Author Topic: Front diff go boom?  (Read 180 times)

Offline rrs1191

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Front diff go boom?
« on: February 15, 2021, 12:50:00 PM »
Folks, I am looking for opinions on what I might have broke.

Symptoms:
In 4WD, with front wheels turned there resistance and what feels like a lack of power.  When wheels are straight the resistance is gone but seems to drive wonky.

History:
When I was pulling into the driveway from work the other day there was ice on the asphalt so I engaged 4WD H because I was slipping. 

I have a side-load garage and when I turned the wheels to cut in I felt the normal resistance that you get from being in 4WD.

Then I heard a loud metal “clang” sound and felt immediately that the resistance had increased.

This is what I have that might be relevant:
2018 JKU Willys with stock D30/44, 37’s on a Metalcloak 3.5” lift with all control arms and steering components.
OEM wheels with 1.75 spacers

I get some rub on the control arms from the 13.5s at almost full lockout but nothing else has clearance issues.

Thoughts?


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2012 Black Rubi with some Mods

Offline unl1mtd

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2021, 01:03:38 PM »
Front axle ujoint
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Offline rrs1191

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2021, 04:41:00 PM »
Got it up on stands and visually inspected the drivetrain components as best I could.  Didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Tested front wheel spin in 4WD and everything looks to be working appropriately.  IE: spin right rear and the rest spin.

Could the front ujoints be failing at the spindle?
2012 Black Rubi with some Mods

Offline unl1mtd

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2021, 06:41:34 PM »
My guess is likely wrong then. From your description of having it on 4wd on dry pavement when turning if something broke I would have suspected the ujoints, but it would be incredibly obvious as they are easy to inspect.
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Offline unl1mtd

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2021, 06:44:16 PM »
Does it drive fine in 2wd?  Any chance it was just normal binding that would happen in 4wd when turning on pavement? And maybe nothing broke? Or is something definitely broken?
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Offline rrs1191

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2021, 07:57:33 AM »
Yeah it seems to drive fine in 2wd.  I haven’t pulled the front diff cover but something definitely doesn’t seem right when it’s in 4WD and I attempt to take tighter turns than previously.


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2012 Black Rubi with some Mods

Offline cwkann

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2021, 08:40:16 AM »
From what you are describing I would have guessed U joints too.  Does it pop as you move?  Or is it just the resistance that you notice?  If something broke it would make noise in my experience.  I have broken U joints, gears and lockers.  I have broken U joints that I really had to look at it before seeing it was broken.  Good luck with it!  My only suggestion would be to figure it out before driving it a lot.  That can make a break worse and break more in the process. 
'03 Rubicon- 4.5" Clayton LA, 37"s, A bunch of skids by TNT, Poison Spyder, EMP, Rock Hard, Warn, Kilby and custom fab work.  CAI, Power chip, Exhaust, 4.88 gears and chromoly axles by Yukon. OBA and Powertank, one ton hi steering, Anti Rocks sway bars, MM 9500lb winch and a bunch of other stuff.

Offline R3

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2021, 08:43:14 AM »
Interesting description.

things  to check:
1) front driveshaft U joints
2) front axle U joints ( at the spindle)
3) Drain the front axle   and check for  metal  in the oil
4) pull the diff cover and inspect the  spider gears and carrier.


Cheers

17 JKURR
2013 Victory XCT hot rod.

Offline rrs1191

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2021, 10:49:32 AM »
Well I’ve been driving it the last few days with the snow/sleet/ice mix we got in 4WD with nothing to report.  Seems fine, though I didn’t take any tight turns so maybe it was just the u-joints binding.  If anything changes I’ll post.  Thanks!


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Offline RFH_98TJ

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2021, 10:51:01 AM »
I'm surprised no one said it:  DO NOT drive on pavement and turn sharp when you are in 4WD.

You may already know this.  In case you, or a new owner does not know, Wranglers are part-time 4WD and should only be engaged when going strait on pavement or used off-road (or snow/ice-covered streets) where the wheels can shuffle and make up for the diffs turning both wheels.  Everything is pretty much locked together even if the diffs are "open".  The resistance you feel is the two front tires are trying to spin at different speeds.  They can't, so one will break free and jump or slip a short distance - over and over.  You're REALLY stressing out the front drive train.  Its an easy way to break a u-joint on an axle or the driveshaft.  You can even break the transfer case.  The pop you heard was probably the wheel hoping/slipping then grabbing again and taking up slack in the spider gears and ring & pinion.
98 TJ 4.0 Sport 5-speed - 4" lift on 35s, 4.56 on D30 with Lock Right and Ford 8.8 LS, Lots of welding

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Offline unl1mtd

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2021, 04:30:02 PM »
I'm surprised no one said it:  DO NOT drive on pavement and turn sharp when you are in 4WD.

You may already know this.  In case you, or a new owner does not know, Wranglers are part-time 4WD and should only be engaged when going strait on pavement or used off-road (or snow/ice-covered streets) where the wheels can shuffle and make up for the diffs turning both wheels.  Everything is pretty much locked together even if the diffs are "open".  The resistance you feel is the two front tires are trying to spin at different speeds.  They can't, so one will break free and jump or slip a short distance - over and over.  You're REALLY stressing out the front drive train.  Its an easy way to break a u-joint on an axle or the driveshaft.  You can even break the transfer case.  The pop you heard was probably the wheel hoping/slipping then grabbing again and taking up slack in the spider gears and ring & pinion.
x2  so obvious to me I didn’t explicitly state it.
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Offline rrs1191

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Re: Front diff go boom?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 09:02:44 AM »
I'm surprised no one said it:  DO NOT drive on pavement and turn sharp when you are in 4WD.

You may already know this.  In case you, or a new owner does not know, Wranglers are part-time 4WD and should only be engaged when going strait on pavement or used off-road (or snow/ice-covered streets) where the wheels can shuffle and make up for the diffs turning both wheels.  Everything is pretty much locked together even if the diffs are "open".  The resistance you feel is the two front tires are trying to spin at different speeds.  They can't, so one will break free and jump or slip a short distance - over and over.  You're REALLY stressing out the front drive train.  Its an easy way to break a u-joint on an axle or the driveshaft.  You can even break the transfer case.  The pop you heard was probably the wheel hoping/slipping then grabbing again and taking up slack in the spider gears and ring & pinion.
So true!  My driveway was iced over but maybe my front wheels found more traction than I was expecting.  Thanks.


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2012 Black Rubi with some Mods

 

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