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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #1
BigDummy
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Default Explorer Axle Pinion Lateral Movement

I noticed a few days ago that my 2002 sport trac is marking it's territory and leaking gear oil at the pinion seal. After some investigation I found that if I grab the driveshaft at the flange, I can see the pinion flange moving laterally by about .030-.040 (don't have an indicator, just eyeballing it). When it moves, oil drips out of the seal. This rear end has been rebuilt twice, and I can't afford to rebuild it again at the moment. If I were to tighten up the pinion nut slightly, would it eliminate the movement? What should the bearing preload be on the assembled axle? I figure if I check the preload and tighten it very slightly until I am at the max preload, it shouldn't hurt right?
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:13 PM   #2
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if its not noisey, remove yoke, replace seal, tighten till no play and cross your fingers, people have to understand how a crush sleeve works, if it has one, lol. good luck
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:26 PM   #3
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It was rebuilt by a reputable shop, last time about 60k miles ago. Has about 189k on it now. So I assume it was done correctly. I don't know much about working on axles, so I usually leave them to "experts", but pretty well broke at the moment. It isn't making noise, just pissing oil and it worried me that I can move it that much and I would really like it to not break and leave me stranded
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:28 PM   #4
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Replace seal, tighten ith impact till it stops.. should be ok
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:30 PM   #5
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I've replaced the seal and cranked on the pinion nut before and had good luck, but it just had the slightest lateral movement.
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #6
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if its not noisey, remove yoke, replace seal, tighten till no play and cross your fingers, people have to understand how a crush sleeve works, if it has one, lol. good luck
Close but not a recipe for success.

If the axle uses a crush sleeve, install a new one. Never reuse the old one unless its an emergency. When tightening the pinion yoke, a very large amount of torque will be required to crush the sleeve and take out the play. An impact will be needed or a holding fixture will be required if going hand-o-matic. Just as the yoke has the play removed, measure the amount of rotating torque required to turn the pinion shaft. Specs are for new bearings or old bearings measured WITHOUT axle shafts. I don't remove the axle shafts but I do remove wheels and brake drums before I take my measurements. After your first torque reading, assuming you need to tighten the pinion nut more, just blip the impact a little bit and take another torque reading. Keep doing this in small increments and sneak up on the desired rotating torque value. I use an analog torque wrench for this procedure. If the impact goes apeshit and your rotating torque is too high, start over with a new crush sleeve. If no crush sleeve is used in the axle design, you can back off the pinion nut to get the desired value.

Rotating torque values are in INCH pounds and are not very high, usually around 20" pounds.

This is a recipe for success and no crossing of fingers will be required.
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:41 PM   #7
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Crush sleeves are wear items? Hmmm.. usually pinion nut backs off.. if reused.. in this case I would just replace seal and tighten till no play.. when rebuilding sure u can measure resistance. For a quick repair, just replace seal, clean, and watch for leaks..
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Old August 27th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #8
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So does the crush sleeve hold the pinion from moving laterally, or the tension of the nut holding the bearing tight, or what? I thought the crush sleeve was to stop in/out movement? I guess I don't understand what it does. I appreciate all the advice!
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Old August 28th, 2012, 12:05 AM   #9
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this should help you understand the model and how the parts function together.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by davidkassie View Post
Crush sleeves are wear items? Hmmm.. usually pinion nut backs off.. if reused.. in this case I would just replace seal and tighten till no play.. when rebuilding sure u can measure resistance. For a quick repair, just replace seal, clean, and watch for leaks..
Hi, I'm a certified Master Mechanic, own a repair shop, and watched a youtube video on how to change my own oil once.

Crush sleeves are a single use part. They are used to set bearing preload which will by default removes pinion play and resets correct tooth contact. Incorrect bearing preload (especially too tight) will cause premature bearing wear.

A crush sleeve is a very cheap part and is easy to replace. I don't understand why a person wouldn't replace it when it's right there staring you in the face when you replace the seal.

As a professional mechanic and business owner, I'm not very fond of taking chances on a repair. If OP uses my (correct) method, they will have the best chance of a successful repair. By using the tighten and pray method suggested in this thread, the OP risks failure of an expensive driveline component. Have I seen the tighten and pray method work without replacing the crush sleeve? Yes, many times. I've also seen it fail and a guy lose his job because he didn't guess the preload right.

Enough said. I've tried to help. If OP wants to use the professional method or the backyard method, it's up to him.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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you are right, as i am sure u already know by the sounds of it, i was wrong by suggesting an inexpensive repair for the owner to try on his own.. i salute you, as a fellow professional certified mechanic. you are the man
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:00 PM   #12
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you are right, as i am sure u already know by the sounds of it, i was wrong by suggesting an inexpensive repair for the owner to try on his own.. i salute you, as a fellow professional certified mechanic. you are the man
Thank you. There is a huge difference sometimes how I repair my own junk verses a customer vehicle. I charge premium money for my repair work and I tell people looking for the cheapest shop to call somebody else because I will not sacrafice the quality of my work or my requtation to meet a persons budget. I am super anal about certain things in my shop. Anything requiring precision measurements gets just that, all electrical work gets crimped, soldered and heat shrink wrapped, when cylinder heads come off they get sent to the machine shop to check for cracks and flatness (not exceptions) and I ensure a clean environment when I assemble a motor.

I figure I only get paid the first time I work on a vehicle so I do my best to make sure the says fixed once it leaves my shop.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #13
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I agree totally..
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:06 PM   #14
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I agree totally..
Thanks for being a gentleman about this. I've told guys that worked for me in the past, if there's not enough time to do it right, why is there time to do it over?
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:13 PM   #15
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Not to say that some of the comments are wrong but I just wanted to point out a few things. If we are trying to give the "right" answers and not half ass it, than there are a few corrections to be stated.

