Ford Expedition Rear End/Differential Problems

sherekhansherekhan Member Posts: 1
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 Guest Posts: 52,454
    Try the Ford Expedition Owners: Problems & Solutions discussion instead. More owners will be tracking that one.

    Steve, Host
  • mckejac72mckejac72 Member Posts: 4
    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.
  • pontonponton Member Posts: 4
    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.
  • mckejac72mckejac72 Member Posts: 4
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 27
    Exactly... Its a easy fix and around $10.00 to do it your self.
  • melcmelc Member 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..
  • jason30052jason30052 Member Posts: 1
    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.
  • scan4567scan4567 Member Posts: 1
    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?
  • suave2suave2 Member Posts: 1
    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}
  • tackster87tackster87 Member Posts: 1
    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.
  • ovrwrkd72ovrwrkd72 Member Posts: 2
    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.
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Member Posts: 339
    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)
  • benson10benson10 Member Posts: 15
    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.
  • roybus14roybus14 Member Posts: 5
    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.
  • benson10benson10 Member Posts: 15
    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 Member 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.
  • aking2211aking2211 Member Posts: 1
    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 Member 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 Member 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).
  • mikecolemikecole Member Posts: 3
    Why didn't they cover 100% under warranty? So far I've not had to pay anything other than the hassle of taking it up to them so much. My Exp is now out of warranty but the last repair came with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty so that is what is covering my current repairs.
  • tlbettstlbetts Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2003 Explorer with 55K Miles that experienced the vibration when turning right or left at a low speed. I called the dealer's service department and they immediately diagnosed the problem over the phone without driving the vehicle. The differential clutch pack replacement at the dealer cost $673.56 (originally quoted $850). I immediately called Ford Customer Care and after 3 days of "looking into the problem" they offered no financial assistance because the truck is not covered with an extended warranty. Ford KNOWS they have a serious issue and has issued two TSB on the problem. I think it is crazy they are not paying for their faulty part. I have sent a demand letter for payment and I intend on taking Ford to small claims court. I think everyone who is having this problem needs to call Ford to register a complaint and insist on financial assistance or a recall.
  • roybus14roybus14 Member Posts: 5
    Yeah they are aware and it's in Technical Service Bulletins. I have an '04 Exp. XLT and about two months after I bought it brand new, it started doing it. I researched this problem and found a TSB on it, send it to the dealership in their appointment setup email and they fixed it free of charge.....
  • sub9904sub9904 Member Posts: 72
    I own an Expy 05 bought in July of that year. Had the clutch pack worked on 3 times in about 8 months or less. So it's not just an 03-04 problem. Fortuantely, it looks like the 3rd time was the charm as I've had no issues in over a year. Other than that my Expy has been problem free. Knock on wood. Still it didn't keep me from buying an extended warranty just in case.
  • syrupmakers1syrupmakers1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Ford Explorer and I recently experienced the exact same problem related to the as I start from a dead stop and turning left and right. The problem was coming from the rear differential assembly area; specifically, the bearing assembly, cup, kit, gear and pinion had to be replaced. In addition, the additive oil and sealant around the rear differential cover needed to be replaced. In all, I had a $50 deductible under an extended warranty so the only costs that showed up on the invoice was $50, but I'm that the total cost was over $1000 (including labor)
  • dano67dano67 Member Posts: 1
    I have had the same problems now twice with only 65K on my 2003 Expedition. Besides this issue I have really enjoyed my truck. The first time I took it to Greenway Ford in Orlando and they "discounted" to $480 for replacing the clutch on the differential(38K miles - nice warranty,2005). On the second fix early this year (65K) I took it to Goodyear and they recommended a drive train shop that does a lot of high performance work. They replace the diffenertial in full for $600. and handed me a little bottle of Motocraft friction additive and said any time anyone services your rear end have then add this to the fluid and to not just depend on the additive that is already in the fluid. Ford has been absoultely no help on this matter or at least their dealerships have sure stunk it up.
  • loc1loc1 Member Posts: 1
    I have an 03 ford expedition with limited slip rear end. it started making an awful noise when turning left or right. Had several mechanics look at it, said was the clutches. I went to advance auto parts and bought 2 tubes of limited slip differential additive and went to jiffy lube and had the fluid changed and the additive added. Just remember to have them put in all synthetic fluid. It started improving right away, but needs to have a few miles put on it to eliminate noise. It has been 3 months now and no more noise. By the way, jiffy lube charged 50.00 and the lube was about 7.00 a tube. GOOD LUCK.
