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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I have a question regarding my 2004 Rubicon rear Dana 44. I was returning home from a great week of wheeling at EJS, and about 170 miles from home my rear ring and pinion started to make a minor noise when I'd decelerate. I couldn't tell where if was coming from at the time, and since I had an earlier issue with my front brakes, I continued home. About 70 miles from home, we hit traffic and the noise was followed up by vibrations and the rear end "dragging" as I slowed down. When we'd come to a complete stop, it seemed to be holding, almost like the parking brake was slightly on. I pulled over and saw that diff fluid was coming from the pinion seal, so I called a tow truck and had it towed home, and haven't had a free moment to check it out. I'd concluded that I'd run all the fluid out of it, and I'd look it over. This morning, I decided to add fluid in and see if that improved the rear end, but when I opened the drain plug, fluid poured out, so now I'm concerned. Before I tear it all down, anyone have any experience/idea as to what's happening? Any tips to offer?
 

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Welcome to the Forum, from Cave Creek AZ.
Just pull the cover, and that should answer your question.
 

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Sounds like either the pinion bearing or one of the carrier bearings has gone bad.
 

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that would make a ton of sense. I assume that if I pull the carrier it'll be fairly clear.
Pulling the carrier will let you check the carrier bearings but not the pinion bearings. Replacing the carrier bearings would require the carrier backlash be set again. Replacing the pinion bearings will require your gears be set back up from scratch again. The bearings cannot just be replaced without doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pulling the carrier will let you check the carrier bearings but not the pinion bearings. Replacing the carrier bearings would require the carrier backlash be set again. Replacing the pinion bearings will require your gears be set back up from scratch again. The bearings cannot just be replaced without doing that.
Thanks, and yes, totally agree- but with the carrier out, I should be able to spin the pinion and see if it's binding- but I guess it doesn't really matter since if one is out, all will likely need replacement. Since I don't have the skill or tools for setting up gears or preload, I'll need to take it to a shop. Thanks for everyone's insights. I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, and yes, totally agree- but with the carrier out, I should be able to spin the pinion and see if it's binding- but I guess it doesn't really matter since if one is out, all will likely need replacement. Since I don't have the skill or tools for setting up gears or preload, I'll need to take it to a shop. Thanks for everyone's insights. I appreciate it.
Thanks again for everyone’s insight. I was able to crawl under the truck and the pinion nut was almost falling off. The pinion itself moved about a good 1/8 inch either direction and it moved up and back a lot, which I believe it’s not supposed to do. I’m going to take it to my mechanic and have them redo the gears and bearings. Thank you to everyone for their advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Were you experiencing in vibrations or noises prior to this issue??
Yes, but it was subtitle at first. I was returning from Moab to Southern California, and when I hit traffic in Las Vegas, there was a vibration and faint hum when decelerating. I'm guessing that the nut was just starting to come lose at that point or sometime prior. By the time I got to San Bernardino (150 ish miles later) is was very pronounced and dragging to the point that when I stopped, the truck acted like I had the parking break on.

Hope that helps.
 

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You will need to replace Pinion Shaft bearings and seals. This will require basically rebuilding the differential because all the tolerances and torques will need to be reset.
 
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