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Old 07-09-2012, 10:31 AM
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Differential or axle bearings problems?

I took my 2007 WK 5.7 wheeling the first time up Cherokee trail/Poudre Canyon/NE Colorado last week. It did awesome, but I did stop a couple times to let it cool down. The fans were kicking on hard like I was running my AC but I wasn't. I also saw a "transmission over temp" warning come across my dash. So I took a break and had lunch.

I drove my jeep back home 60 miles and left it on the driveway. When I cleaned out all my gear and moved it into the garage I noticed oil on the driveway. Looking underneath I saw that my rear differential cover had oil along the bottom and a nice ding where I must have hit a rock. Checking the level with the drain plug out, it was low...but only about 1/2" below.

I needed to run to get some differential oil, so I took the jeep with the windows down and could hear a low, intermittent rubbing/vibration/humming sound. I thought it was a loose plastic fender liner rubbing, but everything was clear. I took the cover off and found that the bolt was loose near where the damage to my cover was and the silicone gasket also had some damage. I plan to scrape clean the old gasket, pound out the dent on the diff cover, reapply a new silicone gasket refill with new diff oil...which was due anyway.

Is the intermittent rubbing/vibration/humming noise normal when low on diff oil or if that oil got too hot? There was no metal shavings or anything damaged observable with the cover off. I asked a mechanic friend of mine and he said maybe the noises are my axle bearings and that they may need a once over since that trail was pretty difficult and worked the jeep pretty hard.

Any advice guys? Thanks very much in advance!
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:18 PM
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Re: Differential or axle bearings problems?

Clean everything inside of it and replace the fluid. Don't forget to add the additive for the ELSD. You have to buy that at the dealership.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:04 PM
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Re: Differential or axle bearings problems?

Wheel bearings can make the type of noise that you describe (as can a lot of other things).

Did you notice any change in the noise when turning? Usually, worn wheel bearings will make a load dependent noise so when turning the noise gets better/worse depending on which side the worn bearing is on.

As mentioned above, I would refill the diff with fresh fluid and see what happens before spending a lot of time trying to trouble shoot things.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:16 AM
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Re: Differential or axle bearings problems?

So...guys after much anguish...I finally found out what that noise was. It was something so simple. Just before heading out on my first wheeling trip, I had installed some 4X guard rear rock sliders. When I heard the noise after the trip, I associated it with some damage as a result of the tough trails. It turns out that my muffle was vibrating on the slider and making the noise. It took my brother being outside the car, when the intermittent noise kicked in to diagnose it. Whew! Thanks for the advice gents.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:18 AM
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Re: Differential or axle bearings problems?

Glad to hear it was a nice simple fix!
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