simple gear box that cost way to much to fix and has short life span, If it had a drain plug it and a regular maintenance schedule it might stand a better chance at lasting longer.
 




peterk9

Staff member
Moderator
Elite Explorer
Joined
December 28, 2010
Messages
31,574
Reaction score
2,430
City, State
Russell, Ontario (Ottawa area)
Year, Model & Trim Level
2020 Aviator Reserve
Callsign
VE3
The design flaw is the lack of easy preventive maintenance, the close proximity to a catalytic converter and low amount of gear oil used in it. Last I checked they are on revision G of this particular PTU, and yet still no drain plug still the same amount of fluid. Just a few changes to bearings and trust washer designs. Other than that its a simple gear box that cost way to much to fix and has short life span, If it had a drain plug it and a regular maintenance schedule it might stand a better chance at lasting longer.
Some of the newer 2016+ Explorers do have a PTU drain plug.

Peter
 




Top