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Unread 10-06-2010, 07:44 PM   #1
kingvm
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Differential pinion mount isolator replacement writeup

I was asked to do a writeup on replacing the front differential isolator bushing so here goes.

I did not take pictures when I did this but will try to describe the process from memory since it has only been about a month since I replaced mine.

I did the job by myself in about 5-6 hours but with an extra set of hands it could have been completed in much less time.

The factory service manual says to remove the axles, drop the diff and change the bushings on the bench but when you work alone in the garage without a lift it is probably not the best option.

You will need the normal set of tools, sockets, extentions, jackstands, floorjack, etc. that is normally used to work on these jeeps.

The only special tools needed would be something to remove the old bushing and press in the new one. I used an air chisel to cut the old bushing and it came out easily.

I used a Harbor Freight ball joint service kit to press the new bushing in. (These kits can be rented at most auto parts stores.

Here is a picture i grabbed of the differential for reference. The only one bad on mine was the one at the end of the pinion. (Front left side of the picture)



Now on to the steps as I remember them.

Jack up the jeep and place jack stands so that when you let the jeep down the axles will droop to the limits. (normally the sway bars will limit the down travel and this should be sufficient.) I would try to get it up in the air as much as you can to make moving around under there easier.

Remove any skids or covers to allow you to access the bottom of the diff and driveshaft.

Remove the front driveshaft completely. (I just took both ends loose and left it laying out of place instead of fighting it out from under the jeep.)

Place a floor jack under the pumpkin and raise enough to take pressure off of the two bushings shown in the picture.

Remove the bolts holding these bushings to the frame.

Next remove the bolts holding the front bushing. (shown at the back of the illustration).

Lower the differential until the axle shafts rest on the bottom of the strut forks. (You may have to wriggle it around a little to get it to clear and lower.)

Remove the front bushing assembly from the pumpkin. (There are either 2 or 4 bolts attaching it to the pumpkin.)

You should now be able to rotate the pinion down and have access to the bushing on the end of the pinion.

If it is bad enough that you are having clunking, the center of the bushing should just fall our or you can knock it out easily. As I said earlier the bushing housing is a press fit so you will have to either cut it some way or have a special tool to press it out. (I have heard people say that they use a punch to mangle and fold it in enought to get it to release, but I used the air chisel to just cut the bushing and it released easily.

To put the new one in, I used some sandpaper to clean up a few knicks in the housing and polish the inside of the hole some.

I then used the ball joint service tool to press the new one in. (This tool looks like a big c-clamp and comes with various spacers and adapters to allow you to press the bushing in.)

You should now be ready to re-assemble in reverse order of the dis-assembly. (This is the place that another set of hands would really help because jacking the pumpking back into place while trying to stab the bolts is tricky when working alone.

From what I have found out in my research the pinion bushing is normally the only one with a problem. The front one would be easy to replace because it is a bolt on assembly. I think that replacing the one on the right would be more difficult because of not having room to get the press in place but it does not take the stress that the one on the pinion does so in most cases it should be ok.

I ordered my bushings from one of the internet vendors that I found with a google search. Sorry I can't locate the exact one but at the time I just ordered 2 since the pinion and right side uses the same one and I got them both shipped for just under $40. I only used one so I now have a spare in case the situation comes up again.

The part number is 52089516AB.

I hope this helps any of you that want to try this yourself. I know when I found out that it was going to cost $600-800 to have $40 worth of bushings replaced that I decided to tackle it myself.





I hope this helps if any of you guys decide to try it yourself.

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Unread 10-06-2010, 07:57 PM   #2
jbwest17
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Great writeup!! Thanks for your contribution, I'll be doing this as soon as I get my hands on the part.
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Unread 10-06-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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Good stuff man. Thanks a lot!
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Unread 10-07-2010, 04:19 AM   #4
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I assume that it is better to remove the front two wheels for ease of access and reduction of weight hanging?

Also, is it okay to just let things hang on the sway bar? That bar and mounts looks pretty weak to sustain all that weight.

Supporting an aluminum pumpkin with a floor jack sounds dangerous. I guess that just as long as you are not lifting the whole front of the vehicle, it should be okay.

Were you able to see that that bushing was toast before dropping everything, or did you have to drop it to find out which one to swap? I would like to verify that that bushing is the one before going down this path.

Would a reciprocating saw work in removing the bushing, or is that just a really bad idea? The reason that I ask is because I have one of those and not an air chisel or bushing press. Maybe a regular chisel might work also? I have one of those.

Do you really need to drop the drive shaft, or is that just a caution item?

I may very well be making a run to HF for a bushing press and possibly an air chisel.

On the XK, the front differential is mounted with three large nuts to a cross beam in front of the cover. Is this not the case on a WK? If not, then I am sure that I will have to take those off first.

