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Old 06-02-2015, 03:59 PM   #1
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Hot pumpkin

Towing a 1995 Jeep Wrangle, the front differential gets very hot (can touch it but cant keep hand there) rear is warm, is this normal. I tow with transfer case in neutral, always check that wheels spin free and test prior to hook up that it is neutral. I've tried the gear shifter in 5th and neutral a differential still gets hot. Jeep runs fine when we get to our location and have had not mechanical issues. Will be going on long summer trip just looking for input or suggestions. And yes I check oil and did just change it ,Jeep is 4 banger with stock gears.

Thanks Bldhnd
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:09 PM   #2
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Can you have somebody watch the front drive shaft as you slowly drag the Jeep? Or even push it by hand with the transfer case in neutral? See if that front drive shaft is turning?
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:10 PM   #3
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I have no idea but I do tow a 1995 wrangler and would like to know how you found that out or what tipped you to the hot differential. I haven't thought about checking that out but will if need be but the indicators would be nice to know.
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Old 06-03-2015, 09:34 AM   #4
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I was on my first trip towing, stopped for gas and was checking the Jeep just decided to feel the differential out of curiosity.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:00 AM   #5
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On the front axle there is a slip joint that is vacuum operated. (It's on the pass. side). In normal driving the front axle has no power going to it, but still turns. Even with no power to it if this does not release the front axle is "locked up". It's a very common problem as the Jeep gets a little older the vacuum connection leaks. Stop by a dealer or any off road shop and they can verify if this is your problem. There are after market cable operated devices to correct this, IIRC around $150. easy to install if you are a little handy with tools.
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
On the front axle there is a slip joint that is vacuum operated. (It's on the pass. side). In normal driving the front axle has no power going to it, but still turns. Even with no power to it if this does not release the front axle is "locked up". It's a very common problem as the Jeep gets a little older the vacuum connection leaks. Stop by a dealer or any off road shop and they can verify if this is your problem. There are after market cable operated devices to correct this, IIRC around $150. easy to install if you are a little handy with tools.
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thanks RVNewbie55 I have the cable lock out installed, vacuum system quit about a year ago. Does the lock out have to be engaged when towing? I would think not, would that not lock the differential in place
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:51 AM   #7
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The fact that the driveshaft is turning or not, should make no difference as the rear driveshaft will be turning too. First thought is the possibility that the pinion shaft bearing is starting to go. Have it checked for excessive play at the pinion.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by bldhnd617 View Post
thanks RVNewbie55 I have the cable lock out installed, vacuum system quit about a year ago. Does the lock out have to be engaged when towing? I would think not, would that not lock the differential in place
You would want it unlocked when towing. The next poster has a good point. Something inside might be getting ready to let loose. It's easy enough to drop the front diff cover and check for bits and pcs. And a thorough cleaning while you are in there.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:10 AM   #9
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Thinking out loud here,

If one axle is unlocked, the spider gears are spinning the opposite, disconnected axle, backwards. That could cause heat.
But if that's the case, the front diff. should get hot, in normal, 2x4 use.

If you leave both axles locked, like the rear axle, the drive shaft would turn. The spider gears, would only turn, when going around turns.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:18 AM   #10
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I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler "TJ" which is the model right after yours. Unless you had installed aftermarket lock-out hubs on your Jeep, the differential will be turning whenever the Jeep is moving.
If the differential was so hot that you could not hold your hand on it that would be reason for concern (over 200 degrees F).. Otherwise, you're probably fine.

BTW - you should always check and fill the differential oil while the vehicle has the weight on the wheels in order to minimize potential sag and off-level attitude of the differential. This is more of an issue for the front coil spring models like mine (97 and later) but still a good practice.
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