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Old 03-21-2012, 11:53 PM   #1
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How to inspect Rear Diff

2003 wrangler TJ. 55700 miles. Stock axle assembly.
Suspected leaky rear pinion seal.

getting work done on the jeep. mechanic offers to change my seal for me for cheap while hes working on it.

went to the shop today to check it out to find the jeep up and rear diff completely emptied and axles pulled.

hes telling me my bearings are bad and rubbing (the ones in the pumpkin on either side of the ring gear, where the axle housing enters the pumpkin) and tells me that its burning gear oil which is evidence of bad bearings. Also says you can see where the bearings are rubbing on the round surface where they sit. it looks like streaks from being machined and is smooth with no edges on the flat surface.

He also told me my diff is going to "grenade" and points out some small white spots in the diff housing where the pinion gear shaft sits. The spots, upon closer inspect, look like very little dents but surface seems to be smooth to the touch.

He didnt mention finding anything else out of orders though, like metal shavings. no chips on gears.

my question is: how do i know im looking at a bad or going bad diff? is he right? What should i be looking for when inspecting my diff?

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Old 03-22-2012, 12:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saiyan slayr915 View Post
2003 wrangler TJ. 55700 miles. Stock axle assembly.
Suspected leaky rear pinion seal.

getting work done on the jeep. mechanic offers to change my seal for me for cheap while hes working on it.

went to the shop today to check it out to find the jeep up and rear diff completely emptied and axles pulled.

hes telling me my bearings are bad and rubbing (the ones in the pumpkin on either side of the ring gear, where the axle housing enters the pumpkin) and tells me that its burning gear oil which is evidence of bad bearings. Also says you can see where the bearings are rubbing on the round surface where they sit. it looks like streaks from being machined and is smooth with no edges on the flat surface.

He also told me my diff is going to "grenade" and points out some small white spots in the diff housing where the pinion gear shaft sits. The spots, upon closer inspect, look like very little dents but surface seems to be smooth to the touch.

He didnt mention finding anything else out of orders though, like metal shavings. no chips on gears.

my question is: how do i know im looking at a bad or going bad diff? is he right? What should i be looking for when inspecting my diff?
lawyer time...

any mechanic that goes from changing a seal to a major component rebuild without even at least a phone call needs some of their anatomy removed with as dull an instrument as possible.

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Old 03-22-2012, 12:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by aelwero

lawyer time...

any mechanic that goes from changing a seal to a major component rebuild without even at least a phone call needs some of their anatomy removed with as dull an instrument as possible.
I took an old motorcycle in for a carb adjustment and sync, 3hrs later (I was waiting in the showroom of the dealer the whole time) I asked the mechanic what was taking so long, he took me back and they had the head off and were inspecting the valves and piston/rings. I about snapped, I told him he better put my effing bike back together and that I wasn't paying a dime more then what I was quoted for the sync. He didn't have my permission to go that deep into it so i ended up paying for the 1hr of shop work I asked for and not the 6hrs it took them.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:21 AM   #4
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As for the inspection of the diff, the bearings would be easy to tell if they were bad, they'd be rough and noisy. There should have been some pretty obvious signs the rear was going bad while you were driving it. Vibes, noises, etc. If it was me I'd ask to see all the old parts before I spent the money on his "rebuild".
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:25 AM   #5
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Really?! i could lawyer-up for this? wow. dont even get me started on him...

i told him he didnt need to change the seal cuz i could do it myself. he said i can do it cheap man. i asked how much. he said $50. thats cheap. i said really? its a lot of work... you gotta take the drums apart and all. he said really? he said he'd do it.
that was a few days ago. he never did call me. i showed up and he had it all broke down and torn out. and he had the nerve to tell me he forgot how complicated it was and he "should" have charged me $300! i couldnt believe it.
i think he actually wants to charge me the extra 300. Is that OK??? we agreed on 50...
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:35 AM   #6
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As for the inspection of the diff, the bearings would be easy to tell if they were bad, they'd be rough and noisy. There should have been some pretty obvious signs the rear was going bad while you were driving it. Vibes, noises, etc. If it was me I'd ask to see all the old parts before I spent the money on his "rebuild".
I told him to put it all back. he wanted me to replace bearings and was trying to feed me crap about my gears.
i never had any noise or anything. just a leaky pinion seal. i dont know why i didnt ask why he took it all apart. too late anyway... i wanted to go to the cops to see if i would have to pay the 300 vs the 50 we ORIGINALLY agreed upon...
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by saiyan slayr915

