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Twisted Axle Shaft, or just bad bearings?

11273 Views 22 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  DJAlsip
Alright, here goes. When I bought my car I took it to a mechanics and had it checked out, he said there were some rust on the rotors and that the chirping/squealing sound it made would go away after a few weeks. This is on my right-rear wheel. Now, two months later, it's still here, just worse. I took it for my first "long" trip today, about two and a half hours on the highway. I have only used it to and from school and when hanging out with friends locally before. My mom got really worried about it since it got louder and louder over the past few days, so she made me and my dad take it to a local ford dealership to have it checked out today. They got it on the lift and had a look at it. We came to the conclusion that the chirping sound is caused by bad bearings, which is an easy and cheap fix; however, we also noticed that the wheel doesn't even spin right, it wobbles, kind of. We discovered this after having another mechanic sit in the car while up on the lift to put it in gear and run the motor. The chirping is usually just present at speeds above 10mph, and goes away during braking. Our conclusion for the day was that the bearing has gone bad and we also think the axle shaft has somehow been twisted.

I want to hear other peoples opinions on this as I really do not have any money at all to spend, except for about a thousand dollars in an emergency account I have, which is money I would prefer not to use for this even though I have to get my car fixed asap.

Ford said we could come back on Monday and they would take my rear end apart to correctly diagnose my problem for 95 dollars, which also means I will get new differential fluid at the same time (something I would have to get soon anyways). There is a good side and a bad side about this. The good side is that if it is nothing more than a bad bearing, then I'll get that fixed at the same time, and it won't cost me too much. Also, if it turns out to be something more serious than the axle shaft and/or bearing, I will get to know. The down side about this, would be that I could save money on just buying the fluid my self and a new axle shaft and put it in. This would be no problem for me and my dad to do in our garage, although it would suck if it turns out that was not the only problem because we decided to go the cheaper route and fix it ourselves. This is why I ask all you guys about what you think my problem might be, what might be the best solution, and what I should decide to put my money in.

Thank you all in advance! I will appreciate any response. I am a poor live-at-home college kid with no job and I am dependent upon my car to get me from A to B in a safe manner.
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Changing a rear axle shaft is not hard. Neither is changing the bearings. Price out and locate a replacement axle shaft from your local salvage yard or use This will give you an idea of the part availably and price.

Perform the tear down in your drive way. Then you will know if it needs a new shaft. Replace the bearings and go from there.
Since you asked for my opinion, it's throwing $$ away to replace an axle half shaft unless there is evidence of damage.

Replacing the bearings for preventive reasons is another matter entirely. I would put on new bearings and seals on both sides and not think anything about it.
If dropping the pan on an automatic transmission I recommending installing an aftermarket drain plug. This will make it much easier the next time.

Be sure to follow the pan bolt torque recommendations. The re-useable pan gasket is actually very good. However, it will leak if over torqued.

The OP does not state the MY of your Mustang. On older Mustangs, there is a drain plug on the Torque Converter. My 96 had a TC drain. My 03 does not.

Advice. When removing the spider gear retaining pin, make sure that the socket fits the bolt exactly. This pin is installed using lock-tite and can be difficult to remove. If the faces of the bolt get rounded off, plan on having a difficult day. I use a thick wall 6 point impact socket to remove this bolt. If you use a thin wall socket, don't be surprised if it breaks.

I don't recommending using a 12 point socket on this bolt.
Sorry, it is a 2003 GT. I got the new transmission filter and gasket, do you recommend me to reuse the original gasket?
Yes. The gasket that comes with the replacement filter is a cheap cork gasket.
Should I go ahead and drain the torque converter as well when I'm at it?
Please re-read the original reply. To drain the TC, a drain plug is needed. The latter MY Mustangs do not have a TC drain.
Edit: Yes, it is an automatic transmission. I believe it is the 4R75W that is in the 03 and 04 GT's? I heard they upgraded the GT's for the 03, but left the 4R70W in the V6's. Is this correct?
Not 100% sure but I thought the 4R75W's are in the 04 MY. However, I'm not sure it makes any difference in this case.
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