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Unread 08-30-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
Jimh64
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Swapping out D35 Axle

Well, I finally got plates, so I took my Jeep for a run and sure enough, replacing the wheel bearings did not fix the howling noise. It sounds like it is definitely coming from the differential. My son said he can just turn the radio up real loud,,lol! but it is driving me nuts because everything else seems to be ok.

I had a feeling this would happen, because I have a pretty good leak coming from the pinion seal. I think it is probably that bearing.

How difficult is it to remove the whole axle? It is a D35C with a 3.73 Ratio. Mine is a 95, do I have to stay with 94 or 95 or can I get a newer year with fewer miles?

I don't want to go through the time to switch out the axles and then find the donor one has the same issues.

Any help or suggestions will be appreciated!

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Unread 08-30-2012, 06:08 PM   #2
iser
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easy easy easy. i changed my engine oil for the first time 2 months ago; never changed tires nor opened the hood before that in my life (i was a complete car-noob). about 2 weeks after that, i destroyed my differential. i had less than two weeks of automobile knowledge before i swapped everything by myself. it is pretty self intuitive. just take off whatever is connecting the axle to the frame, and voila, it's off. that simple.

basically, you are just gonna detach the control arms, sway bar links, brake lines, coils and shocks. very simple. and swapping an axle was a great learning experience for me to prep myself to lift the jeep. swapping an axle is obviously a lot easier than lifting it.
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Unread 08-30-2012, 06:11 PM   #3
neonhomer
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With the right tools and support, the rear axle is fairly easy to remove as a unit. Control arms, track bar, brake lines, ABS sensors (if applicable), etc etc. Took me and a friend about a hour to pull the D35 out of his 94 ZJ.

You don't have to stick with a 95 axle... you can use up to a 98 (I think). You have to stay in the ZJ category... A WJ axle won't work.

The above mentioned friend's D35 crapped out on him. He took my old D44a and swapped that into his ZJ. (My axle was a 96 w/ disc brakes, his was a 94 D35 w/ drum brakes.) (My 44a had the center pin fall out and mess up the carrier a bit. I put a new pin w/ a new set bolt in, but I ended up snapping the damn bolt off. So when I went to put a locker in, I was screwed... so I bought another axle...)

With junkyard axles, you take a chance the donor axle can be junk. Pull the cover, and see what it looks like inside. If there is a bunch of debris... move on. It's okay if the fluid is dirty, but it shouldn't be burnt smelling. Check for play in the pinion bearings, and for slop in the gears.

Depending on how long the axle sat, you might need to change the pinion seal, and possibly the wheel seals (axleshaft seals).

For everyday use, the D44a is an okay axle. Mine has survived 31" mud terrain tires. My old axle has survived my friend's ZJ w/ a V8, 35's, and a heavy right foot.
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Unread 08-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #4
Jimh64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iser View Post
easy easy easy. i changed my engine oil for the first time 2 months ago; never changed tires nor opened the hood before that in my life (i was a complete car-noob). about 2 weeks after that, i destroyed my differential. i had less than two weeks of automobile knowledge before i swapped everything by myself. it is pretty self intuitive. just take off whatever is connecting the axle to the frame, and voila, it's off. that simple.

basically, you are just gonna detach the control arms, sway bar links, brake lines, coils and shocks. very simple. and swapping an axle was a great learning experience for me to prep myself to lift the jeep. swapping an axle is obviously a lot easier than lifting it.
Where did you get your new axle, was it a used one?
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Unread 08-30-2012, 06:44 PM   #5
iser
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junkyard. actually, i didn't even get a zj axle. i'm using an 85 xj axle right now.

and when you go to pull it, try to get a sawzall/angle grinder in there with you. those bolts have not been touched in 15 years. it is incredible hard to unbolt some of them. it is just easier to chop off the control arms and swaybar links.

oh, and i would not have been able to get it done without this: bolt remover. get a nice breaker bar and those sockets along with a lot of pb blaster. a regular normal set of tools should be all you need. the only thing i can think of that you may need is a t45 (i think it's 45) torx bit to remove the sway bar links. also, pretty much all of the 8mm bolts for the driveshaft were stripped on mine. just chopped off all the bolts.
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[B]Upcoming Projects[/B]- Front Axle Swap. On the look out for HP30.
_______________________________________________

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Unread 08-30-2012, 08:28 PM   #6
Jimh64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iser
junkyard. actually, i didn't even get a zj axle. i'm using an 85 xj axle right now.

and when you go to pull it, try to get a sawzall/angle grinder in there with you. those bolts have not been touched in 15 years. it is incredible hard to unbolt some of them. it is just easier to chop off the control arms and swaybar links.

oh, and i would not have been able to get it done without this: bolt remover. get a nice breaker bar and those sockets along with a lot of pb blaster. a regular normal set of tools should be all you need. the only thing i can think of that you may need is a t45 (i think it's 45) torx bit to remove the sway bar links. also, pretty much all of the 8mm bolts for the driveshaft were stripped on mine. just chopped off all the bolts.
Thanks for the advice, I was wondering about those bolts. I don't have any cordless tools to handle those bolts, so I guess I'll have to resort to PBS blaster and a breaker bar with a long pipe. I can get one all ready pulled for about $350. I might have to go that route.
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Unread 08-30-2012, 09:05 PM   #7
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Find a 96+ v8 Zj and get the 44a from it they are great and bolt right in with out custom work.
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Unread 08-31-2012, 04:48 AM   #8
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I did mine with regular tools.
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/c...build-1344601/
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Unread 08-31-2012, 08:27 AM   #9
Jimh64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggoofy
Find a 96+ v8 Zj and get the 44a from it they are great and bolt right in with out custom work.
I know there should be a tag on the differential, but will it also tell me the ratio? I need to make sure it matches mine from what I hear.
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Unread 08-31-2012, 09:06 AM   #10
biggoofy
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All of them are 3.73
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Unread 08-31-2012, 07:56 PM   #11
gothchick
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Pretty sure you can replace the pinion shaft bearing and seal without taking the diff apart or the whole axle out...
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Unread 08-31-2012, 08:41 PM   #12
iser
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gothchick View Post
Pretty sure you can replace the pinion shaft bearing and seal without taking the diff apart or the whole axle out...
i think instead of messing around trying to figure out what is exactly wrong and trying to rebuild the diff, it is 1000 times easier just to swap the axle for $300 or less.
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[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/isers-build-thread-1401938/"][B]MY BUILD THREAD LINK[/B] - [I]Updated on THU 23MAY2013[/I][/URL]

[B]Specs[/B]- 97 ZJ 5.2L - 4" Zone Lift - 285/75R16 Cooper STT
[B]Upcoming Projects[/B]- Front Axle Swap. On the look out for HP30.
_______________________________________________

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Unread 08-31-2012, 11:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iser View Post
i think instead of messing around trying to figure out what is exactly wrong and trying to rebuild the diff, it is 1000 times easier just to swap the axle for $300 or less.

if you have the right tools its less than 100$ to put new bearings in a diff.
and its just as quick as swapping in an unknown diff that might have the same issue.
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Unread 09-01-2012, 06:33 PM   #14
Jimh64
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What special tools would I need and are there any step by step instructions anywhere?
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Unread 09-01-2012, 06:35 PM   #15
Jimh64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iser

i think instead of messing around trying to figure out what is exactly wrong and trying to rebuild the diff, it is 1000 times easier just to swap the axle for $300 or less.
I agree, putting new gears in is something that I am not familiar with at all. I'm just worried I could spend $300 and get another bad axle.
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