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I am hearing noise from my rear differential on 2005 Mercury Mariner

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This 2005 4WD 6 cyl. Mercury Mariner has 130,000 miles. I am hearing noise ( grinding, pulsating ) from differential.Fluid levels, shifting functions are all OK. Metal shavings in pan are present. Is it ready to fail?
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Sounds like the differential bearings are worn out, grinding up and failure is imminent. It's cheaper to address this before the gears are damaged by the metal chips in the oil.