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Old 11-07-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tucson
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Dana 35 making lots of noise/ vehicle swaying

How's it going! I got a 97 TJ with a Dana 35 in there rear. It has a Detroit Locker and 4.88 gears. I know the Detroit has a lot of out put and lots of noise, but it is now making a lot of noise and causing the vehicle to sway a lot. The axle clanks constantly while driving and it throws the vehicle to the left in the lane while driving. It does this while gas is applied driving straight or to the left. While headed right, off the gas, or clutching, the noise and problem goes away. Any ideas for this problem? Thanks!

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
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My 2000 made alot of noise in the rear end while hitting the gas and when I let up it went away. It ended up being the rear end was totally trashed had to replace everything even the axles where pitted.. I would take it to a good mechanic that you trust and have it checked out before you cause more damage

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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Popping jerking lots of very bad noises....rear unit on my 2000 TJ was trashed , broken spider gears...all that jazz...$728 dollars later we're all good ...just take it and get it fixed before you tear the ring gear or damage other stuff....it sucks but..it is what it is and it aint gonna get better on its own.
"Birdhouse this is Hawk ...(break)...Whiskey Delta at 1200 yards and closing....request permission to engage....over. Hawk this is Birdhouse.....you have the green light, I say again... you have the green light.....engage with a vengeance!
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:20 AM   #4
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Guess I'm taking it to the garage. My buddy and I changed the bearings and no luck. Still clanking, just not as bad. Think I'm gonna replace the Detroit with an Auburn Posi.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:41 AM   #5
Knows a couple things...

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How long have you been driving this Jeep with the Detroit Locker? Any automatic locker like the Detroit Locker will lock up very solidly when you are stepping on the accelerator pedal which can cause it to lurch to the side or create problems when turning corners.

If the Detroit Locker is new to you, give it some time and start using less gas around corners which will allow it to unlock more easily while you're turning. Nearly coasting through corners is a good way to help it to behave better.

If driving with a Detroit Locker is new to you, please just give it more time for you to learn how to minimize its quirks. I drove with a Detroit Locker in my rear axle for over 120K miles and once I figured out how to drive it, it became a very benign and well behaved locker. That Jeep, which was a daily driver for me, was stolen earlier this year and I really miss its Detroit Locker.
When you have a choice, buy American.

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Old 11-22-2010, 02:23 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by kings97tj View Post
Guess I'm taking it to the garage. My buddy and I changed the bearings and no luck. Still clanking, just not as bad. Think I'm gonna replace the Detroit with an Auburn Posi.
Do not go with the AUBURN! They are non rebuildable and have a bad rep for failing. Stick with the detroit.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:57 AM   #7
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How's your tire pressure?
Both tires need to be exactly the same, and if one has more wear then the other you can get this as well.

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Old 11-24-2010, 11:02 AM   #8
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This might be pretty far off, maybe the gear oil?
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Gear oil is good. Both bearings were replaced last week so its got good clean oil. The tire pressure is equal and has a brand new set of BFG's on it. Tire pressure was the first thing I checked.

I got under it yesterday and was playing with it and found that the drive shaft tunrs about one whole rotation before it catches anything. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:33 AM   #10
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That doesn't sound promising. With that much play, I would suspect something broke in the locker. The source of your problem may fall out into your drain pan when you pull the cover.
Doug Coleman

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Old 11-25-2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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Which bearings did you replace?

I've got 4.56 gears and a Lock Right in my 35 and the drive shaft will turn by hand about 1/4-1/3 turn. As you go lower in gear there's less teeth on either the pinion gear or ring gear. When I had 3.73s and factory LSD my drive shaft would turn by hand <1/4 turn. The locker has it's own backlash in addition to the ring and pinion.

If you had a broken tooth on the pinion gear your Jeep would only go forward for about 8 feet at a time (give or take), coast for a bit, and go about 8 feet again as the pinion came back into contact with the ring gear.

Have you inspected the ring gear for any broken teeth?

By your description if you had an open diff I would say it sounds like a tooth is damaged/missing on one of the side gears. But with the Detroit you don't have the typical spider and side gear set-up. On dry pavement going straight with steady pressure on the gas you shouldn't be getting thrown around in the lane by the locker. Maybe a little sway in the back end when letting off and on the gas, but even that shouldn't be a violent movement.

How old is the locker? Could be a worn or broken spring behind one of the clutch assemblies or a spring that is somehow set up too tight in there.

Detroit Locker - Automatic Lockers - Locking Differentials

From the FAQ in the next link:

When I step on and off the gas pedal, I hear the unit make a “clunking” noise. Why?

Because Detroit Lockers have “backlash” or “slack” between the drive and driven teeth and you will hear this in everyday use going through corners and when going from drive mode to coast mode. Also with the vehicle on the ground and the transmission in neutral you will have 1\4 to 1\3rd of a turn of lash in the driveshaft, this is completely normal.

FAQ for Differentials

What weight gear oil are you using?

I'm using Valvoline 80w-90 right now to break in my new gears, but will be switching to Royal Purple 75W-140 (recommended weight for the lockers) here very soon to quiet down my Lock Rights. They're not loud at all, just want to try circumventing some of the pops and bangs I will sometimes get at low speed while turning in a parking lot. Perfectly normal for an auto locker to make such noises.

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