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WBN3 09-28-2011 10:50 PM

'99 w/Dana 35 - troubles
My son is driving a '99 with 190k on it, we've had it 6 months. It has what appears to be a Dana 35 3.73 on the rear end. Just a street driver, occasionally out off road but nothing serious. Was about to pull away from a stop sign today and heard a "pop" when he let out the clutch, and the thing wouldn't move. In gear, rear axle turns but no power to wheels. Sounds like a shot rear diff based on what I've read and heard. Stock tires, no lift, so seems like age got the best of it, or someone abused it and put the stock wheels on it just to sell it.

What's odd is that the thing won't go into 4H or 4L. We tried pushing a little and nothing helps. Was in 2H at the time of the rear end failure, so I'm wondering if the problems are even related. Last drove in 4H about 2-3 weeks ago, reported no problems at the time.

Any suggestions on the POS? I already sunk $1800 in a tranny rebuild, now I'm looking at another $1000 for a rear end.

jrussblues 09-28-2011 10:57 PM

If an axle snapped all of the power will go to the axle with least resistance (broken one) = 150 and a good repair manual

If the ring and pinion popped, it would likely be grinding teeth or at least contacting at some point...but let's say it blew altogether = $500 at a shop.

Splnkr 09-29-2011 05:47 AM

Craigslist/ebay/junkyard= Dana 35 swap. Find a 3.73 and pop it under. If your is indeed that bad. A look behind the diff cover will tell you a lot. If it won't go into 4H/L, check the linkage from below. Could be unrelated and out of adjustment.

4Jeepn 09-29-2011 05:56 AM

As stated you might be able to find one on craigs list for a few hundred and save some coin. Also try Auto Parts Market for used ones in you area.

gmiller0737 09-29-2011 08:16 AM

Pop the cover off & look at the Spider Gears if it's just the spider/side gears it's a easy fix you can do it yourself no set up involved.

Jerry Bransford 09-29-2011 10:54 AM


Originally Posted by WBN3 (Post 1613073)
What's odd is that the thing won't go into 4H or 4L. We tried pushing a little and nothing helps. Was in 2H at the time of the rear end failure...

That it won't shift into 4Hi or 4Lo has me thinking more t-case than rear axle. That the rear axle turns ok doesn't necessarily mean it is receiving power from the transfer case.

WBN3 09-29-2011 11:18 AM

More background - have had the tranny out for repair in the last few weeks, talked to them and they confirmed that the transfer case must be disconnected from the linkage to remove. When we shift through the range of motion on the lever, the bolt which holds the linkage to the t-case doesn't rotate. The shop says that is probably a worn shoulder on the bolt, and nothing to do with the rear end.

Next question - if it's an easy fix, doing the spider gear replacement seems like a lower cost if I can find them. Suggestion on where to look for parts, and whether this is a penny-wise/pound-foolish thing to do.... would it be smarter to upgrade, and if so, to what?

Jerry Bransford 09-29-2011 11:32 AM

Instead of conjecturing what the problem might be, it would be more efficient use of your time to simply remove the differential cover and look inside to see if the problem is inside. Any gear issues would be readily apparent.

WBN3 09-29-2011 06:40 PM

Well, Jerry, thanks for that insight... come Saturday, that's my plan. Just whiling away the hours at the computer and figured I'd get others' opinions....that's the point of the forum, right? :angel:

Still want opinions on what the right rear end would be, assuming this isn't a cheap fix.

Thanks in advance for the help. We're a bit disillusioned at how much money this thing has cost us since we got it... the guy at the transmission shop told me that JEEP stands for Just Empty Every Pocket... got a chuckle out of that.

Splnkr 09-29-2011 07:27 PM

If you're not paying for broke stuff, you're paying for stuff to break!

WBN3 09-29-2011 07:38 PM

Splnkr - been looking over the pics of your '99, it looks like the same base vehicle as the one we have, really impressed with your work. Something for my son to use as his "go by"...
he's 16, and won't have enough money for even a simple thing like the winch, until he works a bit more. But you've got a really nice ride!

