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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, have a new clunking noise when shifting into reverse, and then what honestly sounds like 4L whenever turning while backing up. Just had the tranny rebuilt, rear drive shaft swapped, and torque converter reconditioned. Took to the same transmission shop, and the "listening" diagnosis is something wrong in the rear differential. Going to have cover yanked and visual inspection next week. Couple of Qs for the team:
1) doesn't sound like the usual rear diff issues (howl, click, whine) -anyone had something similar to what I'm describing?
2) the shop swapped out rear driveshaft - any chance they could have screwed it up and caused the issue (500 miles since rebuild)
3) assuming I need a new diff, thoughts on what I should get? Not swapping axles, rear end, etc. now unless doing so is equal or less expensive.
4) is this a "driveway" project? Full disclosure: I've never swapped a rear diff before, but the vids online don't look that hard. Basically drain, remove axils, yank, clean, swap, replace axils. All the examples though are much newer, and open vs limited slip. Sitting parking lot, so don't have shop manual with me to check which I have (also not sure if this beast has a floating axle.

Any info would be hugly appreciated!
 

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Most likely the typical pinion preload issues with the 9 1/4" rear axle.聽 Very common.聽 Watch for rotation of the pinion as well as deflection while someone shifts the transmission from drive to neutral to reverse and back with the brakes held.聽 While the rear axle can be rebuilt in the driveway, it is not a "normal" backyard mechanic job and does require some special tools many will not have.聽 If you do rebuild it, make sure you use a solid pinion spacer kit to replace the crush sleeve and over-torque the side adjusters in hopes of retaining the backlash adjustment longer.
 

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^ What Elwenil said聽 :)

The 9-1/4" I just checked ('77ish) is loose on the backlash. Pinion feels good.

The backlash adjusters are accessed through the axle tube with a long hex tool... so the shaft, seal, and bearing have to be pulled even for an adjustment.

I very much like crush sleeve eliminators. It lets you trial & error your pinion install as many times as it takes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Elwenil said:
Most likely the typical pinion preload issues with the 9 1/4" rear axle. Very common. Watch for rotation of the pinion as well as deflection while someone shifts the transmission from drive to neutral to reverse and back with the brakes held. While the rear axle can be rebuilt in the driveway, it is not a "normal" backyard mechanic job and does require some special tools many will not have. If you do rebuild it, make sure you use a solid pinion spacer kit to replace the crush sleeve and over-torque the side adjusters in hopes of retaining the backlash adjustment longer.
Thank you El! Means I may be looking at both a differential and axle right? Ouch. May be junkyard diving for this one!
 

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The differential itself is usually reusable.聽 The ring and pinion may be worn enough to need replacement.聽 Bearings, seals and ring gear bolts will need to be replaced for sure, everything else is based on wear and tear.聽 While it's torn down you may as well look at the axle bearings and seals and replace whatever is needed there as well.

Before you do anything, confirm exactly what the issue is.聽 While the infamous "Dodge clunk" is usually caused by slack in the poorly designed 9 1/4" axle, worn yokes on the driveshaft, worn U-joints/straps, worn pinion yoke, slack in the transfer case and even loose axle spring U-bolts can cause the same issues or add to them to compound the issues.
 
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