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Your Jeep’s axle is an essential part of the drivetrain, as its differential is the last checkpoint for rotational energy between the engine and the wheels. While working your differential, it is absolutely crucial that you tighten all of the bolts and gears to the EXACT specifications laid out by the manufacturer. Below is a handy guide of some of the most popular axle configurations and their torque specs.

But first, a little background on each area covered and exactly why having the proper torque matters.

Cover Bolts: Proper cover torque is imperative, having the cover too loose could allow shifting, and too tight could lead to warping or, in the case of an aluminum cover, cracking. This torque will vary, based on the material used and the axle type.

Pinion Bearing Preload and Pinion Nut: Tension placed on the pinion gear’s tapered bearings is known as the pinion bearing preload. This is measured using a collapsible spacer, called a crush sleeve, placed between the bearings. Tightening the pinion nut to its proper torque will give you the preload.

Ring Gear Backlash: This is the distance of clearance between the mating gear teeth in your differential. Its purpose is to prevent potential binding up of the gears and to allow a thin film of oil to coat each tooth.

Ring Gear Bolts to Case: These bolts must undergo a lot of torque from the spinning differential. Too tight or too lose could throw off the balance of this critical piece of machinery.

Side Bearing Caps: The side bearings are tapered bearings that allow the differential case to spin freely inside the differential carrier. Adjusted too tight and they could overheat and alter the temper of the metal, resulting in further problems down the trail. Too loose and the whole differential case could move and cause damage to internal components.
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