Rear axle ID question - Jeep Cherokee Forum

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Rear axle ID question

Old 03-17-2019, 10:21 AM
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Default Rear axle ID question

Hi everyone!
This is my first post here although I'm not completely new to Jeeps. Over the years I've had an 89 Wagoneer Limited, 92 Comanche, and currently have an 88 XJ that I've been rebuilding. I've tried searching the forums and read through some of the stickies to get an answer but I'm still a little lost. Any help or redirection to the proper place would be appreciated!

So here's my question:
88 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4x4, 4.0 Renix with a 5 speed...I *think* all drivetrain components are original. I want to replace my rear axle as the input shaft has quite a lot of play in it. Not enough to make any worrisome noises (yet) but I want to daily my jeep and would feel better with something in better condition. When I got the Jeep the rear diff was basically empty and making a lot of whining on the road. After filling it with new gear oil I noticed a pretty bad leak at the input shaft seal. I completely rebuilt/resealed the 4.0 but I'm not experienced at all with drivetrain stuff like axles. I am looking at the rear axle on a 91XJ at the local Pull-A-Part but I cant read the tag on the cover. My question is will the rear axles from an 88 and 91 swap over? From what I've read on here they seem to have only come with Dana 35 rears with the same ratios, with some rare exceptions of D44 but I know the diffs have pretty distinct shapes to them. I dont want to have overlooked something though in my research here, am I right to assume they *should* be the same axle? Junkyard XJ is a 91 4x4 automatic, cant tell if it had any special towing packages or anything like that since the whole nose is removed from vehicle. Only obvious difference from my Cherokee is that mine is a stick shift.

Sorry for the long-winded post but I wanted to be thorough. If I can swap the two it would be far easier than removing mine and learning to fix it while the jeep is yet again off the road.

Thanks for any help y'all can give!
Robbie
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:27 AM
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Robbie, you almost certainly have a D35. The question is what ratio. There were two. 3.05 and 3.55. If you cannot find a tag on the rear then look on the front diff. It should have a tag too. It will tell you how many teeth the ring and pinion have. Something like 41 10 or similar numbers.
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 4.3L XJ View Post
The question is what ratio. There were two. 3.05 and 3.55. If you cannot find a tag on the rear then look on the front diff.
Thank you! That's exactly what information I've been searching for. Some sources just say Dana35 and others say one or the other ratio but I suspected there were at least two being put out simultaneously.

I'm in the process of uploading some craptastic cell phone pix of the tags, maybe someone on here can help me read them properly. The junkyard one had a tag but it was corroded and really hard to read/clean. I completely didn't think of looking on the front axle!
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:55 AM
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Excuse my newbie-ness but I tried to attach two files here. The first is my 88XJ and the second is the junkyard 91XJ. It looks to me like my ratio is 3.08(?) and the yard jeep is 3.55, so its not looking good. Please let me know if I'm reading these totally wrong. The one at the yard has a galvanized tag which was super crusty and corroded. I cleaned it best I could but still cant make out a lot of the numbers up top.

Thanks again for the help!
Attached Thumbnails Rear axle ID question-reartag88xj.jpg   Rear axle ID question-p_a_p91xj.jpg  
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Old 03-17-2019, 10:59 AM
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You have 3:55 gears top right pic but on the left pic looks like 3:08 best bet would be remove cover and look for sure!
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:29 AM
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:32 AM
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The BOM 605323-1 is 3.08 per https://www.expert.dana.com/expertforms/deabill.aspx which sounds right for the manual. What's the front diff say? If you have 3.07/3.08 and you're just looking for a junkyard swap, grab a matching set of front and rear axles preferably 3.55 or 4.10/4.11 if you run bigger tires. I think the 4-cyl had an option for 3.73 gears as well. I started with 3.07s and the manual in my 89, and swapped in 4.11 axles and 32" tires and later swapped in an automatic.
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:05 PM
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Still going to check that front tag but I'll also do the manual rotation test in the link just to be sure. I may consider getting both axles from that junkyard Jeep unless I can find a matching axle somewhere else relatively local.

Today was the first time I got to take the Jeep out for more than a mile or two blast around the block and everything feels nice and tight. I'm leaking gear oil pretty bad from the rear so the axle job is definitely a priority since I don't want to have to top off the diff every day or two commuting to work.

This may sound like a dumb question but with the slop I have in the rear diff, is that repairable? Again I'm completely new to axle work and don't know what's serviceable in there. The most I've done are axle bearings on my 94 Buick Roadmaster years ago, which included havingto completely remove thetaxle shafts. I do know it's the diff that's worn in this case and not the U-joint thought (which would be easy enough)
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:24 PM
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I actually just learned in the last couple days that our 1988 D35 axles are supposed to be "bolt-on" while the 1990++ are C-clip which will lose a wheel if a shaft breaks.

So that might be something to consider for repair vs swapping axles. Plus if you repair it or have it done then you know it is good vs putting in a junkyard axle(s).

Swapping front and rear axles sounds like a lot of work unless you are also doing a complete suspension rebuild anyway.

Just my $0.02. My Jeep is stock // wink
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 88AMCXJ View Post
This may sound like a dumb question but with the slop I have in the rear diff, is that repairable?
​​​​​​
Carnac the Magnificent says....

OK maybe a little before your time....

You have to look, but the play of the ring and pinion is only about .005 in., so to have "slop" due to R&P wear that thing would have to be like destroyed. More likely its the spiders and you can get a kit for that, gears and shims. The kit for the 8.25 was like 90 bucks, assuming Dana35 similar.

You'll need a dial indicator to do the job.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/d...nstall-786402/
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:07 PM
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But if the axle assemblies are out you might be able to have the work done at a specialty shop for a very competitive price. By the time you figure out all the clearances, read the bluing pattern, and get the pinion preload straight without crushing a lot of washers the guy would have it done already.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:02 AM
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Thanks for everyone's replies so far, very much appreciate all y'alls help!

My ideal situation would be to swap the axle and then rebuild my own. Hopefully whatever used replacement I get would be sufficient to hold me over while I learn to repair the original one. I feel like a lot of things are becoming a lost art, like axle work, carburetors, point ignition, etc. I was the only mechanic under 60 at two different garages that would even touch a carburetor. Sorry, didn't mean to get all sentimental on here 😂
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:15 AM
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If it's just temporary, then does the ratio of the axle you swap in matter? You just won't be able to use 4wd in the interim. Some rotational play in the input shaft is normal. You shouldn't have much side-play at all. It could be you just need to replace the oil seal which can be done in the vehicle. Yes the earlier D35 is a little bit stronger, and uses pressed on axle bearings and does not use c-clips. The later ones the bearings run directly on the shaft and used c-clips, so yes the axle will walk out if the clip or shaft breaks (unless you've converted to disc brakes which will retain everything). I don't know if the spring perches are in the same place between the years though.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by lawsoncl View Post
If it's just temporary, then does the ratio of the axle you swap in matter? You just won't be able to use 4wd in the interim.
omg you're right! That's a really good point, I didn't actually think that through. I could just forego the 4x4 for now and actually get to drive my Jeep.

As far as the play, it's definitely lateral and not the normal roatational that's expected. At first I thought I had a bad ujoint, but then I grabbed the drive shaft and input shaft on the axle and all the play was in the input shaft to the diff. For context my xj has 293k on the dash which I'm believing to be OG miles, so I guess a poorly maintained axle would be understandably wiped by then. Fortunately I have not noticed a single thing wrong with the front axle (yet), so that's good news!
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