4WD Front Axle Replacement - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 05-02-2011
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4WD Front Axle Replacement

A couple of questions relative to the front axles on my 2002 Ranger 4WD FX4. I currently have over 122,000 miles on the truck.

What symptoms should I experience if the front CV axles begin to go out?
If I replace the front CV axles, do I have to install some sort of a special seal that requries a special tool?

I recently had to replace one of the rear axles and when I got the truck back I noticed a vibration when I applied the brakes. I feel the vibration in the front end of the truck and not in the back end. (I feel the vibtaion in my feet and not in my seat). However, the vibration is not pronouced in the steering wheel. Becasue of this I have ruled out a problem with the rear. In addition, when I brake in a turn, I hear the ABS system opearting and then I get the ABS light on. If I stop the truck and restart, the light goes out. I get some vibtation in the front when drivng down the road, and the vibtration seems to vary as I drive. I do get some fluctuation as I accelerate or deccelerate. When I put the truck in 4WD and make a mildly tight turn, it just about locks the entire front end up.

I suspect the front axle CV joints are going bad as these are similar symptoms I have experiecnced on a front wheel drive car. Also, if the CV joints are going bad and I am not getting the constant velocity, this would explain the ABS system acting like it is.

Can anyone provide feedback on my diagnosis??

The Haynes Manual that I have, which covers multiple year trucks, indicates that there may be some sort of a special seal on the end of the drive shaft that has to be replaced to keep the front hubs from leaking or being damamged. The manual indicates that it requries a speical tool to intsall the seal. In the front axel removal portion of the manual it indicates that you need to replace the seal and that you need to have the specil tool on hand. In the installation portion, it appears to indacte that this seal is only on 1998 to 2000 models with a vacuum assisted antilock break mechanism. I thought the front hub assemblies were sealed units with the only servicing being complete replacement.

Can anyone confirm if there is a front seal that needs to be replaced and what type of tool is requried?

Your help is apprecaited.
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Old 05-02-2011
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i believe the seal they are talking about is for the 98-00 1/2 models. they are vaccum operated, and have a seal to hold the axle shaft in. on the later models of trucks, they changed to a live axle set up where the shaft is held in on the end by a large nut.

edit: the seal is actually a snap ring.
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Old 05-02-2011
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Thanks for the input on the seal. Based on my vibration diagnosis, do you think is sounds like front axle CV joints going bad? Any input is appreciate.
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Old 05-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewit View Post
Thanks for the input on the seal. Based on my vibration diagnosis, do you think is sounds like front axle CV joints going bad? Any input is appreciate.
If anyone comes in with another opinion, please take their advise over my own. However what your describing sounds a bit like what had happened with my dads Fx4. He had an issue with an abs sensor in the front end of his truck and it was described by our mechanic to "fail during breaking" it makes a vibration which you can feel in the break pedal and the floorboards of the abs trying to figure out what is going wrong and then it gives up initiating the (ABS) light on the dash. His problem would quit after the light would come on (i assume its because it de-activates the abs system)until he would start it again. Does this sound like something you are experiencing, or am i way off on this one? Either way if someone has better info than me, by all means take their advise. Hope you get to the bottom of this.

*I would definitely like to add that if you haven't yet, take the truck back to where you had it serviced...if the problem started when you got the truck back you should have a chat with the people who worked on it.*

Last edited by eernger; 05-02-2011 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 05-02-2011
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Have not really paid attention to the vibration during breaking with the ABS light on. I generally stop and start the truck to clear it. I think the vibration I am feeling is the axle out of balance due to the CV joints being worn. I liken this to the same vibration I have gotten when I have a U-joint that is bad.
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Old 05-02-2011
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Hmm, good point. I would think you would get a little bit of feedback in the steering wheel with a bad cv joint on your truck with it having a live front axle, but maybe not. But with you winding up with a near lockup in a turn with 4wd engaged, that sounds like it could well be the case man. Have you checked either of your cv boots for tears? it doesn't take much of a tear to do one in.
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Old 05-02-2011
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i know i have a bad cv axle cuz i screwed it up and it makes a real bad screeching noise in reverse turning.
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Old 01-31-2015
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anyone know if i can take the cv axles out of my ranger and drive in 2 wheel until i get the parts in? just wondering because its my only option so i need to know if it works?
anyone?
its a 2006 fx4 level 2. about to have the sas swap ready to go in and i dont want to buy an axel. please ....info. thanks rf
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