I noticed oil under my front passenger side last week and thought it was motor oil until further examination revealed it was gear oil. I traced it back to where the front axle comes out of the differential . Any suggestions short of pulling the axle and replacing the seal. It leaks about a table spoon a day and seams to more noticable in cold weather. Has anyone else had this problem/suggestions ?
Common problem. I had mine taken care of last year (under extended warrranty) Not sure what it would cost, but I think it's about 1 1/2 hrs labor plus parts so depending on the labor near you maybe $150-200.
I wound up having the seal replaced. I hope it last more than a year for what it cost. I noticed it after an extreme cold spell and a long highway drive. I wondered if the oil got hot and expanded so I asked the dealer if there was a vent and they said yes and I asked them to make sure it was clear and they said they did.
Here is what I had to do on my 2003 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4. My leak was exactly what you mentioned - about a teaspoon from the passenger side front axle where the flange is between the CV half shaft and the axle shaft coming from the differential.
Remove brake caliper and rotor. Remove anti lock brake sensor from knuckle. Remove dust cap and retaining nut from CV shaft. Remove steering knuckle. I tried to cheat by not removing the lower ball joint from the knuckle - just the upper ball joint & steering tie rod end. It is VERY difficult to get CV shaft out this way. It barely clears the knuckle. I just did not have a fork to separate lower ball joint. Remove 6 bolts on flange between CV shaft and axle shaft w/12mm 12pt socket. Remove CV half shaft. The axle shaft is held into the differential by a retaining clip/ circlip inside the differential. You can use a maul to beat the axle shaft out from the differential but the retaining clip will fall into the differential (requiring the removal of the diff cover). You may be able to reuse the clip if you can straighten it but its worth it to go to dealer for this low cost item as you do not want axle shaft to be loose in diff. While at dealer, you should also get the axle shaft seal. Mine cost $13 at dealer. I found out that Timken #3604 I got at parts store for $10 is not the right size. Remove 4 bolts from axle tube to diff and 1 bolt from axle tube to cross member. Remove axle tube from vehicle and use seal puller to remove bad seal. My seal would not come out with my seal puller. I had to chisel it out. The axle tube is very brittle and I chipped it a little. Replace seal, put axle shaft in tube, remount tube to diff and secure with retaining clip from inside diff. Replace everything else you removed to get to this point.
So after two full days of this adventure, I still have the same leak. Maybe even worse. I'm very disappointed and wish I'd not even bothered. The only thing I can think of that I did wrong was I should have lubed the rubber part of the seal with some wheel bearing grease before inserting the axle shaft.
gbasplen, probably putting some grease on the garter spring of the seal would have helped. sometimes that spring will get popped out when inserting the shaft. some type of grease to hold that spring in place when inserting the shaft does the trick sometimes.