How to Replace the Seal in the Rear End of an Explorer

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Ford introduced the Explorer in 1991 as a mid-sized sport utility vehicle. After years of use, the engine, drivetrain, and frame parts will need servicing in order to perform to factory standard. A problem that may occur in the axle of the Ford Explorer is leaking, which can lead to severe issues in the suspension springs and braking system. Recognizing this problem early in its occurrence can save you hundreds in replacement parts. Replacing the rear end seal can be done at home with the right tools and know-how.

Removal

  • Park your Explorer on a flat surface and set the parking brake. Position the Explorer's jack underneath the frame, just in front of each rear wheel. Lift each side up to an adequate height, one at a time, and place a jack stand underneath the frame.

  • Place a recycling pan underneath the differential cover of the rear axle. Unscrew the bolts that hold this cover to the rear axle and let all of the axle fluid drain into the pan.

  • Unscrew the cross-bolt of the rear end to remove the pinion shaft. If this cross-bolt is broken or damaged in any way, you might need to remove it with a pick instead of the intended wrench. Slide the pinion shaft out of its place once the cross-bolt has been removed.

  • Push the rear end towards the center of the differential to access the C-clips of the axle. These C-clips should slide out very easily once you have pushed the axle to an adequate location. Remove the axles, making sure you know how each is installed for later steps.

  • Insert the seal puller into the seal hole to remove each individual seal. Be careful not to grab the bearings in this process, as they can be easily removed with each seal. Take note of the seal, as the replacement seals will need to be comparable in size and shape. Clean out any grease or other debris around this area before proceeding with the new seal installation.

Installation

  • Install each new seal with a 3/4-inch socket, being careful not to overload the new seal. Each seal should slide easily into its respective slot, so do not force the seals into place.

  • Reinstall the axles and slide these parts to the center of the differential, in the position each was loaded before removal.

  • Replace the old C-clips, making sure that they align perfectly with the O-rings as they were before the removal.

  • Reinstall the pinion shaft and set it in place with a new cross-bolt, if necessary. Most seal replacements will need a new cross-bolt to properly hold the pinion shaft.

  • Pour the differential fluid back into the case with a funnel and replace the cover when finished. Raise the rear of the Explorer, one side at a time, off the jack stands and lower the car to the ground.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves and protective eye wear at all times during the removal and installation process

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