I was lifting and going through my recently purchased 97 tj and in the process decided to do the rear diff fluid. When draining it I found 1 of the grade 8 bolts that hold the gears together had backed out and broke. luckily it must of have been recently as the gears were in good shape and the bolt head looked like it only got whacked once or twice. I checked all the others and they were all loose and needed to be tightened. If u r changing your rear diff fluid i would check these, as every 1 was loose and jeep do not use any threadlock on them. My buddy who owns a 97 tj was their and we r going to check his this wknd.
06-17-2013 09:21 AM
If you found one loose or fallen out your a lucky man if there's no other damage!
Personally I'd get a new set of bolts and replace all of them you have no idea how much the others have been stressed. Make sure you clean the threads and bolt holes with brake clean use Loctite and torque to specs when replacing ring gear bolts!
06-17-2013 10:36 AM
Jeep uses Locktite on the ring gear bolts, my bet is someone else was inside that rear axle & forgot/didn't know to use locktite on the bolts.
06-17-2013 10:50 AM
Ive dealt with this headache before...except mine went one step further. Took a short local trip on a simple trail (can be done in 2WD)...and had the most problems I have ever had on the trail (go figure). As I was pulling back into town, a guy with me said "hey I think you are leaking something, because we got splattered with something when you went around that corner." I did a quick inspection, but didnt see anything. Made my way home, went inside for a bit, then came back out to a giant puddle of gear oil in the driveway. One of my ring gear bolts backed all the way out, and had actually punched a hole in my diff cover. Thankfully, I hadn't installed an aftermarket cover yet, or else I probably wouldnt have found out til it was too late. I pulled the carrier, and out of like 10 bolts, 5 of them had come out half way and the other 5 were hand tight. I took the carrier down to my buddy's shop where the work was done and they said they had never seen anything like that happen before. They have done all of their gear work with the same guy for like 10 years and never had an issue like this (including race rigs and buggies). In those 10 years, they have only had two incidents...one being mine...of course haha. Anyways, the ring gear bolts appeared to have a little loctite left on them...so to this day, we arent sure what happened. But it is fixed...and havent had an issue since.
06-17-2013 11:02 AM
yea i have to fish the rest of that bolt out. it could of have been very UGLY
06-17-2013 11:30 AM
Get a new set of bolts, pull the carrier and replace them all. Use Redloctite and torque to spec. When torquing the bolts go in a star pattern and work your way up in torque.