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Steve S
Steve S, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 1866
Experience:  10 years in Ford Dealership, Certified in: Auto Trans, Diesel Engines, Climate Control, Electrical D
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Front Differential on 2004 Explorer has a growling noise. No

Customer Question

Front Differential on 2004 Explorer has a growling noise. No change in noise accelerating/decelerating, no play in drivetrain noted while driving. Vibration is felt in the cab at speeds to about 65 MPH. Cause & Cost to repair?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Steve S replied 8 years ago.
Hi there does the noise seem to originate from one side of the truck more then the other? How many miles are on the truck? How is the wear on the tires? Steve
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

No tire wear problems, wear is even.


Stethoscope indicates noise when on hoist and wheels put in motion comes from the differential.

About 75,000 miles, mostly highway miles.


Noise des not seem to be side oriented, it does sound like a gear noise but there is no slack in the system when the throttle is released.

Expert:  Steve S replied 8 years ago.
Hi again most of the time a growl noise in the Explorers are caused by the wheel bearings they fail alot. The rear differential used to have alot of problems but the fronts hardly ever. And about the slack in the driveline there could well be a bearing inside that is bad and would not affect backlash at all. I guess if you are pretty positive that the noise is from the diff itself then I guess the next step would be to remove it and take the ring and pinion out and inspect the gears and the bearings. It could very well be a bad side differential bearing, I am just saying that you must be unlucky because I have not seen to many front diff concerns in these at all. Good Luck and Thank you steve
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Any chance it is the 'U'-Joints? We drive in extreme salty conditions. After a short run, the Joints are warm to the touch.
Expert:  Steve S replied 8 years ago.
Hi there that was an idea in my head yes but most of the time people describe a vibration and not a growl for the ujoints but yes it could be. An easy way to check the front ujoints would be to remove the driveshaft and drive it and see if there is any difference with the noise. I also believe that when running on a lift you would see the motion in the ujoints. Check it out and get back to me we will go from there. Thank you Steve