Originally Posted by TheNewbie
So does the front axle disengage on the WJ when it's in 2WD like it did on my YJ or is the front driveshaft always spinning?
NO! WJs do not disconnect an axle so the axles will be spinning the ring and pinion, and driveline, the spiders will turn as you make turns. It is ultimately up to you but at the least I would pull the cover and look inside for myself then refill the lube before I would hit the highway for a 60 mi drive with it.
If you see any broken gears I would rent a tow dolly and load the front end. Why?....I once owned a IH scout LOL, the rear diff broke regularly. I usually cleaning out the loose broken teeth in the diff then removed the driveline. The results were mixed and totally unpredictable. Sometimes it just made some snapping and popping once and a while. Other times the broken tooth or teeth would time just right and lock the diff up solid. I just did this to get off the trail and back to a road where I could trailer it home.
The other thing to consider is.... If he just noticed some backlash in the gears and did not actually SEE broken gears it could be just a bad pinion bearings or a carrier bearing. In that case driving it could do unnecessary damage to the ring and pinion.