Some 2001 Ford Escapes with 4WD systems may produce an oil leak from the back of the truck, just underneath the rear axle. One likely source of the leak, Ford said, is a deformed differential pinion seal. Installing a new-design, improved seal, part No. YL8Z-4N046-AA, should eliminate the leakage issue.
Start the job by placing match marks on the rear driveshaft and yoke, then remove the driveshaft assembly. Now, remove the pinion nut and place match marks on one of the yoke splines and its corresponding spline at the pinion gear. Remove the yoke, followed by the damaged pinion seal.
Continue the fix by installing the updated pinion seal into the differential with a suitable driver. Now, reinstall the yoke, making sure the match marks on the yoke and pinion splines align. Install and torque the pinion nut to specifications.
To complete the fix, align the match marks on the yoke and driveshaft, assemble the shaft to the yoke and tighten the mounting nuts.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via email at [email protected].