My 05 AWD Escape has developed a noise that I suspect may be the center support bearing in the drive shaft. I wanted to find out how much one would cost so I started calling the local parts dealers. I found that none of them lists this part. I called the dealer only to find that the bearing is not serviceable. They quoted me a price of $745.00 for the entire drive shaft. It’s a good thing that I was sitting down. I found this site (Ford Truck Enthusiasts) in April of 2004 when I refused to give in to the dealer and pay what they wanted to repair the blend door in the heater of my Ford Ranger. I fixed my broken blend door for the price of a finish nail, which by the way is still working just fine. I am not ready to give in to Ford on this just yet. I did some research and found a center bearing listed on Ebay for $57.98 plus $10.50 shipping. It says that if fits Ford Escapes and is not available through the dealers. Does anyone know if this might work? Thanks.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
I'm not 100% sure yet if it even needs a bearing. I havent had time to look at it (the vehicle is no longer our daily driver) but should have an opportunity sometime in the next few weeks. According to Ford, it is not serviceable. I looked at the shaft and it sure looks serviceable to me. The drive shaft appears like it can be taken apart (big nut behind the yoke) just like they have for years. It looks the bearing should press off the shaft. It looks to me like Ford wont to sell the parts separately because they can make more money selling an entire shaft. I have a line on a replacement bearing if it turns out that I need one. I'll let everyone know what happens.
I would not say its ford wanting to make more money but that the fact would be that replacing just the bearing is going to throw the balance of the shaft off and plus not installing it correctly, then something happening to shaft would result in customer blaming lets say ford on there wrong doing.
If bearing was replaceable and you or dealer did do this repair, then 9 out of 10 times customer will complain about vibration still. So in return the supplier will not just sell bearing alone and will request that ford does not sell the bearing only. So please do not jump to a conclusion that ford wants to make money so fast. I have dealt with ford and suppliers on similar issues. I believe its about fixing it right the first time and not several times over.
The center bearing is a support for the drive shaft. It won't affect balance. Many light and heavy trucks have replaceable center bearings. When a drive shaft repair shop balances a two piece shaft they do not do it together, they do it separately and without the center bearing. Having been in fleet maintenance, with ASE certs, for 30+ years and having worked with Ford reps since the fleets were primarily Ford vehicles I can say they ARE there to make money. ( Ford didn't need a bailout! ) Many, many parts of equal or better quality can be purchased independently of FOMOCO and some come from the same place Ford gets them ........ for less money. I'm Ford to the bone but will purchase parts where the best value can be realized. The $745 quoted above is unreasonably high. fordparts.com
Facts, not thoughts.
Now in the case of this Escape drive shaft, the bearing may not be user/owner replaceable because it appears be installed before the joint yoke is welded on the tube. (The Escape I put the shaft in was a vehicle I repaired several years ago for my Mom. So, at the moment all I have to look at are the photos I took of it and/or the Parts Diagram.) Still a competent drive shaft shop COULD replace it for far less than $745 and it be as good as a new one from Ford. Even with replacing the "head" section which you can buy for $150 plus the center bearing for $70 you could still come out way ahead. I would guessimate labor to fix a shaft like this, installing the parts above, would be around $200. Say $420 for a $745 shaft.........
If you are one to drive into a Ford dealership service department and say "fix-it" then the price of parts like this become more reasonable because you are saving on labor costs, which now are $125-$150+ an hour. The cost of THIS part being "reasonable" is all dependent on you, your ability and willingness to "do-it-yourself", time constraints and the thickness of your wallet.
'94 F150 4x4 4.9L/5-speed/3.55(H9) 166K miles
'02 Escape XLT 3.0/auto 165K miles
'14 TRANSIT Connect
I had a similar vibration in my 05 escape. Thought it was the bearing also. Quoted $1700 for new drive shaft with bearing. Went to a family owned repair shop paid them $40 to drop drive shaft and check it out. Turned out to be 2 u joints bearing was fine.
Guess I'm saying go get it looked at elsewhere might be something cheaper and easier to fix.
Call a tranny shop I did they said they could replce just the bearing for around $320 parts and labor just an fyi.
I havent looked at it yet as it is not a daily driver and I have not had time. (too busy at work) I do intend on making 100% sure before I purchase anything. It is not a vibration as much as it is a growling noise that sounds like it is coming from right under the shift lever between the front seats, which is precisely where the center support bearing is. The only decision that I have made thus far is that if I have to purchase an entire drive shaft, which I dont believe that I do, is will be from a bone yard, not from Ford. My drive shaft has a big nut holding the yoke (Just a miniature version of the 1946 Ford truck parked in my barn) and it looks like the center bearing is pressed on the shaft. It sure doesnt look non serviceable to me.
Thanks, I do check the transfer every oil change (3000) miles. It is critical because it only holds 12 oz. It still could be a bearing in the transfer case though even after keeping it full of oil because the transmission is going too, even after ATF changes every 30,000 miles and no abusive driving habits. No matter what the problem is, its going to be expensive. Thanks everyone.
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