Re: 2003 Mercury Mountaineer Rear End Noise
I hope anyone with a Navigator, Mountaineer, or Explorer with the common rear axle noise, has better luck with his or her dealer pursuing the problem than my Wife and I. We purchased a used 1 1/2 year old 2003 Mercury Mountaineer AWD 4.0 V6 in June of 2004, with 22,000 miles on the odometer through our local Ford dealer. Approximately 22,300 miles into our ownership we experienced a howl like noise at the front of the vehicle. Under factory mileage warranty, the dealership diagnosed a faulty front wheel bearing. They replaced with no hassle. This is a vehicle that my wife accumulates total mileage running to and from work. Fast forward to January 23, 2006. Our Mercury Mountaineer AWD now has 42,777 miles on the odometer with no towing within our ownership. My Wife and I noticed a low pitch growling noise starting at 25-30 mph and becoming higher in pitch at higher speeds. Doing some investigating on the Internet, we located a list of Technical Service Bulletins or TSB's as they are referred to. To our finding, Ford has dealt with an on-going rear axle issue on the 2002 thru 2005 Lincoln Navigator, Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer's. We went to our local Lincoln / Mercury dealer to have the Service Advisor take a ride with us to listen to our vehicle sitting in the third row seat as we drove around. He heard the growl as we did, saying it sounds like a loud bearing in the axle. He mentioned there were (TSB, s) on our vehicle pertaining to our problem. Our concern was that the vehicle was approximately 6,800 miles beyond the factory mileage warranty. The Service Advisor had us bring in the Mountaineer to verify the mechanical problem. He got back to us the next business day by phone forwarding us this information... "The shop would service the axle with new and improved ring and pinion set, followed with new axle bearings and seals. This included changing the gear lubricant to 75-140w, which was another TSB. Mercury said they would be able to warranty the axle rebuild work performed by the dealership not by mileage surpassed, but by the sales date the Mountaineer was sold new from the dealership lot, i.e.. first new day of sale to current day of needed service. This date would be within the factory 36-month time frame. The dealership did ask us to work with them by paying $200.00 towards the repair bill, which we did. We made the appointment to drop off our vehicle. In two work days and a weekend the job was done, so we thought. We went to pick up our vehicle. The Service Advisor mentioned to us, there was still a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. He blamed this due to all 4-factory Good Year tires showing 4/32nd to 6/32nd's average tread depth and needing replaced. We replaced these tires 4,500 miles later with Michelins, when we could afford them. This did not help our bearing growl problem at all. My Wife and I went back to the Lincoln / Mercury dealership on Friday (July 21st, 2006) to state our still existing problem. The Service Manager took a ride with us sitting in the middle row of seats. We took him out to the nearest highway so he could hear the same existing bearing growl we complained about at 42,777 miles. The Service Manager stated, " It sounds like the rear axle is noisy." Can you sway the vehicle left to right? I learned by doing this, he could determine if it was an outer wheel bearing going out at the rear axle. He said the culprit bearing would growl a little louder under load if it was failing. We tried this with him not noticing any apparent change in pitch of sound. The Service Manager said at this time, " sounds like it may still be a rear axle issue and I'll have to get a hold of my District Manager to see if we want to replace the entire axle housing and new gear-set." He asked us if we could bring in the vehicle the following Monday (July 24th, 2006). We dropped off the Mercury the next day. The Mountaineer was obviously out of mileage warranty and dated warranty. We hoped they would take care of an existing issue that was present when still under warranty then and still existed today out of warranty. We received a call the next day from the Service Manager stating " we put your Mountaineer up on the rack and used a stethoscope. We think it is the left rear outer wheel bearing making the majority of noise. The right bearing is making slight noise. We would like to install the rear driver side outer bearing and retest. This will run $270.00 parts and labor". We did not take our Mercury Mountaineer back to the dealership to have an on-going issue tested using our money and no longer willing to resolve Mercury's problem, which is still our problem. Any comments about a similar issue would be greatly appreciated.