I told him to put it all back. he wanted me to replace bearings and was trying to feed me crap about my gears.
i never had any noise or anything. just a leaky pinion seal. i dont know why i didnt ask why he took it all apart. too late anyway... i wanted to go to the cops to see if i would have to pay the 300 vs the 50 we ORIGINALLY agreed upon...
Check your local laws and with the BBB in your area, but where I'm from (Washington) they are legally obligated to call you and get permission to exceed the parameters of the initial quote. If they do any work other then what you asked and they agreed, then they did it pro bono. It's to protect customers from this exact situation. I believe in Washington they also have to call you and get permission to continue if it's going to be more then $100 more then the estimate, unless stated otherwise before you drop it off.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:56 AM   #8
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Google bearing spalling. Look at the pics. Look at your bearings. When bearings begin to fail, first the raceways become frosted in appearance, then they begin to spall. Look at the components he wants to replace.If the raceways aren't & rolling elements aren't spalled, pitted, brinneled, frosted, rusted, grooved,etc, then have him just put in the replacement pinion seal.

Frankly, he shouldn't have been in that deep to replace a seal in the first place.
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:22 AM   #9
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Post up some pics if its not too late. Hope it works out OK for you.
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Old 03-22-2012, 08:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by saiyan slayr915 View Post
Really?! i could lawyer-up for this? wow. dont even get me started on him...

i told him he didnt need to change the seal cuz i could do it myself. he said i can do it cheap man. i asked how much. he said $50. thats cheap. i said really? its a lot of work... you gotta take the drums apart and all. he said really? he said he'd do it.
that was a few days ago. he never did call me. i showed up and he had it all broke down and torn out. and he had the nerve to tell me he forgot how complicated it was and he "should" have charged me $300! i couldnt believe it.
i think he actually wants to charge me the extra 300. Is that OK??? we agreed on 50...
a lawyer will cost you more in the long run actually. the fastest and cheapest way to fix it is to tell him straight up you aren't paying over $50. he'll either put it back together and give it back or ratchet up his stupid meter some more. If he continues to go retard on ya, then yes, have a lawyer call him, or even better, show up at the shop.

can't say I've ever had a mechanic try this on me (probably because I hardly ever take the jeep to a shop), but my wife paid $250 for an oil change one time ("free 25 point inspection" and of course they had to replace a bunch of stuff. wouldn't want the cabin air filter to grenade on her ). one phone call from the military legal assistance office (most of who are actually not even lawyers, but do have a little more "scary factor" about em) and they refunded the entire bill.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:04 AM   #11
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Not to start paranoia going, but once you get the thing back, have ANOTHER mechanic -- one you trust, or who comes on reliable recommendation -- check it out to be sure he didn't leave you any little "surprises", either deliberately or due to his incompetence. Like maybe not putting in any oil...
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:12 PM   #12
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a lawyer will cost you more in the long run actually. the fastest and cheapest way to fix it is to tell him straight up you aren't paying over $50. he'll either put it back together and give it back or ratchet up his stupid meter some more. If he continues to go retard on ya, then yes, have a lawyer call him, or even better, show up at the shop.

can't say I've ever had a mechanic try this on me (probably because I hardly ever take the jeep to a shop), but my wife paid $250 for an oil change one time ("free 25 point inspection" and of course they had to replace a bunch of stuff. wouldn't want the cabin air filter to grenade on her ). one phone call from the military legal assistance office (most of who are actually not even lawyers, but do have a little more "scary factor" about em) and they refunded the entire bill.
im in the U.S. Navy. San Diego, Ca.
and im actually from El Paso! yes, i realize getting a lawyer would be i ill advised at this point. but if push comes to shove, maybe the navy can help.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:15 PM   #13
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Not to start paranoia going, but once you get the thing back, have ANOTHER mechanic -- one you trust, or who comes on reliable recommendation -- check it out to be sure he didn't leave you any little "surprises", either deliberately or due to his incompetence. Like maybe not putting in any oil...
yes. at the outset, i trusted him. but now i know hes in it to make money at the expense of the customer. i will keep this in mind, thank you.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:25 PM   #14
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Find a new mechanic.

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