WARNING: Long post ahead.
So kind of a mixed weekend, with some very disappointing spots and some very awesome spots.
The big disappointment was Saturday morning Dianna and I got up early and got the dogs ready and piled into the YJ to head off for the first wheeling of the season!
But because the YJ has been having vibrations above 55ish, we had to take back-roads, so we left a bit earlier. As we were going along, I realized I was now getting vibrations above 40mph, which I chocked up to being the new front locker spinning the axle.
Then I realized that...wait. I had been driving 60+mph on the highway with that same driveshaft with no vibes, so why was I getting vibes at 40? Maybe the gear change making it spin fast was doing it. Mental note to balance it when I get back.
But then I started hearing the locker clicking in the front at various speeds....while going straight. That's not supposed to happen. ****.
So I pull over to investigate, and it's a damn good thing I did because while I'm under there I notice this:
Sh*tsh*tsh*t. That is diff fluid not dripping, but *pouring* out of the passenger side. Looks like I'm not wheeling today.
So I start doing some reading while waiting for the tow truck and as it turns out, I'm an idiot.
(Side story about the tow truck: My insurance has roadside assistance, and the connected us to the tow place and we told them two adults and two dogs and they said "that's fine", but when the tow truck got there, they told us we couldn't take the dogs. WTF? Not in the tow truck OR the Jeep. WTF? I'm 40 minutes from home! WTF am I supposed to do with them?! And Dianna, who is normally a person who you do NOT want to be on the receiving side of the Italian/Chinese hybrid anger just sort of agreed to start walking and I'd pick her up later. WHAT?! But luckily when we went to take the dogs out of the Jeep, the guy saw the harnesses and seatbelt set-up I've got and these adorable faces:
and he agreed to let them stay buckled down in the Jeep if we assumed all liability. *phew*
Anyhow, the new diff cover has a higher fill plug and I just filled it until it reached the plug, thinking it was a higher volume cover. Evidently you're not supposed to do that and overfilling can blow out axle seals. Even brand new ones in just-rebuild axles.
But wait...(about 10 lbs?
The locker was clicking...does that mean that I burnt up bearings and something's sticking? Shouldn't be if it's still got enough fluid to be pouring out.
So I pulled the front driveshaft (which I've done a few times already this spring), but this time I had to really work to pop it off the t-case side and when I did, both caps popped off the u-joint (and one even stayed stuck in the yoke).
Located both caps and this is what I found:
Doesn't look spectacularly bad, but there's definitely almost no grease left on the one cap. I'm pretty sure it's the original u-joints on that shaft. I'm wondering if that might have been enough to make it bind and therefore make the locker click.
It doesn't look like it burnt it up badly or anything, so I'm not sure if that was, in fact, the issue. In any case, I've got the longer driveshaft from the donor AX-15 (the 6 cyl version is longer), and I'm now in the process of rebuilding it, probably using the axle-side yoke from my original. I'll have more pictures and progress of that later.
I didn't end up doing anything to it this weekend because I just needed to walk away for a bit and I wanted to actually spend some time with my wife instead of just being under the Jeep for (another) whole weekend.
I did, however, get a chance to drop the cover just to make sure that it was just the shaft and the diff and gears were ok.
Fluid looked good, everything moved smoothly and properly, so it looks like just a $10 mistake for the seal and 2 new u-joints for the front driveshaft that I was planning on rebuilding anyhow. There are worse things.
But at least it was not a completely lost weekend in terms of Jeeping. I got to "supervise" my brother-in-law as he did some work on his TJ's exhaust and then.....the JK got to use it's winch for real work for the first time!
The brother-in-law had a tree that he wanted to get rid of, so we hooked it up to the winch and out it came!
And because it's a conglomerate sort of tree, the rootball needed to be chopped into more manageable pieces, so I get to let out my aggression and frustration of the morning with an ax and a spade, which helped a *lot*. (The large amounts of drinking on Saturday night helped as well, ha ha
And to finish off the weekend, Dianna and I got to attend the stellar Master's saxophone recital of one of our very own, SaxManClay. Just some really neat pieces and incredible breath and dissonance control!
And lastly, unfortunately the weekend did end on a "suck". Remember when I crawled under the Jeep by the side of the road to remove the front driveshaft?
....turns out it broke down on top of a patch of poison ivy. Awesome.
Whatever, overall I still had a good weekend. A day of hard labor and hanging out with my awesome in-laws and adorable niece can make up for a lot.