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Broken rear axle


jimtmcdaniels

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Help needed:

Hi, just towed home yesterday my 170K miles, '93 ranger 4.0 4x2 w/limited slip rear axle because when I was turning left going up a hilly street, I throttled it and then there was a clunking sound and then the axle disengaged.

The drive shaft spins when in gear but the truck does not move, there is only some faint sounds like two gears trying to touch in the axle, no longer in proper contact....

I try to do my own vehicle repairs. I haven't taken the axle cover off yet, probably this weekend.

I've read I have an 8.8 rear axle.

To improve performance on snow, I did rebuild the limited slip friction plates about 6 years ago by adding new friction plates and added 2 of the old friction plates in place of the factory spacers and installed new outer oil axle seals.
That project maxed out my axle abilities/experience Lol and was the last time I got into an axle.

I've searched but haven't seen anyone else with this broken axle experience.

I'm hoping someone can give me a heads up on what repair is most likely needed.

Thanks for any help!

Jim
 


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martin

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Could be a few things but the only thing you can do is to pull the cover to find out.
 

stegomon

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Sounds to me you broke a spider gear or ring and pinion.
 

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I can almost guarantee its your spider gears. You will know when you blow a pinion (grinding will ensue) Spider gears need to have the same strict tolerances as a ring and pinion does. If there is extra slop in the spider gears then the peaks of the gears will be bearing the load instead of near the valley of the gear. Pop your cover, youll find teeth.
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Took the axle cover off..

Ok guys I've taken the axle cover off in the dark and drained the fluid, which didn't look low.
I don't see anything obviously-physically wrong, but I don't have a lot of experience with axles. I could see both axle ends have their c clips in place just inside their side gears.

*When I put it in drive with the wheels on the ground, everything spins (differential case, ring gear, spider gears, & the driver's side side gear) But the passenger side side gear does not spin and there is a bad growling sound.*

It looks like the limited slip friction plates are behind the passenger side gear if that means anything...

I took photos and a video (doesn't look like I can upload the iphone video to this site..).
Thanks again for any input
Jim :yahoo:
 

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martin

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Sounds like the drivers side axle shaft is broken. Jack up the rear, then grab the wheel and pull.
 

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I'm with Martin. It sounds like it may have busted a shaft.

Also, I like the progression of the pics. Diff, label, diff, diff tag, dog. Made me chuckle.
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Will look closer after work but don't think it could be a broken ...

I don't think the axle end can be broke because: 1. The passenger-side side-gear does not turn-spinning spider gears not engaging. 2. We towed it home with another vehicle about 4 miles when this happened so if the axle was broke I think the shaft would have fallen out then.
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Ok looked at it again, yes yes, I got my mind around it. Since the driver's side side gear spins, that would seem to indicate that the driver's axle is snapped.
Well, can't get to my jack at the moment to jack up that tire to give it a yank.

Wonder why it broke, the bed was empty when I turned and the 4.0 has the beefier 8.8 axle and the high altitude thin air here reduces the engine performance..

Well if that is the case, what's the best solution, find a driver's side axle in the bone yard? Wonder what years and models it can come from, guess it has to be from another positrac differential...but not necessarily the same ratios...
 

jimtmcdaniels

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What caused such stress on that axle I wonder..

Hmm I have overloaded it to the max with heavy dirt up to the cab top in years gone past...
Or maybe it's because when I installed a new friction rings kit I took out like 2 of the spacers and added 2 of the best of the old friction rings like some recommended to improve the limited slip action... but that was like 6 years ago and I did add the friction modification bottle.
It did chatter some when turning corners right after I did that but hasn't for years since.

I just hope after I get it fixed, it doesn't break again anytime soon.
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Geese is it going to be hard to get the broken inner axle end out...?

I don't quite remember how to release the c clip retainer..
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Didn't find reasonably priced parts....

OK, got the bad driver's side axle and side gear out.

The limited slip didn't cause the break that's for sure because those friction discs are so worn that the s-spring fell right out after removing the pin.
I had put new discs in only 50K miles ago, but yes I'm hard on them with the snow and ice and my heavy foot... :)

So attached are the pics, the splines are stripped, first half of the axle splines and the second half of the mating side gear splines failed so there were no splines left to do the connection.

