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Max Tow Axle Bolt - Preventive measure?

kgpuzio

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@Snakebitten @Buyer2021

Thank you all for posting about this and sharing your experience and pictures. I have a 2022 PB XLT with Max Tow. After reading it, I called my local Ford dealer and scheduled an appointment to have these bolts changed as a precautionary measure. We are leaving for a long (3-4 month) trip Jan 1 and will tow a heavy trailer.

I am at the dealer now (this very minute) for an oil change and tire rotation. My appointment for the rear axle bolt change is in 2 weeks. I mentioned the upcoming service appt to the manager.

He hadn't heard about the rear axle bolt issue, but he asked a few people in the shop. Interestingly enough, they had an F150 in the shop at that very moment up on the lift ... where the axle bolt had broken and he took me back to look at it. It was the same situation as reported above ... passenger side rear ... Max Tow. The fix was to replace the rear axle because that bolt can't be removed after it has broken.

However, and this gets to the heart of the matter, the service manager told me "the bolt itself is not a serviceable item." That is, if they replace the rear axle, it comes with the bolt pre-torqued down and he actually showed me the replacement axle with the bolt in place.

Basically, he said that the technicians don't have any technical guidance on how to service/torque this bolt. I have read information about torque specs on this thread (e.g., Install the washer and tighten the bolt. Torque : Stage 1: 52 lb.ft (70 Nm) Stage 2: 90°).

Can anyone provide an official link to approach ... official technical docs that I can pass along to the Ford service techs here?

Thanks for your help!
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Buyer2021

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Basically, he said that the technicians don't have any technical guidance on how to service/torque this bolt.
........
Can anyone provide an official link to approach ... official technical docs that I can pass along to the Ford service techs here?
The "official link" to the "official technical docs" is found in every Ford Dealer's service department via their real-time access to the constantly updated Ford Service Manuals. That is the system used by all Ford Dealers for any and all service procedure information. The diagnostic tablet/workstation used by every service tech has access to this data.

R&R of the bolt is addressed in several sections of that WSM (workshop manual) specific to service of the 3/4-floating axle. Attached FYI is one example Section:

205-02C Wheel Hubs and Bearings - 3/4 Floating Axle
2022 F-150
Removal and Installation Procedure


You will note the attached bears the revision date: 03/26/2022, which was current when I last subscribed to the public online manuals a few months ago - your dealer's system may display an even later revision date when they look this up (every individual section in the WSM has a different revision date in the header based on when that specific section was last revised).

FYI for a subscription fee anyone can access the exact same manuals which are provided to dealers via their online system (the source of the attachment) at - FordServiceInfo.Com (motorcraftservice.com). Note that there is an option for a 72-hour access subscription at the reasonable cost of $22 USD+tax.
 

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kgpuzio

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@Buyer2021 Thank you! And, thanks for send this so quickly. :) I am still here at the dealership -- waiting to pick up my truck from the oil change. I will pass this along to the folks at the Ford Service desk here. I know this help me get this fixed correctly.
 

Buyer2021

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@Buyer2021 Thank you! And, thanks for send this so quickly. :) I am still here at the dealership -- waiting to pick up my truck from the oil change. I will pass this along to the folks at the Ford Service desk here. I know this help me get this fixed correctly.
It may well be that your dealer proposes replacement of the axle shaft + wheel hub + bolt as a complete assembly under warranty, and that may be ordered and the assembly delivered to them 'complete' with the bolt 'pre-installed'.

Personally, I'd go with that if proposed and suffer the wait-time for parts.
 

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A follow-up FYI for those who may be wondering ....

The Ford WSM contains no sections or procedures describing service of the internals of the wheel hub assembly used on the 2021-2022 F150 3/4 floating axle. That wheel hub bearing assembly is indeed considered a "non-serviceable" component by Ford, to be replaced in its entirety if failed or damaged, with no information whatsoever provided in the WSM about its internal configuration.

Enquiring minds want to know .... :LOL:
 

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kgpuzio

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@Buyer2021

Thanks for that advice. I agree that would be better.

The dealer is going to try and do the bolt replacement as warranty work (rather than me paying for it), but I will pay for it if it can't be done that way. He did say that if I pay for it and Ford issues a recall later, I can get my money refunded.

Today, when the tires were rotated, they brought me back to inspect the axles and bolts. Everyone agreed that the bolts looked normal -- as expected -- no evidence of the bolts being loose or sheared off.

