So, while wheeling in Moab after Thanksgiving, I could smell diff fluid.
When I crawled under my rig to investigate, I found what you see above--after using a rag to wipe off the excess.
The rear pinion seal was leaking, with diff fluid splattering all over the place.
I checked the rear diff fluid level with my pinky. There was still quite a bit in there. I periodically checked it, and eventually added some diff fluid.
At the end of the day, I loaded my rig on my trailer.
I spoke with the guy at M4O about it the next day. He told me that I probably got some debris up in there past the dust cover.
I also searched here for posts/threads regarding leaking rear pinion seals.
Anyway, the M4O guy tells me that it is an easy replacement. Simply remove the flange bolts, disconnect the rear driveshaft from the flange, unbolt the pinion nut, extract the old pinion seal, put in the new one using a large socket to slide it in, replace the pinion nut, torque to 160 lbs, put everything back. 45 mins to an hour tops.
I also searched here for posts/threads regarding leaking rear pinion seals. Several posts confirmed the same thing. Some posts sugesting adding a step to measure pre-load.
So, when I get back to Montana, I order a rear pinion seal. I parked my JK, and drove my tow rig until I could get around to the repair. I figured if it was an hour job tops, it wasn't worth my time to take it into the dealer for warranty coverage.
Finally last night, I get around to heating the garage so I can crawl under my JK and fix it.
Well, the head of the second flange bolt I started to remove stripped. No big deal. I have a bolt extracting set. But, before I went to grab it, I decided to check the play in the driveshaft.
There was significant play, more than 1/8" in the rear driveshaft. No wonder the rear pinion seal was leaking.
So, I am thinking that either the pinion nut came loose or the flange is broken, and that that could mean all sorts of other problems--crush sleeve, etc.
So, the questions are:
Take it in for warranty coverage or upgrade driveshaft?
If they don't cover it under warranty because they claim incorrect installation when I regeared, the labor cost to fix things could be more than cost of a driveshaft upgrade.
If I upgrade the driveshaft after having wheeled it all day on Cliffhanger (Moab) with a loose pinion nut or broken flange, what do i look for to see if it caused other damage?
How do I know if the crush sleeve is damaged, etc.?
(I've never done a gear install or driveshaft replacement.)