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Old 02-09-2012, 18:04   #1 (permalink)
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2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

My 03' Ford Expedition developed a problem in the front end with a low groan and vibration in the left front wheel, floorboard, and steering column. I took it to a repair shop and the following problem was found.

Some 2003 Expedition/Navigator 4X4 vehicles may exhibit a front axle groan or hum, and/or a slight vibration, when operated in the 2 High mode. This condition is most noticeable on deceleration between 45 and 15 mph, and is not present in A4WD or 4 High. This may be due to the front halfshafts rotating at different speeds when the vehicle is operated in 2 High.

Here is the fix for this problem.

Remove the differential housing cover (3N136). Remove the bolts, differential housing cover and allow axle lube to drain


Locate and remove the differential Pinion Shaft Retaining Bolt (D8BZ-4241-B)


Remove the differential pinion shaft.

Remove both axle shaft snap rings.

Clear and hold axle shafts beyond the face of the side gears.

Place a Differential Clutch Spring (EOAZ-4214-A) between the side gears of both RH and LH axle shafts. To install the differential clutch spring use a soft-faced hammer or hardwood block. Tap into position and center between side gears.


Install new Axle Shaft Snap Rings N808765-S on RH and LH sides. Do not reuse the old snap rings. Push in on the axle shafts and install new snap rings.

Reinstall the differential pinion shaft and install a new Pinion Shaft Retaining Bolt, Part Number D8BZ-4241-B.

Can't wait to get my vehicle back.

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Old 02-09-2012, 18:13   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

Thanks for posting that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 20:07   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

I was initially told the problem was fixed by replacing the spring, however, when I went to pick up the vehicle it turned out to be an unsuccessful repair. The problem seems to be getting worse as I now have a warped brake rotor in the front, which I believe is coming from the left side also. I guess I'll remove and inspect the wheel hub, the brake caliper, the brake pads, and replace the warped brake rotor.

Anyone else have any ideas? If the wheel hub, brake caliper, and brake pads check out ok, I guess I can probably assume the limited slip clutch pack in the rear differential has failed, in which case I'll be inclined to trade the vehicle for something other than a Fix Or Repair Daily.
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Old 02-15-2012, 20:25   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

Have you had the shop check it out? Do they know that it didn't fix the problem? As for getting a different brand of vehicle, you won't find any vehicle that doesn't have problems. In our fleet, we have just about every kind of vehicle and none are trouble free. The Dodges are the worst ones.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:03   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

Front axles are the worst to work on, even for a shop.

I'd definitely take it back as they didn't resolve the issue. A lot of people assume that when in 2wd mode, the front axle doesn't turn, when in fact it's just not under power through the transfer case and all the front end parts do in fact turn with the wheels.

I wouldn't rule out a bad wheel bearing that may have contributed to the noise. Getting the gears reinstalled is no easy task. You have to get the preload just right as if they aren't meshing properly, it'll cause you more grief quicker than you know.

As for my Dodge, I have a 9.25" axle in the back and whatever axle in the front, but it's given me no problems at either end in the hard 140K miles I've had it. It's towed, thrown off road when I had the lift and larger tires on (33") and I've done nothing outside of regular magnet cleanings and gear oil change every 2-3 years. It's a tank. The frame has 7 crossmembers (compared to the Dakota with the longer wheelbase that has 5). Less chassis flex helps durability and I do a one, two, or even a three wheel peel no less than once a week (full time 4wd). When a major part goes, I'll hold a proper service before replacing it.
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Old 08-25-2012, 21:16   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 2003 Ford Expedition front end intermittent groaning / vibration

Was this ever resolved? Same problem here
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