WBN3 09-30-2011 10:16 PM

Opened it up...
Opened it up and this is what I found....

These are the loose parts...

Is this an afternoon or a weekend job? I've got some skill, just never tackled this particular task before. Information is power, and I feel like I've got enough info available here and in "how to" videos on Youtube and the like, so I'm really just looking to get out as inexpensively as I can without setting myself up to be doing this again in a couple of years....

Recommendations on parts suppliers are appreciated...

WBN3 09-30-2011 11:14 PM

Also - didn't find any kind of pin that holds the spider gear shaft into place... there's a hole in one end of it like there's supposed to be some sort of retainer. I've seen videos of these being overhauled, and it looks like they have a pin. Just wondered if anyone knows...can't imagine it would've gotten chewed up given the size of that hole... I found a bit of loose metal, but it looks to be from the gears themselves...

felix225 10-01-2011 08:31 AM

Pretty catastrophic failure. The pin that retains the shaft that holds the spiders in place screws into the ring gear carrier, which appears to have exploded.

Repairing this yourself is a really involved task and requires a good bit of know how if you want to put it together and make it last. Setting the pinion depth and gear backlash can take a few hours to do and a lot longer if you haven't done it before. I would really suggest taking the axle out and taking it to a shop to have it done professionally. If it isnt set up properly, you would be throwing a good deal of money away in new parts that would quickly get ruined if put together wrong.

If you decide to tackle it yourself, I can help walk you through the steps via PM, but you will need to make sure you get a master install kit, replace all bearings, and have dial indicator (with a magnetic base)...along with an inch/lb torque wrench, as its hard to describe the rolling resistance on a pinion by feel..

Jerry Bransford 10-01-2011 11:02 AM

That's not a job for a weekend-wrencher since you need to replace the carrier and side/spider gears at a minimum. What I can see of the ring gear looks ok but spin it around so you can see all of it plus the pinion gear. At the least, you need a new carrier, side and spider gears, and new bearings. If you go to a 4x4 shop that does ring & pinion gear installations, you can probably get it repaired for $400-450. If you go to an axle shop or the dealer, they would likely charge a lot more.

At a minimum, besides replacing the spider and side gears plus gear carrie, you will need to set the backlash which involves shimming the gear carrier left/right until you get the correct amount of backlash. Plus the preload has to be set properly.

Unless you have a dial indicator and case spreader (not absolutely needed but it's tough without one), I'd pony up the $$$ to get this problem handled by someone who knows what they're doing.

Or if you look around, you can very likely find a replacement Dana 35c out of a TJ for $200-300. I sold my perfect D35c with 70K miles and a Detroit Truetrac LSD for $300.

crazyredneck 10-01-2011 11:22 AM

If you know how to weld you could always find what ever axle you want.

Right now I'm currently working on putting a ford 9 inch rear end in mine. Its not hard to do really.

Splnkr 10-02-2011 09:42 AM

I'll chime in too. Ditto what has been said above.

If my Ford 8.8 project wasn't at a stand still due to bureaucratic and economic red tape (wife took Discover card away from me), you could have my Dana 35C (though it is the wrong ratio;-). The easiest thing to do would be to luck into a Dana 35 at a u-pull-it yard, junk yard, salvage yard, etc. Swapping would definitely be a weekend wrencher type job.

I agree it would be worth calling around--or find a Jeep club forum nearby--and see if there is a shop that can do it low cost.

You could yank the axle out (not nessa but easier I am told) and try the regearing yourself. But, as Jerry stated above, the tools are specific and expensive to buy. I am going to regeard my Dana, but have access to all the tools plus all the time in the world. Here is a great primer on the job:

Pirate4x4.Com - The largest off roading and 4x4 website in the world.

Now, I don't know how this would work based on your damage; whether you have to start from scratch (I think I would) or try and salvage what's left.

Or, like crazy says, find whatever axle you want, like a Ford 8.8!


WBN3 10-05-2011 11:53 AM

Thanks for the words of advice, guys. I loaded 'er up and took it to the pros... nothing like spending your money wisely... I'm just hoping this is it for a while. My Discover card is starting to melt it's getting used so much...

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