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New rear end for 1988 Lincoln Mark VII

We are the original owners of a Lincoln Mark VII. The car has only 75,000 miles on it. We just found out that we need a new rear end. How much will that cost? Is it worth it to have it fixed?

Rear end as in the whole rear axle/differential assembly or do you need the differential replaced? Even if it is the latter, it might be less expensive to get the whole axle assembly off of a wreck and install it.

The mechanic said we need new ball bearings and a gear.

I had the bearings replaced in the rear end of my Caprice. It came to about $500. As others comment, on an older car, a rear end from a wreck with low mileage is the most cost-effective fix. Rearends seldom fail, unless the car is used for heavy towing, is backed into the water, or it fails through lack of lubricant.

What is his theory in the need for new bearings and a gear? I believe it has an 8.8" ford rear end which is a pretty good axle overall. Is it making noise or was there metal in the fluid or something?

We started hearing a noise. It’s loud and kind of sounds like a motorcycle when the engine slows down.

The easiest and most inexpensive method is to find another rear axle and swap it out.
The axle in your car can be built up but it’s a pretty technical job and could run a 1000 bucks, depending on exactly what is defective.

The Mark VIIs are nice cars and with only 75k miles on it repairing it would be a no-brainer for me. I’d do it in a heartbeat unless the car is eaten up with rust, etc.

Since a rear end failure seldom occurs in an instant, I assume this one must have been making some noise for a while. Probably due to a seal leaking the hypoid oil out of the differential.

You may also want to take this opportunity to have a shorter rear end gear set installed. IIRC. The Mark VII had a 2.73 or 3.08 rear end gear. Going to a 3.73 or a 4.10 rear gear will really wake the car up.

Our car has been kept in a garage since we bought it. There is no rust on it at all. People can’t get over what good condition the car is in.

I too am curious about exactly what in the rear end is making the noise. Rear ends can be repaired. The whole rear axle does not need to be replaced.

Yes, IMHO it’s worth repairing. Your posts suggest that you like the car, it’s clearly meeting you rneeds, and you’ve indicated that it’s in great shape. I see no gain in replacing it. Its value to you is far greater than its market value.

When the mechanic said we need new ball bearings and a gear is that the rear axle?

Perhaps. I’m going to take a wild guess and suggest that perhaps the pinion bearing was shot and the ring and pinion set sustained abnormal wear as a result.

I’ve found this site that has a graphic of a ring and pinion set. These gear sets are inside the differential housing (the “pumpkin” in the middle of the axle). The shaft from the rear universal joint goes through a “pinion bearing” and connects the driveshaft to the ring and pinion set. If the bearing wears it can allow “play” in the pinion gear, causing damage to the gear itself and to its partner the “ring gear”. The knocking could be from the gear damage, the pinion bearing, or the excessive movement. My guess is that it’s coming from movement of the pinion shaft in the bearing.

Thes can be repaired more cheaply than replacing the whole axle.

The junk yard is the way to go. Most have half price days once or twice a week and only cost $2-$3 to go in. You cannot take in your own jack but they have hoists you can roll around. Generally, the cars are already sitting up on a couple old rims so can get under. They also have wheelbarrels or flat carts to roll your parts on. There are tons of great parts in those junkyards for peanuts. I really enjoy finding treasures in those yards.

I’m really glad I heard about this site. I’m getting some really good information. I tend to feel that being a female I might get ripped off because I don’t have a clue what the mechanic is talking about.

Crooks are the most equal opportunity group I know of. They rip off men and women with equal abandon.