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Unread 09-10-2013, 08:01 PM   #16
bgohsman
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Well, this thread has devolved into poopy. Let's see if we can't get it back on track...

A couple of corrections: First, my axle is not out of my Jeep. You are looking at the only replacement I found. Mine is actually rotted much worse and has a bad diff.

Here, in Grand Rapids, MI, my local salvage yard did not have a single 99 - 04 Jeep on it's lot (although they had a bunch of Rubicons). Nor did it have a front, Dana 30 axle at any price. So I bought one from a member of this forum who had one lying around from a parts Jeep about a half hour North of me.

Also, the subject of this thread is about "repairing" a particular problem and possible ways to do so, not replacing parts. The point was made that it would be less work to simply get an axle that didn't have this issue [yet]. And I agree, it would be less work if non-rusted options were readily available here. In fact, I began by going to salvage yards and came up scratch. Having already tried that route, I'm at plan B. So while I appreciate the input, I'd either have to drive somewhere else (this is the second largest city in the state) or have one shipped. This leads us full circle back to the original subject of the thread. It's a 10+ year old part with a design flaw. We just don't have many left here.

The sad truth is that the factory design of the coil spring insulator on that perch holds salt, moisture and sand between vibrating parts. And, where I live, this problem is the rule rather than the exception. And a quick Google search reveals how wide spread the problem was. In essence, I'm kind of screwed. If I lived in Arizona, it would be a different story.

Now, my axle assembly is not yet out of my Jeep. But it has the exact same rot, only worse. And it will be easier to weld an assembly on a bench.

Another question was posed as to why someone would choose to "cobble" something rather than buy a good replacement. I think I've answered the second half of that question. But I have zero desire to "cobble" anything. However, I do wish to "fabricate" a solution that is stronger and longer lasting than the factory design. One that will drain and outlive my 200,000 mile WJ.

So, I have two axle assemblies, both with rotted spring perches and one with a bad differential and no other readily available options. If a $100, non-rotted axle assembly existed near me...I'd already have it. If a $300 option was available, I'd have it.

So, with that...back to repair options (not including a trip to the dealership).

Here is a fairly popular solution I came across for anyone interested:

http://www.outlawedoffroad.com/showt...g-perch-repair

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Unread 09-11-2013, 05:43 AM   #17
skain8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickblack View Post
That's your opinion and your entitled to it. It is asinine that you would prefer an aftermarket welded on perch, especially when the axle is out of the truck already and they are so readily available for cheap. What does your 44/9" have anything to do with this post? You the big man on campus? Throwing your weight around about your $2500 truck? Who gives a s--t?
The point is that you have a very amateurish view of the solution to the problem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with welding on a new spring perch. Reference to my axles, and the welded bracketry on both, was to provide a real world example of how silly your "advice" was.

Keep up the good work.
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Unread 09-11-2013, 06:02 AM   #18
nickblack
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Didn't mean to offend you OP. obviously if that is your only choice that's what you need to do. My point was that here, in Central NJ, the WJ was the "soccer mom" truck of its day and there are tons of them in the bone yards here. I had a choice of many for cheap. Before you install the new to you axle, I would also recommend changing the pinion and carrier bearings along with the pinion Seal. The D30 was also prone to pinion bearing failure which caused a howling on coasting due to its loosing its preload. Use the flanged pinion nut instead of a washer and nut that it came with. This was addressed in a TSB and did make a difference.
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Unread 09-11-2013, 06:27 AM   #19
99WJ539918
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickblack View Post
Didn't mean to offend you OP. obviously if that is your only choice that's what you need to do. My point was that here, in Central NJ, the WJ was the "soccer mom" truck of its day and there are tons of them in the bone yards here. I had a choice of many for cheap. Before you install the new to you axle, I would also recommend changing the pinion and carrier bearings along with the pinion Seal. The D30 was also prone to pinion bearing failure which caused a howling on coasting due to its loosing its preload. Use the flanged pinion nut instead of a washer and nut that it came with. This was addressed in a TSB and did make a difference.

If you say you can find diffs cheap let me know about a Dana 30/44a with 3.73's and VariLok.