First is the pinion preload is measured with an empty housing. When you rotate the pinion, you don't want anything else rotating causing an incorrect reading. This means more than just axle shafts need to be pulled. You must pull the entire carrier.

Second is that if there is no crush sleeve, then you must set preload with shims. NEVER back off a pinion nut to set preload. This is not the right way to do things. The ford 8.8 is a crush sleeve axle but there is also a crush sleeve eliminator that will let you run shims.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #16
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Not to say that some of the comments are wrong but I just wanted to point out a few things. If we are trying to give the "right" answers and not half ass it, than there are a few corrections to be stated.

First is the pinion preload is measured with an empty housing. When you rotate the pinion, you don't want anything else rotating causing an incorrect reading. This means more than just axle shafts need to be pulled. You must pull the entire carrier.

Second is that if there is no crush sleeve, then you must set preload with shims. NEVER back off a pinion nut to set preload. This is not the right way to do things. The ford 8.8 is a crush sleeve axle but there is also a crush sleeve eliminator that will let you run shims.
True on the rotating torque but the book times do not allow that for pinion seal replacement. when I measure the rotating torque with carrier and axles installed, I tend to set it at the upper end of the specs to compensate for the extra friction. I have had zero comebacks in the last 20 years this way.

You are also right about the no crush sleave setup, I wasn't thinking (trying to help here and I really need to slam a wheel bearinig in a truck). If just replacing seal, torque pinion nut to specified shit ton.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 01:29 PM   #17
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LOL, ya there are a lot of things that the book doesn't allow for on service time. I'm guessing the OP was looking for the full how to. I agree there are a lot of "tips" that get learned while working on things.

I believe the Jeep service manual states (I know this is a ford and not a jeep but) to mark the pinion nut and threads, remove pinion nut, remove yoke, remove seal, install new seal install yoke, tighten pinion nut to mark. LOL, and thats a FSM method.

I'm guessing that would be a fix for a damaged seal, not really a loose pinion though.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 02:30 PM   #18
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Nuggets is correct in his procedures,and if I owned a shop charging $75 per hour or more I might use a new cruch sleave for every job also.With that being said,I have set up at least 50 gear sets over the last 25 years,and could count the new crush sleaves on one hand.

I dont have comebacks,my axles dont make noise,and the only reason the break something is because of severly over powering them. Typically 4-500 hp on a camaro or s10 7.5 10 bolt. They last until they rip the pin through the carrier.

I had a bad exsperiece 20 years ago where we stripped the threads on a brand new pinion trying to crush the sleave.Ordered another richmong ring and pinion and striped the threads on that one trying to crush the sleave. I only use a solid pinion spacer now,if they are available. If the solid spacer is not available I put the used sleave around a impact socket and beat it with a bfh to stretch it back out a little.I install it and see how hard to impact works to pull up the slack,if your impact is working hard to get the right preload,it will stay put in most cases. Huge tires,slicks,dumping the clutch all determine how bad it wants ro come apart.

I also dont use a dial torque wrench to set pinion preload,it's a pain in the ass and rarely feels right to me.I set it by feel,the bearings need a little drag on them when you spin the yoke by hand.I give the yoke a good spin and it should only spin one revoloution after you let go of it,if that makes sence.

I DONT RECOMEND THIS PROCEDURE TO ANYONE,it works for me.
I should also add that I do mostly dana 35 and chevy c clip axles,so I am very farmilier with them.

Isnt the 02 explore the independent 8.8 rearend? The one that overheats because of not enough oil capacity?
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Old August 29th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #19
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I've always told people there's ther right way, the wrong way, and the flat rate way.
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Old August 29th, 2012, 02:34 PM   #20
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Nuggets is correct in his procedures,and if I owned a shop charging $75 per hour or more I might use a new cruch sleave for every job also.With that being said,I have set up at least 50 gear sets over the last 25 years,and could count the new crush sleaves on one hand.

I dont have comebacks,my axles dont make noise,and the only reason the break something is because of severly over powering them. Typically 4-500 hp on a camaro or s10 7.5 10 bolt. They last until they rip the pin through the carrier.

I had a bad exsperiece 20 years ago where we stripped the threads on a brand new pinion trying to crush the sleave.Ordered another richmong ring and pinion and striped the threads on that one trying to crush the sleave. I only use a solid pinion spacer now,if they are available. If the solid spacer is not available I put the used sleave around a impact socket and beat it with a bfh to stretch it back out a little.I install it and see how hard to impact works to pull up the slack,if your impact is working hard to get the right preload,it will stay put in most cases. Huge tires,slicks,dumping the clutch all determine how bad it wants ro come apart.

I also dont use a dial torque wrench to set pinion preload,it's a pain in the ass and rarely feels right to me.I set it by feel,the bearings need a little drag on them when you spin the yoke by hand.I give the yoke a good spin and it should only spin one revoloution after you let go of it,if that makes sence.

I DONT RECOMEND THIS PROCEDURE TO ANYONE,it works for me.
I should also add that I do mostly dana 35 and chevy c clip axles,so I am very farmilier with them.

Isnt the 02 explore the independent 8.8 rearend? The one that overheats because of not enough oil capacity?
If I have trouble getting a crush sleeve to do it's thing on the pinion shaft, I remove it and put in a vice or press to get it started. Once it begins to deflect, it's not too bad after that.
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