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Ford Expedition Rear End/Differential Problems

My 2002 Ford Expedition has 55,000 miles on it. Took it in for sceduled oil change, dealership came back and said the rear differential has a leak. The service guy explained how we had to pay for all the fluids too because once the differential was opened up for the repair, the fluids are lost. I pointed out that we had an extended warranty on the Expedition, and he suggested that it might pay for part of the labor. As I read my warranty, it pays for anything not considered maintenance or normal wear and tear. It lists a number of things that are not covered, but rear differential repairs are not mentioned under this. I have owned many vehicles, several with 150,000 miles or more. I have never had a rear differential leak before, so it seems to me that it is not a maintenance or normal wear and tear situation. At 55,000, I feel this is an odd thing to occur, particuliarly since I have followed the maintenance book and done additional maintenance as it was suggested; I don't drive in any unusual or challenging conditions, and this is a 2wd vehicle. Has anyone had this problem with their Expedition with similiar mileage? Does anyone know if this should be a warranty situation? I suspect I'm being sold something that is either not needed, or that I shouldn't be paying for. Please help!


  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    Try the Ford Expedition Owners: Problems & Solutions discussion instead. More owners will be tracking that one.

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  • Hi, I just read your post on the differential leaking. I am an owner of a 2002 Ford Explorer, and I am thinking I have this exact problem. I have 70K miles, I am the second owner on the vehicle. I too have an extended warranty. Mine is through Wynn Plus. How about yours? I have noticed stains on the concrete in both of my designated parking areas at home and at work. The stains are coming in the rear between the two back tires. I am anticipating the same problem you're having and wondering what your outcome was and what you're final costs were for something like this.
  • A leaking differential is not really a big deal if it's comming out of the differential. I would suggest just fixing it yourelf. Just take the bolts out of the back of the cover and pry it off - make sure both surfaces are real clean and then use silicon to seal it back on. There are a number of reasons that seal can start leaking. It would only take you about 20 mins.
  • I ended up having the truck in the shop before your post. Can you believe that in one visit, only two months after owning the vehicle, they had to do $1800 worth of work which included big items like replacing the Selenoid pack in the transmission and valve, adusting the bands, reprogramming the pcm and then replacing the seal in the rear differential. Then of course all the fluids. Thankfully my out of pocket was only $300 and the rest was covered with the extd. warranty.
  • lequialequia Posts: 1
    We were driving to a ski resort last week when I began to experience what felt like "shaking" in the rear end. It was almost as if the rear end was "jello" jiggling from side to side. I was on a snowy icy road but this was pretty severe shaking not caused by the snow and ice. I felt like I was loosing control of the vehicle so I slammed on the break. The vehicle spun 380 degrees and landed in a snow bank which kept it from toppling over the edge of the cliff. The rear drivers-side tire was hanging over the cliff and all seven of my passengers (all children) and I were terrified. There was no damage to the vehicle from the crash and once we got it out of the snow bank we thought we were in good shape. Not so! The vehicle continues to feel as if it is shaking like jello in the rear end. Today I had a similar accident in town while traveling only 5 miles per hour after having stopped at a stop light and then resumed driving. There is something wrong- but nobody seems to know what it is. Any suggestions? I refuse to drive it again until this is resolved. Hope someone can help!
  • fundadfundad Posts: 27
    Exactly... Its a easy fix and around $10.00 to do it your self.
  • melcmelc Posts: 1
    my 2003 (39313 miles) has a shuttering as i start from a dead stop and turning left or right like pulling out of my drive or an intersection. dealer says the problem is plates on the rear end. not to worry??? i have had the rear end replaced twice to correct a high pitch whine not i have this. anyone know anything about past problems with 2003 rears..
  • I have a 2004 and I have expierenced the same problems. Mine has been in the shop I know of 4 times for the same problem. I took it in today and they told me they had a new updated clutch package to put in the rear end to stop the rubbing grinding feel when you turn. They have also replaced the ring and pinion because of a high pitched whine.
  • I also am experiencing this same problem with my 2003 explorer. (grinding and rubbing sound at take off turning left or right) This updated clutch when they installed it did it fix the problem?
  • i financed a 1998 expedition with 39047 miles 3 years ago(aug 2003) from a came with 22inch rims.i changed the brakes and rotors and found out there was no sway bar!! 6 months after purchase i had problems with the rear axle.i had a hole in the differential cover and was leaking fluids.i bought a heavy duty cover and had it assembled and refilled with the proper fluid.about 5 moths after my differential gears broke,warranty was run out and i paid $2200 for a new axle and labor.COOL!!!!aug 2005 my lower rod bearings were no good{engine problems),i took care of problem and tried to sell the truck...i got a great deal on an extended warranty and decided to keep it and now the heater core doesn't work and it's not covered on warranty.yesterday while driving he just shut off while coming to a light.{luckily i have a jump box in back}it has been well maintained and i now only have 77000 miles {mostly highway}
