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Old 02-09-2020, 05:51 PM
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Differential pressure after gear change?

I have a 2018 Recon that I had the gears swapped to 4.88s. After the gear change, any time I'm on the highway for any amount of time, it pumps diff fluid out of the breather. I don't drive much highway. I talked to the reputable shop that did the installation, and they said they must've overfilled it. I checked the level, and yep, right where it should be. Now, I've been having diff fluid puddling from the passenger side axle tube dripping off the lower C. I took it back to the shop after checking the level to what I call a bit of a low level. They took it back to have a look and brought my Jeep back 2 minutes later and said the level was perfect, they must've overfilled it. Well now a week later I have another puddle of fluid on my garage floor.
Please give me an idea why my front diff would seemingly "to me" build enough pressure to be blowing so much fluid out like that. Thanks for any ideas...

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Old 02-09-2020, 06:02 PM   #2
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If it's coming from the C then that's the inner seal. Not uncommon for those to get damaged when sliding the shaft in/out. Seals are cheap, but you have to pull axle shafts and everything in the diff to get to it. I'd try to get the shop to do it since they likely damaged it doing the gears.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:08 PM   #3
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If it's coming from the C then that's the inner seal. Not uncommon for those to get damaged when sliding the shaft in/out. Seals are cheap, but you have to pull axles and everything in the diff to get to it. I'd try to get the shop to do it since they likely damaged it doing the gears.
he said it was coming out the breather, altho seal would make more sense. Seems odd that if the level is correct to be blowing out the breather.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:39 PM   #4
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Out the breather or out the C is a big difference.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:05 PM
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Out the breather or out the C is a big difference.
It's actually done both. At first, it was blowing out of the breather from highway driving, and more recently it's been dripping off the C. I know the seals can be damaged if you hit them when sliding the shafts back in, but is there any chance of pressure buildup in the differential to the point of blowing seals out? It sounds ridiculous I know, but this whole fluid loss from 2 different places doesn't make sense to me.
Also, I only drive highway now approximately 3 miles a day, 4 days a week, and the new gears have been in for a year and 6k miles.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:06 PM   #6
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yes it is possible that if the breather is plugged it will blow out the seals
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:49 PM   #7
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Take the breather tube off and make sure it's clean inside along with the steel tube it connects to. It's possible it built up pressure enough to force oil past the seals, they may or may not be damaged. It probably looks like more oil leaking than it really is. A cup of oil is a big round stain. You might have to pull the cover to verify the vent is clear. If the oil stops going out the vent but still goes out the C's, you got a problem.
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:32 AM   #8
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A differential will build up more pressure with lower gears at high highway speeds. Been there/done that.

That said, if your leak is coming out of the axle tube, they did more than likely nick the seal reinstalling your axle.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:35 PM
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You might have to pull the cover to verify the vent is clear. If the oil stops going out the vent but still goes out the C's, you got a problem.
That's exactly what I was thinking! Curiously, can they examine most of the seal if they pull the cover off, or do they have to pull the shaft?
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:38 PM
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A differential will build up more pressure with lower gears at high highway speeds. Been there/done that.

That said, if your leak is coming out of the axle tube, they did more than likely nick the seal reinstalling your axle.
That's what I've been wondering.

I'm hoping you're wrong, but thinking you're right......
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:38 PM   #11
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That's exactly what I was thinking! Curiously, can they examine most of the seal if they pull the cover off, or do they have to pull the shaft?
you need to pull the gears and carrier
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:05 PM   #12
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The front axle seals are a real pain. Both axles and all it take to get them out plus the carrier. Just to see one of the seals. Not sure why the oil PSI would be up, the ring gear is doing the same RPM's at 70, its only the pinion that has an increase in RPM's.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:41 PM
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you need to pull the gears and carrier
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Originally Posted by YnotAJeep View Post
The front axle seals are a real pain. Both axles and all it take to get them out plus the carrier. Just to see one of the seals. Not sure why the oil PSI would be up, the ring gear is doing the same RPM's at 70, its only the pinion that has an increase in RPM's.
Damn! Nobody wants to do that kind of warranty work!!

This is a very reputable shop that everyone on the forum knows (I will not mention their name). If I've had my Jeep in twice for this, the first time only coming from the breather tube, and most recently only coming from the axle tube - wouldn't you think they'd have done a little more than just checking the fluid level and saying it's all good? And, I still think it's a bit low. My thinking on fluid level is it should be filled level with the "filler hole?" on the front of the cover. Now I have to shove my pinky (because it barely fits) in the hole with the pinky turned down to get any fluid on my finger. I'm not thinking that's dangerously low, but not ideal either when you're still losing fluid?
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:27 PM   #14
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If it's a reputable shop that everybody knows, they will want to make it right if there is a problem. IMO, the fill level on the front diff is not as critical as the rear because the oil does not have to lube the wheel bearings at the end of the tube. As soon as the ring gear spins it throws oil on the pinion and pinion bearing. But the shop should know what the oil level needs to be. If the seal is bad the oil will continue to leak out the end of the tube. If they replaced the seals then it's on them. If not then, well, work it out. This is just one of the issues with a re gear.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:45 PM
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Thanks, and I agree, we'll work it out one way or another. Thanks for your insight!!
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude'sJK View Post
I have a 2018 Recon that I had the gears swapped to 4.88s. After the gear change, any time I'm on the highway for any amount of time, it pumps diff fluid out of the breather. I don't drive much highway. I talked to the reputable shop that did the installation, and they said they must've overfilled it. I checked the level, and yep, right where it should be. Now, I've been having diff fluid puddling from the passenger side axle tube dripping off the lower C. I took it back to the shop after checking the level to what I call a bit of a low level. They took it back to have a look and brought my Jeep back 2 minutes later and said the level was perfect, they must've overfilled it. Well now a week later I have another puddle of fluid on my garage floor.
Please give me an idea why my front diff would seemingly "to me" build enough pressure to be blowing so much fluid out like that. Thanks for any ideas...
Hi Dude'sJK,
Can you please clarify whether you are working with a certified Jeep dealer on this concern?

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Old 02-12-2020, 11:55 PM
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It is not a Jeep dealership. It's all aftermarket.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:58 PM   #18
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Do you have an aftermarket diff cover on? And if so, how are you measuring fluid level?
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:54 PM
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Do you have an aftermarket diff cover on? And if so, how are you measuring fluid level?
It's the factory Recon cover, it's cast iron I believe.

Pull the filler hole plug, fluid should be level with, or nearly level with the hole.
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Old 02-14-2020, 08:36 AM   #20
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It's the factory Recon cover, it's cast iron I believe.

Pull the filler hole plug, fluid should be level with, or nearly level with the hole.
Is it possible they swapped the rear cover for the front cover when they did the gears? I know the rear takes more oil, and I'm unsure since I don't have a recon and if they have two fill holes or they are axle specific. Maybe you are overfilled in the front, then of course you are under filled in the rear. The front cover should have the fill plug lower than the rear cover plug. If it's the other way around that is probably your issue.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:36 AM
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Is it possible they swapped the rear cover for the front cover when they did the gears? I know the rear takes more oil, and I'm unsure since I don't have a recon and if they have two fill holes or they are axle specific. Maybe you are overfilled in the front, then of course you are under filled in the rear. The front cover should have the fill plug lower than the rear cover plug. If it's the other way around that is probably your issue.
I would think it's unlikely that would happen if they are actually different, but something I'll look at next time I get a chance.
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Old 02-15-2020, 12:40 AM
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Just to update; I talked to the shop manager and dropped my Jeep at the shop. It will spend the week there and get new seals and inspected to make sure it is venting properly.

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