How do I inspect the spider gears on a TJ Rubicon locker?

JeepingNet

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Sep 17, 2018
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Saint John, NB, CA
I've got an odd question..

How do I check the spider gears on a TJ Rubicon Locker while the locker is out of the Jeep? (Front Locker)

I had a loud pop on the highway (75 mph) then horrible noise at low speeds and vibe at high. On initial inspection, though it was the locker (pinion/ring look great) after taking it apart tonight I found the outer pinion bearing completely blown and somehow the pinion pre-load shims got eaten (perhaps just by the bearing going or maybe they got eaten and that made the bearing go..)

I figure I'd replace the bearings, clean it out really good and put it all back together and test but while I have it out is there any easy way to test? (not looking to test the locking feature, that works. It's more when unlocked I want to check the spider gears are ok.

200,000 miles on this locker

Thanks
 

AndyG

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Hook air up to it man . At the hose going in. 5 psi I think.

Also , do the research on the sensor pin when you reinstall the carrier if you are that deep in.
 

CharlesHS

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I've got an odd question..

How do I check the spider gears on a TJ Rubicon Locker while the locker is out of the Jeep? (Front Locker)

I had a loud pop on the highway (75 mph) then horrible noise at low speeds and vibe at high. On initial inspection, though it was the locker (pinion/ring look great) after taking it apart tonight I found the outer pinion bearing completely blown and somehow the pinion pre-load shims got eaten (perhaps just by the bearing going or maybe they got eaten and that made the bearing go..)

I figure I'd replace the bearings, clean it out really good and put it all back together and test but while I have it out is there any easy way to test? (not looking to test the locking feature, that works. It's more when unlocked I want to check the spider gears are ok.

200,000 miles on this locker

Thanks
While the Pinion and Ring Gear look great; the only way to tell for sure is during reassembly when checking run out. Depending how long the R&P operated with the wrong pre load; the tolerances may be way out of spec and they may need replacing.
 
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JeepingNet

JeepingNet

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Saint John, NB, CA
When I heard the bang I pulled over (next exit) and everything initially was ok but when I went into reverse I got a shutter and then the grinding noises started at lower speeds (all in the parking lot)

Called a tow truck so it only has about 1-2 miles.

Diff is now disassembled and waiting on a bearing kit and new oil seal. My plan is to swap on the new bearings and install using the existing shim thicknesses. I'll then check the pattern and backlash.

My question is anything on the carrier I should inspect to make sure the spider gears are still ok? I know the locker mechanics are working but when I was testing on the Jeep it felt like a lot of pay in the spider but it was hard to really tell because the pinion was sticking.
 

tworley

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My memory is a bit fuzzy on the rubi lockers since I haven't had one in 4 years, but I want to say that it is a sealed unit minus some oil passages. I think the only way to inspect would be to reinstall it and spin the tire/shafts by hand and listen/feel for any catching or binding. The lockers are no longer serviceable unless you get lucky and find parts.
 
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AndyG

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While the Pinion and Ring Gear look great; the only way to tell for sure is during reassembly when checking run out. Depending how long the R&P operated with the wrong pre load; the tolerances may be way out of spec and they may need replacing.
Welcome to the forum Charles , I see some good knowledge in your posts , and you TJ pic shows you maintain things.

Glad to have you, stay around .
 

CharlesHS

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Depending IF any metal debris was suspended in the gear lube; another thing that may need inspection would be the carrier bearings, but checking them would require removing the bearing caps (make sure to mark which side the are installed on and removing the carrier from the differential housing. Sometimes there are letters stamped into the bearing cap and the face of the differential where the cover bolt holes are to identify which side the bearing cap is installed.
Not sure of the setup with the Rubicon locker so I am not sure what else may need to be disconnected before removing the carrier.

AndyG, thanks for the kind words...
 
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JeepingNet

JeepingNet

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Sep 17, 2018
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Saint John, NB, CA
Thanks Charles, yes I've got the carrier completely removed and ordered new bearing. The rubicon lockers are nice because the bearing caps are different and one side of the cap is kind of attached to the locker. I find them easier to take in/out than a normal diff. (But the sensor pin can be annoying but I've made a little rod connected to a string to help hold it in place) I've done a few regearings on them.

I was just hoping that there was a bench test for the spider gears (on a trad diff its pretty easy to inspect them) but I think I'll install the diff without the pinon tonight and see if they sound correct. I might be waiting on bearings for a while if they aren't local with Covid-19 having us on lockdown.

Thanks!
 

taylormade73

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My memory is a bit fuzzy on the rubi lockers since I haven't had one in 4 years, but I want to say that it is a sealed unit minus some oil passages. I think the only way to inspect would be to reinstall it and spin the tire/shafts by hand and listen/feel for any catching or binding. The lockers are no longer serviceable unless you get lucky and find parts.
X2. I did this 🔼🔼🔼.
 

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