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Old 07-21-2014, 06:52 PM   #1
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Differential and/or bearing problem

I was out driving my 95 2.5l a little while ago and had an issue. When I kick it into first from stops or turns and start to accelerate I get a pretty bad grinding and clunking. It seems to come from the rear or middle. I'll get basically the same noise when I get to about 40, right when I back of the gas pedal when slowing down at higher speeds, and when I roll downhill in neutral. I'm not sure how consistently it happens at these times, or if it happens in any other conditions because I drove straight home, about 15 highway miles and haven't driven it since.

I've also noticed some fluid leaking from the center of the wheel mount on the rear passenger side. It must only leak when the wheels are spinning because it doesn't just leak down like a waterfall, but whips out in a circular pattern. That's a bad description, I'll post some pics soon.

I'm thinking it might be the rear wheel bearings or maybe the differential leaking and going out. Any other ideas? I just bought new bearings so I'll try throwing those in and see what happens. Thanks for any thoughts.

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Old 07-22-2014, 06:40 AM   #2
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The leaking fluid is your axle seals. Classic symptoms.

As for the noise...I would hate to speculate but it could be something nasty in the rear end. I would take the cover off and investigate. A fluid change never hurt anyway.

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Old 07-22-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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So the fluid is coming out of the differential?
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:39 AM   #4
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So the fluid is coming out of the differential?
yes. The axle seals seal against the axle shaft. They keep the fluid inside the differential. They get old, or torn. The usually have problems after off roading in heavy mud or water or if you remove your axle and re install it.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:26 AM   #5
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yes. The axle seals seal against the axle shaft. They keep the fluid inside the differential. They get old, or torn. The usually have problems after off roading in heavy mud or water or if you remove your axle and re install it.
I opened up the diff tonight and found some problems. First of all only about a cup of fluid was in there. What little fluid was there was full of metal shavings. I'm thinking I need to replace some parts.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:34 AM   #6
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When I took off the drums in the process of replacing the axle seals and bearings I found something interesting. It looks like someone took a pack of lock washers and jammed them in the brake drum. I'll attach some photos. I'm holding the pieces I found in one pic. They were smashed and rusted on. The other pic is me pointing the screwdriver to where I found the pieces. Any ideas what these are? I'm also having trouble getting the other drum off. It's rusted on pretty hard. Any advice on that?
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Old 08-08-2014, 02:38 AM   #7
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When I took off the drums in the process of replacing the axle seals and bearings I found something interesting. It looks like someone took a pack of lock washers and jammed them in the brake drum. I'll attach some photos. I'm holding the pieces I found in one pic. They were smashed and rusted on. The other pic is me pointing the screwdriver to where I found the pieces. Any ideas what these are? I'm also having trouble getting the other drum off. It's rusted on pretty hard. Any advice on that?


The metal shavings are due to no gear oil for sure, and more than likely the grinding noise, Did you check the oil, gears and pinion in the front also? I use brake cleaner when changing mine out, as well as checking the backlash.. AMSoil sever gear and it's good!

That looks more like one of the tension or adjuster springs than washers.. I'd take both rear brake assemblies apart, the brake shoes look thin as well.. When I got my 98TJ one of the first things I did was replace everything front & rear.. It was about 160$ At O'Rilies for the new drums, shoes, wheel cylinders, and the master install kit.

Hope my 2c helps.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:45 AM   #8
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I agree that is a spring that is all rusted and falling apart.
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4.0, AX15, 3.07, 31x10.50s
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:07 AM   #9
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The metal shavings are due to no gear oil for sure, and more than likely the grinding noise, Did you check the oil, gears and pinion in the front also? I use brake cleaner when changing mine out, as well as checking the backlash.. AMSoil sever gear and it's good! That looks more like one of the tension or adjuster springs than washers.. I'd take both rear brake assemblies apart, the brake shoes look thin as well.. When I got my 98TJ one of the first things I did was replace everything front & rear.. It was about 160$ At O'Rilies for the new drums, shoes, wheel cylinders, and the master install kit. Hope my 2c helps.
Thanks! What might I likely have to replace after running the differential with no gear oil? Nothing looks obviously chipped or broken inside the pumpkin, just lots of metal shavings in the old fluid.
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:05 PM   #10
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Thanks! What might I likely have to replace after running the differential with no gear oil? Nothing looks obviously chipped or broken inside the pumpkin, just lots of metal shavings in the old fluid.
I'd check the bearing by the driveshaft and pinion, it's possible it went out because the diff fluid was so low, as well as contributing to the vibration if so.. I'd also replace the axel seals since your going to have the breaks down anyways..

