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Old 07-06-2013, 07:20 PM   #1
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Is my rear axle broken already?

Truck is 18 months old, 15k miles.


Only changed the dif cover on the rear axle before we drove to Moab. When I got back, I went to change the diff fluid and the rears fluid was darker and almost gritty in comparison to the front.

Pinion seal? What else could I have broken?

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Old 07-06-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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As I found out during pro-active maintenance, the front diff fluid doesn't change much color at all because the fluid is only under pressure, or whatever its called, and only heated to extremes, in 4WD mode. Otherwise there is very little going on in the front diff. The rear fluid will always be much more darker than the front fluid.

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Old 07-06-2013, 11:24 PM   #3
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Truck is 18 months old, 15k miles.


Only changed the dif cover on the rear axle before we drove to Moab. When I got back, I went to change the diff fluid and the rears fluid was darker and almost gritty in comparison to the front.

Pinion seal? What else could I have broken?
So you put new gear oil in when you changed the cover and then changed it again when you got back and it was still dirty? Did you clean the gunk out of the bottom of the diff when you put new oil back in?

Typically gear oil will take on a gray color and a gritty feal due to the wear of the gear faces but is generally good for a few thousand miles. Did the oil smell burnt?

When you changed the cover what did the oil look like? Was it cleaner than the after trip oil?
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:42 PM   #4
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Stupid question...but the diffs on all my race-cars never discolored the fluid, and I abuse the race toys FAR more than the Jeep. The Jeep factory fluid was damn near black when I installed a diff cover (after about 10000 miles)....what goes on in a JKU that isn't going on in my sports cars?
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:15 AM   #5
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The rear does more work. Drain and clean housing real well/refill. You have a newer jeep and gears are just wearing themselves In. It's only a problem if it continues.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:55 AM   #6
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The rear does more work. Drain and clean housing real well/refill. You have a newer jeep and gears are just wearing themselves In. It's only a problem if it continues.
15K is one hell of a long wear in period though. I can understand 5K but if they're not worn in by 15K, there is something wrong.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #7
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Do you have limited slip. I know when you change fluid on limited slip vehicles, you need a friction additive for the clutches.

And as for the question about the racecar. My uncle races modifieds and latemodels on a dirt track. His oil is always clear. Reason being, he changes gearing for a given track and is always draining the oil. He changes fluid when it darkens up. And I don't know many racers who never inspect axle for 15k miles.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:44 AM   #8
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The rear will always be darker than the front.. if this was the 1st oil change..and it was 15k miles.. sounds about what i would expect to find.. check again next oil change or 3k miles..unless you noticed smashed gear teeth etc...
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
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The rear will always be darker than the front.. if this was the 1st oil change..and it was 15k miles.. sounds about what i would expect to find.. check again next oil change or 3k miles..unless you noticed smashed gear teeth etc...
The thing is he said he changed the diff cover before MOAB and I can only assume he put new oil in at that time and then he changed the oil again when he got back from MOAB. Even if he did a 2K round trip the oil shouldn't be that messed up unless something else is wrong.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:59 AM   #10
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The thing is he said he changed the diff cover before MOAB and I can only assume he put new oil in at that time and then he changed the oil again when he got back from MOAB. Even if he did a 2K round trip the oil shouldn't be that messed up unless something else is wrong.
It shouldn't be but that's normal for a JK dif. If you drive a new one off of the lot, normal driving, and then check it at a few thousand miles you'll think that it was wheeled and not changed in 50,000 miles. The viscosity is important, which will be fine. The color doesn't matter. This is the only vehicle I have that reacts like this. Why? I'm sure there's tech info. somewhere on it. Or, it gives dealers the excuse to check it and tell customers their dif. fluid is "dirty" and needs to be changed at $400.00 + profit.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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if it has limited slip that is normal due to the clutch pack wear. hell gear oil looks dirty even when it is clean lol
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:03 PM   #12
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If you sprayed brake cleaner on the gears/housing/etc it should have been very clean in there, and it should have remained clean. I'm leaning toward a particular mod that you did. What fluid are you running and what weight?

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