  • leemanjleemanj Member Posts: 1
    Keep on the dealer to fix it. I had the same problem with my 2003 right after I bought it. The rubbing sound on turning according to the dealer was normal. Last year I finally had to take it in and had a transmission shop tell me Ford Expedition differentials are a big part of their business. I caught mine early so they said to try changing the fluid, which was black, they changed it and added some additives. It was better but now a year later the same problem has come back. I am fighting with Ford to get a discount on rebuilding the differential. :sick:
  • dsblackburndsblackburn Member Posts: 2
    I'm in the same boat. I have a 2004 EB Expedition purchased new in November 2003. I've had the rear end replaced twice, and now it needs replacing again. At 75,000 miles, just out of warranty, Ford is not admitting to this faulty rear end set up. And I was looking at buying a trailer to tow. Any advise?
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Member Posts: 339
    Try a fluid change and use two of the friction modifiers. My dealer uses 2 on higher mileage vehicles, and it fixed my binding clutches. It is a relatively cheap fix compared to a rebuilt rear end. It should run you about $70 for the diff fluid and $10 for the two modifiers.
  • dsblackburndsblackburn Member Posts: 2
    What was the result?
  • imahrda2imahrda2 Member Posts: 1
    My 08 Expedition has 11000 miles on it. I have never towed anything or gone offroading etc. I am a mom and we live in the country and need a good 4x4 to deal with Wisconsin winters etc. I took my expedition in for a rountine oil change and they told me both rear axle seals were leaking and needed to be replaced. What would cause this with such low mileage? Has anyone else heard of this on the 08s? Is there anything else I should have checked out that these leaks may be a symptom of?
  • carlvon7carlvon7 Member Posts: 1
    i don't have an answer for your specific question but for the amount of miles you have on it take it to the DEALER. not anybody else. even if they say they are some kind of authorized garage, blah blah. when it comes down to getting things done and reimbursement the dealer is the only one to go to. even for your costly oil changes. when the auto is completely out of warranty then go to somebody less costly. it may seem expensive now, but if you are having problems now, it will seem like chump change when the big bills come in. and it sounds like you have the beginning of a good expensive problem! and when ford tries to get out it you only have to point to their very own mechanics. this is from my own experience which cost me from getting a new vehicle because my lemon was taken to an outside garage just to have the oil changed. p.s. get it fixed immediately. low fluids are the cause of many of expensive problems.--c
  • benson10benson10 Member Posts: 15
    What's the big deal? Aren't you still in warranty? Just get it fixed at the dealer.
  • mainer47mainer47 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 F-250 with a limited slip and 4:10 gears. Ford has replaced or re-adjusted the clutches three times because only one wheel would drive on slippy conditions i.e, mud , loose gravel,wet grass, snow and ice. This was done at 17k, 24k, 27k and now at 33K the problem is back. This truck has never seen any work other than towing a couple of ATV's or boat once in a great while. The truck is equipped with a plow ( but I have no plow) and trailering pkg and V10. I owned a 2001 with the same set up and never had any issues. I liked the truck so much and brought this one new in 05. The dealer has "Closed" and the service manager at another Ford dealership is getting no where with the Ford Reps or Zone managers. Has anyone else had this problem and were your able to get Ford to stand behind the problem? Thanks for any information.
  • wera_132004wera_132004 Member Posts: 2
    I bought mine from somebody and it had 123,000 miles on it, and everything was also running good and I also noticed just last week that it has a leak at the rear end, I have no idea what it could be. I checked the Engine and Transmission oil and it's all good. Does anyone know what it could be. I'm a woman, and I don't know much about trucks. :\
  • wera_132004wera_132004 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 Ford Expedition and besides the leaking in the rear end of the truck, I keep hearing a rattling sound on the bottom of the truck. Could it have been caused because I accidentally ran the truck like 5 Miles on 4 WD? Can that rattling noise be related to the leaking of the rear end side of the truck? Is it seriously bad or expensive? Please give me some advice, I'm a single mother of 3 boys and I don't have any kind of help, I would hate to loose my only vehicle :(
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Member Posts: 339
    How about the rear differential? That's where I would start. On flat ground when you open the fill port the fluid level should be right at the bottom of the hole. Could also be the axle seals.
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Member Posts: 339
    The rattling is probably just a loose heat shield on the exhaust. Unlikley that is has anything to do with driving it in 4WD.
  • nena7nena7 Member Posts: 1
    I have some leaking in the rear as well. Just got my truck yesterday. Is there any other problem anyone else having regarding their truck.
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