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Gear oil leaking from passenger end of front axel.. Advice?


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Old 02-12-2011, 05:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gear oil leaking from passenger end of front axel.. Advice?


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2004 4x4 --- there is gear oil leaking from the front axel housing, at the passenger side end, between the end of the axel housing and the start of the half axel. Seal gone I think.

I though it was slow enough that I could just squirt some gear oil (synthetic 75-140 is what the dealer recomends, though 2004 manual says 75-90) every oil change, but this time, it seemed VERY low, about an inch below the fill hole (supposed to be .38"). And took a pint to get up to correct level. I am thinking it may be time to fix it right.

First, I need to double check the vent. If that is plugged it could be forcing oil out when it gets warm. But I doubt...

Assuming that the oil seal needs replaced, the axel needs pulled. Shop manual shows a slide hammer, but apparently, Ford used some sort of "circlip" which holds the axel in place. Manual says to replace these when re-installing the axels.

Unfortunately, the manual does not say exactly whether the old circlip comes out with the axel, or gets left behind to be removed later in the tear down -- the manual just describes a complete tear down, which of course I don't need.

If figure if I have to completely tear down the differential, then this is best left for a stealership.

Anyone have experience replaceing the seals up front?
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Same problem, Cheap DIY repair.

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This is not too bad of a repair. Heavy lifting but not too complex. The front diff has to be unbolted ( 3 bolts) and the 8 or so bolts on each side of the differential shaft and . You can then lower the entire front diff. unit (very heavy) to the ground. You dont mess with the hubs or even take the tires off. At this point you can take the diff cover off and remove the axel "c" clip. Slide the axel out of the diff and remove and replace seal in the axel tube. I've glossed around a few details do to lack of memory but I will attach a few pics that may help. While its almost easy bringing down you will need lots of help lifting the unit it back up into place. The seal was 20 bucks maybe and of course replace the diff fluid.
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Old 02-25-2011, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have an 06 4x4 and have developed a wet spot in probably the same location. I saw a drop of oil on the garage floor. If you take it in to have the gasket replaced I would love to know what that cost. When I see the spot on the floor I just see $$$. I guess as long as I only see a drip once in a while I am ok but I know it isnt going to fix itself
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mitch94 View Post
I have an 06 4x4 and have developed a wet spot in probably the same location. I saw a drop of oil on the garage floor. If you take it in to have the gasket replaced I would love to know what that cost. When I see the spot on the floor I just see $$$. I guess as long as I only see a drip once in a while I am ok but I know it isnt going to fix itself

First, beware that the second post that describes dropping the whole front axel is NOT applicable to 03-06.

You do not have to do it that way. I sucessfully completed the fix this past week, as part of a larger front end overhaul with new springs (got rid of LLS air).

You have to remove the hub, knuckle, springs, CV joint and lower arm. That is actually the HARD part. But if you are in there replacing other parts anyhow, by all means fix the leak too.

You then attach a slide hammer to the end of the axle and pop it out. Earlier axels require one to remove a differential cover and pop a "C clip" off. But starting with 03 Expy (04 in F150 I think), the axel is held in place with a spring "Circlip" that fits in a groove on the axel and snaps into another groove in the splines inside the differential.

Ford manual says to replace this circlip whenever the axle is removed. Cost $18 from Ford. For the life of me, the original and my replacement look identical, but I try to follow FoMoCo recomendations.

With the axle out, you can remove the oil seal. Here, you have to be really careful, as the housing is aluminum. I used a chisel to "implode" the seal till I could get ahold of its edge. Whatever you do, don't pry around too much useing the aluminum houseing as a fulcrum, or you'll bugger the houseing up.

Once I had the oil seal out, I polished the aluminum houseing with some fine emory cloth and then steel wool. Don't get filings on the outer bearing, which is close and exposed at this point.

Then you tap the new seal in carefully. If you have a set of 1" drive sockets, one of those in the right size would make a dandy seal driver, but I didn't, so I used a piece of wood and carfully tapped in a circle keeping the new oil seal "true". If you get it crooked into the houseing, you'll ruin it or worse, damaging the houseing as well.

The seal was $12 at Ford....

Once the new seal is in, lube it with some grease and make sure that the axle has some lube on it as well -- it is not possible to prefectly insert the axel back in without touching the seal once or twice and you do not want to promptly ruin your new seal.

The axel, with the new circlip at the end, will slip into some sort of tapered area right before the splines in the diff, and then it will "pop" back into place. no hammer needed, just a good shove.

And you are done......
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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OK, I bought a 2000 expedition with some suspension damage, basically the only thing holding the front right tire on the truck was the upper ball joint every thing else was busted. So I got that fixed and then found a cracked axle housing on the left side. Any way now both of my axles keep coming out of the differential. After reading this post I am thinking that since I did not remove a clip nor did I replace a clip that is my problem.

Does, anyone have a picture of the clip and where they go? Can I just remove the cover to replace them?

Thanks slim
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by slim View Post
OK, I bought a 2000 expedition with some suspension damage, basically the only thing holding the front right tire on the truck was the upper ball joint every thing else was busted. So I got that fixed and then found a cracked axle housing on the left side. Any way now both of my axles keep coming out of the differential. After reading this post I am thinking that since I did not remove a clip nor did I replace a clip that is my problem.

Does, anyone have a picture of the clip and where they go? Can I just remove the cover to replace them?

Thanks slim
My 2000 Expy has a problem with the passenger side axle shaft. I don't think the C clip is in there or the end of the axle is broke or something. I can slide it into the splines but it comes back out when you drive.
Any more info on the C clip?
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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I just had my axle seal replaced on the front passenger side a couple months ago. The dealer replaced it as I was not willing to do the repair during the winter months, and I wasn't sure I could do it within a day. It only cost $175 for them to do it. I know the seal only costs about $15, but having them do it was worth it for me.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I don't think my issue is just a seal. The axle shaft shouldn't be moving around freely. I am guessing the C-clip is broke or the axle is broken. I guess I will drop the axle so I can get the cover off and look in there. My wife got stuck in the mud since the front axle wasn't working so I'd like to get it fixed.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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So I'm a little vague on this, for the 2003 EB front left drive shaft removal, I don't need to pull the cover off the diff, correct? Just a new seal and Circlip for the shaft end?

Help...
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tarafied1 View Post
I don't think my issue is just a seal. The axle shaft shouldn't be moving around freely. I am guessing the C-clip is broke or the axle is broken. I guess I will drop the axle so I can get the cover off and look in there. My wife got stuck in the mud since the front axle wasn't working so I'd like to get it fixed.
I'm having the same problem, (2001 Expedition) my passenger axle shaft is sliding out of the housing. I have priced a salvage differential at $200 so that is an option, but I would like to know if anyone has found the root cause of this issue.
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