• Welcome to the new NAXJA Forum! If your password does not work, please use "Forgot your password?" link on the log-in page. Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] if we can provide any assistance.

adjusting factory ring gear?


NAXJA Forum User
Granite city,il.
I have a 1998 jeep grand cherokee. I noticed the bolts were broken on the ring gear. I removed the axles and popped out the gear assembly without modyifying the placement of the pinion(did not move it). I replaced the bolts, and checked for cracks and imperfections and wear. It looked good, so I reinstalled it. I though I was just putting back to factory stats, but instead I have a "gear clicking?" noise. It gets louder when I accelerate. It only seems to begin in 2nd gear. Can someone give me an idea or suggestion on what I can do?

I'm not a mechanic, so the more detailed the better for me to understand the answer. Thank you so much.

Yes, the pinion gear looked fine. I've read the grand cherokee full-time 4x4 front diff. gears are adjusted with " thread nuts ?" inside diff. on outside of ring gear/ spider gear bearings. No shims for ring gear.
Again, I am not a mechanic. Does this help

Front or rear diff? If rear, d35 or d44a? The d44a is very easily distinguishable as its center casting is made of aluminum.

If d44a, did you put the thick shims back in on the outside of the carrier bearing cups? What torque value did you use for the ring gear bolts?
front diff. d 44/d35 I am not sure, how would I tell. I tightened the ring gear bolts to approx.30-40psi. No shims were on outside of bearing cups.

Thank you for your help,

Tom, in all honesty (and really, I'm not trying to be offensive,) you need to take it to someone who knows ring & pinion setups. You don't know what front diff you have, torque isn't measured in PSI, and at this point, I'm not even sure that I know which bolts you're referring to.
A few things you can check. Pry up on the whole carrier and see if it moves, I use a crow bar. Jam something in the pinion yoke so it jams it tight and lightly turn a tire. I kind of jar the pinion using the ring gear and see if the pinion moves at all. Sometimes you can slap the side of the pinion yoke with the palm of your hand and see/feel the play.

Make yourself a wire pointer and use one of the cover bolts to hold it down. Bend it until it is just touching the ring gear, I usually get it near the outer bevel. Slowly turn the ring gear and see how much run out you have.

Look at the color of the ring gear, is it blue or black?

Something caused those bolts to snap. Usually it is a piece of gear tooth that got jammed and pretty much ruins the teeth where it got jammed.

I'm not sure what differential you have, on some, the pinion has shims. on others it has a collapsible spacer. If the spacer crushes, the pinon gets sloppy and can do what you describe. And/or the bearings are severely worn and the pinion gets sloppy.

The carrier can move (usually up and down) with bad bearings and the pinion can move around with a bad spacer or bad bearings.

The ring gear may not be round or sit flat anymore.
tom here, thank you guys for the info. I am going to check it out this weekend. Will check back in on monday. (and it should have read 30-40ftlbs)

Fyi-my pinion is shimmed, however, I did not touch it. I am currently driving the vehicle.It is driving normal,accelerates normal,turns normal---just has that constant click-tick.

thak you very much, everyone
Your pinion isn't shimmed. Its a LP D30, so it has a crush sleeve. However, you said you didn't touch that. Ring gear bolts are torqued to 70-90 ft lbs. Bearing cap bolts are 45 ft lbs.

I would check outside the diff as well considering you had to remove the axle shafts. Hub to knuckle bolts are 75 ft lbs, axle nut is 175 ft lbs.
Thank you guys, will deffinently check everything this weekend.
I contacted a jeep dealer with my vin# and now know my jeep has a DJJS dana 30/186mm front axle and a DRKP dana 44/226mm rear axle. My jeep is,also, equiped with a AHCP trailor tow prep group / 5.2L mpi eng. (elf) / 4spd a/t 44re(dgw) trans. Hopefully this helps.

THANKS for all your advice & suggestions,
Please keep them coming,

Before all this trouble, I had gotten a front flat (31/10.5/15r) and to get home I put on the spare (245/75/15r). Knowing what I "know" now I think thats when I broke something.

Using two different size tires on the front wouldn't have broken anything in the front axle. Possibly(not 100% sure) damage to the transfer case if you have the qurdatrac system with awd and the NV249 transfer case.
The carrier shims are select fit. Did you possibly mix them up and put them on the wrong sides?
Since they're under the bearing cones on a d30 I doubt he messed with em at all - unless I'm misunderstanding something.