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92 Ranger has noises coming from front left axle, or differential


Jakea4m

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I have a 92 extended cab 4.0 4X4 5 speed manual hubs 142,000 miles. Truck started making a clicking sound from the front end . Based on some information I was given I bought a new pair of warn locking hubs. Didn’t make a difference. With the hubs locked and not in 4x4 there is clicking from the right front axle, if I unlock it goes a way, if I engage 4x4 with hub locked it goes away. It is my ranch rig, so I normally leave hubs locked and just engage 4x4 when necessary. I jacked it up and I can spin the passenger front wheel with hub locked or unlocked with no noises, the driver side is a different story. If I lock the hub the wheel will spin, but the axle “catches” and makes a clicking sound and teh axle kind of “jerks” a bit as it spins if I unlock it no issues, or odd noises. Any and all help is appreciated, this rig has been a work horse and provided me with 3 years of Zero issues previous to this. Thanks
 


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ericbphoto

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1993
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92 noises? You counted them?

And on a more serious note, I'm thinking maybe u-joints in the axle shafts. Or maybe debris in the hollow parts of the axle beams that is rubbing on the u-joints.
 

Jakea4m

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92 noises? You counted them?

And on a more serious note, I'm thinking maybe u-joints in the axle shafts. Or maybe debris in the hollow parts of the axle beams that is rubbing on the u-joints.
It sounds like it may actually be something in the differential binding, was hoping for an easy fix
 

scotts90ranger

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The passenger side has two U joints, it's probably a U joint... it's pretty obvious when underneath if you start wiggling the axle shafts, there should be minimal play in the U joints. Look in the window in the front of the passenger side axle beam to see how much mud is crammed in there, that makes odd noises. There's also the bearing inside the spindle, if that seized up and took out the outer stub it could make some odd noises.

If you're worried about the differential, pull the fill plug and see if there's oil in it, if oil comes out when you pull the plug there's probably water in the bottom and something is probably rusty...
 

Jakea4m

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The passenger side has two U joints, it's probably a U joint... it's pretty obvious when underneath if you start wiggling the axle shafts, there should be minimal play in the U joints. Look in the window in the front of the passenger side axle beam to see how much mud is crammed in there, that makes odd noises. There's also the bearing inside the spindle, if that seized up and took out the outer stub it could make some odd noises.

If you're worried about the differential, pull the fill plug and see if there's oil in it, if oil comes out when you pull the plug there's probably water in the bottom and something is probably rusty...
right before all this started i had the front right tire fixed, the guy dropped the locking hub on the ground, so I thought that may have been it so I replaced them. While doing that I did notice the old one was missing the big Oring that matches to the rotor, so its very likely that i have water in the diff as my next stop was the ranch with a ”low water crossing”. The million dollar question is how do you get the water out not seeing any way to drain it.
 

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My credo
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right before all this started i had the front right tire fixed, the guy dropped the locking hub on the ground, so I thought that may have been it so I replaced them. While doing that I did notice the old one was missing the big Oring that matches to the rotor, so its very likely that i have water in the diff as my next stop was the ranch with a ”low water crossing”. The million dollar question is how do you get the water out not seeing any way to drain it.
Disassemble, clean and re-assemble, replacing whatever parts are now bad due to the water. Very light application of grease to the hub parts. Do not pack the hub. Make sure new o-ring is installed. There is no way to "drain" the water because there should never be any water in the hub.
 

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right before all this started i had the front right tire fixed, the guy dropped the locking hub on the ground, so I thought that may have been it so I replaced them. While doing that I did notice the old one was missing the big Oring that matches to the rotor, so its very likely that i have water in the diff as my next stop was the ranch with a ”low water crossing”. The million dollar question is how do you get the water out not seeing any way to drain it.
Since that o-ring seals the bearing and not the difference no, it is not very likely you have water in the diff. You might, but not from an o-ring missing out at the wheel end.
 

scotts90ranger

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yeah, that...

Could still be spindle bearing though, I'd pull the spindle off and look for rust at the bearing... It's 10 nuts and two slide pins for the calipers and the wheel bearing lock nuts, shouldn't take too long to look at. If it's rusty a wire brush and some new grease would probably quiet it down...
 

