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Re: Rear end noise
Well it can be quiet a job the truck is 13yr old and all the nuts and bolts get rusted and will have to be cut off probly. The dealers go over board some times on what needs to be fixed. What i would try first is remove the rear diff cover and drain all the grease out go to napa or a parts store and buy a product/grease called lucas oil and fill the diff with this and give it a try first if all elese fails i would look around at a junk yard for a used rearend and have them put it in probly be the cheapest way .
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You must have a 4 Wheel-drive. You should have a driveshaft for that end of the vehicle and you should not let the Mechanic keep it. The rear unit must have a bad Pinion bearing or more damaged parts. Some of parts can "freewheel" without having power going through them.
But the metal shavings from broken parts can travel inside the differential and cause more problems. You don't always need the 4-wheel drive function and you do not have it since the Mechanic disconnected it.
Sometimes it can be what is called an "axle" bearing. Each side has this part so you have 2. The noise levels for this part can also change when the 4 wheel drive is engaged.
Make sure the rear differential has lube. Read the Web for articles about your vehicle. Search "2003 Ford Escape rear differential".
There is a Salvage yard site called Car-parts.com which is good for locating used parts like differentials. One would need to match the same gear ratio as the front.
THE LEAK is an axle seal leaking the noise is bearings in rear end could be axle bearing of carrier/pinion bearings while driving shift weight of truck side to side see if noise changes if so it is axle bearing if not then most likely differential bearings
i would suspect bad driveshaft hanger bearing - to confirm, jack up back end of truck and hold up with jack stands. have someone in the truck to accelerate to the speed where you hear the noise, listen for the noise - a stethescope is very useful for this. good luck!
This could be one of several problems: If the noise increases with speed, and you are only hearing it from the rear differential and not the transmission, it could be the rear differential carrier bearings, or rear axle bearings going bad. If you are only hearing the noise upon acceleration or deceleration, the rear differential ring and/or pinion gears may be going bad and the rear differential will need an overhaul. You'll have to get the rear wheels off the ground and see if you can pinpoint the location of the noise with something such as a stethoscope. If it's coming from the rear differential, you'll need to pull the bolts and the cover to determine if the gears are still in good shape, or if there is any pitting. Same with the carrier bearings; if you see pitting/ discoloration, they'll need replacement. If the noise is coming from one side towards the end of the axle shaft near the wheel, it's most likely a axle bearing going bad, and you'll need to pull the wheels, remove the diff. cover to release the C clip which holds the rear axle in place at the differential, and pull the axle out. You also need a special tool with a slide hammer to remove the axle bearing and seal.
At that mileage it could be, and most likely is given your description of the noise. I assume it reduces in volume as you slow down. If you can find a quite piece of road drive up to where the noise is apparent and lightly swerve from left to right. (Don't roll the car!! ) If the noise reduces as you swerve left then its the left bearing. If its when you swerve right that the noise reduces its the right bearing. If its both the only way is to jack the rear up and spin the wheels as fast as you can and listen. If there's a hint of a rumble from it, its that bearing or both. It should be completely quite apart from the slight hiss as the shoes rub on the drum. 35K may not seem much but if you don't know the history of the car it could have hit a bad pot hole or even had a knock on a kerb. I have replaced bearing with a lot less miles than yours.