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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

BACKSTORY

I've had this grinding, rumble for a long time in the 97 zj rear, recently it turned into a loud whine/whirring/howl shown in this video I took.
At this point I popped the diff cover off and here's the massacre I found...


This vid I took shows the spider gear teeth are broken and the carrier is hella loose.

At this juncture I am doing my research and trying to track down another axle from a junkyard. As far as I understand right now, to bolt a new axle on without need for any fancy tools I need a Dana 35 with 3.55 gears set up for disc brakes. A pro rebuild could be purchased here: http://www.powertrainproducts.net/J...-p/1839a.htm?gclid=CP6eifaCi7ECFQff4AodSxZVhA for $1149.00


=REPAIR THIS AXLE QUESTIONS=

1. (noob question alert!) With the rear wheels off the ground and the transmission in neutral should I be able to spin the rear driveshaft? or do the fronts need to be off too? (I need to spin the driveshaft to remove the bolt for the cross pin, to further inspect, yet I only have two jack stands atm)
2. If I replace the carrier and carrier bearings, re-use the ring gear and leave the pinion where it is, will I need to re-calibrate the ring and pinion settings? (backlash, gear pattern, torque of pinion, etc etc etc)
3. Does anybody have recommendations for companies that have inexpensive D35 diff parts? Carriers? etc or exceptional (and patient) customer service?

=REPLACE THE AXLE QUESTIONS=

4. Many suggest swapping out the entire axle. Will any '94-'98 rear axle with 3.55 gears and disc brakes just bolt right up?
5. How does one evaluate a junkyard axle and diff if I open it up?
6. What is a fair offering price for a junkyard Jeep Grand Cherokee D35 axle, 3.55 gears, disc brakes?

Any other input, advice or otherwise would be extremely helpful. I'm a young guy with the the desire to repair and maintain my own vehicle, and I've got more time than money!

Thanks
 

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For $300 or so you can grab both axles out of a 96-98 v8 or 4.0 with tow package with 3.73's and be ahead of the game altogether, do your research and don't make it more complicated than it is, it's all been done before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Didn't even occur to me...

I have a tendency to over complicate things, an attempt at thorough process, when I know I don't know what I'm doing. I will look into replacing both axles, seems like a pretty basic upgrade. I'd be happy to get both axles for $300 but this far east prices seem to be higher... For the right price I would be pretty happy to just replace what I've got with something that will last another 100,000 mi.

Thanks Utah. Sometimes I'm not even asking the right questions... :(
 

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If you pull the diff covers any damage is usually apparent as you have learned, but also turn the pinion yokes and feel for any play between the ring gear and pinion gear with the covers off. That's how I do it anyway. Hook up with some local Jeep clubs and ask someone to help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tharlanjr, yea, it's a pretty distinctive whine lol. Mine has been doing this for years. Although I now know how bad it is in there, If I put fluid back in I bet I could still get a couple hundred more miles 'till it really exploded LOL!!!

I've decided that I'm going to replace the axle. I need parking brakes anyway and the axle swap requires less expertise than dealing with the differential. From calling around in my area it looks like I'm going to be spending $300 bucks or so for a new axle.... I'm jealous of you guys who have cheap pick-it-yourself junkyards! The junkyard 5mi from me wants $1000 bucks for one! The further I travel the cheaper they get!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just to follow up on this, I swapped in another 3.55 rear axle assembly and replaced a bunch of worn parts while I was at it (stabilizer bar bushings, links, new emergency brake assembly and shoes, rear upper and lower control arm bushings, shocks). This was the biggest car project I've undertaken solo and I've got to thank everybody here for the info they gave me directly and indirectly. I'm always curious about costs for other people projects and repairs so I'll post up mine:

$300 Used 1996 rear axle assembly (with rotors and calipers)
$132 all Rear bushings, links, e-brake shoes and parts etc.
$30 Fluid, RTV gasket maker, anti-seize
$100 Front and rear monroe-sensa track shocks
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$562 Total + about 3 weeks of nightly (some weekend) work

So far so good, everything seems to work properly. An entire noise is now missing! Now I can hear all of the little creaks and rattles inside the cabin. Thanks again.
 