OP, good find on the perch fix. Good luck on the fix. I'm dreading to take my isolators off and seeing what you see.
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Unread 09-11-2013, 06:58 AM   #20
bgohsman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickblack View Post
Didn't mean to offend you OP. obviously if that is your only choice that's what you need to do. My point was that here, in Central NJ, the WJ was the "soccer mom" truck of its day and there are tons of them in the bone yards here. I had a choice of many for cheap. Before you install the new to you axle, I would also recommend changing the pinion and carrier bearings along with the pinion Seal. The D30 was also prone to pinion bearing failure which caused a howling on coasting due to its loosing its preload. Use the flanged pinion nut instead of a washer and nut that it came with. This was addressed in a TSB and did make a difference.
I kind of envy you for that. Here, at least the people I know, tend to hang on to their old Jeeps as parts after they give up the ghost or get into an accident. I'd still expect NJ to have some potentially brutal Winters. But I don't think any state is as liberal about throwing salt and sand on the road as Michigan. And we don't have any laws here requiring you to maintain your vehicle or pass emissions. So many people just let them devolve into rust buckets. You're more likely to find a WJ under a tarp in a back yard here than in a bone yard. I do see a TON of them on the road. And perhaps that's the problem...most of them are still on the road, even the rusty ones. Because we need them to get anywhere in the Winter. lol

I went so far as to look on Craigslist and then, out of futility, eBay. I was willing to drive as much as an hour or two. I didn't find anything in my area on Craigslist. I found quite a bit on eBay. Unfortunately, people tended to want upwards of $500 and then about $250 for shipping of the heavy thing. I also noticed that no one took off the insulators for their photos. So I couldn't see what was under there. lol

At any rate, I kind of enjoy working on my WJ. And this is one more experience I haven't had yet. So I'm trying to approach it as a positive learning opportunity instead of my knee-jerk g*&-f$%&ing d*&#it! At this rate, I should have a mechanically new Jeep within a couple of years as I'm running out of things to replace. lol

So, since I have an axle assembly lying on a bench, I'm going to replace the bushings, axle and pinion seals and ball joints. It's a lot of work that, frankly, I don't really have time for. So it's taking weeks instead of days. But I shouldn't have to think about that assembly again for a good long time. Then, when I take my current assembly out, I'll try my hand at rebuilding a differential. At that point, I won't have as much to lose if I get it wrong and I'll have a spare if I get it right.

I wish I had time to take night classes and actually get certified as a mechanic. Not that I'd do that for a living (I build web sites and iPad apps). But I wish I had more professional knowledge. Right now, I am reliant on a shop manual and whatever YouTube videos I can find. lol
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Unread 09-11-2013, 07:09 AM   #21
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Wj

Quote:
Originally Posted by 99WJ539918 View Post
If you say you can find diffs cheap let me know about a Dana 30/44a with 3.73's and VariLok.

OP, good find on the perch fix. Good luck on the fix. I'm dreading to take my isolators off and seeing what you see.
I wish I could have just swapped the diff. That "appears" relatively simple. My problem actually isn't the diff itself but the pinion bearings. Well, by now, that may mean that I have problems with the diff but even if not, it's involved. I guess it depends on how much play has been introduced and what that's done to the gears.

I tend to be fairly fearless in taking on new mechanical jobs on my Jeep. But I'll be honest, when I read through the entire procedure for replacing pinion bearings, I felt way out of my league. It was clear that properly pre-loading, setting the backlash and shimming within thousandths of an inch was critical. You can screw up the crush sleeve. I'd needed a few new tools (which I'm always eager to buy a new tool). But if you don't get it just right, the diff will eat itself. And then it becomes a much pricier prospect. So I stepped back to finding a good used option. People on this forum who seem more fearless [and knowledgable] than myself said, "Dude, just take it to a mechanic. Seriously." lol. This is not the typical response I tend to get from people here. I'm more accustomed to, "Oh, you can totally do that yourself!" And since this is a daily driver for me, and not a toy or project, I decided to be a bit wiser about it.

