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Old 05-28-2010, 12:02 PM   #1
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Differential problem 97 wrangler sport 4.0

I talked prior about taking my jeep to have my rear pinion seal replaced but the mechanic told me that putting in a seal wouldnt fix the problem saing I have damage in there, anyway he couldnt even give me a cost acting as if it could be upward of 3 thousand dollars to fix, I know for a fact this jeep has not even been off road but a few times and was very mild trails. I took my jeep off the road being the mechanic scared me pretty bad and knowing I dont have three grand to just burn up at this time so,
I Went out today and bought some jack stands, I placed them under the frame with a few peices of 2x4 being the stands were not quite high enough to get the tires off the ground, this also alowed the rear end to drop some so will be easier for me to get behind that differential cover when i remove it probably tomorrow.
I turned the wheels getting under the jeep which made me a tad nervious trusting the new jacks and rigged boards I placed ontop haha, I did hear rubbing where the brake drums are but not really where the pinion seal is, turning it there is maybe 3/16s play there not sure if thats from the trans or the differential<Guy at the shop said there was too much play so I am not sure whats ok and isnt.
Looking at the joint down there I maybe could replace that pinion seal myself if isn't to high tech.
I even started the jeep put it in gear again trusting these ? Stands and let the wheels spin in 1st, I didn't hear this rubbing , I guess I will pull that back cover off next and try the magnent deal and really inspect the spider gears and main. I am almost sure what I have is a Dana 44 axle I am not positive being I dont see that in writing anywhere.
I am trying to charge my video cam so maybe I will attempt to make a video step by step and get advice from you guys. I do know the back seal is leaking but as for damage back there I am right now questioning the 27 year veterian mechanic who made me take my plates in yesterday and cancel my insurance on my jeep till I can afford a 3000.00 repair. ps. tell me is it ok to jack up a jeep from under the axle or under the spring bolt ? I did both but worried about putting to much pressure on the axle.

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Old 05-28-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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First thing is first, you probably want to get some pictures of what you are dealing with hear. 3/16's play sounds a little on the high side, but I am not an expert. Someone else is going to have to give you advice on how to fix this.

Is the drain plug made of plastic or metal? Metal is the Dana 44.

As for $3,000 to repair this, I just bought a used Dana 44 out of a '99 for $400, no leaking whatsoever.

I am not too sure what your jack stand set up looks like, again, pictures would help others give you advice.

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Old 05-28-2010, 08:05 PM   #3
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I'm not sure if the D44 rear was even an option on the '97 Sports. It sounds like you don't have much experience with axle repair. No offense intended, but that seal replacement is probably not something you want to do yourself unless you have a decent amount of mechanical experience and the right tools available. An entire axle swap would be something that you could probably handle on your own. If you go that route just make sure you match the ratio with what you are pulling out. Oh yeah, don't go back to that mechanic. You could get a Currie for $3000.
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Old 05-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #4
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I agree this isn't somthing I am experianced enough to tackle on my own I am just trying to learn as much as I can about the differential and what maybe is wrong with mine before I listen to some mechanic telling me somthing is wrong that I know isn't, I am mechanically inclined but not enough to deal with inner gearing and specs etc,,,
I made a video of the inside of my unit yesterday and have a few idea's, I even went back to the shop and asked some question's still getting the same answer no idea on the cost to fix this, after close inspection the pinion gear and flywheel gear or what ever the big sproket is called looked fine, also the spider gears looked good, but I did notice the big pin that goes through the middle of the spider gear housing had play in it when i rocked it side to side, the mechanic said that isnt suppose to have play, I am thinking where the pinion seal is maybe the bearings have failed of the teeth of the pinion gear where is unseeable where the drive shaft goes in may be worn, there wasn't alot of metal shavings in the oil but was very small metalic pieces in the oil like glitter , I am not sure thats normal or if it's from the bearings , but like I said the gears seeable look fine not chewed up, and all seems to spin smoothly no grinding in there.
Just the same I guess there is a problem in there and simply resealing it isn't an option, I just need to figure where to take it that I know I wont be ripped off, doe's anyone have any idea if I bought a new axle what it generally cost to have that installed? I am not sure at my home I have the tools for that kinda job, seems I saw an axle online was 2 choices a 44 or 60 axle have no idea if the 60 is better or worth the price differance, but was like 2495.00 + 150.00 shipping, but the 60 axle was 2895.00+ shipping cost.
I guess I need to find out what my exact gearing is and if in fact whats in a 97 jeep wrangler sport is a Dana 44 , there's a # stamped into the differential cover maybe there's a way I can find out from that.
I spent over 1000.00 fixing alot of little thing's like the engine check light kept comming on saying P300< Random cylinder misfire, so I changed all the plugs and the ignition coil and spark plug wire's as well as several sensor's like the oil pressure and thermostate sensor, finally fixing the problem when i installed a new rotor in the distributor.
I put a cold air intake along with a throttle body spacer, next wanted to open up the exhaust with a flowmaster exhaust, but this differential problem stalled me on that along with new rims and tires I had lined up to be put on.(I also painted my bumpers and fendors with bumper black making the jeep look pretty darn good.) So after all my tinkering and improving on my jeep I am pretty bummed that I have this issue currently especially after I got it purring like a kitten and really improved the MPG a ton.
Anyway I thank everyone for their imput, I am still not giving up on my jeep will figure this out hopfully in a more cost effective way.
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