Is there a method for testing the VC in my Jeep's current state? I found this, but since it's missing the DS, can I replicate the process?
"To test if the VC is bad, make sure the center diff is not locked, block the rear wheels, jack up one front tire and put the t-case in N. Try and turn the front tire that is in the air. If the VC is working correctly you should be able to turn the front tire with some resistance. Mine would not turn at all, except for some driveline backlash...... verified that the VC works by testing if the front and rear output flanges were not locked. They turned oppositely, as you would expect with a diff., but had resistance between the two."
No , everything must be hooked up to test .
Lemon ? I don't think you bought a lemon . Yeah , you should have looked a little closer when buying it but that's done . Instead of harping on that , how about we come up with a viable solution to this issue .
IMO , you should look for a junk yard front axle from a late 95 to a 98 V8 with the CV drive shaft . That's you cheap way out . Try to find one with a clean pinion for best odds on a good axle . Turn yoke to test play in spider gears . Guessing $150 or less would buy a decent complete axle at the u-pull .
Rebuild is another . Maybe it's just the side axles missing . Maybe the PO thought the driveshaft removal was not enough
You may get lucky , open it up and find everything there . Toss in a few side axles and find a driveshaft . To find out w/o pulling the cover , rotate the yoke back and forth , you should feel something . If it kinda free wheels , the diff is empty .
I have to assume the side axle stub is attached to the wheel bearing , that's something you wanna look at . Something has to be attached , don't think you'd get too far w/o .
To test the VC : Get jeep to operating temp , on pavement , turn steering wheel all the way to right , back off slightly , try to go around a turn . This should be a smooth process with a good VC . A bad VC will operate like a locked t-case in 4x4 . Wheel hop , chirping etc . A failing VC with slow down dramatically when the wheels are turned fully , moving slow , and take decent force to move through tight turns with chirping from the tires .