Introduced in 1991, the Ford Explorer is a popular mid-size SUV available in four-wheel drive. Although the 2011 Explorer was named the North American Truck of the Year, older Explorer models suffer from numerous suspension issues. In particular, several Explorer models experienced rear axle problems.
Ford Technical Service Bulletins indicate numerous Explorer rear axle noise problem on 2003 through 2005 models. Explorer drivers have reported numerous "grinding" and "whining" noises coming from the vehicle's rear end. Rear axle noises may indicate that either the rear axle bearings or rear differential fluid needs replacement.
Technical Service Bulletins also indicate rear axle seals, which are rings that prevent rear axle oil from leaking out, may break. Faulty rear axle seals result in oil escaping from the rear axle, which may cause improper lubrication.
Rear axle noise may be remedied by replacing the differential fluid, which costs approximately $71 to $103 for parts and labor (as of 2011) according to Repair Pal. If noise persists, the culprit may be the rear axle bearings, which costs approximately $168 for parts and labor to replace according to Auto MD. Auto MD estimates the cost of a rear axle seal at $350 for parts and labor (as of 2011).
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