Rear Diff Check... | Page 2 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Rear Diff Check...


The Problem....


One of my Wheel Lug Studs sheared off so i bought a set of 5 Studs and Bolts from Rock Auto - Bray the old stud out with a soft hammer and hammer the new one in!

How to remove the Axleshafts:

1) Drain CV Oil - Loosen all the cover bolts, the lower ones a little more and gently prise the cover away from the Diff and the oil will drain (Do not damage the Diff or Cover when prising off, any tight bolts use penetrating oil as i wouldn't want to deal with a sheared bolt on the diff!

2) Clean the Cover inside and out using rags, a gasket scraper and wet and dry paper with oil on to smooth the gasket mating surfaces. Clean all the bolts by holding their head in a set of mole grips and wire brushing the threads to remove all old RTV Sealant and other gunk. Sand the outer face of the cover where the bolts sit to ensure a good bolt fit when replacing:



3) Remove Oil filler cap from the rear of the diff using a 3/8 square socket head (It will be threadlocked but should come off without issue) On removing mine i had 3mm of gunk on it's internal magnet! - Clean it all off and wite brush the thread.


4) The Diff Internals..


5) To remove the Axleshafts take a 8mm ring spannner to the pinion shaft retaining bolt (i rotated the CV internals upwards so the bolt was at the top point 45 degrees towards me)
- Loosen the bolt until it's just resting in its hole.
- Put a piece of cardboard into the CV at the bottom of the pinion shaft that the bolt holds in, that way when you remove the bolt the shaft will not slide downwards into the CV casing.
- Slide the bolt away from the shaft and gently push the shaft upwards removing it from the top and placing it aside, remove the retaining bolt. (NOTE: Do not rotate the gears at all when the shaft is out - they may drop out!) All these parts will slide out easily with minimal finger pressure.
- To remove the axleshafts lightly push with 2 fingers on the wheel end of the axleshaft (This is where the shim play comes into it. As you push on the axleshaft the Diff end will be pushed towards the centre of the Diff (It was previously prevented moving inwards by the pinion shaft - now removed) Keep the pressure on the axelshaft and as you push in you will see a "C" Clip on the end - This is what attaches it to the diff, remove using Needle nose pliers (You may need to rotate it in it's guide using a screwdriver)


- Do the axleshafts one at a time and gently slide them out from the wheel end - all these parts will move freely, one done put the Pinion Shaft and bolt back in for temporary to prevent the Diff Cogs falling out.


5) Inspect the shafts at the wheel bearing end (This is a knackered one where the bearing has eaten the axleshaft:)


6) Reassembly is the reverse of removal, make sure to grease the wheel bearings and i coated the Axleshafts with a thin coat of grease to aid reassembly, put the C-Clips bag in and use a new pinion shaft lock bolt (£2.50 ish from Frauds) as mine had worn and i agree with Mounty, i wouldn't want to deal with a sheared one either....


7) I used RTV Sealant for the gasket, apply and bolt the cover bolts up on a criss-cross pattern and allow to cure.


8) To refill the oil i used Lucas Oil 75W 140 with no modifier at this time (Seems to be running fine!) I used an old Comma ATF 1 Litre Bottle with it's internal spout to pour the oil into the refill hole (Should take around 2.5 - 3Litres) Threadlock the Filler Cap and replace!


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how did the bearing removal go?

Morning Jim, I ended up putting it all back together without doing the bearings as I needed it back on the road asap. I know I need a slide hammer with a special attachment to pull the bearings out, I just need to find details on the attachment, then I'll attack the bearings!

Thanks for the description and clear photos. This is a real help to those of us who intend having a go as well. I finally managed to get under the vehicle and check the diff tags and although they're not very clear at all (even after cleaning it a bit), what I could make out is as follows:
3L73 88 9FO(?)
The other tag reads 75w140 Synth Oil Only just as yours does.
There's oil on the underside of the diff pointing to a leaking seal somewhere, so I need to be checking the level even if I don't do anything more serious at the moment.

I did the bearings on mine a month ago using a Clark Slide hammer from Machine Mart, no special attachement was needed and I used the 2 leg internal puller. The first one came out in 40 mins of pulling, the second took 4 hours!.

I used a normal bearing on one side (no shaft damage) and an axle saver bearing on the other.

I still have the diff pinion seal to do, but as I broke my breaker bar trying to undo the pinion nut it will have to wait.

Good luck on the bearings