I am sure that I will have more questions later. Thanks for the input on my sometimes ignorant questions.
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Unread 10-07-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
kingvm
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I assume that it is better to remove the front two wheels for ease of access and reduction of weight hanging?

Yes, I forgot to include that step

Also, is it okay to just let things hang on the sway bar? That bar and mounts looks pretty weak to sustain all that weight.

Yes, there is not that much weight when the wheels are off.

Supporting an aluminum pumpkin with a floor jack sounds dangerous. I guess that just as long as you are not lifting the whole front of the vehicle, it should be okay.

the only thing that you are lifting is the pumpkin itself because the jeep is sitting on jackstands, you just need to take the weight off the mounting bolts so that they will slide out easily

Were you able to see that that bushing was toast before dropping everything, or did you have to drop it to find out which one to swap? I would like to verify that that bushing is the one before going down this path.

I'm not sure whether it can be seen, but if you have someone get in the jeep, put on the ebrake, and step on brakes then shift back and forth between Drive and Reverse you will be able to get on the ground and watch the front end of the driveshaft move up and down about 3". If you see this it will be the pinion isolator.

Would a reciprocating saw work in removing the bushing, or is that just a really bad idea? The reason that I ask is because I have one of those and not an air chisel or bushing press. Maybe a regular chisel might work also? I have one of those.

Yes, I have heard of people doing this also.

Do you really need to drop the drive shaft, or is that just a caution item?

Yes, otherwise the pumpkin will not rotate and allow you to get to the bushings. (It is easier to see why when you get into it than thru words.)

I may very well be making a run to HF for a bushing press and possibly an air chisel.

On the XK, the front differential is mounted with three large nuts to a cross beam in front of the cover. Is this not the case on a WK? If not, then I am sure that I will have to take those off first.

I think you may be talking about the front isolator assembly (shown at the back of the illustration). Yes that has to come off to allow you to lower/rotate the pumpkin.

I am sure that I will have more questions later. Thanks for the input on my sometimes ignorant questions.
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Unread 10-07-2010, 07:42 AM   #6
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Useful write-up... Added to FAQ's
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Unread 10-14-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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Great write up. I just got the same quote from the dealer and was getting ready to tackle the same job- the insight helps tons!!
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Unread 11-03-2010, 10:43 AM   #8
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I just did this last weekend and it wasn't that bad at all. I left the diff in the truck and just rotated it around (leaving it suspended by the half-shafts). I went ahead and replaced all 3 because they were all cracked, but the rear or pinion bushing was the one that was bad in mine as well.

My diff was clunking around when i went from D to R as well, but what was really pissing me off was the vibration in the front that was happening on the highway when I was under mild acceleration

Anyway, good as new now
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Unread 11-03-2010, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustinInDFW View Post
I just did this last weekend and it wasn't that bad at all.

For reference, where did you get your parts and about how much were they?
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Unread 11-03-2010, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainsail View Post
For reference, where did you get your parts and about how much were they?
Stealership.

30 each for the rear and right, just over 100 for the front. Many times the Jeep dealer will mail out coupons for 20% off parts or something like that if you get oil changes there. They can be handy in circumstances like these.

I let my dealer change my oil because they do it with a Napa gold filter for under 10 bucks. Of course I supply my own oil But I'm not getting under there and disposing of that crap for 8 bucks.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 04:07 PM   #11
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Thank you! This is very helpful and removes a lot of the mystery. Any issues with rusty/corroded bolts? That's usually where I get stuck, and it'd be nice to know which ones to pre-soak.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 05:00 PM   #12
DustinInDFW
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My bolts were all good But I'm in North TX. No salt 'round here.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
kingvm
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Same here on the bolts, no salt.

One thing that was a little pain was that the driveshaft bolts had the grey locktite on them so they took a while to back out since they stay tight until they are all the way out. I could not get my air gun in there to remove them and the ratchet would only move about 3 clicks at a time.
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Unread 11-03-2010, 08:26 PM   #14
DustinInDFW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingvm View Post
One thing that was a little pain was that the driveshaft bolts had the grey locktite on them so they took a while to back out since they stay tight until they are all the way out. I could not get my air gun in there to remove them and the ratchet would only move about 3 clicks at a time.
Hehe, I had a 3/8" impact and a looong extension for those suckas
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Unread 02-14-2011, 09:24 AM   #15
jc956
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After hearing that the stealership wanted to charge me over $500 to to this job I started researching on how to do it my self, thanks KINGGVM, this was not as difficult as the techs at the stealership were saying. Of course any time you work at your house its a bit more difficult since you don't always have all the right tools. Fortunaly I got the assistance from my father in law who was a machine/industrial mechanic for over 30years and it took us around 5 hours to change all three mounts. My wife's happy with the ride her 06 commander has now. Thanks guys for this post
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