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C200 Rear Axle Durability?
I tow a small fiberglass trailer that weighs around 3300 lb fully loaded. I also carry a significant amount of gear in the bed of my 2010 SWB 4WD CC LE with a Leer fiberglass canopy. I replaced a 2001 Ford Ranger 4WD SC last fall with the Frontier. The Ranger had a 2700 lb rated rear axle (the comparable Explorer comes with a 3200 lb axle). Last year I had an almost catastrophic bearing/axle failure in the middle of nowhere NV at 115K miles. The good part of the story was the mechanic I limped into in Delta UT fixed me up with 2 new axles, bearings and brakes for ... get this... only $700 total and my wife and I were back on the road on our vacation. Long story short, the Ranger axle is a semi-floating bearing design with no inner race. The bearings run on an induction hardened surface of the axle. The Ranger bearing surface is narrower than that on the Explorer hence the lower rating.
It appears from the factory service manual that the Frontier C200 rear axle has a full floating bearing with an inner race. (Interestingly, the M226 axle appears to be a semi-floating design.) So here's the question for the rear axle specialists on this forum: how durable is the C200 axle with heavy loads? I'd always figured the tires were the limiting factor on GAWR until the bearing experience with my Ranger. Any recommendations for axle lube? I'm thinking about replacing the factory 75-90W with Amsoil 75-90W for better oil film strength.
2010 Frontier Crew Cab LE SWB 4WD
Radiant Silver, Sunroof, Leather, Rockford Fosgate
Weathertech floormats and window visors, debadged tailgate, Dee Zee EZ Down tailgate assist