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Old 01-20-2020, 12:14 PM
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Broken Spider Gears in D44 Axle

Hey all, having some problems with my rear D44 axles on my 2008 Jeep Wrangler Sport. Let me begin by saying roughly a year and a half ago (September of '18 to be exact), i had a re-gear done to a 5.13 ratio. No crazy off road driving at all. Just a daily driver for the most part. Fast forward to today. About 2-3 weeks ago, i noticed a "whirring" noise ONLY when accelerating (most prevalent when accelerating from 30-50mph). After a 400 mile round trip just a few days ago, it got much worse (audible from 20mph and above). I checked the diff fluid and it was plenty full, so i figured i would change it out. However, when i pulled the plug, big chunks of metal were attached to the magnet... I pop the cover off the diff to see the spider gears in rough shape (see attached).

So, here's what i'm needing to know:

Firstly, how hard of a job am i looking at to replace these spider gears? Are there specialty tools involved with this job?

Second, I've seen where the whirring noise when accelerating is normally linked to a worn ring and pinion gear. I can't see any physical signs of wear though. Could it be something else that i am hearing?

I'm on a tight budget (living the luxurious college life) so any method that will get this back up and going with the least amount of money needing to be spent is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-20-2020, 10:21 PM   #2
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I can't help you removing the spider gears but look for 4X4 shops around in your area, avoid dealers. This is a common failure so I'm sure shops do this job very often.

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Old 01-21-2020, 11:13 AM   #3
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I had a set of spider gears replaced some time ago in another vehicle and it was quite cheap, less than a few hundred bucks. It something that you can definitely do yourself as long as everything goes back together exactly the same (obviously). Keeping close track of the shims that were used during original setup. If it were me, I would tackle this myself (even having paid someone to install my gears). Plenty of youtube videos out there with how to replace them.

Having said that, the premature failure is somewhat concerning and hopefully its just unlucky and not indicative of poor initial gear setup.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:47 PM   #4
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There are many writeups on just swapping out the spider gears. The parts are generally not expensive and the job shouldn't be really difficult. I couldn't tell you all the tools you need, but most people probably wouldn't consider them to be specialty tools. Several sockets and ratchet; impact wrench (maybe you could do with just a breaker bar); torque wrench, etc. A good writeup will tell you what you need. Not sure which is a good writeup--you should research to find one you feel comfortable with.

I'm not a pro about re-gearing, but I'm skeptical about the wear pattern on your ring gear. If it were me, I'd prefer it a little more centered, but, like I said, I'm not a pro, so that may not be indicative of anything at all. Like Cummins_Powered said, premature failure is concerning.
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Old 01-22-2020, 10:16 AM   #5
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The carrier needs to be removed from the housing so that the rod that holds the spider gears in place can be removed.

It's an easy job right up until you need to get the last "washer" for lack of a better word in place between the last gear to go in and the carrier. It is a very tight fit. We ended up placing an axle in an unmounted rim and then placing the carrier on the splines so that we could wedge the washers in place and then twist the carrier to pull the washers into place. It was a two person job and wasn't easy to get those last washers in. I was going to do it by myself and was very glad that a mechanic friend volunteered to help.

One other thing we ran into, The plates for the limited slip were stacked in the wrong order in the packaging. Luckily we caught it.
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Old 01-23-2020, 01:00 AM
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Gotcha. Well parts come in this Friday (the 24th). Hopefully i can get this knocked out in a night and be done. A guy that is well known around my area for re-gears said i should be able to replace the spiders with the carrier still inside of the housing. I'm sure hoping he is right. I'll try and keep some sort of documentation throughout the procedure so if anyone else runs into this issue, they will be better informed. I personally am having a hard time coming across one of those write ups you guys have been talking about. We shall see what happens i guess.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:13 PM
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Turns out you do have to remove the carrier and then the ring gear to get the spiders out. A guy in town said he would do the whole repair for $100. I'm just gonna tow it on a trailer to him and let him do the work instead.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:52 AM   #8
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I would definitely say $100 is worth it just in your time saved!
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:29 AM   #9
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Might just be a shadows but in the photo that shows the ring gear, is that a wear pattern? If so, vs a shadow, might want to have the backlash checked...
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:26 PM   #10
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Definitely not a great pattern on the ring gear. That could be the cause of the whining too.


