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Front differential/axle replacement

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Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Location: Iceland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Front differential/axle replacement Reply with quote

The noise coming from the front axle of my '93 ZJ is getting too insistent to ignore any longer. I haven't pinned down the precise source yet, but have a nasty suspicion that it's coming from the pumpkin itself. The good news is that I have an axle donor ready. Unfortunately, it is just as old as my car, and has spent it's entire life on Iceland's salt-laden roads. So, not fancying having to fight seized control arm bolts, I decided to take a look at the service manual ( and see if it would be easier to just transplant the differential, ring and pinion. Gadzooks! I lost count of how many special tools are referred to, but they do include one for actually spreading the pumpkin housing opening! So, I have a few questions for the experts:

1: Would you recommend the diff. transplant, or replacing the complete axle? Bear in mind that the car has 17 years and over 200k miles on it, so may be facing retirement in the not too distant future, and complete axle rebuild would therefore probably not be a worthwhile investment.

2: Is the service manual procedure the best/only method for replacing the diff? I have found before that the SM assumes that you are working in a fully equipped service center, and that often you can get by without the special tools with a bit of ingenuity, but I'm not sure to what extent it may apply here.

3: Any pointers for removing/reinstalling the complete axle, if that turns out to be the best route?

Best regards,
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