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Old 06-21-2015, 09:07 PM   #1
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Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Hi guys. I'm here in Pueblo, Colorado, having just driven 1,700+ miles from Philadelphia in our 1998 E250 2WD SMB. I think I'm having an issue with my rear diff. After driving at highway speeds, if we stop and then start again, when I make a slight turn at low speeds (like backing out of a parking spot or pulling forward and turning) the van makes a grinding/rubbing sound. At first I thought it was the front end, but reading threads here and elsewhere makes me think it might be the rear differential. It doesn't do it when the van is cold, nor does it do it with bigger turns or when doing a full circle.

Just before leaving I had my mechanic change the rear diff fluid, which had never been done. I've always thought it had a LSD, and asked him to confirm and reminded him to use the LSD additive if it was LSD. He supposedly had the housing cover off and checked and said that it didn't have a clutch pack and so didn't use the additive. He's experienced and has always been good so I took his word for it.

I've attached a few pics of the differential tag on the housing. It's a 3.73 and has "LS" on the right side of the tag, which I assume means LSD. Can anyone confirm if this is a LSD? If so, can I simply buy some Ford LSD additive, pull the access bolt and add it in, or does the fluid need to be totally swapped out and redone?

We are in Pueblo, Colorado, tonight. If anyone can recommend a good shop or dealership here or in Colorado Springs I'd appreciate it.

Thanks!
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:39 PM   #2
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Just add the additive. Even if you didn't have LS it won't hurt anything. Makes me wonder if he knows what limited slip looks like though....
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:44 PM   #3
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Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Forgot to add: van just turned over 90k miles. Never had this problem before, and the rear fluid change is the only work that has recently been done.
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:46 PM   #4
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Thanks Carringb! Do I need to siphon out some of the fluid in there, or just add the additive? I've read it takes about 8 ounces of additive? I guess if it's at the drain plug level then I need to remove some...
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:03 PM   #5
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

According to information found online you have a 1998 Dana 60 semi-floating 3.73 locking rear diff.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:09 PM   #6
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

This: http://www.differentials.com/technical- ... tification suggests that the tag denotes a limited slip.

Has it been in your possession it's entire life? It's certainly possible it was rebuilt as a non limited slip at some point, though I'd at least have consider cutting the tag in that case.

First thing to try is obviously to add some additive. If that make the noise go away, you should be in good shape.

If not, I'd be getting the mechanic (who you sound like you have a relationship with) on the phone. If they had the cover off, LSD or not doesn't seem like the sort of thing someone would be confused about. Also get the to tell you what oil they used, it may already have at least some additive in it.

Depending on how that conversation goes, and how certain I was that the noise is really coming from the diff, I'd be finding a place to pull the cover (shop or parts store packing lot).

I don't think getting the wheels off the ground to spin them is all that useful unless you're sure about what you have. The normal behavior of an LSD can be the failure case of an open diff and vice-versa. -- Though, if you can, you might replicate your noise.

If it is a limited slip, you shouldn't have damaged anything but the clutches. However if that goes long enough, you might have debris from them floating around (though hopefully just resting at the bottom), which is risky to the rest of the diff. Though, if just adding the additive made the noise go away, I wouldn't be worried about this.
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:34 AM   #7
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Thanks guys! It does seem to be a LSD from the IDs provided. I did try searching the tag number, but I guess my Google skills are not equal to those here :-)

I'm the second owner, but have full maintenance history and receipts. Rear was never touched as far as I know. Before I left I debated whether to have the fluid changed, thinking "don't mess with it," but decided to be proactive. Oh well. Yes, I definitely will have a conversation with my mechanic back in PA!
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:44 AM   #8
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

The Ford diff additive is only 4oz. Ford calls it a "friction modifier" and the part # is XL-3. You shouldn't have to take any fluid out if you need to add it in. You'll want to get a thin, long funnel to add the fluid and just make sure not to get any on your hands...It stinks pretty bad. I read on the forum that once you add it, you should do some tight circles in both directions to get the additive in the clutch packs.

You can also check the door tag on the driver's door jamb for your axle code. If its a letter and a number, its usually a limited slip differential. If its two numbers, then its most likely an open diff.
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Old 06-22-2015, 09:52 AM   #9
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Hi! If you're still having issues and make it as far North as Fort Collins, check out Houska Automotive on Riverside. They've done all the work on our SMB since moving to CO, and I've always been happy with their work and prices. Also, if you do end up leaving your van with them, message me and we can grab a beer while they work.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:01 AM   #10
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Re: Help Needed: rear end issue? Pueblo, Colo.

Got my additive bright and early at the Ford dealer and added it in a Walmart parking lot. Boy does that stuff stink! Did some figure-eights in the parking lot. I'll have to drive it some to see if it fixed the issue. Thanks for all the advice. I'll report back if it fixed the problem. Headed up into the mountains today. Hope it gets cooler than the 101 forecasted today in Pueblo!
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