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Old 01-29-2020, 12:14 AM
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I'm afraid it is a wear pattern. Gonna be honest, this stuff is above my pay-grade when it comes to this being a DIY project. I'm gonna ask the guy to give it a check for me when he replaces the spiders and see what it takes to get it back in spec if things aren't looking good. We shall hopefully see some good news tomorrow when i drop it off.
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by hscumbie View Post
I'm afraid it is a wear pattern. Gonna be honest, this stuff is above my pay-grade when it comes to this being a DIY project. I'm gonna ask the guy to give it a check for me when he replaces the spiders and see what it takes to get it back in spec if things aren't looking good. We shall hopefully see some good news tomorrow when i drop it off.
Same guy who installed the gears initially? Some shops will warranty their work, might be worth checking into...good luck.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:31 PM
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A lot took place today, so here is a shortened version:

Got a call from the shop saying that the gears i ordered were incorrect. They only fit the open differential variant of the D44 (i have the anti-spin/trac-lok). Come to find out, literally no where online sells those rebuild kits for a limited slip carrier. So my options came down to two things. I could either 1, spend ~450 on an improved limited slip carrier that came with pre-installed gears (with the new and improved LSD mechanism) or 2, run them as is for a while longer and keep an eye on the drain plug for particles until funds build up. As a broke college student, option 2 seems to be the best fit for me. I'm going to just keep an eye on the plug (check like once every 2 weeks or so) and run it for now until i have the money for an improved LSD. Before anyone recommends a locker, those aren't an option for me. I do very little to no offroading on this vehicle. Its 98% on the pavement whenever i'm driving it.

Most of this posting was to say, if you have a LSD that needs a spider gear replacement, don't waste your time looking for a rebuild kit. Go ahead and prepare to get the carrier and gears as an assembly.

Thanks again all.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:53 PM   #14
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Did the place you bought the gears from ask if you had LSD?
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Old 01-30-2020, 07:44 PM
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Did the place you bought the gears from ask if you had LSD?
I ordered them off of Amazon. It was a best guess kind of game at that point because i couldn't find a single LSD kit.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:34 PM   #16
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I ordered them off of Amazon. It was a best guess kind of game at that point because i couldn't find a single LSD kit.
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Come to find out, literally no where online sells those rebuild kits for a limited slip carrier.
For what it's worth, literally the 1st place I checked has JK D44 w/lim slip spider gear kits for sale... I'd be suspicious of any mechanic that doesn't know about RockAuto.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/us...der+gear,13106
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:12 AM
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For what it's worth, literally the 1st place I checked has JK D44 w/lim slip spider gear kits for sale... I'd be suspicious of any mechanic that doesn't know about RockAuto.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/us...der+gear,13106
You're a life saver! i'm going to give these a try. I decided last night to just bite the bullet and fix it right. I'm afraid if i ran it as is, im exposing myself to a huge risk if another tooth breaks.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:38 AM
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Well, i just got off of the phone with support and they said that those gears wouldn't fit my jeep. I'm just going to go with a new carrier assembly and call it a day. It's my DD so i need this thing to be as reliable as possible. Thanks again
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:04 AM   #19
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When I bought mine, most of the web sites just had a listing for the spider gears and then you had to let them know if you has an open diff or limited slip.

I have a 2010. Here's where ii bought mine:

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/d...pider-gear-kit

When I pull up the item, it says its not compatable with my Jeep. These are the ones I bought. Give them a call.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:04 PM
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When I bought mine, most of the web sites just had a listing for the spider gears and then you had to let them know if you has an open diff or limited slip.

I have a 2010. Here's where ii bought mine:

https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/d...pider-gear-kit

When I pull up the item, it says its not compatable with my Jeep. These are the ones I bought. Give them a call.
I tried and had no luck. I was able to get a tru trak assembly from a place in Georgia for around $450. I'm gonna go with that and put this issue to bed. I've heard really good things about the tru trak. Especially for a DD.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:59 PM
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Well, i had the carrier assembly swapped and backlash verified (0.008 to be exact) and still getting whine. I dropped the cover to see what was going on. Got curious and put it up on stands and put it in drive to see what i would hear. Here's what i got:


Ideas? Should i take it back to the shop? I've put roughly 100 miles since the work and nothing has changed. I even changed the oil (right after video).

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