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so i bought the jeep 6 months ago and i been doing some work to it. took it in the shop for a tune up before i stared to drive it daily for only to be told that my front differential is cracked. the shop owner quoted me 1600 for a used one with 6 months guarantee. i dont have the 1600. what options do i have to get this fixed. my wrangler is a 99tj 4cylinder with 410gears. can i use another trucks differential or maybe weld it? thanks guys
 

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what exactly is cracked? As for a replacement.. it just bolts in. go to car-parts.com to find used axles in your area. You an also get one from a 4cly xj 94 to 2001, most of those will be a HP30 version which means you may need to mod your front drive shaft.
 

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Jeep Wrangler 4X4 Axles Dana 30 - 35

craigslist also works well.. for the time being you could swap in just the front then save up for a gear change to match what you have at some point.. note with different gears you can't use 4wd... gear change is about 500 bucks per axle...
 

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If it is the center differential casting that is cracked, you probably cannot weld it and have the repair last, as it is cast iron. Generally only the "plug welds" that hold the axle tubes on are durable, welded cracks just keep on cracking.

Look for a replacement axle on Craigslist. The two that will directly bolt on are a front D30 from another '97-'06 TJ SE 4-cylinder with stock 4.10 gears, or a stock D44 from a '03-'06 Rubicon TJ or LJ with stock 4.11 gears. Just the axle should be less than $1000 with a limited (30 or 90-day) guarantee from a junkyard, or whatever price is quoted in Craigslist with no warranty (up to you to inspect). The Rubicon axle would be best, but you will need a Rubicon air pump and custom wiring to use the locker. You would also need a "conversion U-joint" on the front driveshaft to convert from the SE model to the (one size larger) Rubicon U-joint, but regular auto stores sell those.

FYI I think the $1600 is a little high but not the worst I have heard. You COULD just not use the 4WD until you can afford the axle swap or find a new axle, but make sure you can keep the front diff full of lube.
 
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