Jeep Axle Differential Identifier

The differential is a mechanism which allows the wheels to spin at different speeds, making it especially useful for smooth cornering on the roads—or for crawling between rocks and mud slicks on Sunday drives in your Jeep.

Just as this piece of machinery is incredibly important, it’s also important to have the right parts when you set down to work on your Jeep’s differential. After all, the last thing you want is to get elbow deep into your project only to realize that you have the wrong parts. 

How do you identify it?

There are two ways to discern one differential from the rest. The first way is to use the axle numbers. This can come either in the form of an axle tag which is bolted onto the axle via the differential bolts, or via an axle stamp pressed into the differential cover itself. This method has one unfortunate downside: axle numbers don’t always survive the years of flying grit and weather due to your love of off-roading. Luckily, there’s another way.

If your axle numbers aren’t legible, you can always tell what differential your rig is equipped with by simply examining the differential itself. This can be broken down by the distinctive shape of the cover, the number of cover bolts, the number of ring gear bolts, and the ring gear diameter. For instance, a differential cover could be an integral design or it could be a dropout design, otherwise known as a ‘pumpkin.’ Knowing how to identify your differential by sight alone is a keen skill to hone, especially if you prefer to take the rocky path less traveled; you never know when a poorly-placed obstacle is going to have you spending next weekend taking your differential apart. 

For some examples of popular differentials, take a look at the images below. Once you’ve identified your differential and start looking for parts, Morris 4x4 has got you covered.