How to Remove the Front Differential Cover Gasket in a Ford Ranger

by Allen Moore

A 4x4 Ranger has a front and rear differential. Both need to be serviced at regular intervals. While the rear differential cover is easily removed, the front cover is blocked by tie rod. While this does get in the way, you can work around it. With that in mind, anticipate spending an addition ten minutes to remove the front differential cover in order to scrape off the old gasket and install a new one.


Push the drain pan under the front differential and place the magnet dish onto any piece of the front suspension that allows you easy access to it.


Use the socket set to remove the bolts holding the differential cover in place and set the bolts in the magnet dish so they don’t get misplaced.


Pry the differential cover loose, carefully, using the screwdriver. Make sure not to gouge the sealing surfaces on the cover or differential when prying on it. Allow the old gear lube to drain before continuing.


Lift the differential cover upward until it clears the tie rod and then pull it out from underneath the Ranger.


Clean the cover with brake clean and rags. Scrape the old gasket completely off the cover and the sealing surface on the differential.


Run a thin bead of black RTV, approximately the width of a pea, around the sealing surface on the differential cover. Allow it to set up per the specific directions on the RTV’s packaging.


Lower the differential cover back into place, using care not to contact anything with the RTV.


Pres the cover into position and install the bolts by hand to prevent cross threading. Once all the bolts seated, tighten them down in a cross pattern using the socket set.


Refill the differential using the recommend gear lube for your specific model year.


  • check Some model year Rangers may allow better access to the front differential by lifting the front end and supporting it on jack stands, placed under the frame. This allows the suspension to hand down, moving the tie rod away from the differential cover.

Items you will need

About the Author

Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.

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