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Old 11-08-2010, 08:06 PM   #1
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bone stock rubicon 44 front axle noise

Hello there, I have an 03 tj rubicon, just cracked 118k today had it since new, pulling out of a parking spot in a tight turn i heard/felt a click klack in the front end thought i just ran something over (nothing unusual) till it happened the next turn as well. Crap.. got home. this time it aint the axle joints.. (Ive replaced them several times over the years most recently about 9 months ago) this time its coming from the diff. so i promptly pulled the cover. from what i can see the spiders look ok but they jerk along with that center pin in the carrier.
Now for the question.. that little pin that holds the big pin. thats not supposed to just kinda slide in and out is it? I havent really screwed with air lockers, but every other rear ive worked on that pin is threaded in and has a 5/16 head on it. this pin doesnt look sheared and almost looks as if its a press fit. can anyone enlighten me? 03 tj rubicon factory front dana 44 air locker I cant find a good parts diagram on the interweb. Thanks in advance

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Old 11-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #2
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have you checked the ball joints and wheel bearings? wheel bearings usually die around 60k miles...

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Old 11-08-2010, 11:57 PM   #3
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On the Dana 30 the pinion cross shaft is held in with a press fit collar rather than the 1/4" retaining bolt like you find in the rear D35 carrier. It takes a small punch and some good whacks to get it out. It should not be loose, nor should the cross shaft be loose enough to wiggle. Loose enough to push out with firm pressure from your finger once the retainer is out, sure. But it should not wiggle side to side or up and down with the retainer in.

Sounds like it's wiggling and causing your spider gears to not mesh up correctly with the side gears. That's probably what you heard once the gears were forced to mesh back together properly during the turn.

You're only hearing it turning because of the inside wheel during the turn needing to rotate faster than the outside wheel. Even in 2wd. Sort of like how a Lock Right in the front axle will click when turning in 2wd, except you're hearing your spider gears/side gears. Going straight both wheels are rotating at the same speed, so there's no large difference in force being exerted from one side of the diff carrier to the other.

If that cross shaft is wiggling, eventually, at some point, you run the risk of breaking a tooth on one or more spider or side gears if they end up trying to jump a tooth.


Here's a diagram of the front D44
Dana Model 44 Front Axles for Jeep Wrangler TJ at Morris 4x4
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #4
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hey! thanx for getting back to me on that thread, The ball joints are ok so far, i popped those in around 90k as well as the wheel bearings, right front wheel bearing has some play but i think i may have had something to do with that when I extracted it (with a large hammer, damn natural occuring salt water indiginous to New Jersey) to remove my axles only to bolt in old stub shafts and pop the ol rubber freeze plugs in the tubes, little trick i came up with when i killed an inner shaft and had no dough for a new one. Thanks for the suggestions UnlimitedLJ!

Keebler.. Ive been looking for That pic just about everywhere thanx. As for the tech info, the retaining pin just slides in and out of the carrier/cross shaft. what would you recommend for the fix, should I attempt to tap it back into place or should i look into replacing the cross shaft and retaining pin. Also is this a relatively common problem for this diff? the spiders look ok so far but if im doing a cross shaft i may as well replace the cross shaft. meantime so i can drive it like i said earlier Ive popped out my axles n front drive shaft bolted in some old stub shafts to the hubs and put the rubber freeze plugs in the tubes to avoid catastrophic failure (im sure that carrier or housing aint cheap). Still gotta get back and forth to work and the bar. lol go go gadget 2wd rubicon!
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:28 PM   #5
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hey whats the way to go about fixin this thing
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