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Need opinions on front differential rebuild


 
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JeepersZJ
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Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:08 pm    Post subject: Need opinions on front differential rebuild Reply with quote

I've been searching and reading posts on your forum for the past few weeks ever since I came home with a 97 ZJ Limited. I haven't touched a Jeep since Lee Iacocca put his mark on the fender but I was very impressed that they are still real 4x4's! I see you guys like pics so there's a link below to a slide show of my 1200 buck ZJ. It's pretty well near mint but the front diff is noisy and upon dissembley the carrier bearing are shot so a total rebuild is planned for this weekend.

I was hoping to get some input, suggestions, specs or whatever that you think may help the job go smoothly. I'm not new to this job but I've never done a Dana 30 either so a suggestion or two would be a great help!

I'd like to add more details on my 1st ZJ but I think my first post is too long so maybe another time.

Thanks and keep this great forum going!

http://www.siskensales.com/jeep/
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RussellRowell
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Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Location: Jacksonville Florida

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Jeeperz, let me say if you don't have the right tools, I wouldn't fool with it. But then you say your not new to this job. Man, I wish I had the guts to tackle it. I have a mopar manual and it showed some advanced tools that I don't have to do the job. Took some time finding someone but finally found a place that would do it for 500$ and that was over two years ago and my diff still wines and I had the whole thing rebuilt. Urks the heck out of me still. When I'm riding down a not so smooth road, I can hear the noise start and stop quickly as the jeep goes up and down. But on a smooth road, it's constant with a load but stops at coasting. Is yours similar? If you do the job and you get rid of the noise. Would you fix mine?
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Orangeamc13
Got Rev Limiter?
Got Rev Limiter?


Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Location: East Springfield, Massachusetts - U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, I'm right in Springfield!
Where'd you find that steal?
By full rebuild what are you saying, I only ask because some people look at it differently than others.

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JeepersZJ
Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RussellRowell wrote:
When I'm riding down a not so smooth road, I can hear the noise start and stop quickly as the jeep goes up and down. But on a smooth road, it's constant with a load but stops at coasting. Is yours similar?


Hi RussellRowell, actually it's not that bad of a job as many may think, attention to detail and accuracy is a must! Many of the special tools are not necessary but do make the job much easier. I am lucky enough to have a little better than average Mine was noisy upon deceleration from 45mph and up only. Have you checked hub bearings? it's strange when you said "the noise starts and stops quickly as the jeep goes up and down". Just a thought, JeepersZJ
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JeepersZJ
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Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orangeamc13 wrote:
Welcome, I'm right in Springfield!
Where'd you find that steal?
By full rebuild what are you saying, I only ask because some people look at it differently than others.


Hi Orangeamc13, I did see you in Springfield as I said I have been reading this forum since I bought the ZJ. Is there any place left to wheel in the greater Sprinklefield area? All the places we used to 4x4 are now developed or posted but that was over 20 years ago too.

I waiting for parts for the front end now. Gonna do all bearings/cups and seals. The gearset is fine and I have no need to change ratios as it gonna just be a driver and be towed behind a motorhome. How competent are these to go 4x4'n in stock form?

I found it on Craigslist, it was located in Aurburn, MA. they wanted $2000 and said it had a stalling problem (theres a surprise) I have yet to see any running problems and all I did so far is do the "two screws in the ECM cover" fix and basic maintenance. I think low battery voltage played a big part in it stalling as the battery is way under rated for the application.
JeepersZJ
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Orangeamc13
Got Rev Limiter?
Got Rev Limiter?


Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Location: East Springfield, Massachusetts - U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to like going to Lithia Springs, but it's posted up and gated! There are a few spots still. If you ever want to take a ride let me know and we can plan a trip. Have you ever been over to Facing Rock (Bungalow) in Ludlow?
They are plenty competent 4x4'n in there stock form! Twisted Evil
You got a great deal on that ZJ! Mr. Green

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JeepersZJ
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Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lithia Springs is quite close to me but I have never heard of "Facing Rock". Used to be some nice wheelin' at Batchler Street in Granby up to the old fire tower but like most it been posted for years now. I might take you up on your offer for a 4x4 trip in the future.
I almost messed up as I didn't know the axle seals were inside the diff but have them now along with the rebuild kit now so tomorrow I'll fire up the wood stove and spend the day in the garage!
Actually I was looking for a ZJ with a 5.2 and part time but just couldn't let this one get away, heck I never even heard it run (dead battery) til after I paid for it!
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Tardis
Member


Joined: 07 Aug 2004
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diffs are easy enough to rebuild. The most critical part of any diff rebuild is getting the gears to mesh/lash/track correctly again. This requires shimming the carrier and pinion gear assemblies if necessary.

If you're just sneaking in a new set of bearings you don't have much to worry about. When you take the carrier/pinion shims out set them aside in the order they came out. Clean the diff housing good with Brakleen, and replace all of the seals while you're in there. If you're replacing the pinion bearing (recommended) make sure you buy a new crush sleeve, because they are only good for one crush.

When I do a full rebuild I use a dial indicator, Dy-chem, Prussian Blue template ink, or paint. The dial indicator finds your carrier backlash, and centerline(When replacing everything new), and the ink/paint is applied to the ring gear. When you turn the gears the ink shows how the gears are tracking.

*Some diffs (GM) use a carrier lock mechanism which consists of a lock ring and tab to adjust and shim the carrier centerline.
Check your shop manual for the proper adjustment procedure.

Hope this helps you out.... Good Luck! Cool
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JeepersZJ
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Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your input and recommendations, I pretty much got everything covered and will be doing it as you described, except I almost missed that the axle shaft seals are on the inside of the diff! I've never seen that before and came close to overlooking that which I surely would have regretted later on!Crying or Very sad Your on the money about new bearings without changing the gearset. Many qualified shadetree mechanics avoid this type of job out of intimadation or lack of tools. As you said the job id not that bad as long as you pay attention to details and the proper clearances! Even the tools can be had quite cheaply! Shop around online to get great deals on specialty tools such as dial indicators, mag bases, pullers, separators ect. There are many options without paying big bucks for Craftsman or Snapon, I have both so I'm not knocking them either!
I'm off to fire up the wood stove in my garage and get this job done! I'll post the results tonight (good or bad) but hopefully good! Cool
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JeepersZJ
Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Location: Western Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Job complete with a happy ending!
Started this morning around 10am and was road testing the ZJ by 5pm! With a few minor setbacks the entire rebuild went very well and the best part is that there is no gear whine, rumble or any noise from the front end now! Mission accomplished! Very Happy

Also I fabricated a couple of special tools to help ease the job along and would like to share them along with the many pictures I took during the process. If anyone thinks this would be worth while I can either post a few new posts or I create a web page (or both). Also I am unsure if it should go in the Drivetrain forum or the Grand Cherokee Forum?? Being a "Newbie" I'd really like to contribute to this forum as I have found if to be a valuable source of info.
If you guys think this would be helpful please let me know and I'll get started on this ASAP! Cool
JeepersZJ


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