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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When my 97 Ranger was getting it's oil change/lube, the mechanic found some fine metal in the lube oil. He took the cover off the differential and checked the gears. After a bit, he decided the pinion gear may be the problem and advised me to get a whole new rearend. This truck makes no noise. I've had it since it was born and drive it like the senior citizen I am. I hesitate to heed their advice since I hear no howl or clunking. I read that sometimes a heavy load on the gears can cause some metal flakes. Can anybody help? (It's a 2 wheel drive, 4 cylinder standard transmission.)
 

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In memoriam
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I wouldnt replace anything unless its giving you a problem. Its a 10 year old truck and a little metal could just be normal wear.
 

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Sounds like someone is trying to sell you an new rearend.....just normal wear and tear. From your description, you are perfectly capable of identifying a rear end going out....whine,howl, pop etc...Until you hear those no need to worry.
 

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agmantoo
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Did the "mechanic" replace the oil with new oil when the cover was reassembled? If so, forget what he said he saw and keep on rolling.
 

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Rockin In The Free World
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I wouldn't replace it either. What I would do is change the differential fluid a few times over the next few months - just to make sure you've removed any trace of metal in the fluid. I'd agree that this could just be normal wear on a truck that old.

Heavy loads will cause increased wear on most every driveline and suspension component of any vehicle.

If you're worried about it, take it to someone who specializes in transmissions, driveline components, 4wd, etc. and have them take a look - those guys usually do this sort of stuff every day. A "mechanic" is a very general term : for example, if you needed an engine rebuilt you wouldn't take it to a muffler shop - yet both may have "mechanics".
 

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None of the Above
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You wouldn't need to replace the rearend anyway. It would just need the bearings replaced.
If it's not barking (howling) at you, don't do anything.
Maybe his rent was coming up or he needed beer money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everybody! Makes me feel like my hesitation to comply was justifiable. Yes, he did put new gear lube in - I will heed the advice of changing it a few more times down the road. Thanks again!
 

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have the wheel bearings checked tho, on small rear ends the differential oil lubes the wheel bearings and one of them may be going out, and they are very hard to hear.

One way to hear is to roll the windows down and drive along a solid wall and listen to the sound coming back from the wall, seems like brick or concrete works best.

I had one wheel bearing on a old ford and could not tell it by feel or noise until nearly half of the balls in the bearing had disintegrated, and then it sounded like the noise was coming from the transmission.

Also every now and then drive the vehicle on a slope to get the oil out to the ends of the differential both sides.

It is no fun to have a real wheel slide out from under the vehicle when you driving down the road, (I personally Have never tried it, but that is what I here from those who have tried it).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks farminghandyman! Last fall I had new upper and lower ball joints put in and they packed the front bearings. (reading off the invoice) Don't know if that has anything to do with anything! They also had put a new cover on the differential. I live in major hilly country, so my oil should be lubricating ok.
 

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The only thing I would change would be mechanics...

You might take it somewhere's else and make sure that your "mechanic" put the right lube in. If he put too light of weight lube in, you will start having problems...


.
 

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greyhound girl said:
Thanks farminghandyman! Last fall I had new upper and lower ball joints put in and they packed the front bearings. (reading off the invoice) Don't know if that has anything to do with anything! They also had put a new cover on the differential. I live in major hilly country, so my oil should be lubricating ok.
He's talking about the REAR wheel bearings, on either end of the rear end. Usually, if they go out, they make a grinding noise.

A magnetic plug might be a good thing to consider. It will attract the metal particles.
 

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Your differential most likely has a small magnet on the end of the fill plug, there is no drain plug. It is common to have metal on the magnet from normal wear. As others have said there shouldn't be a need to replace anything if you don't hear noise.

Changing differential fluid is something that's overlooked but really should be done to prolong vehicle lfe.
 

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michiganfarmer said:
drive it till it blows chunks on the road
I totally agree, and if it does, just get a whole rear end from a salvage yard. This would be much cheaper than trying to rebuild the one you have. I have done this very thing. Before they go, they usually make so much noise you can't stand it. Driving old trucks, the salvage yard is your best parts store.

Good luck.

Bob
 

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Rockin In The Free World
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I really miss the old "junkyards". Here, they now want to be known as "auto recyclers" and their prices are about a percent or two less than buying new parts from the dealership.

The good news is the Internet and places like Kijiji and Craigslist - where you can get your mits on the whole vehicle or the parts before they ever reach the "auto recycler".

Sand Flat Bob said:
I totally agree, and if it does, just get a whole rear end from a salvage yard. This would be much cheaper than trying to rebuild the one you have. I have done this very thing. Before they go, they usually make so much noise you can't stand it. Driving old trucks, the salvage yard is your best parts store.

Good luck.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You guys are great! But ya gotta remember that being female - it's not always wise to wait till chunks are flying about! Especially in the middle of nowhere. The mechanic was going to get a whole rearend from the junkyard but I told him to wait on it. I'm making a 300 mile trip on Tuesday - hope I don't hold my breath all the way. And I will be up against some solid walls along the interstate so I'll listen for noise in rear bearings. Thanks ya all!
 
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