Front Differential Issues - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Front Differential Issues

Before anyone ask, "Yes, I have searched this on the forums 100 times over to figure out what the issue is." Alright, so down to my issue. I have a recently bought Jeep Commander, 2006 5.7L 4x4, 75K miles (little old lady owned it before me, bought it new).

We bought the Jeep for my GF (I own a wrangler, and love her, haha). The Commander drives great 98% of the time. The hemi is a blast, it starts and stops fine, no odd noises, nothings. No leaks, no ****. But... we are having from issues from the front end. Issues are as stated below:

1) Around 40-60mph, (from what I can tell 2-3 gear transition) the Jeep feels as if it hits rumble strips, and slightly vibrates, then kicks out. And drivers perfect. This is only during mediocre acceleration. If you floor it (it is a Hemi after all ) you do not feel this.

2) When driving at very slow speeds on windy roads, where you are going up and down hills, it might "lugg" or "catch" funny between gears. Still drives fine after, but has a very odd feeling to it. When going a steady speed its fine, but not when changing speeds/gears often.

So, after seeing these issues, I took it to a stealership to get the codes run. They are telling me I need a whole new front differential on it. They quoted me at $3000 on the diff, and $700 labor. Does this seem right... I honestly can not find anything on anyone having this issue? From what I read, some people say it might even be the bushing in the gears. I can not see that a little old lady drove this thing that hard to screw up the front end that bad. If anyone has advice that would be amazing. I am going to lift it up tonight and check the fluid just to make sure.

PS, glad to be a part of the forum!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-13-2016, 03:41 PM
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So did they find any codes?


Sound like the Bushings that suspend the front Differential, as torque changes it will want to shift and rock the front differential, the bushing should absorb shock but stop the differential from rocking or shifting too much. If the bushing wear out or tear, then they will allow the front differential to shift or rock to much when reacting to torque changes.


Bushings in Gears? Ummm, what?


Check the fluid, use a coffee filter to strain the fluid as it drains and see if you find any metal in the fluid. Maybe even put it up on Jack stands and run the drivetrain, putting a broom stick up to the differential and listen at various spots compare it with the rear differential, see if you can hear anything bad inside it.


I'm awful suspicious the "Stealership is trying to steal $3700 from you" when all you need is $300 job to replace bushings and less if you do it yourself.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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I will call and get the codes from the dealership today when I get a chance at work.

I did not mean, "bushing in the gears", from what I read it is the bushing that hold the front differential up. Could it really be these? Is it when its reacting to torque, (such as a hard downshift), the whole diff is moving, causing the "lugging". If I get a minute this weekend I will check the fluid in the front diff and just go ahead and drain it and refill.

What is this broomstick trick you are telling me to try, what does that help to identify?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 07:20 AM
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Yes, bad bushings that hold up the front differential will let the front differential, especially hard downshifts, causing lugging.


The broomstick (you'll have to cut it to be a manageable length) acts like a stethoscope, so despite a lot of noise from the engine and exhaust, you press it up against a part and then press your ear against the other end, you will hear any noise that the part is making. So if you couldn't hear the turning differential make any noise over the noise of the engine/exhaust, you will be able to hear it with the broomstick. Keep in mind your putting a stick near turning things and putting your head up against the stick, I hope I don't have to warn you the extreme caution you must use while doing this.


I hate to 2nd guess a professional that has examined the problem themselves, but you said it yourself, people call them "Stealerships" because they have earned that reputation. Horror stories abound about them ripping people off for thousands of dollars and NOT fix the problem.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the late update. I called the dealership, and after bugging the idiotic sales guy for awhile about what my codes were, he finally gave up and let me talk to the tech who worked on my car. Updates are:

My T-Case motor is going bad. There is a short. I do need to replace it soon. I can buy for $250, and its 3 bolts. No worried about it.

There a few stored codes. Nothing to crazy there.

The part where I feel like I am hitting rumble strips. That is my transmission... he said that these trannys in the Commanders with the 5.7s are trough as hell. More than likely, it needed to be drained and add 3oz of anti-slip to it and that it would do great.

The front diff, he said either a clutch, or a gear was bad in it. That they were unsure, and that is why the recommended to replace it. But, he said it might be 10 times cheaper to rebuild it... but that it did not feel as if it was to far along, and that we should drive it, and service the front diff and maybe that would fix the issue. But more than likely it had alot of life still in, and to pay attention to it. One day she will need to be rebuilt, or replaced. But its not the end of the world at the moment.

So, not a perfect update. But I am happy with it.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 08:54 PM
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Do you have QDII OR QTII? Cause QTII doesn't have a single clutch in the differentials, just the QDII. The clutch packs in the QDII differentials require friction modifier added to the fluid, and plenty of folks that have complained of QDII differential noise and binding but never changed the axle fluid, saw it fixed it with just a fluid change with the correct fluid and friction modifier additive.

Anti-Slip added to the transmission fluid? Ummm, it would be nice to know in what FSM or TSB Chrysler recommends that, the only things I've seen have said NOT to add additives. Dealerships ought to stick by that, but many dealerships know less about what the manufacturer recommends than the owners themselves, that is how bad so many of them are, and why their called Steelerships.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-17-2016, 09:43 PM
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Yes, bad bushings that hold up the front differential will let the front differential, especially hard downshifts, causing lugging.
Front differential bushings, particularly the UPPER front differential bushings are notorious for wearing on Commanders & Grand Cherokees alike - at least from my experience.

I had an 08 Grand Cherokee with low mileage - about 50K miles that had a worn front upper differential bushing. Never had it replaced because it wound up getting totaled.

Then when I bought his Commander and was having an oil change done, same thing, the tech said the front upper differential bushing was pretty worn.

This time, I had it replaced, to try and stay ahead of the maintenance curve.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Blue View Post
Front differential bushings, particularly the UPPER front differential bushings are notorious for wearing on Commanders & Grand Cherokees alike - at least from my experience.

I had an 08 Grand Cherokee with low mileage - about 50K miles that had a worn front upper differential bushing. Never had it replaced because it wound up getting totaled.

Then when I bought his Commander and was having an oil change done, same thing, the tech said the front upper differential bushing was pretty worn.

This time, I had it replaced, to try and stay ahead of the maintenance curve.

Very common.

BTW if this happens to be your issue I'd seriously consider some heavy duty bushings so you don't have the same problem again in a few years.

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https://www.jeepcommander.com/forums/...hifting-2.html
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 01:28 PM
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Considering how common the bushings going bad are, the fact your symptoms sound just like it, and how inexpensive it is to replace them compared to repairing or replacing the differentials; I would replace the bushings first and then see how it drives.


If you listen to the Steelership, they may be racking up a $3000 bill for you to replace something that has nothing wrong with it.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-18-2016, 05:52 PM
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Considering how common the bushings going bad are, the fact your symptoms sound just like it, and how inexpensive it is to replace them compared to repairing or replacing the differentials; I would replace the bushings first and then see how it drives.


If you listen to the Steelership, they may be racking up a $3000 bill for you to replace something that has nothing wrong with it.
Stealership LOL....I love that term.


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