A couple of days ago I quit slacking and replaced the pinion seal on my D35 that has leaked since I bought the Jeep this summer. Now, after I got everything apart and was prepared to fight tooth and nail to get the pinion nut loose, it came off with almost no effort at all. I'm fairly sure I could have loosened it with my smallest ratchet.
I'm worried that the pinion has been rocking around, so I pull the outer bearing, and both the bearing and race look fine. Although I marked the depth and position of the pinion nut before removing it, at this point it looks like whatever it was at, it was way too loose.
I've seen around the web that I can get away with tightening the nut back to 180 ft-lbs. So I install the new seal, put everything back together, reinstall the nut with loctite (been told to get a new nut, but the threads are all fine), and tighten to 180 ft-lbs. This put the nut at a position slightly tighter than what it was at, so it had probably backed off a whole lot from the "new" install torque of 210 ft-lbs. The pinion rotates freely and everything feels good and tight.
So a few hundred miles later, everything seems good. No leaks, no noise, and a mysterious light vibration is now gone. Should I be worried? It looked like someone else in the past replaced this seal, and just threw the nut back on until it felt "tight enough."