Ford F-150 Bad rear end and a bad leaf spring

I have a 2007 Ford F-150 small box bought new, now has 80,000 miles. The rear end started to make a slight roaring noise that started to turn into a vibration. That turned into a major vibration (windshield wipers would hop). I figured a bad U-joint, but it had no “clunking sounds”. I took it to a non-dealer mechanic and he said the “rear end is shot, and also a bad leaf spring…” I do not tow with this truck, or go off road, but it does have a Tommy lift installed. Does this sound normal for the miles and usage of the truck? Anyone know of any recalls for this model that effects the rear end?

What year?

Have you checked to see if there is indeed fluid in the rear diff?

If the only problem in the rear end is the axle bearings they can be easily replaced. And a broken leaf spring would lead me to suspect that an axle bearing is the problem.

A broken leaf spring is not an abnormal problem for a pick up truck. If a leaf breaks, depending on which ones, it can alter the alignment or integrity of the rear axle. If you used the vehicle like a truck and carried loads over uneven ground and live in the salt belt, any of these things are entirely possible. Do not let “minor” vibrations go unattended. You can ruin other components if what you say is true by waiting. Roaring noise, vibration to hoping…did we expect it to fix itself ?

Because I used my harshly, I regularly inspected them and found one broken once. It was no big deal having it fixed as nothing else was involved at that time. I would guess too that depending on how the lift was used, you could easily over stress the spring loading it outside the wheel base.

Thanks for the replys. I am NOT a mechanic,I took basic auto shop in the 80’s, I do understand the drive train with U-joint goes to the rear end that contains the differential, axle, wheel bearing and such. From noise, to a vibration, to “milkshake” was less than a week. I just want to be sure my mechanic is not trying to take me for a ride before I take it to the dealer and pay them more to tell me the same thing. You all have given me questions to ask my mechanic. THANK YOU!

Here is what can happen…A wheel bearing fails, not so unusual if the oil in the differential is a little low and the wheel bearings get starved for lubrication…If you catch this soon enough, it’s an easy repair. But if you wait until the axle and bearing and seal are destroyed, metal fragments from all this destruction can travel along the axle tube and into the differential, damaging the gears and bearings in that assembly…At that point, you are indeed better off just buying a complete replacement axle from a salvage yard…Be sure to get the same gear ratio as you have now…

If the bearing failure was caught before the filings had a chance to travel into the differential or the housing was damaged, then a new axle, bearing, seal should get you back on the road…

Jack up the rear end and turn the wheels. Listen for any grinding sounds and pay attention to how smoothly the wheels turn. Lift upward in each wheel. If there is any roughness in turning and/or the wheel has free play to move up and down the axle bearing is almost certainly bad.

Remove the fill plug and dip your finger in. If the oil is within reach of your finger and looks bright and feels slick there is a good chance that the differential is not damaged but when the cover is removed to get the axles bearings out everything can be inspected closely.

Overloading allows the axle to bottom out and damage the axles shaft and bearing. A broken spring is indicative of overloading.

I wonder if an axle bearing seal went bad and let the gear lube run out. That would explain the noise to vibration to ‘milkshake’ in a week. Little to no lube and a rear axle will eat itself up quickly. I’ve seen it happen before.

Also, when it did happen, we got a replacement axle from a salvage yard. There should be plenty of F-150s in the scrap yards to pull an axle and springs from if this is the case. We got one for about $75, but that was close to 20 years ago. I’d expect prices are a tad higher now.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I edited my question to include the year I forgot to mention. It is a 2007. As I am NOT a mechanic, I have no idea what scrap or new parts cost or the going rate for labor. The mechanic said about $3000 and that is with a scrap yard rear end. OUCH! That seem legit, or is he trying to ream me? He is NOT a dealer mechanic but a mechanic with his own commercial shop…who is renting the location from my father, so I doubt he would try and screw me…But if so, his rent may be going up…

I will let the others address the other issues. But, some mechanics will want to replace entire spring packs for lots of $$$$$ and maybe on both sides. They can be made up one at a time. At least, a shop nearby did for me and only the one needed replacement. It was a difference between $150 and $1200 for me. That is one issue.

Thanks for the reply dagosa. I would hope he would only replace the broken parts and not all for a high bill. My area of work is electrical/electronics. I know the going rates for low end and high end technicians…but I couldn’t even guess the fair price to balance a tire as I have no clue in the auto repair world.

$3000 with a salvaged rear axle?!? cough cough Go get a second opinion. STAT.

I just looked up rear axel for 2007 F150’s on looks like anywhere from $600
-$1200 for a complete axel. I would think $500-8000 would get it installed $3000 is way out of line.

Thanks oldbodyman…turns out the mechanic also wants to replace the complete leaf spring package…Since he is renting his place from my old man and the work is almost done…Rent will be going up and over a short time, payback…and then more income for Dad. None of us are happy, but we kind of have him on this one. Mechanic has way too much equipment to move if he wanted to and not a lot of options to relocate due to the space needed.

I recommend that you shop around @oven. $3,000 for a junk yard rear end on a Ford F-150 seems awfullu high.

A U-joint can be horribly bad without knocking. Sometimes the only way of knowing is by dropping the driveshaft and physically moving the joints by hand. Generally speaking, the front one is the first to go due to lack of grease and rust in the needles.

Three grand for a used rear axle? Wow. Around here a late model rear axle brings maybe 450-500 or so at most. Older ones can be had for 150.

The leaf sring packs for both could be a thousand of that. Though I am against replacing the entire leaf spring package, it is not a bad thing on an older truck with some rust underneath safety wise as they do help with alignment. If it’s from a dealer, it can be over a grand for both, or a few hundred after market. There is no additional labor, or should not be, as it must be part of any axle replacement. It is expensive, but it’s not out of the ordinary with trucks that are used as trucks. It is cheaper then a new truck and if done competently, is just as good as new. I would treat rust areas in the bed and frame when on the lift !!!