Metal shavings in differential fluid (pics) -
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-08-2013, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Durham
Posts: 5
Metal shavings in differential fluid (pics)

Hello. I bought my first Jeep about 3 weeks ago! I have been reading the forum a lot and doing some basic maintenance since I am almost at 170,000 miles on my 2000 Cherokee Sport 4x4 automatic. SO far.... mustang fuel injectors, spark plugs, tires balanced, alternator, serpentine belt, water pump, thermostat, throttle body and sensors cleaned, air filter, engine oil and filter, sea foam through the gas tank(worried about messing up the o2 sensors so waiting until I have some more $$ to try it through the intake manifold), and I wrapped my stock intake with insulated aluminum tape to hopefully lower intake temps a bit.

Today I was changing some of my fluids. I did my transmission fluid(1 of 3 then doing the filter with the third change), transfer case fluid, and both differentials. I also replaces the breather hose on the front diff as it had been cut/torn by the front driveshaft.

So I combined fluid from both the front and rear differential into one bucket.... probably not a great idea because now I don't know if the metal shavings came from one or both differentials. I have searched and read that some shavings are normal but as this is the first time I have taken apart a diff, I am not sure if what I have is above normal or not. I am going to (try) to attach pics of both the front and rear diff with the covers off, and the metal shavings. BTW, in the pics, the front diff had already been sprayed with brake cleaner but not the rear. And I did clean up all the contact surfaces with a razor before applying red RTV.

What do you think? Should I be concerned? How do the internals look?


Also, I had the whole day so I decided to use some brake cleaner and a wire brush to clean up the covers and layed down a few coats of primer, and a few coats of truck liner on them. What do you think? Only about $10 at walmart and I still have over half of each can left. Thinking of trying it on the plastic trim pieces on the middle of the doors since mine are sun faded and look bad.... not sure if it will stick though....

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post #2 of 3 Old 08-08-2013, 05:55 PM
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1992 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Rosamond, CA
Posts: 652
Very fine, metallic "dust" in the differential oil is normal; they do that. Chips or slivers of steel are not good. Another good reason to change out the gear oil every 50,000 miles or so.

You do not need to flush the diff with brake cleaner. After all, you don't flush the engine or transfer case when you change those oils, do you? Why flush a diff? Besides, those spray cleaners are not kind to the rubber axle seals just outboard of the carrier bearings on your front diff. Just change the gear oil every 50K or so. More often if you wheel hard or go thru deep water.

Next time, use the black RTV; it's slightly more resistant to oil than the red RTV. The red RTV is good, but it's more resistant to higher temps than the black. That's why it should be used on the engine. I admit, it's a small difference, but the tubes cost the same so you might as well use the correct stuff.

"and I wrapped my stock intake with insulated aluminum tape to hopefully lower intake temps a bit."
This will have the same effect as sprinkling magic pixie dust over the engine.

The road goes on forever, the party never ends....
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-08-2013, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Durham
Posts: 5
Thanks for the info. I flushed the diffs w brake cleaner because I'm not sure that they had ever been serviced and there was some gunk built up on some surfaces. I am not planning on doing this again, one time thing. This Jeep has nearly 170,000 miles and the previous owner apparently did the bare minimum to it. I just purchased it so I'm trying to get through all the maintenance that it has probably never had done. And honestly, if I could easily get into the engine and squirt some brake cleaner through oil passages and clear out some built up grime, I would. Not often, but after 170,000 of probable scarce oil changes I would.

And the wrap around the intake... Yeah probably not doing much haha. My last car was a G8 GT under warranty w low miles so I didn't get to wrench on it much. Honestly I just miss working on a car and I have the summer off(teacher) so why not try stuff out? Saw a thread about the intake wrap and if I remember correctly the guy said he measured the intake temp on two diff jeeps after wrapping the intake box and tube, and noticed a decent decrease in intake temp? For about $10 I figured it was worth a try.

Glad to hear my metal shavings are normal! Leaves more $$$$ for the fun stuff after I get through all the maintenance! Suspension is next!
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