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Unread 11-07-2011, 12:27 PM   #1
LelandGray
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Has anyone had to replace their front diff?

I have a 2005 Grand Cherokee Limited, with the 5.7L Hemi and full-time AWD. My wife called me last week, Tuesday, and said there was a horrible rubbing/grinding noise when she turned the wheel. I told her to park it, and I would look at it later.

I go to check it out, and she was right.. HORRIBLE grinding noises, but only when the wheel was turned. At first, I thought the tires were rubbing because they are larger than stock size.. but, after all this time, why would the tires start rubbing? I got to looking, and it wasn't the tires.

So, I took it to Jeep. They said it was the front differential, but they couldn't be sure WHAT the problem was until they took it apart... $350 later. Then, it could either cost $1800 - $3500 depending on the severity of the problem.

I get it from Jeep and take it to a local off-road place, they check it out and come back and say the same thing, except they can get a 'good used' part for $1000 with a 90 day warranty, and it'd be around $1700 total. They said this is something they have not come across yet, and because of the complexity of the four wheel drive system on this particular model, they don't think trying to find the actual problem and repairing it is viable.. replacing the whole differential is the best option.

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Unread 11-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
mrtosh
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Do you have a service 4wd sytem message on the dash? It could be it just needs either more friction modified or maybe the solenoid is locking up. Does it feel like its binding when you turn?
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Unread 11-07-2011, 01:15 PM   #3
LelandGray
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Yes, the service 4WD system message came on. It does feel like it's binding when turning.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 02:04 PM   #4
Acidcold
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I could almost bet my left but that it is the half axle making that grinding noise, does it make the noise when you are cruising?
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Unread 11-07-2011, 02:33 PM   #5
LelandGray
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It only makes the noise while turning. I can cruise just fine in a straight line with no noise. I've had it up to about 50mph, but I didn't want to go too fast because I was afraid of further damage.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 02:35 PM   #6
LelandGray
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Something else to add, the place that it's at right now said that it was very hard to turn the front wheels by hand while it was on the rack.. not sure what that means.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 02:52 PM   #7
Acidcold
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That means that your rack and pinion might be the problem, also they might want to check the wheel hubs which can also make that grinding noise.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
mrtosh
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I'd also have them pull the code for the "service 4wd" notification. That will give you a better handle on what's going on. Also if its making a terrible noise up front when turning and its hard to turn I would suspect either the power steering pump or the rack.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #9
LelandGray
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It turns just fine, so I wouldn't suspect the rack & pinion..
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Unread 11-07-2011, 04:27 PM   #10
mrtosh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LelandGray View Post
It turns just fine, so I wouldn't suspect the rack & pinion..
If it feels like its binding more than likely the front diff solenoid that locks the differential is bad. Have them pull the code that's tripping the service message.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 05:22 PM   #11
TangoTango
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That sure seems odd.. why would is cost $350 to pull and front diff cover and look inside? I would think $60-80 max. even at a jack-ed up dealer rate.

What ever it is, grinding usually has a tell tail sign of metal flakes at the location of the problem.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 10:44 PM   #12
Texas WJ
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I'm not trying to insult your intelligence but when was the last time the fluid was changed and was the proper friction modifier added when it was done? It often goes overlooked on the quadra-drives and you'll get some grinding when it's gone bad. More than likely that's not it, but perhaps before dumping some serious cash on a diff it might be worth the 40 minutes to swap the fluid first. It's a long shot for sure, but if done yourself it could be a cheap long shot.
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Unread 11-07-2011, 11:45 PM   #13
ealex
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I just replace my front axle, but I do not think it is relevant. I agree with Acidcold that it is most likely half axle. The front wheel is difficult to turn by hand because half axle CV joint is bad.

You need to find out is it left or right half axle. Right one is easy to change, but I have no idea, how to change left one. New front axle come with left half shaft attached.
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Unread 11-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #14
LelandGray
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas WJ View Post
I'm not trying to insult your intelligence but when was the last time the fluid was changed and was the proper friction modifier added when it was done? It often goes overlooked on the quadra-drives and you'll get some grinding when it's gone bad. More than likely that's not it, but perhaps before dumping some serious cash on a diff it might be worth the 40 minutes to swap the fluid first. It's a long shot for sure, but if done yourself it could be a cheap long shot.
No, you're not insulting me. We haven't had the Jeep that long.. I think we've put maybe 10,000 miles on it. I have no idea what the previous maintenance was like.
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Unread 11-09-2011, 08:07 PM   #15
LelandGray
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Ok, so I did some more digging on the Internet and found some other guys that had the exact same issue I was having.. they even had the same year, make, and model. One of the guys decided to do a fluid change, and it cured his grinding noise. The second guy did the same after the first guy got good results, and his grinding too went away.

So, before I threw down $1000+ on replacing the diff, I decided to spend the $50 or whatever for a fluid change. I went and picked up 2 quarts of Mobile1 75W-140 and a bottle of the friction modifier stuff from Jeep and changed the fluid. This was my first time, it went pretty easy. It took me an hour, including warming the Jeep up by driving around for about 15 minutes to taking it out for a test spin.

I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, but the grinding noise is GONE!! There still is a noise there, it's more like a "moaning" noise, or a whine. It's only when I turn the wheel, left or right. Going straight, it's not there. It's almost like the sound your finger makes if you slide it along a balloon, but it's pretty faint.

So, any advice now??
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