Once I get my old axle assembly out, I'll get the rebuild kit and try my hand at it. All I'll have to lose at that point is the cost of the kit. And, even if I screw it up, I'll learn something. And I could screw it up five times and it will still be cheaper than taking it to the stealership. At least, that's my twisted logic that allows me to keep doing crazy things. lol
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Unread 09-11-2013, 05:34 PM   #22
nickblack
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If it's just the pinion bearings and the ring gear and pinion look good, it's really not that big of a job. The pinion bearings on the D30 were prone to loosing preload because the pinion nut is prone to backing off some which cause the howling upon coasting at around 50-60 mph. On the new diff you are installing, I would change out the pinion bearings before installing it and put in a new crush sleeve. It sounds harder than it seems. You can take the diff out without a case spreader with some gentle persuasion and you might as well change the carrier bearings while your there. If you are reusing the ring and pinion that came with the unit, and they are usually ok, you do not have to worry about pinion depth or backlash because the shim size will remain the same. Just make sure you keep all the shims in the same place they came out of. The FSM does a very good job of detailing the job. You will need a dial type in/lb torque wrench and a big torque wrench that goes to 300 ft/lbs to crush the collar. I have done several of these with good success and it wasn't that bad. Also make sure the calipers, rotors, and half shafts are out when measuring the " torque to turn the pinion" or you will under tighten the pinion nut. Much easier to do with the axle out of the truck. Just make sure to use the flanged pinion nut and not the washer and nut that they came out of the factory with. Go on wjjeeps.com and look at the TSB to get the part # of the flanged nut. It is only a couple of $ from the dealer. PM me with any questions if you're game to tackle the job, I have rebuilt many diffs before and it is very rewarding once you do it plus you will save yourself $6-800 or more by doing it yourself. The parts cost about $50 total.
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Unread 09-13-2013, 07:05 AM   #23
bgohsman
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Originally Posted by nickblack View Post
If it's just the pinion bearings and the ring gear and pinion look good, it's really not that big of a job. The pinion bearings on the D30 were prone to loosing preload because the pinion nut is prone to backing off some which cause the howling upon coasting at around 50-60 mph. On the new diff you are installing, I would change out the pinion bearings before installing it and put in a new crush sleeve. It sounds harder than it seems. You can take the diff out without a case spreader with some gentle persuasion and you might as well change the carrier bearings while your there. If you are reusing the ring and pinion that came with the unit, and they are usually ok, you do not have to worry about pinion depth or backlash because the shim size will remain the same. Just make sure you keep all the shims in the same place they came out of. The FSM does a very good job of detailing the job. You will need a dial type in/lb torque wrench and a big torque wrench that goes to 300 ft/lbs to crush the collar. I have done several of these with good success and it wasn't that bad. Also make sure the calipers, rotors, and half shafts are out when measuring the " torque to turn the pinion" or you will under tighten the pinion nut. Much easier to do with the axle out of the truck. Just make sure to use the flanged pinion nut and not the washer and nut that they came out of the factory with. Go on wjjeeps.com and look at the TSB to get the part # of the flanged nut. It is only a couple of $ from the dealer. PM me with any questions if you're game to tackle the job, I have rebuilt many diffs before and it is very rewarding once you do it plus you will save yourself $6-800 or more by doing it yourself. The parts cost about $50 total.
That makes sense. I already have to take the diff out to replace the axle seals. And I was wondering about replacing the axle/carrier bearings since I was going to have it out anyway. But every time I've mentioned the pinion bearing, people seem to mildly freak out. lol

I looked at bearing kits on RockAuto. And I see references to Dana "Super" 30 and "short pinion". From what I've read, the 99 - 04 WJ's used the Dana "Super" 30. But I have no idea if it has the "short pinion" or not. Looking at various sites that sell these kits, it looks like that may be what was put into Yukons, but I can't tell for sure. And I don't want to get the wrong bearing kit. Any idea what that's about?

I have a dial-in torque wrench, but it only goes to 170 ft-lbs. So I'll need to acquire/rent/borrow a larger one.
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Unread 09-13-2013, 03:33 PM   #24
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Look up Randy's Ring and Pinion, they have Dana Super 30 kits. Actually call them and they will get the proper kit to you. I have used them many times. The pinion bearings are not difficult, you just have to be really precise when you crush the collar to set the pinion preload. Once you start felling some preload on the bearings you really have to tighten the nut in extremely small increments and keep measuring the TTTP until you get it in range. The job is infinitely easier with the axle out. I strongly recommend you study the FSM, it is very clear on how to do it. Don't be intimidated by it, just get your hands on the proper tools and read, read, read. The fact that you are changing the axle seals is even more reason to do all the bearings since the diff must come out anyway. You will have a practically new diff with many miles ahead of you providing the ring and pinion are in good shape. If they're not, then you get into a much more complicated process which I don't recommend a beginner tackle. You would need specialty tools to measure pinion depth and backlash and understand where to add and remove shims to get the proper pattern.
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Unread 10-11-2013, 03:01 PM   #25
bgohsman
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So, I ended up ordering a set of perches from Iron Rock Off Road:

http://www.ironrockoffroad.com/Merch...Category_Code=

They were much less expensive than other options I'd seen and definitely welded better than I could do. I'll just have to cut off the old perches, weld a 1/8" circle of steel down and then weld the new perches to that.

I'll post photos once I'm done...
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