I called one bone yard who will sell the axle for $65 but for the side gear, they will only sell as a complete differential for like $260.

So there's a new bone yard in town called U pull N pay and I called and they'll sell both parts for like $33 (WOW do I like that price) so I drove out there with some tools.

Unfortunately, none of the Rangers and Mazda's they had were 3.55 ratio axles like my and none of them were limited slip.

Can someone confirm for me:
1. I'm assuming it has to be the same axle ratio for the side gear to match, or is it the ring and pinion gears only that dictate axle ratio...?
2. Otherwise if the ratio is determined in the side&spider gears, I'm assuming that I could just go with a different ratio by switching out both side gears and spider gears from a boneyard axle?
2a. If I did, the ratio number would probably be higher, giving more power from a stop but reduced mpg and higher rpm's on the highway? (this may be an improvement since this has a 4 speed auto and it's long road trip days are probably behind it..then I'd have to change the speedometer calibration....geeze....):smokin:

3. Does someone know, can the axle and gears come out of a non limited slip differential and still match my limited slip diff gears?

4 Does someone know if I can get the same parts in certain other Fords, like the Explorer or Bronco etc...? (The vehicle models-axle compatibility list I saw was somewhat confusing..).

5. I don't really want to spend $60 or so for a new LS friction kit, I see they have a "stronger carbon" kit for like $120....
I still have the old plates from the last kit install. Maybe I'd be better off just adding some of those friction and/or splined disc so the s spring is tight again and call it good...?

ANY ADVICE guys?

Thanks Jim

Pics attached!
 

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Sunk

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Only the Ring and Pinion dictate the axle ratio. Any 8.8 R&P will fit, but spider and side gears are different since some axles were 28 spline and others 31. The axle can come from different years and makes, but be aware that the lengths maybe different. Check the Tech Library's axle page to find out what years the lengths changed.
 

jimtmcdaniels

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Axle and side gears replaced & cheap ford 8.8 limited slip fix kit alternative

OK, it's fixed and back on the road! 170k and still going

YEA
Got a used axle shaft and side gear from the new U pull n pay salvage yard, only $20, wow.

I ended up opening the cover on 3 axles because the first one was not limited slip so the axle was the same but the gear didn't have the cogs that drive the LS slip plates, that's when I realized it had to be from a LS differential and the second, I mistook for a limited slip when the door jam decal was missing and I misread the metal axle tag. I lucked out that one 8.8 axle ranger had the LS. I think it was the only one in the yard. With all the winter snow here you'd think all the 2WD's would be LS...

The factory limited slip sure is poorly designed, 50K miles on the new friction plates and they are back down to bare metal again in my differential.... so what I ended doing was this CHEAP METHOD that might be the best thing:

Instead of installing a $60 rebuild kit again (or $120 carbon kit), I took 2 of the limited slip cog discs from the salvage yard axle and installed them in place of the spacers in mine:
So it looks like this placed on the side gears in this order(see pic):
friction plate, cog disc, friction plate, cog disc, friction plate, cog disc, friction plate, cog disc.

That's it, no thin spacer disc at the end. If I reinstalled the spacer each had, it would tighten the S spring more but it would block the stationary surface of the cage that the one side of the last cog disc can rub against.

With the extra cog disc (2 total), the S spring fit fairly snug (was able to start with the palm of my hand on a rag, then hammer in).
Plus the extra cog disc gives another 2 surfaces (x2) that rub stationary surfaces to help resist slipping.

Since the friction plates are down to metal, there's no cheap flimsy material to wear away so fast.

I have limited slip function with this arrangement, although it's not as tight as a new kit, with one wheel on the ground, I was able to turn the jacked wheel with my hands, but it's hard like turning a steering wheel manually with the engine off and parked.

I think it'll last a longer and didn't cost a dime.
This should be enough limited slip action for road use, and some snow which is all the kit gives.

Thanks for the help peeps

Jim
 

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Stripped axle splines is an unusual failure. Together with the early L/S failure I'd be concerned about a bent axle housing given the history of dirt hauling you mentioned (replacement of the whole rearend might be a better idea here).
 


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