94 Ranger 2wd drive shaft swap? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2010
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94 Ranger 2wd drive shaft swap?

94 Ranger 2.3L 5speed 2wd supercab

I'm having to do my first drivetrain repair on this truck other than the clutch. The carrier bearing on the two piece driveshaft started making noise. Failure could be from the 214,000 miles or the 2" lift I got from putting on heavy duty springs. I read this increases the angle on the u-joints and can cause premature failure of the carrier bearing.

I've read that with the newer trucks they eliminated the the two shafts and crossmember carrier bearing setup and are using just a single driveshaft. This sounds good to me. Less things to go wrong.

In all the posts I read I did not find any factual information that will help me with the swap. Seemed like a lot of guessing. Most of the info was for 4 wheel drives. I'm looking to get an axle from salvage. What years do I look for that will be a direct fit for my 94? Will Mazda have the same shaft?

The driveshaft is bolted to the companion flange at the differential with 4 bolts. From this flange to the rubber seal on the tranny is 72 1/8". What does it typically cost to have someone make a driveshaft? I don't care if it's steel or aluminum. I don't want aluminum if I have to make clearance for the larger shaft.
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Old 02-10-2010
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Here's a follow up on my repair. I hate it when people post something and we never find out what happened.

So far now replies to my questions. Contacted several salvage yards and they were not able to help. Decided to replace the carrier bearing on the two piece drive shaft and put it back in. U-joints seem pretty good even after so many miles. The bearing didn't seem all that bad either. I just started to make noise and the rubber around it was starting to break down. I didn't have the right puller to get the yoke off the shaft so I had to buy one of those. Had a heck of time getting the bearing off the shaft. Had to disect all the metal and rubber around the bearing. After I finally got down to the bearing I was able to get it off. Now to find a new bearing.
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Old 02-11-2010
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I have 3 of the newer aluminum driveshafts, Sorry I didn't see the post sooner...
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Old 02-11-2010
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Ordered bearing at Carquest. There are two different size bearings depending on the year. Make sure you measure the shaft diameter before buying. The two sizes are 30mm and 32mm. My 94 needs a 30mm bearing.
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Old 02-13-2010
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Installed new bearing and howling whining noise is gone, but now I have vibration. All parts should be together right because I made alignment marks on everything. I wanted to make sure that everything was exactly the same so this problem wouldn't happen. I'll have to double check everything. The bearing assembly has large oblong mounting holes. There is a good deal of room for error when bolting it to the crossmember. Maybe it's made this way for adjusting. I try moving it and see if there is any change.
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Old 02-13-2010
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did you mark the drive shaft before you u took it out?? if not bolted up in the same spot it was went you started that could cause you vibration.
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Old 02-14-2010
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Marked how driveshaft was install and marked every piece I removed from the shaft while replacing the bearing.
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Old 02-14-2010
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All parts were on right and nothing was loose. The two drive shafts were not aligned very well, verticaly or horizontaly. I put heavy duty leaf springs on a few years ago which gave it about a 2" lift in the rear. Made some shims out of 1/4" steel and stacked them to raise the bearing 3/4 of an inch. The two shafts are pretty close to being inline now. Vibration is less, but still present. All I can think of is that a bunch of rust fell off the shaft when working on it and now it is out of balance.
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Old 02-15-2010
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Looked over the drivetrain again. Found that I have a bad rear wheel bearing. There is a little up and down play on the hub. Seems strange that the vibration only showed up after working on the driveshaft. I still suspect the driveshaft is the problem, but I have to fix the obvious first. Looks like I'm going to learn how to do rear bearings.
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Old 02-15-2010
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If anyone knows of a good "how to" read for rear wheel bearings, let me know. I have a Hanes repair manual. Often it does not tell you everything one needs to know. Any special tools needed? I assume the first thing is to figure out what axle I have and get some parts. Should I be doing anything else besides replacing the bearings and seals? Unfortunately the garage is not wide enough to pull the axles so this will be a Wisconsin winter driveway repair, weather permitting. At least things are frozen and I haven't had to lay in the mud.
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Old 02-28-2010
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Got the rear wheel bearings installed. It was easy with the right tools. The frequency of the vibration leads me to believe the driveshaft is the cause so I also bought some new u-joints. The old ones have no play, but seem a little sticky. I'm hoping they are the cause of the vibration. They're cheap and I figure after 214,000 miles I should replace them anyway. The retainer clips are so rusted in that I'm breaking everyone of them. Even with pentrating oil, poking and prying. I'm going to have to cut the u-joint out with an angle grinder or sawsall at this point.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2010
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When replacing the u-joints I found that a bench vise is pretty useless for pressing the u-joints in and out. I did not have enough strength. Found that they go in and out real easy with a hammer.

Vibration is less now that I have new u-joints. It is still noticeable above 45 to 50mph. All I can think at this point is that the drive shaft is somehow out of balance. The vibration started after replacing the carrier bearing. The rubber around the bearing seems stiffer than the old one. Could be that vibration was present before and is now getting transferred to the chassis through the new bearing. Need to take it to the shop at this point and have them check the balance of the shaft.
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Old 03-10-2010
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Dropped truck off at the shop today. Not an easy thing to do. I was in once about 10 years ago for a car I owned. I thought I was doing something wrong and it turned out to be defective parts. The shop got a part from the same place and had the same problem.

