Front tires locked up - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-27-2018, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Front tires locked up

2008 Jeep Rubicon. Traveling down the freeway today. Front end locked up. Front tires skidded. Neither tire moved. Had to drag it onto the trailer. Right tire started turning towards the end. Smoke coming from pinion. Very little oil in differential when I pulled the cover. No loose metal that we could see. Metal around pinion area is off color. Jeep is at friends house right now. We haven't pulled anything apart yet. What should I look out for? Any chance anything can be saved? Anything I should upgrade while I'm in there? Thanks for the advice.
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-29-2018, 05:51 AM
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Very little oil. That's your first clue. The second would be smoke.

You have probably heated the ring and pinion. So you should be looking at a minimum new ring and pinion and all new bearings and seals.

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post #3 of 6 Old 05-29-2018, 03:49 PM
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Trying to wrap my head around this. Was the differential locked? I can see one wheel bearing locking up or the pinion bearing seizing and locking one wheel but having both wheels lock up at exactly the same time just doesn't sound right. Stranger things have happened and I dont mean to sound like I dont believe you.

Gear case lube doesn't evaporate so it was either never there or it leaked out. Leaking would have been obvious unless it happened on the trail and then it would have to be a hole in the case or you would at least see some drips on the ground when it sat.

Perhaps you have a locker that was locked and the lube was never there and if that was the case then you probably dont have much left to salvage.

It would probably be more cost effective to look for a replacement at a wrecking yard.
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-29-2018, 06:46 PM
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Here is what happened. The pinion bearing essentially melted and welded itself to the race and/or the housing itself. The pinion likely was heated beyond a serviceable level, so I would not re-use it. The ring gear "might" be ok, but I would not risk it. The axle shafts are probably ok. The locker is most likely ok. The housing is shot. Don't even try to re-use the housing. The race did not break free from the housing hence why the wheels don't turn. Sometimes the race will break free from the housing and the wheels will once again "turn" (somewhat). Either way, the housing is toast.

Oh, and the bolts holding the diff cover on are probably still good.................
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-29-2018, 10:02 PM
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Sounds like your buying a junkyard unit or spending some coin on a Dana 44.

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post #6 of 6 Old 05-30-2018, 04:29 AM
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not attempting any ‘ insult to injury’ by saying this but might help anyone else in future to say it’s important to check ALL lubrication fluids and grease points on these antiquated straight axle vehicles. Same goes for the suspension linkages grease points. I check differential fluids 4 times annually or after any inadvertent mud or water submersion. Too easy to check to risk damage such as OP. Don’t trust a service center to do so or at least watch them do it.
No offense, OP.




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