Rumbling drivers side axle
I have an 06 ranger XLT with a 140K miles. I was replacing worn front end parts and I noticed a lot of radial play where the inner CV axle enters the front differential on the drivers side. I could wobble the axle radially more than I thought I should be able to. Plus the seal was leaking badly. So I purchased a new bearing and seal. I was amazed to find out that the "bearing" was nothing more than a plastic bushing. Anyway I drove in the new parts and installed a re-manufactured axle assembly. Well that one has more play than the original. Since the outer axle CV joint itself is still very stiff (not yet worn in), it actually causes the inner axle side to wobble enough that I can hear it when I drive. Is this normal? How can the seal last with this much movement? What's with this plastic bearing and why is there so much radial play? I'm wondering if when they "rebuild" these axles, do they simply machine down the surface where the oil seal runs? That would explain the additional play that I see.
Have any of you seen this problem? Does anyone make a replacement REAL bearing for the inner axle side? It seems to me that there might be an off-the-shelf part that would have the proper dimensions. The Ford number for the plastic part is 6L2Z-4B413A
Thanks for your help,