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AEV Differential Cover Install

Posted in How To: Transmission Drivetrain on May 25, 2015
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After armor plating our JK’s underbelly from stem to stern, we felt like we were prepared for whatever Mother Nature could throw at us on the trail. However, a recent trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California brought to light a few vulnerable areas that we clearly overlooked, like the factory differential covers and protecting the rear driveshaft’s factory CV joint or aftermarket U-joint.

Over time, the lower lips on the front and rear factory differential covers can take a beating. Dragging your pumpkins over granite eventually deforms the hardened housing, which, in turn, creates small openings in the RTV seal that allows the gear oil to escape. We noticed a spot on the driveway that led us to find a leaking differential. Fortunately, we caught the leak in time, ensuring we didn’t lose enough gear oil to cook the ring-and-pinion.

The AEV differential covers offer an oversized fluid port, along with two fluid check ports, depending if it’s bolted up to the front or rear axle. Next to each fluid check port there’s a recessed “F” for front and “R” for rear, which leaves out any guessing on maintaining fluid levels.

Recently, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) designed a unique differential cover for the front and rear Dana 44 axles that are found on the ’07-present Jeep JK Wranglers. These new covers offer a JK-specific front and rear fluid level check points and an oversized fluid fill opening. To combat the granite rubs and scrapes, the bottom-half edge of the cover is beefed up with recessed hardware.

Next, we bolted up AEV’s JK rear differential skid plate. This product is a no-brainer. If you’ve ever high centered your rear axle on a rock or downed tree, you know that one wrong move might mean your U-joint is “snap-city.” With the diff skid plate, there’s nothing to get hung up on and your U-joint remains protected by a 1⁄4 inch of steel.

Installation was a snap and took only about two hours for the diff covers and less than ten minutes to bolt up the rear differential skid plate. These products are all proudly made in the USA. Here’s how it worked out.

This is the most important step of the process and will ensure that your differential cover will not leak room-temperature vulcanization silicone sealant. Make sure that the face of ring-and-pinion housing is completely dry before joining the AEV differential cover to the housing or leaks will likely occur. This is the most important step of the process and will ensure that your differential cover will not leak room-temperature vulcanization silicone sealant. Make sure that the face of ring-and-pinion housing is completely dry before joining the AEV differential cover to the housing or leaks will likely occur.
Try this with other differential covers and you are likely to pour most of the oil on the ground. The AEV fluid fill opening is located towards the top of the cover and is large enough to pour fluids directly from the bottle. Plus, without removing the covers, you can peer into the fill port to view any problems with the rear or front differential. Try this with other differential covers and you are likely to pour most of the oil on the ground. The AEV fluid fill opening is located towards the top of the cover and is large enough to pour fluids directly from the bottle. Plus, without removing the covers, you can peer into the fill port to view any problems with the rear or front differential.
In this view, you can see the stout crossmembers on the inside of the differential housing skidplate, looking from front to back. We’ve since dragged them across granite boulders on our last trip to the Rubicon trail and only received etch marks and no dents. In this view, you can see the stout crossmembers on the inside of the differential housing skidplate, looking from front to back. We’ve since dragged them across granite boulders on our last trip to the Rubicon trail and only received etch marks and no dents.
Never hang up your rear differential housing on an obstacle again. The 1⁄4-inch-thick-steel JK differential skid plate cradles and fully protects the factory CV joint or aftermarket U-Joint from serious damage. Installation is as easy as tightening six bolts. Never hang up your rear differential housing on an obstacle again. The 1⁄4-inch-thick-steel JK differential skid plate cradles and fully protects the factory CV joint or aftermarket U-Joint from serious damage. Installation is as easy as tightening six bolts.

Sources

American Expedition Vehicles
Wixom, MI 48393
248-926-0256
www.aev-conversions.com

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