Got a 'lil problem here. On my wife's '01 Exp, a rear axle bearing seal was shot and leaking 85W all over the parking brake. I drained the case, pulled the axle, cleaned everything up, R&R'd the outer bearing and leaking seal. Problem is the two differential pinion gears came out when I removed the U-clip holding the axle in; question is, how do I position the pinion gears back in the case, aligned with the holes and get the pinion shaft back in? Do I have to remove the diff case/pumpkin from the axle to get these things installed and lined up again? (Hope not) Any help/direction would be appreciated. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
This happened to me too and it took me a little bit to figure it out. You are talking about the small gears right?
They don't wedge or pop in if you have tried that. All you have to do is place them in there so they are touching the other gears they normally contact and then spin....the axle I think.....while holding the small gears in place so they will be sucked into the correct position.
It's been quite a couple of years since I did mine so I apologize for the somewhat vague answer. I honestly don't remember if it is the axle you spin or something else. But you should be able to figure it out from what I wrote.
2001 XLT 4.6L
Advice is often worth exactly what you paid for it.
Thanks for the input, but sadly I'm not there yet. I have tried what you describe, which BTW is what the Ford shop manual prescribes (though when the differential case is out of the axle), but there doesn't seem to be enogh room for the lil' pinion gear to walk/spin into place, let alone the thrust washer that it sits on. It's almost as if the two mating side rears (that the axle ends fit into) need to move out to let the pinion gear fit closer into the centerline, but judious prying with a bar isn't moving the axle ends out much at all as far as I can see. Gotta be missing something here...
Thanks for the link; nice pix. This is exactly what I'm trying to do. I think I've got a line on the problem, will try it out after work tonight. I'm going to remove the brake caliper on the other side I haven't touched and see if that doesn't loosen up the assembly some and allow the two axle ends to spread. This is the 9.75" Traction Lock unit and the book shows there's a cupped-washer spring behind the clutch stack on each side that pushes the side gears toward the center. If it's still too tight after removing the caliper, I'm thinking of rigging up a bolt and sleeve nut to spread the axle ends to compress those cup washers and give some clearance. I'll let you know how it goes.
My method for separating the axle ends/compressing the cupped-washer springs worked, with modifications.
- On the side I wasn't working on, I removed the brake caliper so that the caliper wouldn't be inhibiting axle lateral movement.
- I used a 1/4 x 20 sleeve/coupler nut and a 1" long bolt screwed all the way in (In retrospect I probably could have gone with 5/16" or 3/8", since the axle ends were dished/countersunk and the ID of the countersink bore would have taken something a lil' larger than 1/4", but I didn't think to measure it before I picked up the hardware). I then cut the nut/bolt combo to 3/4" long; the spider gear pinion/king pin is 7/8" OD, so I figured something 3/4" long would fit. I inserted the cut nut/bolt between the axle ends and started unscrewing it/opening it up and the axles started separating; I then realized I needed a nut under the bolt head because most of the bolt heat was disappearing into the axle end countersink and I couldn't get a good grip on it with a wrench. Took it out, inserted a 1/4 x 20 nut between the bolt and coupler nut and it worked, but was almost too long to fit between the axle ends when closed down tight; in the future I'd cut the bolt/nut/coupler down to 3/4" long and go.
- With the spreader nut placed between the axle ends, I unscrewed the nut and pushed the axle ends out; this worked like a champ. Inserted one spider gear and its thrust washer into a window in the diff case, rotated one wheel while holding the other stationary with my knee and the gear walked right into position. I partially inserted the pinion pin into the diff case so the one spider gear wouldn't go anywhere when I realized I had to insert both spider gears at once; needing two hands to hold the spiders in place, I gave a friend a call and he came over and turned one wheel while I alternately held and released the other wheel with my leg. The two spider gears walked right into position; I removed the spreader assembly, tapped in the pinion pin, put a dab of Loctite on the pinion retaining pin threads and finished it up. It took me a while to figure out, but without the spreader this wouldn't have worked.
- After my buddy left, I siliconed and reattached the diff cover, the antisway bar, the antiroll (?) bar and drive shaft. After church tomorrow I'll refill the diff with 85W140 with 4 oz. of that friction modifier they call for, reattach the brake calipers and should be good to go. What a workout.
- Note to self: DO NOT LET THE SPIDER GEARS MOVE OUT OF POSITION WHEN REMOVING THE U-CLIPS THAT HOLD THE AXLES IN PLACE. This job could have been done a week ago; live and learn.
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