We ordered the replacement bolts (ML3Z19S426A) and the dealer will replace the bolts in 2 weeks. Thank you all!
 

Buyer2021

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The dealer is going to try and do the bolt replacement as warranty work (rather than me paying for it), but I will pay for it if it can't be done that way. He did say that if I pay for it and Ford issues a recall later, I can get my money refunded.
Personally, and this is just me, I would not want the bolt(s) pre-emptively removed and replaced 'in-situ' without undertaking the steps of removing the axle and ensuring that the wheel hub is pressed fully-home on the axle using the recommended hydraulic press before installing the new bolt(s).

And IF upon removal it is found that the axle shaft is not pressed 'fully home' then I would want the entire assembly replaced. This due to concern that the assembly, the splined axle-hub interface in particular, is in some respect not in-tolerance, allowing the axle to 'back-out' of the hub.

I might be totally wrong but one of my suspicions is that the bolts are failing when the axle shaft has 'backed-out' of the hub for whatever inexplicable reason to some small degree. IMO IF that 'backing-out' has started then simple R&R of the bolt(s) in situ will likely not address or meaningfully delay an impending failure. I do not believe that R&R of the bolts using the specified torque will properly 'seat' the axle shaft in the hub - IMO that's why the procedure attached above calls for the use of a hydraulic press to accomplish that necessary objective in the assembly sequence.

One person's opinion. Just for your consideration.
 
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kgpuzio

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@Buyer2021

You make a really good point. If I'm going to trouble of having the dealer look at this, I'd want to really confirm that it's entirely correct, which they have (ostensibly) the expertise to do.

Could you estimate how long it might take to have a qualified technician do this work? Is this a 1 hour, 4 hour, or 8 hour job?

Thanks,
Kelly
 
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Buyer2021

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Could you estimate how long it might take ....
Nope, not going there. A dealer might charge based on actual time or based on a flat-rate guide for the procedures involved.

To be perfectly clear I'm not in the group that favors pre-emptive bolt replacement. If worried about trip-interruption I'd suggest carrying a replacement bolt for use if needed (any competent mechanic should be able to extract the broken end in-situ) and hope that gets you home.
 
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Gthoskin

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My theory is the failures are with axles on the edge whatever allowable axle tolerances were spec'd and most won't ever have an issue. There have to be thousands of them on the road and in reality just a handful (thinking less than 1%)have failed. I have max tow with about 16,000 miles now.
My right rear F150PB just went if for repair with a bad grinding sound. Reports that the axel bolt came loose and had to be retightened. Not sheered like most. Unfortunately, my service advisor stated that it may probably happen again. Is worst case an annoyance from this bolt or are the max towing packages causing any greater safety issues or damage to the truck?
 

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Louis

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I replaced mine a couple weekends back out of precaution. Took no time at all to do it. One thing I wanted to know was what the final torque was on these. I set the wrench to 52 and then incrementally increased 10 ft.lbs at a time while continuing to the 90 degree turn. Final torque ended up at 120. Not sure what long term impact doing this will be but at least I know they are now at the recommended torque.

Probably not a bad idea to have a spare set lying around so if one snaps I can drill it and pull it out to replace it.
Has everything been good since you torqued your new bolts on oct 22?
 

labjr1

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You guys are getting like me carrying spare hoses, starters, fuel and water pumps in the back trunk of my old jalopy :p

All joking aside, I actually had to replace a fuel pump one time at a car show about 15 years ago. I felt like a hero because I had the part ‘in stock’
When rock crawling with my jeep I carried spare axles shafts, spare driveshafts, u-joints, brake lines, locking hubs, a spare tie rod and ends, differential covers, fluids, ,..., even a spare bolt kit of common size bolts. I even had a built in compressor, storage tank and onboard welder. All have came in handy for me or others on the trail.
 

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Has anyone considered aftermarket axle shafts? I used to run stronger aftermarket axles shafts in all my off road vehicles. Perhaps an aftermarket option would not have the same issues as the Ford production shafts. I haven't looked yet but I will check with some of my old suppliers to see if they have an alternative.
 

tony72cutlass's'

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When rock crawling with my jeep I carried spare axles shafts, spare driveshafts, u-joints, brake lines, locking hubs, a spare tie rod and ends, differential covers, fluids, ,..., even a spare bolt kit of common size bolts. I even had a built in compressor, storage tank and onboard welder. All have came in handy for me or others on the trail.
That’s when you can start charging other suckers that aren’t prepared for maintenance!
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