How Difficult Is It To Change the Rear Differential Bearings? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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6.0L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 2003-Up Super Duties and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 6.0L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 10-06-2009, 06:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How Difficult Is It To Change the Rear Differential Bearings?

As the title states, I think I have a bad bearing in the rear diff somewhere because with the rear jacked up, I can turn the rear by hand forward or reverse and it makes the same noise.(like a grinding bearing) Seems if it were the ring or pinion, moving the axle in reverse would run on the "coast" side of the ring and pinion witch doesn't get as much use or wear and should be quieter.

Has anyone here ever changed their bearings?

Also, do you have to set the diff backlash etc. when you change the bearings only? It sounds like it may be on one of the axles at the stump, but I am not sure. I haven't pulled the inspection plate yet, because I thought it may be more than I want to get into.

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Old 10-07-2009, 07:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You need to take it apart some more. If it is the differential then I personally would let a drivetrain specialty shop fix it as there is a bit of know-how needed to set up axle gears once the bearings are replaced to make it last.

First off though I'd try to narrow it down a bit more, could be something as simple as worn out brake pads (metal to metal) or axle hub end bearings. You need to take it apart and do some individual component inspection.
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You won't need to re-set up the gears when just changing bearings. But removing bearing that are pressed on are, for all practical purposes, impossible for a back yard mechanic. However, you can pop the carrier out and take it down to the drive train shop and have them remove and reinstall the bearing for a nominal fee.

Although, the usual suspect for bearing noise is the outer bearings at the wheels. These are easy to remove and replace. But if the bearing are already too far gone, the metal floating around in the diff can take out the rest of the bearing in the center.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Cool

Brian:
I would be interested to know what you found out about your problem. I have 115000 on my truck and within the last couple days have heard a noise in the rear. It sounds like a aggressive tire tread on the roadway. Kinda like a howling. Especially at lower speeds. I couldnt find anything myself so I took it to my Ford dealer. I was told that the bearings in the rear differential are going out. Cost is at least $800 and may be much more depending on what they find. I was also told that some people drive like this for years with no problem but that cannot be guaranteed. I was also told though that the longer the problem exists, the more damage that can be done, hence, more money to fix. I am not able to do any of this type of work myself, and have to trust the dealer to be truthful with me. Not sure what Im gonna do yet.

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Old 10-16-2013, 07:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hey Steve, I guess this is an outdated post, but my 04 6.0L F250 Short Box Crew Cab (Blue) is doing the same thing. It has been making noise for a few weeks that sounds like a grinding or howling front end noise. I replaced front wheel bearing two weeks ago myself (which was a pretty good Job) and put new tires on it last week and it still makes the noise. I am about spent out! I took it to my local dealership and let my them diagnosis what I had already come to the conclusion of after a thorough check up running on jack stands! It is my rear end. They think they can change all bearings and a crushed sleeve and save my pinion gear itself. Cost about 1,100. I have had a hard time finding the source of this noise! Costly also I might ad! Good to find someone with similar experiences to read about.

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Old 12-19-2013, 11:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Another rear end to add to the list. Mine sounds like off road tires going down the road. The worst part is I decided to have the fluid changed out last month (no noise) as preventitive maintenance. A month later I get the dreadful noise and an estimate of $600 just in parts. 2008 F350 6.4 w/ 177k on the ticker. So rear end overhaul next week along with an oil cooler replacement to bring down EOT closer to ECT. When the truck has no issues its a dream. But oh my when it needs repair the benjamins fly
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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very easy to change out the bearings in a diff.

just take the truck down to a rear-end shop. NOT the dealer.

plunk down your cc. and weep😤

also take this time to add a locking diff,
detroits are best...so long as you stay off ice.

the air activated "arb" locking diff is second best.
but you have to have on board air. only true down is co$t.

limited-slips are just junk.

hows the gear ratio doing for you?
change time?
4X4 gots to do both front and rear, ratios MUST be the same.
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Anytime you make a change to the rear end you need to run through the gear setup. Over the years I have seen running changes in bearing cone thickness, necessitating different pinion shims, and since you will not be able to reuse your factory side shims you will need to set the backlash again. I would never advise just throwing bearings in it and thinking all will be well.

A good master bearing kit is going to run you in the neighborhood of $200. I would only run Koyo, Timken, or SKF bearings. There are Chinese knock offs out there that are junk.

If you address it early on you can probably save your ring & pinion. Continuing to run with bad bearings will eventually cause a failure, lock up the rear and now we're into big money.

How hard is all this? Depends on your level of experience and ability to learn new things, plus what tools you have available. A press comes in very handy, but isn't 100% necessary. I rebuilt rears and transmissions for years without a press. You can cut the old bearings off with a whiz wheel and drive the new ones on with brass punches. A press saves you time. Making set up bearings is also a good idea. With a die grinder and a brake hone you can enlarge the ID enough to get a slip fit, allowing you to figure out shim thickness before pressing the final bearings on. To set the crush sleeve...no, don't use a crush sleeve, get a solid spacer kit for like $15. The crush sleeves cause a lot of rear failures. I've never been a fan. A solid spacer is a lot easier to get right because it isn't one time use. You will need a drag gauge or low reading in/lbs torque wrench (tricky, but works in a pinch). Old timers can do this by feel, but I need to check it somehow. If you feel like tackling it I can walk you through it. I've set up many rears, and have yet to have one fail or make noise.
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Old 12-22-2013, 07:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Happy to say I can scratch my truck off the list. I jumped to conclusion and almost got HOSED.

Shop let truck leave with 3qts instead of 3 1/2. Once I added the 1/2qt of RP all noise was gone
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[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img] Hers- 2002 Excursion Limited 4x2 Powerstroke[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]Pre-pump, H/X hose, Fumoto Valve,AFE and Zoodad.
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