Just look everything over really good...
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #11
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I too agrre thats a spring from the drum setup. But what are your plans for your Jeep? Lift, 33" tires or bigger? Let us know because lets be honest replacing or checking the items listed may be a waste of money depending on your plans.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:06 PM   #12
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I too agrre thats a spring from the drum setup. But what are your plans for your Jeep? Lift, 33" tires or bigger? Let us know because lets be honest replacing or checking the items listed may be a waste of money depending on your plans.
I bought it with a 3" RC lift and 35s. I decided that 35s are too big so I'm planning on getting 31s. I have stock rims and stock size tires on it right now. My plan is to have it for driving on nice summer days and moderate off road use on the farm. Not a mudder but not a DD either.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:55 PM   #13
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A perfect time to go Ford 8.8 with disc brakes, take care if both your problems at once. I would not put the money you'll need to shell out to get the turdy5 and brakes working again.
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:07 AM   #14
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A perfect time to go Ford 8.8 with disc brakes, take care if both your problems at once. I would not put the money you'll need to shell out to get the turdy5 and brakes working again.
I've looked into that but I don't have the time or skills required. I really have no auto mechanic or welding experience. Is it realistic for me? From what i read I'd need lots of time and assistance from friends who actually know mechanics.

I think I can fix these problems for right around $100 and do it myself:
Check differential
Change differential oil
Change axle seals
Change bearings
Refurbish drum brakes
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #15
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A perfect time to go Ford 8.8 with disc brakes, take care if both your problems at once. I would not put the money you'll need to shell out to get the turdy5 and brakes working again.
This is exactly what I was getting at.

And OP no man changing all the fluids you could do. But changing the bearings in the pinion which most likely is bad you will need help. Also the axle seals and bearings will be a pain since special tools or knowledge is needed. For the axle swap you really only need a welder to weld spring perches and shock tabs. You could find a job site welder and they could do it in your garage if you have one. And ask ? ? Here on how to set it up and center it. You probably will spend around $500 for everyrhing and a new axle. And to fix your current one maybe $100 if you dont need a new pinion bearing. If you need a pinion bearing the kit to replace bearings goes for around $75 and they you need to find someone with the knowledge to replace them and the tools. And the skys the limit on that. It could be $600 just to tear it down and replace the bearings.
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:12 PM   #16
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This is exactly what I was getting at. And OP no man changing all the fluids you could do. But changing the bearings in the pinion which most likely is bad you will need help. Also the axle seals and bearings will be a pain since special tools or knowledge is needed. For the axle swap you really only need a welder to weld spring perches and shock tabs. You could find a job site welder and they could do it in your garage if you have one. And ask ? ? Here on how to set it up and center it. You probably will spend around $500 for everyrhing and a new axle. And to fix your current one maybe $100 if you dont need a new pinion bearing. If you need a pinion bearing the kit to replace bearings goes for around $75 and they you need to find someone with the knowledge to replace them and the tools. And the skys the limit on that. It could be $600 just to tear it down and replace the bearings.
Thanks for the advice, I'll probably make the swap next summer when I've got time.
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:09 PM   #17
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I was digging around in the rear diff a little bit more tonight and it's really in bad shape. The spider gears, which had been welded, are missing teeth and the welds are all broken. The pinion doesn't look like it's in great shape either. So I'm thinking it's really not worth messing with the stock D35 anymore. I'm going to start looking for a good Ford 8.8 rear assembly.

Can anyone tell me where I can find a good parts list required for this swap? If I got a 8.8 that has a gear ratio anything different then 4.10 will I have to re-gear my front?
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:28 PM   #18
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Info is all over this forum on the swap. But yes if you cant get a 4.10 then you need to match both front and rear axle gear ratios
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:31 PM   #19
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Read up on this andbif you search the forum you will find a lot more.
http://www.jedi.com/obiwan/jeep/ford88.html

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