Changing ball joints - noticed diff fluid in shaft tube - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:55 AM
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Changing ball joints - noticed diff fluid in shaft tube

I just changed all 4 ball joints on my 2004 F-250. Prior to re-assembly on the driver's side, I noticed some fluid running down the driveshaft tube while the drive shaft was out and dripping down onto my driveway. I read somewhere, either on this forum or another one, that it's possible for a little differential fluid to leak out while doing this job. Is that true or is the inner seal in the differential shot? Should I try driving around in 4 wheel drive and see if the leak continues?

From front looking back. Diff fluid on drive way


From front looking back. Drivers side dust seal. Can see some fluid.


From behind knuckle looking forward. Obvious diff fluid on knuckle dripping down to lower ball joint.

Last edited by duckbill; 04-19-2012 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:32 AM
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The answer is yes and yes. It is normal to loose a little. If you want to see if the seal leaks clean off any oil residue and drive it and see if any shows back up.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:36 AM
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If it continues to leak, what went wrong? Did I do something to damage the seal when pulling the shaft out or putting it back in? Just trying to figure out what might have happened here. I'll keep you posted when I drive it some more.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:53 AM
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Well in a way it doesn't really matter if you damaged it or it was all ready leaking if it's still leaking it needs to be changed. in my mind anyways lol
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyboy950 View Post
Well in a way it doesn't really matter if you damaged it or it was all ready leaking if it's still leaking it needs to be changed. in my mind anyways lol
Agreed. I guess I am always just curious of the cause of certain things so that I may avoid them in the future. I'll keep it clean and see if it continues to leak. I really don't want to have to replace that seal.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:39 AM
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when the shaft hangs down out of position it distorts the seal which can let fluid escape. if that side of the diff is a little lower or the fluid level is a little high its more likely to drip. as long as the seal hasn't been broken or cut you are ok to just op it off and keep going. unfortunately they isn't really any way to tell other than driving it. maybe top it off, then park the other front wheel on an 8 inch block overnight and see it it leaks. keep in mid that there may be some fluid pooled in the tube that has not run out.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:50 AM
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you can damage the inner seal when putting the axle back in place

I try to be very careful because that seal requires both axles to be pulled and the carrier to be pulled to replace then from what I have read

it also looks like you have the old style dust seal ? they have a new style that goes into the axle instead of on the axle shaft
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:11 AM
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Thanks for the help guys. When I pulled the axle shaft out, I didn't let it hang down, I just pulled it straight out. As mentioned, prior to putting it all back together is when I noticed the fluid coming out of the axle tube. And to be more precise, I didn't have any come out until I lowered the axle down a little bit on the side I was working on. Everything seemed to go on smooth wen putting the axle back in.

And yes, I have the old style dust seal. Didn't realize there was a new style until it was too late. These will have to do for now. Since this is a secondary vehicle for me that doesn't get driven often, I think the old style dust seals will be fine for now.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:16 AM
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well hopefully it was just a little lost fluid when the axle was out


good luck
.. it's not the end of the world that dif fluid is only needed when in 4x4 or 2x4 with the hubs engaged and even a axle seal leak will leave plenty of fluid in the pumpkin
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMANN View Post
well hopefully it was just a little lost fluid when the axle was out


good luck
.. it's not the end of the world that dif fluid is only needed when in 4x4 or 2x4 with the hubs engaged and even a axle seal leak will leave plenty of fluid in the pumpkin
My thoughts exactly. Tomorrow I am going to have an opportunity to park it on a ramp in a parking garage and I will park it so that the drivers side is on the lower part of the ramp. We'll see how big the puddle is at the end of the day.
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