How to Replace Axle Seals on a 2002 Ford F150

by Robert Bayly

The 2002 Ford F-150 half-ton pickup was equipped with three different rear axles: the 8.8-, 9.75- or 10.25-inch. They are all of the semi-floating, C-clip type, with oil seals and axle bearings in the end of the axle tubes. A leaking oil seal will allow gear oil to contaminate the brake shoes or pads, affecting braking performance and ruining the pads.

Removal

1

Park the F-150 on a level, paved surface and set the parking brake. Place wheel chocks in front of the front wheels. Loosen the lug nuts on the rear wheels. Raise the F-150 with a jack and support it with jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

2

Remove the brake drum or caliper and rotor. To remove the caliper, use a ratchet and socket to remove the two caliper retaining bolts from the back side of the caliper. Pull the caliper from the rotor and tie it to the frame with a piece of wire. Remove the rotor.

3

Place a drain pan under the differential cover. Remove all of the cover bolts, except the top three, with a ratchet and socket. Loosen the top three until they are most of the way out. This will prevent the gear oil from gushing out when you break the seal between the cover and housing.

4

Slide a flat-head screwdriver between the cover and housing to break the seal. Be gentle and do not bend the cover. Catch the gear oil in the drain pan. Remove the three bolts and cover.

5

Remove the pinion bolt from the differential carrier with a ratchet and socket. Slide the pinion shaft out of the carrier until it passes the side gears inside the carrier and you can see the ends of the axles.

6

Move to the wheel side of the axle and push it in. Move back to the carrier and use needle-nosed pliers to remove the now exposed C-clip from the end of the axle. Move back to the wheel side of the axle and slide the axle from the axle tube.

7

Pry the old oil seal from the axle tube with a pry bar. Note which way the seal fits in the tube. Clean the inside of the axle tube with a shop rag dampened with lacquer thinner.

Installation

1

Coat the outside rim and inside lip of the new seal with a little wheel bearing grease. Fit the seal against the axle tube and tap the seal into the tube with a socket and hammer. Choose a socket that fits against the outside of the seal. Make sure the seal goes in straight and is flush with the end of the tube.

2

Slide the axle in far enough so you can install the C-clip. Pull out on the axle to seat the clip in the side gear.

3

Push in the pinion shaft. Clean the threads of the pinion bolt with lacquer thinner. Put a drop of Loctite 242 thread locker on the threads of the bolt. Install the bolt and use a torque wrench to torque the bolt to between 15 and 30 foot-pounds.

4

Cover the carrier with a shop rag. Scrape the mating surfaces of the housing and cover with a gasket scraper. Be careful not to gouge the metal. Clean the mating surfaces with a shop rag and lacquer thinner.

5

Apply a 3/16-inch bead of black RTV silicone to the differential cover. Make a circle around each bolt hole. Mount the cover to the housing and install and torque the bolts to between 28 and 38 foot-pounds, working in a star-shaped pattern.

6

Mount the drum or rotor and caliper. Torque the caliper bolts to 20 foot-pounds. Mount the wheels and lug nuts. Remove the filler plug and add 4 ounces of friction modifier if you have a limited-slip differential. Fill the axle with 75W-140 synthetic gear oil. Install and torque the filler plug to between 15 and 30 foot-pounds.

7

Lower the F-150 and torque the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds for 12 mm studs and 150 foot-pounds for 14 mm studs.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Robert Bayly, based in Apple Valley, California, began writing in 2010, his "how to" articles can be found on eHow. With more than 15 years in the auto industry, Bayly has been an auto and diesel mechanic, service writer and parts manager. He received certificates from Pontiac (parts system), Cat Diesel (engine service), Saab and Fiat (parts- warranty system).