Rear Differential Repair on 2003 Ford Explorer

I just had another front wheel bearing replaced (again) and the mechanic says that he thinks there is a problem with the rear differential, but he can't do it (not a Ford mechanic). He said to take it to Ford, but that the cost might make more sense to get rid of the vehicle. Any idea the price range of rear differential repair/replacement for a vehicle with 67K miles?

by in Canton, MA on September 22, 2010
4 answers 4 comments
ANSWER by on September 22, 2010
If the differential needs rebuilding its a 8.3 to 9 hour job depending if its a positraction or not plus parts. But usually when a ring and pinion in the rear end is failing you will hear a howling sound when accelerating or decelerating, So I would call some shops from the directory to find one that rebuilds rear differentials as its still cheaper than replacing the whole vehicle and you can locate a shop here http://repairpal.com/directory?address=02021&car_brand_names=Ford
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COMMENT by on September 22, 2010
Would you guess this to be likely less than $1500? I just put over $2500 into the vehicle last year, and while I don't like putting more money into it, I would rather do that since this is all paid off and I don't want yet another car loan right now. But I keep seeing that 2003 was a bad year for Ford drivetrains and don't want to waste anymore..
COMMENT by on September 22, 2010
Here's the people we use out here in the bay area Santa Clara Truck Wreckers 800 Comstock St Santa Clara, CA 95054-3404 (408) 727-0916 Maybe they can give you a better idea of the exact cost as they exchange rear ends and rebuild them daily
ANSWER by on September 22, 2010
Would you guess this to be likely less than $1500? I just put over $2500 into the vehicle last year, and while I don't like putting more money into it, I would rather do that since this is all paid off and I don't want yet another car loan right now. But I keep seeing that 2003 was a bad year for Ford drivetrains and don't want to waste anymore..
COMMENT by on September 22, 2010
There are a couple of TSB's that apply to rear noise - one for rear wheel hub and bearing replacements and the other for replacement of the ring and pinion gear set and related components. The concerns were common enough that they put a repair kit together of all the parts you would need. I would guess the pricing should be less than $1500.00. It may be a good idea to consult a local dealer and get a price on this kit - refer to TSB 05-23-03. They are different part kits depending on axle ratio. Don't rule out the rear wheel bearing noise too, as they are fairly common to occur as well. Would be a shame to invest money in your differential only to find out your wheel bearings were at fault. Good luck.
ANSWER by on October 03, 2010
i would say a rear end for that truck would run you around 500 used
COMMENT by on April 06, 2015
I paid 350 brand new from eBay
ANSWER by on February 09, 2011
It is doubtful, but not impossible to have two nearly indentical failures on the same truck, but it depends on the duty cycle. A truck being operated beyond its' upper load limit, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, can impose destructive loads on an axle bearing long before damage occurs to the carrier assmbly. An overlburdened or improperly loaded truck imposes beyond design limits loads on the bearings and that alone can cause bearing faillure. Other factors may include incorrect differential lubricant, an undiagnosed diferential oil leak that allowed the lubricant level to drop below minimum to provide axle bearing lubrication. I was a Ford shop Foreman, and a Master Certified Tech. I begin every repair with an assessment of the causes of the operational concerns, and perform repairs accordingly. I was discussing quality repair yesterday with a junior techand I realized I have not had even one comeback in over ten years. Using the correct diagnostic routine will help direct you to the causes and will lead to a superior fault resolution and is preferred Instead of just replacing the failed parts. This will provide you with long term solutions. First determine if you are actually operating above GVWR, and stop doing it. Verify correct grade and level of differntial lubricant and that you are using the correct tire diameter and pay future attention to weight distribution.
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