  • We have a 2003 Expedition and it has had the rear end cluthes replaced four times in the last two years. We recently had in the shop again and they decided to replace all the hard parts in the rear end and the cluthes. It was only a week ago it was in the shop and the vehicle is doing it again. Our expedition only has 55,000 miles on it and we are on our third set of tires. I think the rear end problems have worn our tires out too.
  • I purchased an 04 EB series about a week ago and heard the same rubbing, vibration sound when turning left/right from a stop. I just took it in this morning and got it back this evening, (fixed form the dealer) and here is what I was told. The limited slip rear differential requires an additive mixed with the gear lubricant. This ensures that the oil (grease) can work its way into the clutch and stop the grabbing when one tire is turning more than the other (turning from a stop) Anyway, I haven't heard or felt anything since I got it back so... These are reputable mechanics and dealers however and this is the 3rd vehicle i have purchased from them & they have always done me right.
  • Even with the additive the clutch packs go bad. Changing the fluid will buy you a little time, but you'll be back. I'm on my third set, and going for fourth when I get a chance. I haven't had to pay for any of them yet, but I'm going to be even more annoyed when I do. They used to replace the whole axle assembly but stopped that when they realized what it was costing. Instead they now send the dealer 15 individual part numbers and have them do the leg work of assembling it. I have 70k miles on it ('03)
  • At last, after thinking that all the shuddering when starting a left or right turn from a dead stop was "characteristic of 4 wheel drive ... the awful truth. This is a well known problem associated with improperly seizing limited-slip differential clutches. Ahhhhhh the good news, Ford will repair their design/build fault in my 2003 Expedition for only $835 of my money. I started noticing this uncomfortable rumbling and shuddering over a year ago, and someone mentioned that 4 wheel drive vehicles did that. So for more than a year, I've suffered in silence while the racket became more and more annoying. This problem on top of a transmission/transfer case leak at 50K ($357.46 with ZERO assistance from Ford) has pretty much convinced me that I am going the Toyota-Honda route in the future. It's bad enough that Ford is building (in my case) an inferior product, but you'd think that they would be a little more accountable.
  • I purchased my 04 XLT brand new in Feb. 2004. About a month or two after I had the vehicle, I started experiencing the same problem with rear differential. I researched this by going to NHTSA's website and looking for TSB's on this. I found it, printed it out took it to the dealer and they fixed everything free of charge. This is a known problem with 03 and 04 Expeditions and if your truck is under warranty, they should not have charged you for it.
  • My story had a pretty good ending. At 72K, Ford replaced the limited slip differential clutch packs for $250. Much better than the $835 originally quoted. Restored a good bit of my faith in Ford.
  • mikecolemikecole Posts: 3
    I have a 2003 XLT Expedition that I bought used with only 900 miles on it. It now has 40,000 miles on it and has had 4 clutch packs and 2 ring gears put in it. I noticed tonight that it is doing it again and worse than before. I haven't had to pay for the parts and nor do I plan to since this has been an on going issue. I only got about 4000 miles since the last repair. I will be calling Monday to schedule the repair.
  • I just bought a used 2003 Ford Expedition and noticed the grinding and rumbling right away when I turn. Took it to the Ford dealership and said it would cost $988+tax to repair, does anyone know how i can get assistance from ford to repair. No way I can afford to repair.
  • mikecolemikecole Posts: 3
    Here is the the number 800-392-3673. I'm currently dealing with them regarding my Expedition. So far they have been helpful and are looking closer at my vehicle. The dealership currently has my Exp. so they can put the 5th set of clutch packs in (not including the original set). I would call them and tell them that you have researched online and see that this is a on going problem with this vehicle. I think you could get them to help, but you never know.
  • benson10benson10 Posts: 15
    Too bad you didn't pick up on the rumbling sound/feel on your test drive, but I guess the condition of starting out in a turn may not have presented itself. Sounds like someone passed on a known problem to you. Ford is obviously VERY MUCH AWARE of the problem they have with these limited slip differential clutch packs. They have had to replace a ton of them. If you have any kind of relationship with your Ford dealer, start there. I bought my 2003 Expy new, and the rumbling came on gradually starting around 30K. I didn't know what it was, and one person even suggested that it was "characteristic" of four wheel drive vehicles. As the rumbling got worse, I finally went to my Ford dealer, who diagnosed the problem instantly. I called Ford Customer Care and worked through them. Ford covered $585 of the $835 charge to repair. Good thing because I was ready to write off the Ford nameplate forever (had already had a 4WD transfer case leak that cost me about $300).
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