Originally Posted by mitch94
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......