2003 Mercury Mountaineer V8 AWD Front differential

Jor-el Mckoy

Asked by Feb 15, 2016 at 12:05 PM about the 2003 Mercury Mountaineer 4 Dr STD AWD SUV

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I had a front diffential somehow get
cracked and blew all the gear oil out of the
differential.  All the oil was burnt!!  I've
noticed before that the front wheels would
really grab the road when doing low speed
sharp turns. , like parking the car.  Doesn't
seem like the front should be engaged to
that point to me.  Well I ordered a used
diffential and had it put in.  Car was doing
fine driving around town the last few
weeks, but front was still really grabbing
the road and binding like a 4x4.  Decide to
take it on a trip and at about 80 miles into
the trip front differential dumps all gear oil
again!!  My guess is since the front
shouldn't pull like it is then the diffential is
overheating way too much.  Is there like a
sensor or something that tells the car how
much to rely on AWD?  Can I just remove
the front axle and depend on the rear
wheels?  Really flustrated seeing how I just
put so much money into the car.  Thank for
your help.

12 Answers


dang it, somehow the differential seal was not seated properly...could be something as simple as that...an error on installation...might have even been Robot assembly...take it back to the dealer and show this condition is not normal~ can do some research for a technical service bulletin or recall....alas, this is NOT normal~ will begin lookin' for ya~


right out of the chute~ see your dealership~ 2003 Mercury Mountaineer Power Train Service Bulletin 250329 Action Number: 10028736 Service Bulletin Number: 250329 Report Date: May 01, 2009 Component: Power Train Summary: Ford: some vehicles may exhibit oil separation from the internal lube found in the unitized cartridge seal. Oil separation appears to be and is often misdiagnosed, as an axle lube leak. *pe

Best Answer
Jor-el Mckoy

Wow! Thanks! I also saw a bulletin that would explain my front wheel binding also!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

My Explorer did that, it turned out the special viscous clutch inside the transfer case, it locked up and was driving the front end all the time, that in turn ruined my front differential.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jor-el Mckoy

Yeah that sounds exactly like my problem then! Thanks a ton for yalls help!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Jor-el Mckoy

Tennisshoes, in what way did your differential fail. My ends up losing oil and grinds. I guessing from the differential overheating from it running too much. I just wanted to know if ours failed the same way.


Started to howl and blowing lube out of the vent.


ooo that IS ugly!~

Jor-el Mckoy

Lube? As in gear oil?


Yep, and it made a real mess.

Jor-el Mckoy

I've decided to just get a whole transfer case! Sound like a good idea?


maybe the replacement (like from the boneyard) will have Exactly the same problem...found this to be the case whenever I need a part the exact problem is there on the replacement part~...but if you inspect the replacement as seems okay I'd say go for it...you'll need the help of two more guys tho~

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