Did I blow up my diff?? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 2nd, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Martin Spencer
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Did I blow up my diff??

I heard a slight groaning out of the rear of my truck yesterday on my way home. Sounded like a bearing going out to me. I limped home slowly, and as I turned in my gate heard a pop. Still able to drive I made it to my barn and pulled it in the shop. I jacked it up in the rear to see if I could spin the tires to see which bearing was going out. Put the transmission in neutral and went to spin the rear tire. I could not move it. I wiggled it back and forth a few times, and heard I little pop, followed by some rattling (sounded like it came from the rear diff). Then the tire would spin freely. Then I put the whole truck on jack stands, put it in gear, and got out to take a look. The front tires were spinning, and the rear drive shaft was spinning, but the back tires were still. Guessing its the diff, but looking for some insight.

If it is the diff it is good news bad news: bad news its broken, and going to cost a lot of money. Good news, great time to do new gears and lockers I have been thinking about.

What are your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2011, 09:53 PM
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Jeff Labb
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You had power to the rear wheel? Can it be a broken axle shaft? Or as I experienced, broken gear tooth that get stuck between the crown wheel and the pinion one... try to get the half shaft out first. If they're complete then try to rotate the drive shaft to see if everything is alright in there. I think that by this point taking the diff out ain't much work and might prevent from a total blown out.
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  #3  
Old January 2nd, 2011, 09:58 PM
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Martin Spencer
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There is no power to either rear tire, so it would have had to break both axle shafts at the same time. Does that happen very often? I haven't started taking anything apart yet. I will have time tomorrow afternoon. When I turn the drive shaft it spins freely, but doesn't turn the wheels at all. I had to lock the CDL just to back it out of the shop. When it was unlocked the rear drive shaft was just spinning, and I wasn't moving.
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That is why it is called a short cut. If it was easy it would just be "the way."
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  #4  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:28 AM
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Actually, if one of your axle shafts snapped, and the differential isn't lockable, all the power will go to the broken side as it has no load, and is the "path of least resistance". But I would imagine you would feel/see *something* on the other tire, especially if it's off the ground.
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  #5  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:03 AM
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Bill Adams
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Put a pan under the diff and drain the oil. If it is ruined, you'll see chunks in the oil drain pan.
I bet that you broke an axle. Only thing to do is start pulling it all apart. Take the axles out first and you'll see whether you have to go deeper.
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  #6  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:14 AM
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You didn't break an axle with an open diff. I'd guess you lost the spider gears/cross pin. At least the rear diff is easier to pull. Excellent time to drop in a locker.
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  #7  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 09:31 AM
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I also bet it's the half-shafts.

Removing the rear is as easy as unbolting the lugs on each side. But since something broken it's good to remove the third as well.

Great time to upgrade to HD half-shafts and locker.
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  #8  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:05 AM
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Used diffs are cheap. Pretty easy job to swap out the axles and third member too.
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  #9  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Martin Spencer
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On the shafts I just unbolt them and pull them out right?
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  #10  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Frank Rafka
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yes...
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  #11  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:27 AM
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You might have to pull both if one is broken and use a long rod to knock the broken piece out of the carrier.

Based on your description, I would strongly believe it was the diff, not the axles though.
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  #12  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Martin Spencer
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Both axle shafts are perfect.
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That is why it is called a short cut. If it was easy it would just be "the way."
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:05 PM
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now that the shafts are out, you can drain your diff, unbolt the driveshaft, the unbolt the diff and pull it
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  #14  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:11 PM
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There will be chunks of metal it in. Make sure to clean out the axle casing really well.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:20 PM
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Ryan
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Yeah, it helps if you have a good magnet you can run through the length or the tube too to pick up any stray metal.
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  #16  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:24 PM
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Martin Spencer
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I got the diff out. The ring and pinion look fine, but everything else is trashed and was laying in the bottom of the housing. How much harder is the front to change?
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That is why it is called a short cut. If it was easy it would just be "the way."
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  #17  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:27 PM
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Front is about three times the work to change -- at least.

Why do you ask? Are you planning on upgrading both to ARB/DL/TT and new gears?

Ron

PS told you it was the diff not the axle shafts.
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  #18  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:36 PM
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This thread reminds me of what happened to my Series III rear diff, started hearing a weird knocking that got progressively worse, opened the drain plug, out came chunks of the ring. Pulled the diff, gave it to a shop with new bearings, ring and pinion, put it back in and so far so good.
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  #19  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:38 PM
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Martin - i've seen 3rd members going anywhere from free to $200 ... hopefully if you look around you can find one for $50 or so locally... slap it back in and you'll be back on the road... then worry about upgrading on your terms.
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  #20  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:41 PM
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Front is a little bit longer to change. same theory but you need to unbolt the hub piece that bolts to the axle housing. I think they are like 12pt 13mm bolts and about 6 or 7 of them and they can be a pain in the ass unless you have one of those ratcheting wrenches.
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