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Old 02-27-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
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Rubicon front differential

I bought a 2004 Rubicon with 60k miles. Didn't notice at first, this being my first Wrangler, the noise from the front end. I thought maybe all jeeps were this loud. Replaced unit bearings 2 days ago. Still a gear whine above 30 mph. Changed front diff. fluid, which came out all silvery! I've seen a lot of posts which say, with a bad front diff, find a used one and swap.
My question is this being a D44 in a rubicon, is it worth fixing?
I suspect carrier bearings in diff. I noticed that the cover already had 2 colors of rtv which points to at least twice in 60k that someone has been into the front diff. Any suggestions? I've had jeep less than a month.

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Old 02-28-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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Twice in 60k miles really means nothing, I change my diff fluid twice a year depending on how much wheeling I do and if I spend too much time in mud or water.

As for the noise... hmmmm check the pinion bearing at the yoke and see if there's any play. You can try checking by seeing if the yoke moves up or down or side to side movement as well as there shouldnt be movement front to back (in/out)

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Old 02-28-2012, 08:28 AM   #3
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If it is indeed bad, I would go ahead and rebuild the 44. It's going to be expensive to get a whole new axle in there.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:22 PM   #4
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Everything at pinion end seems ok. I have appt at dealer in a couple of days. Hope they can resolve this. I have a local mechanic I trust just in case. This is one reason I bought the Rubicon. I assumed the D44 would be more durable. Just surprised at an issue this early. What about adding axle tube seals? Is that a common upgrade to help keep diff clean?
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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Got to admit this has slowed my plans for tires and lift, until I get the drivetrain back to full health. I've added Teraflex BB and OME stabilizer. Found out my passenger side sway bar had pulled ball out of socket. Have JKS links ordered. Noticed a lot of u-joints are nylon sealed. Should I replace these with grease fitting type?
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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Update: dealer ended up replacing pinion and carrier bearings in the front diff. That seemed to fix the problem.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the update. Can I ask how much??
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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What kind of noise was it. ? Curios cause I have an 06 Rubicon with A pft pft pft sound that is driving me nuts .. It's not loud but loud enough to be annoying !
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:31 AM   #9
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I was lucky to have dealer cover it under the 30 day warranty. To bad they ended up keeping it for almost 2 weeks. I figured at $90 hr labor + parts I would have paid 1200-1500.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #10
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Noise was an increasing whine that started at 25 mph and just got louder and higher based on speed. I had ruled out pinion bearings because it happened whether accelerating or decelerating. They changed them anyhow probably due to having it torn apart. I really debated trying to replace on my own. I did a lot of research on diff rebuilds. Wife insisted I try dealer first. I will give them credit for coming through on this and standing behind their warranty.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #11
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thats nice to hear when i did my 60000 mile service 4 months after my first wrangler when i pulled the plug in the front diff it was a 1" below the hole makes me wonder how close these dealers look at the trade ins mine came from a nissan dealer
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WsRub04 View Post
Noticed a lot of u-joints are nylon sealed. Should I replace these with grease fitting type?
The factory spicer joints that are in there now are a hell of alot better than any of the greasable ones. The seals on the "sealed" joints thats are non servicable are alot tighter than the greasable ones. The greasable joints will suck water and dirt in when they get hot, and greasing it will not get it all out.

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