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So I discovered that my 2000 Mustang V6 (base model) needs to either have its rear differential replaced or repaired. I've been calling various mechanics to get some numbers and opinions on approaches, and I'm getting a ton of different answers. I figured I'd visit the forum to get some opinions on what approach I should take to fixing it.

The first mechanic said he can find me a decent differential at a junk yard for $1,400 and install it for $800, which kinda blew me away. Then I decided to check and see if I can find a differential for a different price, and I came across a Auburn Gear HP Series Limited Slip Differential for $480 on American Muscle's website. I contacted mechanic 2, who told me he would charge me between $300 and $600 to install the differential. I decided to contact a third mechanic, who told me that it would be more worthwhile to have him simply repair the differential instead of me installing a different one. He'd charge me $150 to $300 for an inspection, and then give me an estimate of how much he'd charge to fix it.

What do you think my best approach would be in this situation? Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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The first question is to know (not guess) what is wrong or bad with yours. Do you have a consistent or trusted answer to what specifically that is?

David
 

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Hi David,

I haven't received any specific answers in regards to what is wrong with the differential. I've had two separate mechanics take a look at it: the first person to initially discover the problem works at Tires Plus, and simply told me that it's in really bad condition and should be fixed ASAP (also that he can't give me any specific info because it isn't what he specializes in). The second mechanic who looked at it said something along the lines of such, and told me that it can either be rebuilt or replaced. Someone else (who isn't a mechanic, but knows a bit about cars) informed me that it could possibly be low on oil, pretty much telling me I should see if it's something minor before jumping to the conclusion that there's a major problem with the part.

I have noticed a slight change in the way my vehicle is acting, just as I was driving home a few minutes ago. I decided to experiment a bit and discovered that, when slowly accelerating, everything runs smoothly for quite a period of time. However, when it shifts up a gear, minor vibrations begin. In addition, my vehicle would lightly jerk every so often, but only in that particular gear. It would only happen when I'm using the acceleration pedal, but would stop once I release it.
 

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I am not convinced that you have a rear axle problem at all. Vibrations can be from many sources, and and other jerking would be present in any gear, under particular conditions. I would begin my quest with two things - a trip to a local auto parts store for a free error code reading, and if that reveals nothing, a trip to a respected driveline shop. Check with local car clubs or on local race track forums for recommendations to a trustworthy driveline shop. Those shops you have consulted thus far might be OK, but are currently questionable on either knowledge or ethics.

The bottom-line is that you have little to no information, and no reliable diagnostics. Basing any expenses on repairs at this point would be shooting in the dark. It could be as simple as a $40 transmission sensor or a $15 U-joint.

David
 

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If there is something wrong with your rear axle its much cheaper replace. Any 94-04 mustang axle will work. But you have a 7.5 and the v8s have the 8.8 you can find them pretty cheap on Craig's list or local yard. I wouldn't pay over $350 for one.

Again it could be a number of drive line things....
 
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