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1997 - 2003 F150 1997-2003 F150, 1997-1999 F250LD, 7700 & 2004 F150 Heritage SPONSORED BY:

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Old 05-14-2011, 01:05 PM
thefordguy thefordguy is offline
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1999 F-150 with possible frozen front diff

So, I'm wondering if anyone else can tell me. I was at my Ford dealer today for inspection and was told I need about $2,000.00 in work to pass inspection.

The list, upper and lower ball joints, idler arm, rear shocks, rear drive shaft u joints, and tie rods. I'm like great! I figure I can do all the ball joints, shocks, tie rods, and rear drive shaft u joints myself. For only about $400 in parts, I'm not paying that much for labor.

What got me was he said my front diff is frozen. When jacked up, the passenger side wheel will not spin by hand. It acts like it is locked and the whole diff moves back and forth. He says that this will eventually snap and needs to be fixed. I noticed this myself, but for some reason thought this was normal. The driver side wheel spins by hand like you would think. So, my question, Is this true? Is that not normal for a front diff and can it actually snap? What are my options? Rebuild the diff or just get a whole new one or even a junk yard replacement. Thoughts are welcomed.

Side note to all of this. The truck drives fine and does not make any front end noise. 4x4 works fine also and did all last winter. So, I'm confused by this assessment.
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Old 05-14-2011, 04:58 PM
bigdave1 bigdave1 is offline
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front wheel locked

well isnt that amazing!, first off, find yourself a non-rip off dealer. Period. Next, if this wheel is "locked up" just how did you drive it in to them in the first place? Did you notice anything out-of-normal upon driving there? if not, check this out. If this is a 4x4 check to see if this wheel is engaged to the driveline, in otherwords, is the 4x4 switch engaged? is the truck in gear or park? if so, then well, the wheel probably won't turn.
Does this truck have manual 4x4 locks on the axles?.if so, are they engaged? is one side open (un-engaged) while the other side is locked in?
My truck has 260k+ miles and yes, time for ball joints, but the only other item that was worn at inspection in the steering intermediate shafrt, the cross joints on the steering colum shaft itself.
Upper ball joints are what wear out, lower ones rarely "go-out" as they have rare movement or maybe 20% movement compared to the upper ones.
If the truck is drivable, take it to a better shop or find a good mechanic friend to help you check it yourself, is my advice, good luck!
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:52 PM
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i will probably agree with you that the front end has no major problem, but lower ball joints are a BIG problem on these trucks. You probably go thru 2-3 times as many lower ball joints as upper. It is well worth the time and money to buy MOGG lower joints when you need replacements.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:38 PM
thefordguy thefordguy is offline
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I will agree with what they say needs to be replaced for the ball joints and the drive shaft u joints. The Tie rods also. The "frozen front diff" has got to be wrong. I mean, wouldn't the truck drive funny if that was really the case? I believe my 2002 F150 was the same way when jacked up in the front. The passenger side wheel will not turn, acts like the hub is locked in, but the driver's side is free.

One thing I did not try is putting the trans in neutral and then try again. I will have to try that once I start working on the truck.

Steve, I was just going to ask what parts manufacturer do people suggest. I'm looking to get my parts from autozone and noticed they carry MOGG. I should also note that I plowed with the truck all last winter with no problems.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:51 AM
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I use a lot of the generic parts from Auto Zone. They are economical. One problem i did have were the lower ball joints. I got there "better" version and they went out in 25K miles.. Last time i bought MOOG off of e-bay and they have been great. Didnt know they sold them thru Auto Zone.. I bought the upper joints, brake discs, brake pads, spark plugs, gaskets, thermostat, etc at Auto Zone and have had no problem.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:15 PM
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I dont really get this...If the pass side front tire wont spin when you jack it up, then how did you get there? I agree that you defintely need to get another qualified shop. The following is from the shop manual " A vacuum shift motor on the front axle engages the differential with the right axleshaft via a shift lever which moves a shift fork which slides a coupler cluster gear, meshing it with a cluster gear shaft"
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:22 PM
thefordguy thefordguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96f150 View Post
I dont really get this...If the pass side front tire wont spin when you jack it up, then how did you get there? I agree that you defintely need to get another qualified shop. The following is from the shop manual " A vacuum shift motor on the front axle engages the differential with the right axleshaft via a shift lever which moves a shift fork which slides a coupler cluster gear, meshing it with a cluster gear shaft"
Yeah, I was just reading in my Haynes repair manual that the "vacuum shift motor on the front axle engages the differential with the right axleshaft". What I need is someone else who has a 1997-2003 F-150 4x4 to jack up their front end and see if they have the same results. Does only the driver side tire spin when in park or do both sides spin freely? Do they notice the right axle tube moving some when turning the passenger side tire?

Once I get it up this coming weekend, I'm going to play with my front axle shift fork and see if I get different results.

On a previous note, I notice now in the writeup they gave me that they are saying I need upper and lower ball joints on the Left side ( I take this a driver side ) but the funny thing is, the upper control arm on the left side is less than a year old. So, how can that be. I'm just overall really disappointed right now with this Ford Dealership. I just do not know if I should just take it to another shop, pay the money to have them tell me or just go ahead and fix what I believe is wrong and then take it. Just sucks!
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:00 PM
thefordguy thefordguy is offline
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Just to follow up on what I have found out with the front diff. Come to find out it was in 4x4. The 4wd actuator had failed and left the front diff locked as though in 4x4. Never caught it until I noticed that my front end would no longer engage. The shift arm had finally moved out of 4x4 position thus leaving me stuck in 2wd.

My mileage hasn't been great, around 14mpgs highway but now since replacing the actuator I have noticed a rise. First tank was 15.9mpg.

Go figure with the Ford dealership for not diagnosing the problem correctly. Front axle still looks fine. So, check your actuators to make sure your truck is actually shifting correctly.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:00 PM
 
 
 
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