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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my rear axle started with a minor squeak and then got to a solid nasty squeak and grind noise, like dirt in bearings sound. Popped off the rear diff and was served a chocolate shake. I think the squeak is coming from the pinion bearing but not for sure. I will jack it up and rotate to see for sure. I noticed the vent tube was broke off and hanging, and the vent on top of axle was packed with mud.

What all should I do to this axle.? There was also come small gritty pieces in the bottom of the pumpkin. Don’t think it was metal. Probably dirt or sand. Gears looked ok
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Dirt and water prbbaly got thru the broken tube into the axle. can drain and clean and try some 85w-140 or 75w-140 but that is really tough on all the bearings, pinion and wheel and the ring and pinion. What do the gears look like? Pitting or surface rust?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dirt and water prbbaly got thru the broken tube into the axle. can drain and clean and try some 85w-140 or 75w-140 but that is really tough on all the bearings, pinion and wheel and the ring and pinion. What do the gears look like? Pitting or surface rust?
Gears looked fine. They were all covered with the milk shake but looked better than the oil on the bottom.
 

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Under normal circumstances, moisture will enter the axle thru the vent, and the inside of an axle is subject to condensation, especially when there is a temp difference. It usually takes a very long time, and a lack of oil changes, for a significant amount of water contamination to accumulate thru condensation.

Contrary to popular lore, when an axle is submerged, it's much more likely for water to enter the axle thru one of the seals than thru the vent. This is due to the phenomena of pressure and displacement. You can fill a glass with water, the air in the glass is displaced thru the open top. But if you tried to fill an upside-down glass with water, by pushing it down in a sink full of water, the glass will not fill with water, because the air inside the glass can't be displaced. But if you drilled a hole in the glass, or turned the glass right side up, the air inside can escape and be displaced.

When your axle goes underwater, the seals have to hold out the water pressure (which increases with depth.) If there is more air pressure inside the axle than water pressure outside, the water will stay out., Or if the air inside cannot be displaced, some water will enter until the air pressure inside the axle equals the water pressure outside. However if the air inside can be displaced, water will enter. Axle vents are actually a liability here in that it creates a path for air to escape and be displaced. This is also why it's less likely for water to enter thru the vent. As air is being displaced out thru the vent, it will obstruct the water trying to flow in.

A new set of seals may help keep more water out but even the best set of seals cannot keep water out if the pressure is great enough to overcome the seals.

If you caught this early enough to where rust has not formed on the gears or pitted the bearings, an oil change is all you need. But keep in mind that unless you want to try and pressurize the axles for submersion, any time you off road in water and/or mud, make it a habit to check the axle oil after the fun is over. If water is a part of your off road fun, I would also suggest pulling the wheel bearings and re-greasing them too.

Ed
 
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