Ford Escape Drive Shaft Removalby Dan Ferrell
For the most part, drive shafts require little maintenance. However, worn-out joints that produce squeaking, grinding noises or damage to the shaft itself will require removal of the drive shaft. There are only a few precautions you should take when removing or servicing the shaft on a Ford Escape. However, be ready to replace bolts, clamps and washers. Your vehicle manufacturer strongly recommends replacing all mounting hardware during reinstallation.
Park your Ford Escape on a level surface. Raise the rear of the vehicle, and support it on jack stands. If necessary, raise the front as well. Then shift the transmission into neutral. On some models, there is a ground strap near the catalytic converter. If necessary, detach and move the strap out of the way.
Scribe match-marks on the differential flange--where the rear of the drive shaft attaches--on the drive shaft rear yoke and rear of drive shaft. This will help you reinstall the drive shaft in the same position to maintain the factory balance. If you are going to separate the front and rear of the drive shaft after removing it from the vehicle, match-mark them as well.
Unfasten the bolts, clamps, washers and center bearing nuts. Ford recommends that you replace all mounting hardware, including clamps, when reinstalling the drive shaft.
Once you release the rear of the drive shaft, use tape around the caps of the universal joint to keep them from falling and spilling the roller bearings. Then support the rear of the drive shaft on a jack stand or another suitable piece of equipment. Leaving the front yoke supporting the full weight of the shaft may damage the transmission extension housing, rear bushing or front universal joint.
Carefully pull the drive shaft out of the transmission extension housing and out of the vehicle. Use a plastic plug or bag to cover the extension housing to prevent transmission fluid from leaking onto the floor.
It is common to use a vise to hold the drive shaft during service procedures. However, make sure not to clamp on the center section--the weakest point--to avoid bending or deforming the shaft. This may cause the shaft to go out of balance and vibrate during vehicle operation.
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