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Old 06-24-2014, 06:36 PM   #1
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Differential issues

Hey everyone. New to the forum and the jeep world. I've found a lot of useful info from this site but now it's time to ask for some help.

After driving around for a while in my 97 Sahara I started to get some nasty noises in the rear end when making slow, tight turns. Got some fluids and decided to change/clean the rear diff when I found this (see photo) I'm not that familiar with differentials but this definitely isn't right. The ring where the screwdriver is pointing is broken and there are some marks on the gears from whatever that is that broke off. Is this repairable?

Thanks!
Nick
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:48 PM   #2
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Was there any big chunks of gear in the bottom of the housing? It looks like the spider gears are chewed up. You will need to fix this problem soon before you go too far. If a gear breaks and wedges itself in the ring and pinion you will stop fast and make a big mess.

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Old 06-24-2014, 07:54 PM   #3
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It looks like the piece that broke off got chewed to tiny pieces. I cleaned out the whole housing and ran a magnet around the base to gather up any remaining bits. No big chunks of anything were found. Can the diff be taken apart and repaired or will I have to get a full replacement?
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:04 PM   #4
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I'm not a diff expert by any means but if the ring and pinion are good you should be able to get replacement pieces for the other gears. You might be able to install one of lunchbox lockers in there. I believe they take the place of the gears that are wrecked in there. Oh and welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:32 PM   #5
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This looks like a D-35 rear axle. Look real close at the teeth on the ring gear-and pinion best you can while rotating. the axle and spider gears(that are bad in your picture) are replaceable. You will need a new cross pin also. The axle and spider gears have thin thrust washers behind them (new ones will come with them). When you take the single bolt out of the cross pin it will slide right out,then rotate the spider gears and they will fall out (look for the old concave thrust washers from behind the spider gears-they may stick to the case. Then push each axle inwards (you have to have tires/wheels/brake drums off) and remove the horseshoe clip. Then slide the axle gears inwards and off the axle splines.Other side same way). remove the flat thrust washers also may be stuck in case.If any of the thrust washers have exploded-that coild have started this whole thing. Pull the axles and look at the brg surface-to make sure no pitting. If so replace axle AND bearings/seals. Providing metal didnot get crunched in the pinion or carrier brgs, you should be OK. Reassenble in reverse order. This is not hard to do, but you really should get a repair manual (usually cheap at 2nd hand book stores) I am not responsible if you do this wrong and screw it up.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:09 PM   #6
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Agree, definitely need side gears and spiders. I would pull the rear axles and carrier. Inspect the carrier real close and make sure that both bearings are in good shape and that they are seated snuggly on the bosses. I have seen several where the bearing failed and spun on the carrier and was no longer an interference fit. Also, check the cross pin and make sure it doesn't wobble in the bore. If it does, you need a new carrier. Good news is you can get just a bare case, or just the internals, or the whole assembly. If you need a new carrier, would be a great time to replace with something a little stronger.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for all advice everyone. I'll tear into it more in the next few days. Could this be easily converted over to a limited slip or would a locking diff be better upgrage to do?
I mainly use my jeep for towing a large jet ski and may adventure into some easy woods/trail use. Running stock size tires with no plans of going bigger. While I'm working on it now, I may as well beef up the gear to handle the added stress of towing.
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:38 PM   #8
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Thanks for all advice everyone. I'll tear into it more in the next few days. Could this be easily converted over to a limited slip or would a locking diff be better upgrage to do?
I mainly use my jeep for towing a large jet ski and may adventure into some easy woods/trail use. Running stock size tires with no plans of going bigger. While I'm working on it now, I may as well beef up the gear to handle the added stress of towing.
Short answer: Depends on your budget.

Long answer: Depends on what kind of offroading you do if at all. Super 35 kit or a D44/8.8 rear axle swap is recommended if more than light/moderate off roading is done. If you aren't planning on doing anything too serious, new spider/side gears will suffice. The detroit LSD is also a viable option for light offroading. A locker is for serious rock crawling where wheels are coming off the ground. Both the detroit LSD and full lockers replace the whole carrier, but reuse the ring and pinion.

If you didn't find any metal bits in the bottom, it leads me to believe that the PO knew about it because someone took the chunks out of the bottom and zipped the diff cover back on.

If you look at my build thread, my pictures are very similar to yours. My spider gears chipped and I ended up going with a detroit locker.

Edit: just saw easy trails and towing. The d35 should be able to handle that in its stock form provided you are not rough on it. Towing doesn't put enough stress on those gears to render an axle breakage. If I were you I would either replace the spider gears or do the LSD to improve your capability on the trails
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:29 PM   #9
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I found a new Dana Trac-Loc for my 00 about 6 months after I bought it and put in the rear D35. Found it on the net for about $250 shipped. Whatever you put in it, just make sure you order the correct carrier for the gear ratio you have. My choice would have been a Detroit True-Trac but they don't make them for the D35 with 3.07 gears.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:27 PM   #10
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If you change the rear gear ratio-you have to do the front also. If you are looking for stock replacement 3.07 gears front/rear I have both front and rear OEM ring & pinions and gear cases83K miles and they did not howl. (no spider or axle gears) I reused them when I put 4.10 gears in mine. I had to buy new carriers -because once you go past a certain ratio-it requires a different carrier. I would sell both front and rear -but the shipping would be terrible. These parts are heavy. Also setting up a ring and pinion correctly takes the right tools and patience. I had to take my front one in/out 4 times -and the rear 3 times to get the pattern and lash correct.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:11 PM   #11
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I plan on keeping the same ratio but was considering what other options were avaliable using that. Do you guys have any suggestions for good suppliers or should I just search around for whoever has the best price?
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:55 PM   #12
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I plan on keeping the same ratio but was considering what other options were avaliable using that. Do you guys have any suggestions for good suppliers or should I just search around for whoever has the best price?
For what? Locker? Limited slip? Or just spider/side gears?
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:07 PM   #13
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If you're not doing much more than towing a jet ski, just fix what you have. It might even be less expensive to find a D35 in a junk yard or Craig's List. Almost no one wants one. Just make sure you're gears match.

As far as locking, I think you should go limited slip.
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Old 06-26-2014, 03:18 PM   #14
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Either direct replacement parts or, leaning more towards, a lsd. I don't really have a need for a locker.
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:16 PM   #15
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What gear ratio?

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