Front axle shaft moves up and down - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks 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 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 06-17-2010, 03:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Front axle shaft moves up and down

I bought this truck not long ago the guy gave me a receipt where he had both axle bearings and seals put in. Well after looking around I noticed it was leaking oil out the right side and I reach under there and grabbed the joint and it moved on me a little. So i got a small bar and noticed it had some play in it quite a bit. Can someone tell me whats wrong here?
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What do you mean by "this truck"? Year? Model? (I'm assuming 4x4)

If it's a 99 or newer Superduty 4x4, it has spindle bearings in the wheel bearing/hub assembly that support the outer part of the axle shaft. Even on a new truck, there's some movement there, but it shouldn't be sloppy. If the PO changed out the bearing.hub assemblies, he may not have bothered changing a scored shaft where the spindle bearing runs. If that was the case, you'd be starting with more play than with a minimally worn axle shaft.

The fact that there's oil leaking (from the axle tube?), indicates that the hub R&R was sloppily done, or that the whole thing needed rebuilding. Oil coming from the center section and leaking out the tubes at the u-joint indicates a bad seal in the differential. The differential carrier has to come out to replace those axle seals. While you're at that, you can inspect the outer axle shafts and lube the spindle bearings. His receipt may have included the outer seals that go on the outboard side of the u-joint.

good luck
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What a dummy I am. It is a 99 f250 4x4....Thats kinda what I figured they just replaced the outer seal.
So your saying the whole center section has to come out to put the inner seals in?
And theres a bearing in the spindle. Is that the wheel bearing? Because on my ranger that's what caused play in it?
Haha dont call me to dumb please.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not calling you dumb at all. We just need the info to give you the right help.

Here's a cross section of the Wheel bearing/hub assembly that I sketched up a while back. Gives you a pretty good picture of what happens in the hub. The spindle bearing supports just the axle shaft, while the wheel bearings support the wheel.
Wheel Hub Cross Section.pdf

It could be that they pulled the axle out of the differential when they replaced the hub assemblies, and then damaged the seal when they put it back in. The oil seal sits just outside the bearing cups for the differential bearings, so to replace it, you have to pull the axle shafts, differential cover, & differential to get to the seals.

It's also possible that oil ran out of the differential and into the axle tube when the axle shaft was out, and is just now running out the outboard end of the tube.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Haha oh no I wasnt saying you called me dumb I just dont think half the time...Thank you for the breakdown of it...That was exactly what I needed. I see what you are talking about the bearing now. Im gonna try to yank it off tomorrow morning before it gets to hot to see what I have.
I had a light out there looking at it earlier i think the outer seal may have slid out of the hole where the axle was moving. The oil on the knuckle where I seen it at looks fresh and it dont look so fresh haha. Im gonna try to clean it real good and then check the oil and see if how low it is. .

But that breakdown is a great help thanks again!
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry it took so long! I still havent got a chance to take it apart yet but the trucks been sitting on level ground and i pulled the plug out to check the fluid and it started coming out so that means its full and it looked super clean....I then went to the side and cleaned it off real good and when i did i started looking at the axle. The play looks to be inside the spindle. So my guess is those bearings are gone like ya said. ...No when I picked up on the axle a little bit of gear oil came out of the tube in the bottom of the seal and it was very black. So im guessing and hoping that maybe its the old oil like you said before.
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