Jakea4m

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The passenger side has two U joints, it's probably a U joint... it's pretty obvious when underneath if you start wiggling the axle shafts, there should be minimal play in the U joints. Look in the window in the front of the passenger side axle beam to see how much mud is crammed in there, that makes odd noises. There's also the bearing inside the spindle, if that seized up and took out the outer stub it could make some odd noises.

If you're worried about the differential, pull the fill plug and see if there's oil in it, if oil comes out when you pull the plug there's probably water in the bottom and something is probably rusty...
I pulled the plug, about a quart came out and it was kind of milky and gray in color , how Do you drain this and what would be some idea of how the water got in there
 

Jakea4m

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The passenger side has two U joints, it's probably a U joint... it's pretty obvious when underneath if you start wiggling the axle shafts, there should be minimal play in the U joints. Look in the window in the front of the passenger side axle beam to see how much mud is crammed in there, that makes odd noises. There's also the bearing inside the spindle, if that seized up and took out the outer stub it could make some odd noises.

If you're worried about the differential, pull the fill plug and see if there's oil in it, if oil comes out when you pull the plug there's probably water in the bottom and something is probably rusty...
I pulled the plug, about a quart came out and it was kind of milky and gray in color , how Do you drain this and what would be some idea of how the waterway have got in there
 

scotts90ranger

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If it was a quart above the fill plug there's water in there.

How deep of a water crossing are you talking? The axle vent from the factory was a question mark shaped hose on the top of the pumpkin, if that fell off over the years that could be where the water came from assuming you were at least a few inches above that in water. Aside from that there shouldn't be much for water to get in through, unless it has a suspension lift with a "drop plate" for the passenger side beam pivot and a hole got poked in the pumpkin.
 

scotts90ranger

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As for how to drain it, it's kinda a pain, the "easy" way would be to get some cheap hose and a gallon jar, take some 3/8" hose (the clear stuff from the hardware store will work fine) and put about a 3' section and drill a hole in the lid for the jar so the hose pushes in tightly (if it's loose, some electrical tape around it will work) then take a longer section and go to some vacuum source on the engine (like the vacuum booster hose, I think that's 3/8" too) and do the same with putting that in the lid of the jar. now with both hoses about 1/2" in the lid and the lid on the jar, parking brake on (or in park, whatever ya gotta do to be safe) start the engine and now you have a vacuum canister to collect the oil, stick the loose end in the diff and suck the oil out.
 

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If the differential is full of milky gear oil and water, I would pull the son of a gun out and give it a good look over. It’s a bit of wrenching to pull the front diff off, I feel it’s not as bad as many say it is. That diff may need new seals and bearings, if anything is rusted up.

It’s also a good opportunity to throw a locker in it!
 

ericbphoto

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If the differential is full of milky gear oil and water, I would pull the son of a gun out and give it a good look over. It’s a bit of wrenching to pull the front diff off, I feel it’s not as bad as many say it is. That diff may need new seals and bearings, if anything is rusted up.

It’s also a good opportunity to throw a locker in it!
I agree. The prudent thing would be to open it up and thoroughly clean and inspect gears, bearings, etc.
 

scotts90ranger

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Tire Size
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ok, fine, apply logic... it could definitely be a diff bearing or a rusty spider gear making noise

It's been a while (like a long while, 2010 ish) since I've had a D35 TTB diff out but I think it's almost easiest to take the whole beam out, jack the thing up, jack stands under the frame up front with tire off, loosen the coil spring retainer nut with a 1 1/8" socket, take the shock off at the radius arm, remove brake caliper, take one of the sway bar bolts out on the drivers side, loosen the radius arm nut (again, 1 1/8"), take the weight off the coil, remove the pivot bolt then the whole beam should fall out for the most part, you will probably have to cut the stepless clamp off of the boot for the passenger side axle so it will separate there.

While you have it apart, do yourself a favor and go to Home Depot and go to the weedeater section and get a Ryobi cutter head spring, it should fit over the male splines at the boot in the passenger shaft, put that spring inside the boot on the small side to push on the female spline part then throw away the C clip on the spider gear for that axle shaft... makes servicing WAY easier and is $3...
 


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