CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2007 Explorer Sport Trac Driveshaft has play in it. Solutions?

I have a 2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT V6 w/ 76,000 miles. While driving back from a short mountain bike trip, I noticed a clicking/scraping noise that slowed and sped up according to how fast or slow I was driving. I started feeling vibration shortly afterwards. Stopped at my residence hall (only a mile from where the problem started), and got up under the truck to see exactly what was going on. The front drive shaft has a LOT of play in it. I can move it up and down, as well as rotate it fairly easily. The play all seems to be near the joint towards the rear of the truck (I don’t know the proper name- i’m assuming it’s a coupling between the front and rear driveshaft).

Is this a “replace the entire forward drive shaft assembly” issue, or is it a “replace the u-joint” issue? I’ve never worked on this truck, so I’ve no clue exactly what is broken or worn.

Thanky much,
Distressed college kid.

It sounds like a U-joint…Today, driveshaft flex-couplers come in different flavors…The old traditional type are still in use but many vehicles have gone to CV-joints…See if you can remove the shaft and just take the shaft in to have it repaired. On some vehicles, you can still drive the vehicle with the shaft removed…

Is there anything I need to know before I get under the truck to remove the shaft? It’s parked in the parking lot of my residence hall, so this needs to be an “in and out” operation. It looked like there was some type of boot or cover missing, as I could see what looked like grease in the joint, albeit hardly any.

The only thing you need to know is first connect the driveshaft to the front differential. Not the transfer case. Connecting the driveshaft to the transfer case first and then allowing it to hang can pinch the rubber boot on the CV-joint on the new driveshaft damaging it.

Tester

Ok- does this diagnosis still stand knowing that the driveshaft is a “stick in a can” type?

This is what I’m looking at.

imgur.com/b658b

Call a local parts store and order a remanufactured front drive shaft. The rubber boot for the CV-joint is missing and that’s why all the grease has been slung out.

Tester

Thank you. Really appreciate it.

Will I be able to drive without the front shaft long enough to move the truck from my work location to a parking spot? It’s literally a couple hundred feet.

Yes. You can drive the vehicle without the front driveshaft. The transfer case doesn’t know if the driveshaft is connected or not.

Tester

There are missing parts… Tester is right. This may need more work later. Let us know how you do, GOOD LUCK.

Euryale1 The parts that are missing will be replaced when the drive shaft gets rebuilt. It wont need any thing else. Its a easy swap of parts.

^ Thanks for that clarification- got a little worried when I read his comment. I went ahead and ordered the part from Ford, so I should, assuming everything goes as planned, have this wrapped up tomorrow evening.

Thanks for the wishes and advice, and I’ll report back.

You just purchased the most expensive driveshaft possible…These should be available as rebuilt units from any parts store…They are sold on an exchange basis…Whoops, maybe not…Parts stores have the CV half shafts but I don’t see the drive-shafts listed…In your picture, there is no trace of the protective boot, no clamps, nothing…Strange…

Yeah… I looked at all the local shops as well as major names like O’Reilly and Autozone and nobody carried them new or remanufactured. Best I could do was either a “pull your own” or Ford direct. I also contacted several drive line shops and asked about what it would take to remanufacture mine, and it was pointless. The cost was so close to the actual part that it wasn’t worth the labor. I figured at this point my best bet was to just buy the entire assembly from Ford. All said and done, I’m out ~$360 for the driveshaft assembly.

As for the picture with missing components- yes. I thought it was odd as well, but that’s how I found it. I didn’t take anything off or try and replace anything. It just… was…

Just wanted to give “all ya’ll” an update- I was able to drop the old driveshaft and replace it with the new one today in under four hours (I know, it’s a long time, but for my first time doing it I feel pretty good). Just wanted to thank you, particularly Caddyman and Tester for the awesome advice and wisdom.

Have a good one!