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Hi all,
New, so if it's best to put this somewhere more appropriate - lemme know.

Revived my son's '04 WJ Laredo after his step-dad borked the front axle. A friend replaced the axle with a donor and problems ensued. Still kind of a friend but too many questions to ask him and we relocated to mid-state North Carolina so, on my own.

After the donor axle install, had binding problems. He put in a new gear set and the howl started somewhere in Oklahoma - it was binding up by the time I got to NC.. I pulled the front drive line - and the howl stopped.

Now need to R&R the CV/axles and not sure I want to pull the diff covers and count/divide teeth yet. I need to conclusively ID the front axle and not sure how. Pull the wheel hub and count splines?

Rear has a rubber stopper on the fill hole, front has a metal (allen?) plug. Couldn't google the cover numbers with any success yet so thought I'd hop on and ask for any kind of help someone might give us.

Restoring 4WD will require a replacement axle housing so for the interim, for maintenance, etc, I'd like to make sure I'm ordering parts that'll fit.

Long post and if it needs to be moved, sorry and thanks for reading.

Mike and Sean
NC
2004 Grand Cherokee 4.0 w/178K and runs like a Swiss watch.
 

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Administrator
1996 ZJ 4.0 Limited and 2004 WJ 4.0
Joined
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680 Posts
Hi all,
New, so if it's best to put this somewhere more appropriate - lemme know.

Revived my son's '04 WJ Laredo after his step-dad borked the front axle. A friend replaced the axle with a donor and problems ensued. Still kind of a friend but too many questions to ask him and we relocated to mid-state North Carolina so, on my own.

After the donor axle install, had binding problems. He put in a new gear set and the howl started somewhere in Oklahoma - it was binding up by the time I got to NC.. I pulled the front drive line - and the howl stopped.

Now need to R&R the CV/axles and not sure I want to pull the diff covers and count/divide teeth yet. I need to conclusively ID the front axle and not sure how. Pull the wheel hub and count splines?

Rear has a rubber stopper on the fill hole, front has a metal (allen?) plug. Couldn't google the cover numbers with any success yet so thought I'd hop on and ask for any kind of help someone might give us.

Restoring 4WD will require a replacement axle housing so for the interim, for maintenance, etc, I'd like to make sure I'm ordering parts that'll fit.

Long post and if it needs to be moved, sorry and thanks for reading.

Mike and Sean
NC
2004 Grand Cherokee 4.0 w/178K and runs like a Swiss watch.
Light Font Circle Science Electric blue
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Light Font Circle Science Electric blue
Photograph White Light Product Black
 

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Administrator
1996 ZJ 4.0 Limited and 2004 WJ 4.0
Joined
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680 Posts
Most WJ's should have a Dana 44A rear axle which has an oversized cover as the aluminium centre section is larger than a steel centre.
Front should be a Dana 30 so it could be wrong ratio or more likely a pinion bearing collapsing.
Also worth checking front prop/drive shafts for damage as the CV's/UJ's can fail and also checking hub bearings for failure.
Only true way to know front and rear axle ratio's is to remove the covers and find the engraved/stamped numbers on the crown wheels as the tags if fitted might be wrong.
 

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2001 WJ 4.0L, 157,000mi
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10 Posts
Most WJ's should have a Dana 44A rear axle which has an oversized cover as the aluminium centre section is larger than a steel centre.
Front should be a Dana 30 so it could be wrong ratio or more likely a pinion bearing collapsing.
Also worth checking front prop/drive shafts for damage as the CV's/UJ's can fail and also checking hub bearings for failure.
Only true way to know front and rear axle ratio's is to remove the covers and find the engraved/stamped numbers on the crown wheels as the tags if fitted might be wrong.
Brian provided excellent response and illustrations- KUDOS!
I own a 2001 Laredo 4.0L and both diff’s he referenced are exactly what is in GC. The front axle are easy peazy to pull out with a slide hammer, it’s the hubs/bearing that make for a challenge ie 12 pt socket, spray spray and soak with PB Blast, wire brush exposed thread nubs, gloves band aids…skinned knuckles. With 178k, DO replace both hubs, ie if a Dana 30 MOOG 513159, about $65 each. If you crap any bolt, replace with exact Mopar as the Dorman is too long and requires 5-6 washers.
Rear axle: Again out with gentle slide hammering and again DO replace both axle shaft bearings- good quality- for me I bought them and a local machine shop did the R&R.
my left rear replace twice- 91k then 154k- replace BOTH
 

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Registered
2001 WJ 4.0L, 157,000mi
Joined
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10 Posts
Most WJ's should have a Dana 44A rear axle which has an oversized cover as the aluminium centre section is larger than a steel centre.
Front should be a Dana 30 so it could be wrong ratio or more likely a pinion bearing collapsing.
Also worth checking front prop/drive shafts for damage as the CV's/UJ's can fail and also checking hub bearings for failure.
Only true way to know front and rear axle ratio's is to remove the covers and find the engraved/stamped numbers on the crown wheels as the tags if fitted might be wrong.
Sorry for being long in the tooth…
Brian also made excellent comment about prop/drive shafts joints- inspect carefully for fatigue, wear etc, if they’re orig replace if your keeping your GC. Quick story: this past winter developed severe clunking on accelerating at center floor board, towed to my house, front shaft front aspect/joint/flange ready to fall off. Replaced with a remaned shaft painted the assembly red, of course and clear coat- I’m wrapped a little tight-hahaha. This summer, out of principle I replaced both joints on rear shaft with MOOG needle type grease fitting. After meticulous wire brushing of the tube, can you guess what color I painted it after priming?
don’t bother asking if I clear coated it!!
 
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