They said it sounds like I did everything right with the driveshaft on the truck. They're going to see what they can figure out.
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Old 03-19-2010
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Here's an update on the driveshaft repair. Dropped it off on a Friday. They said they would look at it on Monday and it would probably take a couple days to send out the driveshaft for balancing if need be. I seen they moved it on Monday to look at it. Well finally on Friday I couldn't take it anymore and stopped in there to see what's going on. They tell me they looked at it and I need a new tranny. It didn't sound like it took very long to figure it out. I didn't say anything like "why the hell didn't you call me", since they do a lot of work for the company I work for. I said it's odd that I need a tranny when the vibration started immediately after replacing the carrier bearing on the driveshaft. I asked if there could of been anything I did while pulling the driveshaft that would cause the tranny to go bad. They said probably not. That's all I got out of them. They seemed pretty quite and didn't offer up anymore information. I suspect they could not figure it out and were to embarrassed to say so. I told them the truck was old and did not want to put anymore money into it and drove it home. At least they did not charge me anything after I asked them three times if they wanted any money for their time. So a week later my daily driver is still not working. I'll have to try to figure it out myself again or take it somewhere else for a second opinion. I still don't think the tranny is bad, but maybe it was coincidence and they're right.
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Old 03-21-2010
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Seems like I fixed it, but I'm not sure how. Here's what I did. Put the rear axle on jack stands. Verified the yokes were in phase. Took out the shims I had put under the bearing that were not there in the first place. I had put them in trying to adjust the position of the carrier bearing so that I could try and eliminate the vibration. So the bearing is back to it's original height now. I also put some smaller bolts in that were the same size as the originals. This allows me a little more horizontal movement. Tried positioning the bearing in a number of places from full left to full right and still had vibration.

Everything seemed good. All I could think of is that I did not get the yoke on the same spline in the tranny. Pulled the driveshaft several times and rotated it to a different spline postion when sliding it back into the tranny. It's not keyed. This seemed to make a little difference, but the vibration was still present. Finally I had enough and gave up. Lowered it to the ground and took it for a drive and it seems fine. Had it up to 60mph.
I'm not real confident in the repair, because I'm not exactly sure what was causing the vibration. I'll run some more this week on the highway and see what happens.

Apparently the drivetrain vibrates with the axle on jack stands. Although it didn't vibrate the first time on jacks, that's why I thought it would be alright. At least it's not vibrating on the highway anymore and it does not look like I'll need a tranny. Hopefully not for a while at least.
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Old 03-21-2010
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One other thing I did different it tighten the bolts at the diff to 30ft-lbs instead of 20ft-lbs. My manual says anywhere for 15-30ft-lbs will do for a single cardian driveshaft.
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Old 03-22-2010
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Had it on the highway again today. There is still some vibration that I notice between 40 and 60mph. Seems good below 40mph, worse around 50mph, and smooths out again around 60mph. Someone else driving would probably not notice, but I've had it for so long I notice the difference. The problem is far less then it had been. Mostly just drive it around town or on short trips. Although I'm a little worried that the tranny or diff could wear sooner I probably will just leave it alone and get used to the difference. Maybe in the future I'll try to find a place in the big city that can tune the drivetrain, depending on the cost.
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Old 04-01-2010
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Problem is slightly worse now. Seems to have changed a little. Got some advise from a friend of a friend who is supposed to be a real good mechanic. He says I should have used a vise to install the u-joints and that there's a good chance I bent the yokes. I would have liked to tell him I couldn't get them in there with a vise. Easier said than done. He said balancing is expensive. He also said it was a good idea to put in a single driveshaft and eliminate the support bearing. He said 6ft long should not be a problem. I'm wondering how the tranny will handle the extra weight since there will be a lot more on it. I guess the next thing is to try to find a driveshaft, again. This is getting old.
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Old 04-01-2010
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FYI. If I bent the yokes it was probably with the vise and not the hammer. With hammer they went in real easy. With vise they would not go in even with cranking on them with all I had in me. My guess is my vise is Chinese junk. Probably doesn't press them in straight.
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Old 04-08-2010
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Read that some people are having vibration problems related to brakes. Decided I better fix the sticky brakes before continuing with the driveshaft. Pulled the drums and rotors to have them turned down. Found bad bearings front right side. A lot of pitting in the race. Has to be part of the rumbling noise I am hearing. Starting to wonder if I fixed that driveshaft last time I had it off and it's just the bearing noise I'm hearing now. Keeping fingers crossed.
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Old 04-08-2010
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Wow just read all your posts. good luck with it. seems nobody likes you lol
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Old 04-08-2010
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sorry no one has responded to your thread lately...when you buy a one piece shaft IT HAS TO BE FOR A MANUAL TRANS truck if you have a manual trans and auto for an auto, they have different yokes and are different lengths, just air hammer the rivets out of the cross member and put the one piece in and be done with it
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Old 04-10-2010
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Had the rotors and drums turned. New pads and shoes. Put in new wheel bearings in the front. Can't even run the thing to see if the vibration and noise is gone. It will not start now. Fuel pump quit working while I was fixing the brakes. I'm not surprised. When does this end? At least is gave up in the driveway instead of somewhere else.
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Old 04-11-2010
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Got the fuel pump running. Brakes are smooth operating and front wheel bearing noise is gone. Still have some vibration from the drivetrain. Time to try and find a driveshaft again.
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  #25  
Old 04-29-2010
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After driving for a couple weeks I noticed that the rumbling vibration only happens when the clutch is engaged. The rumbling is more noticable when accelerating. If I push in the clutch and coast the rumbling vibration goes away. I think i have the driveshaft fixed, because it used to vibrate all the time. That vibration is gone now when I coast. Now I need to track down the rumbling sound that is worse under load. Seems barely noticeable at slower speeds and more noticable on the highway. Not sure what to check.

In review:So far I have fixed
1-whine from a bad driveshaft carrier bearing-installed new bearing
2-sticky u-joints-all three are new
3-sticky brakes-new all around
4-rumbling from bad wheel bearings-new all around
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