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PTU/PTO/Transfer Case Replacement and Seals Wild Goose Chase

PTU/PTO/Transfer Case Replacement and Seals Wild Goose Chase

Old 08-03-2015, 09:04 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
Default PTU/PTO/Transfer Case Replacement and Seals Wild Goose Chase

I realize there are already threads on this matter, but in the course of performing this procedure on my 05 Escape Hybrid 4x4, I ran into a few quirks that weren't listed in the service procedures and had a heck of a time tracking down replacement halfshaft seals for the eCVT.

The symptoms were the same as the conventional Escapes. At first it sounded like a wheel bearing, but the noise didn't change when steering. Over time, it developed into a significant vibration and noise at low speeds that sounded like metal rubbing. I also had the clunk when shifting into gear. I had previously replaced the driveshaft support bearing and U-joint and knew this not to be the problem. There was significant play in the output shaft of the PTU (especially when comparing it to the new [salvage] unit).

I drained the PTU fluid and discovered it to be black with metallic particles (looked like black metallic paint). I do not believe it had ever been serviced by the previous owner (and I will surely be servicing it annually from now on). I bought it with fairly low miles (70k) in 06/14 and it is my second FEH. To my knowledge, this is not advised as a normal maintenance item by Ford (but it absolutely should be). I drive about 50k a year, so this will be yearly for me now along with the transaxle fluid. This procedure was performed in 07/15 at 115k.

As a side note, I also opted to perform other preventive maintenance while I was into it, including replacing control arms, ball joints, ABS tone rings, and both inner/outer tie rod ends. I’ll also say that the inner tie rod ends were surprisingly more worn than expected, so be sure to check them. All of these parts (except the inner tie rod ends) should be standard stock, shared components with the conventional Escape. The inner tie rod ends are a hybrid-only component (due to the different steering rack), but the only apparent difference is the omission of a boss on the inner threads.

I will assume you have access to the service procedures, since this isn’t a job for novices. I am only trying to point out the differences I encountered, though I would be happy to assist anyone with the whole procedure, just PM me.

1) Drain the transaxle. The drain plug is facing the rear on the driver’s side.
2) Remove the halfshafts. You’ll need to remove the right hand support bracket with 2 bolts.
3) The exhaust manifold will need to be disconnected from the block to allow sufficient lateral clearance to remove the PTU. It’s also advisable to remove the heat shield for maximum clearance, though I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary.

A quick note about the PTU: I sourced mine from a salvage yard and after much research and discussion amongst salvage operators and FoMoCo, it appears that the transfer cases are all interchangeable going back to at least 2003. There are indeed (7) different "models", but these were apparently design-modified many times. The business ends of it are the same. You need not necessarily obtain a transfer case from a hybrid unit.

4) Remove the 6 bolts securing the PTU to the block and bracket.
5) Remove the PTU support bracket.
6) Remove the PTU.
7) Remove the transaxle halfshaft seals.

(Additional steps and photos forthcoming)

A VERY important note about the eCVT half/intermediate shaft seals. I was initially unsuccessful in sourcing these seals as all local autoparts distributors (AutoZone, NAPA, Carquest, Advance, and O’Reilly) indicated the incorrect part (Do NOT accept 481181V or 3622S). According to FoMoCo, this is an issue with the interchange software not differentiating the Aisin eCVT transmission on the hybrids. The seals are dealer-only, but also be aware that the parts lookup at your Ford dealership is also incorrect. Make no mistake, if your FEH is at least 2005-2007, the seals you will need are:

Right (Passenger) Side: Motorcraft 5M6Z-1177-RA "SEAL" (Made in Japan)
Left (Driver) Side: Motorcraft 5M6Z-1177-LA "SEAL" (Made in Japan)

Here is a breakdown of my bill of materials:

Transfer Case (Salvage) from 2005 V6 XLT w/ 70,000 miles: $160
Both Control Arms with Integral Ball Joints: $80
Inner & Outer Tie Rod Ends: $70
Transaxle Seals: $30
Mercon V ATF (6 Qts): $30
75W-140 Gear Lube: $15

Total: About $395 + 10 hours of labor (I replaced many of these components out of preventive philosophy, they weren't necessarily bad). Dealership quote: $2,300. Independent mechanic quote: $1,200.

(This is a work in progress, but I want to post what I have and am glad to help personally in the mean time while I get it posted, with pictures).

Last edited by PeteSzerszen1; 08-04-2015 at 07:06 AM.
Old 08-04-2015, 11:14 AM
Pretty Darn Active Enthusiast
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 341
Default Re: PTU/PTO/Transfer Case Replacement and Seals Wild Goose Chase

Excellent contribution!
Old 11-02-2018, 08:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
Default Re: PTU/PTO/Transfer Case Replacement and Seals Wild Goose Chase

Well, it's me again. And after 3 years and another 100k, it's time to do this again in the spring. LESSON: CHANGE THE FLUID EVERY 25,000 MILES, PERIOD. And even then, I suspect that these things are just poorly designed and prone to failure regardless. I plan on doing a postmortem on mine this time.

Once the weather breaks and I can visit with my folks who have a pole barn and the space and facilities to do it the right way, I'll do it again and take good pics and video this time. Other than this (now for the second time), I haven't had any issues with this car and that's why I don't hesitate putting another unit in even at 200k.

Pete Szerszen
Mesa, AZ

Last edited by PeteSzerszen1; 11-02-2018 at 09:00 AM.
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