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Unread 01-18-2013, 02:52 PM   #1
toycam
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Location: Anchorage, AK
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Leaking rear differential

I noticed a puddle of oil today in my garage where I parked my jeep overnight. After getting under the jeep and looking, it seems like theres a leak forward of the rear differential, just behind the yoke flange. The leak isn't steady enough for me to pinpoint exactly where it's coming from unless I could stare at it for a few hours. I checked the differential oil level and it's definitely low. Anyone have experience with this happening to them?

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Unread 01-18-2013, 03:50 PM   #2
modernblueWK
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Pinion seal. Pretty common problem. Top it off and get it fixed. Somebody else will jump in with repair info.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
gamma500
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Had it on my 05 WK at a fairly low mileage, 38K miles. Rear pinion seal leak. I read the Service manual procedure which detailed complicated use of torque readings via rotating the back axles to get correct yoke/pinion nut tightness along with how to set the new crush washer torque. Too much for me so took it to Dealer who apparently repaired it the way I would have anyway...take off axle/yoke/pinion nut, remove seal, new seal, new crush washer and "snug" it up since the rear wheels were never removed.

You probably got a "wet" looking front side of the rear diff, right..?..not covered in oil, just "wet" looking if your diff. level is low.

If you take a look at the WK Service Manual PDF downloadable for free ( I am assuming you have this model), and you are a DIYer you can get a good idea what is entailed in changing out the seal. You will need to fabricate a holder for the yoke to get the pinion nut off..a piece of steel flat bar with a hole for one of the 4 yoke bolt/nuts and long enough to hit the ground and block further movement as you take off the biggie nut. YouTube has some generic rear pinion seal changeouts which help familiarize you with what is involved. If done at the Dealer here, the cost was around $170-$200..I was still under the Powertrain Warranty. I want to do my own repairs usually since I enjoy it and the local Dealer is a Ford Dealer who inherited the Jeep franchise as an afterthought....their Service Techs have slipped up the 2 times I got them involved with my JGC.

If you need to wait to fix, you can try adding a diff. seal voodoo sealer/additive but you know how good they(don't) work since those sealers really need some heat put into them which the diffs don't really supply.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
toycam
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Thanks for the reply! You're right that its damp with oil forward of the diff, but it's not spewing out oil or anything. My local mechanic wanted about $140+parts I went to my local auto parts store and got some Royal Purple to get it back up to the oil level needs to be. A buddy of mine who is vehicle mechanic in the air force came over and took a look at it. He also added that it could be related to the lift on the jeep. I'm a jet mechanic so I know how to turn a wrench, but my knowledge with cars is somewhat basic. He also agrees that its the seal and feels confident enough to tackle it in my garage. I do have the PDF manual downloaded. I'll see what that says. Hopefully I can find a store here in alaska that has the seal on hand. If not, I'll have to order it and wait for it to get here. So long as I make sure that the oil level is good, it should still be alright to drive to work and stuff, right?
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Unread 01-18-2013, 05:58 PM   #5
gamma500
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Probably would do fairly well with 1/2 the diff. filled for a certain length of time ! Between you and your cohort and combined wrenching abilities should be no problem unless you figure your time is worth more than $140...parts are about $11.00 here in western NC, not including any new diff. oil- I use Amsoil myself. I think you will find that a lift doesn't mess too much with the rear drive shaft unless greater than 3" and you off road over really uneven / transfer case seals out pretty quickly.

Read the Service Manual's description of doing a rear pinion seal changeout...can you imagine some Dealer Service Tech. taking all that time and care when he's trying to get the job done ASAP so he can get another work ticket to put food on his table.

Good luck up there...
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Unread 01-19-2013, 12:13 AM   #6
toycam
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Ended up changing it out tonight with the help of a buddy. it was pretty simple and I was able to loan all the tools I needed from my local part store. I got a jaw puller, torque wrench, and 32mm socket. We essentially disconnected the drive shaft, removed the nut, used the jaw puller to pull the yoke out, and from there we had access to the old seal. The old seal took some elbow grease to get out, but working at it enough did the trick. From there, it was pretty much the reverse of the removal for the install. I havent had a chance to drive and test it yet, but id be incredibly surprised if it turned out no good.
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Unread 01-19-2013, 06:10 AM   #7
gamma500
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Excellent...did yours have a crush washer BTW ?
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Unread 01-19-2013, 09:26 AM   #8
toycam
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Yup sure did
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