I have a 01 Ford F 150 with 320K miles. I love this truck and don't plan on ever selling it. I thought the bearings were going out in the back right side so I took it to mechanic. Two different mechanics say the rear end needs to be rebuilt or replaced. One says if I'm going to keep it I should rebuild it. Second says I should replace it with a used one (rebuilt never works). They can both do either and are about the same price. Rebuilt has a warranty but used one will have warranty for only 45 days. One can tell me the used one has 130k miles on it the other doesn't know because its already pulled. What is recommended rebuilt or replaced??

  • it depends how lucky you are, the "used" one could break after 46 days and you will have wasted a fair amount on it just to replace it again, where as the rebuilt one would probably last a lifetime. people always seem to have a downer on rebuilt parts but if it's done correctly there' just as good as a brand new part
    – scriptss
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 17:26
  • Did they not give you more of an explanation as to why a rebuild would be a problem? Why not replace the bearing yourself?
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 20:39
  • The first guy pushed me to have it rebuilt being that I was going to keep it. He doesn't do it himself he sends it out to some one who specializes in it and as mentioned it will be warranted. The other rI think will rebuild himself and I assume does't do it that often. It is about $1200 used and $2300 rebuilt. I am just not a handyman to do it myself and even if I were I just don't have the time to do it.
    – Terry
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 20:51
  • If you're going to keep an older vehicle, you'll want to learn some of the more basic repairs. I have a `73 landy and can do bearings in 60 minutes after way-too much practice.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 7:18

7 Answers 7


My suggestion would be to buy a differential bearing and seal kit for the rear end yourself and have a knowledgeable mechanic install it for you. This, as the name implies, consists of bearings and seals. A master kit will have the shims in it as well, but when you are just doing bearings in the diff, you can usually put the old shims back in to get everything back to right. You'll want bearings such as Timken or Standard Gear which have great reputations. The reason this is my suggestion is, if you buy these parts, you know exactly what has gone into the diff. If you rely on the mechanic to get you the parts, they could get the cheapest thing they can get away with. These parts will last long enough for their warranty period, but you wouldn't want to trust them much longer.

@JasonJanowitz is right in that getting a used one is a crap shoot. It could be 6-months or two days away from needing a rebuild ... you just don't know. Getting your rear end rebuilt gets you back to exactly where your truck needs to be. There's no guess work. Just because you have 320k miles on it doesn't mean any of the hard parts are shot. As long as it hasn't gone dry and it hasn't been over worked, they are probably fine. If they aren't, getting a new set to put in really isn't all that expensive and shouldn't cost you much more in labor than a rebuild alone would cost.

You really need a knowledgeable mechanic to do this. Don't get a mechanic "friend" to do it for you as this is probably one of the easiest things to screw up on a vehicle if you don't know what you're doing. It's not something a mechanic can just wing and get it right. Most mechanics would get instruction from another knowledgeable mechanic while they are watching to ensure things are right. There is preload in the front bearing which measures in the lb-in realm (meaning, you tighten the front bearing down, then while it's free, you check the preload to the lb-in range ... some mechanics can turn it free hand and tell when the preload is correct.) The steps involved are not something you'll just read in a book or watch in a video and figure out.


If the price is the same go with the rebuilt. Better warranty and more knowledge. With the used one you dont know its history to this point and it may be 6 months away from needing a rebuild.


Rebuilt is always the way to go and buying really good parts is a must,the most important and hardest thing to do is to find a mechanic that has a good amount of experience that is specific to this task


you simply don't have enough information here. If it's really a problem with one side, you probably just need a bearing and an axle. With that many miles, the pinion gears could be worn to the point that you get enough slop back and forth that the axle doesn't ride right on the bearing. If that's NOT the case (and it's easy to test just by grabbing the wheel and pulling in and out on it while the truck is on a lift) then find out in DETAIL why they want to replace the whole rear end. Your symptoms point to a bearing.


For sure, get the new differential. I replaced mine for $1600 and it has lasted.

  • 1
    you'll get better results with a more readable answer.
    – John Lord
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 6:26
  • 1
    @JohnLord I think BA Ute is a reference to the BA chassis format and Ute is short for Utility, which is NZEnglish for a pickup truck body format.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 7:16
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    @Criggie - Be that as it may, this answer is still just an opinion, which really doesn't make it very usable. Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 11:14

Why can’t you just buy directly from Jasper motors who gives you a way better warranty? They sale rear ends for about $900-1k. Most places here in Tennessee charge about $3-400 to install. I’m buying mine from jasper and having it install all for about $1400 that’s with a 3yr warranty from them


Used diff will only cost $$ u more..go the rebuild...place took mine been in biz 42 years...great job..research who u take ur diff to..

  • This is not a forum, you can edit your answers anytime you find it worth editting. You can even edit anyone else's answer as well. Although we usually don't care much about grammar and loose wordings, "Yo-mama" answers are not welcome here as counterproductive. I personally can decode a couple of words you wrote and completely miss the idea you want to share.
    – Crowley
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 12:41

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