OK this chain of events is kind of long, bear with me...
1. 1999 Grand Cherokee WJ I6 Selec-Trac. 6 weeks ago noticed CV boot split, cleaned joints and changed both boots. Noticed bad wheel bearing while doing CV job. Nonetheless, finished CV job and put vehicle back together and ordered new hub/bearing.
2. While waiting for bearing to arrive noticed gear oil leak from passenger side axle. Apparently messed up seal while removing or installing axles. Now, I have two jobs, wheel bearing and axle seals.
3. Received bearings and seals and proceeded to perform installation. Things went quite smooth.
4. Gear oil leak had stopped but immediately started noticing click/pop during tight turning especially slow speed - seemed like classic CV joint symptoms.
5. Purchased rebuilt CV joints and performed installation. Also pulled differential carrier just to see if I had possibly messed someting up in the gearcase. Performed service, noise still there.
6. Decided to take vehicle to alignment shop for alignment and front end inspection (even though I'd already gone over it with a fine tooth comb). Shop noticed occasional click but couldn't locate source - told me not to worry.
7. Just got back from 1500 mile road trip, no problems on the road but click still there.
8. Deciced to take closer look today. I had my son turn wheels while I inspected underneath. Now, the vehicle will only make the noise under certain conditions. One of these is after straghtening wheels after sharp left turn. So, I would take a left into my driveway, crawl underneath and have my son straghten the wheels until it clicked. Though I may be wrong, it seemed like the noise was coming from within the gearcase. So, did I do something wrong when changing the axle seals. I'd never ventured this deep into an axle before, so maybe I missed some critical "trick". Anyway, here's how I changed the seals:
1. Drained axle fluid.
2. Removed wheels, calipers, caliper brackets/anchors, hub/bearings
3. Pulled CV axle assemblies.
4. Removed bearing cap screws.
5. Removed bearding caps making sure to keep the left with left and right with right.
6. Gently pried out differential assembly. Kept bearing races with respective sides.
7. Installed Seals with large socket and long pipe.
8. Gently tapped differential carrier back into gear housing.
9. Torqued bearing caps to 45 ft/lbs.
10. Performed reverse of 1 -3 to complete job.
Now, my main question is did I miss some critical step when reinstalling the differential? I assumed that all lash between gears would be unaffected since no hard parts were being replaced - as long as I put things back together the same way they came apart I'd be OK - right? So, typical shimming procedures were omitted and the front axle is very quiet now so I assume the play beween gears is correct. Or is there something else I'm missing. I've gone over much of the front end with a fine tooth comb and this thing is still kicking my behind. Any advice, suggestions or support during this difficult time would be greatly appreciated.