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Just to follow up on this, I swapped in another 3.55 rear axle assembly and replaced a bunch of worn parts while I was at it (stabilizer bar bushings, links, new emergency brake assembly and shoes, rear upper and lower control arm bushings, shocks). This was the biggest car project I've undertaken solo and I've got to thank everybody here for the info they gave me directly and indirectly. I'm always curious about costs for other people projects and repairs so I'll post up mine:

$300 Used 1996 rear axle assembly (with rotors and calipers)
$132 all Rear bushings, links, e-brake shoes and parts etc.
$30 Fluid, RTV gasket maker, anti-seize
$100 Front and rear monroe-sensa track shocks
________________________
$562 Total + about 3 weeks of nightly (some weekend) work

So far so good, everything seems to work properly. An entire noise is now missing! Now I can hear all of the little creaks and rattles inside the cabin. Thanks again.
Once you get used to all of this you could have done that in 2 evenings for under $300.
 

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I'm facing the same problem with my '97. I'm not sure how bad it is yet, but I have fluid leaking from the pinion bearing/seal and a good whine at 50mph

I had not considered replacing the complete axle - great idea! I've been trying to find a reasonable price (with shipping) on a rear differential bearing kit.

I'm going to check my local wrecker for a rear axle .

thanks for the ideas folks.

steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...don't I know it.

UtahZJ - I'm sure you're right. If you know what you're doing, you're confident and you already have all the tools you need then anything is a breeze. I was working alone, never sure I was doing anything right and running into roadblocks every time I realized I needed a tool I didn't have.

For example I had to buy a set of Torx drivers for my socket wrench, some deep metric sockets and luckily my dad has a set of sockets because having two socket wrenches came in handy a bunch of times. I also bought an 3/8 to 1/2 adapter set so that I could use my sockets with the torque wrench I rented from Auto Zone. I needed to grind down a 1/4" wrench to get the cross pin out so I got a cheapo set from wal-mart. I borrowed a set of jackstands from a friend. I also found a floor jack and a grease gun at a tag sale just as my axle was going so that was helpful.

Also, If I had a decent junkyard around me that would help too. But alas, not good yards. I had to drive almost two hours to pick up the axle I needed!

All that being said, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm catching the bug now! I'm looking forward to tackling the electrical problems with the dash and getting a dual battery.

Scebnoit -If you've never cracked open a differential this would be the perfect moment! Before you do pick up some fluid and some High Temp RTV sealant at the automotive store so you can seal her back up after taking a look. As I learned, it's pretty easy to tell whats going wrong if you're even slightly mechanically inclined. In my instance what I saw was so f'ed up that I didn't have the heart to drive her till I fixed it. Replacing the carrier bearings, shims and spider gears was going to be a lot of $$$ for parts, plus you need to be very precise about it ($$$ for tools). If I wanted to replace the pinion seal that would me dealing with setting the pinion pre-load, backlash, etc all WAY to easy to not get right (in my opinion)! The whole axle swap was the easy way out!
 

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Thanks for the advice kactapuss

I picked up a gasket for the rear differential - going to grab lubricant and rtv and have a look one night this week - I've never had that cover off

So, how did you go about getting a good axle ? To my way of thinking, I'd be putting in an axle with possibly as many miles on it .... am I correct in thinking it needs to be an axle from '96 to '98 ?
 

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imho, the only permanent fix for a jeep d35 or d44a is swap it out for an axle that can actually take it, sure you can rebuild or replace the axle with factory style components, but you WILL be back in there sooner or later.... look into a ford explorer 8.8 swap(i like east coast gear supply myself). there's a good chance that with an 8.8, you won't be back into the axle unless you're just changing oi in it.
 
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