Jeep Cherokee (XJ): Description and operation

8 1/4 Axle

DESCRIPTION

The 8 1/4 inch axle housings consist of a cast iron center section with axle tubes extending from either side. The tubes are pressed into and welded to the differential housing to form a one-piece axle housing (Fig. 1).

The axles have a vent hose to relieve internal pressure caused by lubricant vaporization and internal expansion.

The axles are equipped with semi-floating axle shafts, meaning vehicle loads are supported by the axle shaft and bearings. The axle shafts are retained by C-locks in the differential side gears.

The removable, stamped steel cover provides a means for inspection and service without removing the complete axle from the vehicle.

The 8 1/4 axle have a date tag and a gear ratio tag.

The tags are attached to the differential housing by a cover bolt.

The differential case is a one-piece design. The differential pinion mate shaft is retained with a threaded pin. Differential bearing preload and ring gear backlash are set and maintained by threaded adjusters at the outside of the differential housing.

Pinion bearing preload is set and maintained by the use of a collapsible spacer.

Axles equipped with a Trac-Loky differential are optional. A Trac-Lok differential has a one-piece differential case, and the same internal components as a standard differential, plus two clutch disc packs.

AXLE IDENTIFICATION

The axle differential cover can be used for identification of the axle (Fig. 2). A tag is also attached to the cover.

OPERATION

The axle receives power from the transmission/ transfer case through the rear propeller shaft. The rear propeller shaft is connected to the pinion gear which rotates the differential through the gear mesh with the ring gear bolted to the differential case. The engine power is transmitted to the axle shafts through the pinion mate and side gears. The side gears are splined to the axle shafts.

Fig. 1 8 1/4 Axle
Fig. 1 8 1/4 Axle

Fig. 2 Differential Cover 8 1/4 Inch Axle
Fig. 2 Differential Cover 8 1/4 Inch Axle

1 - DIFFERENTIAL COVER
2 - IDENTIFICATION TAG
3 - PUSH-IN FILL PLUG
4 - DATE TAG

Lubricant

DESCRIPTION

Multi-purpose, hypoid gear lubricant should be used for rear axles with a standard differential. The lubricant should have a MIL-L-2105C and API GL 5 quality specifications.

Trac-Lok differentials require the addition of 4 oz.

of friction modifier to the axle lubricant after service.

The 8 1/4 axle lubricant capacity is 2.08 L (4.4 pts.) total, including the friction modifier, if necessary.

CAUTION: If the rear axle is submerged in water, the lubricant must be replaced immediately. Avoid the possibility of premature axle failure resulting from water contamination of the lubricant.

Standard differential

DESCRIPTION

The differential gear system divides the torque between the axle shafts. It allows the axle shafts to rotate at different speeds when turning corners.

Each differential side gear is splined to an axle shaft. The pinion gears are mounted on a pinion mate shaft and are free to rotate on the shaft. The pinion gear is fitted in a bore in the differential case and is positioned at a right angle to the axle shafts.

OPERATION

In operation, power flow occurs as follows:

  •  The pinion gear rotates the ring gear
  •  The ring gear (bolted to the differential case) rotates the case
  •  The differential pinion gears (mounted on the pinion mate shaft in the case) rotate the side gears
  •  The side gears (splined to the axle shafts) rotate the shafts

During straight-ahead driving, the differential pinion gears do not rotate on the pinion mate shaft. This occurs because input torque applied to the gears is divided and distributed equally between the two side gears. As a result, the pinion gears revolve with the pinion mate shaft but do not rotate around it (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3 Differential Operation-Straight Ahead Driving
Fig. 3 Differential Operation-Straight Ahead Driving

1 - IN STRAIGHT AHEAD DRIVING EACH WHEEL ROTATES AT 100% OF CASE SPEED
2 - PINION GEAR
3 - SIDE GEAR
4 - PINION GEARS ROTATE WITH CASE

When turning corners, the outside wheel must travel a greater distance than the inside wheel to complete a turn. The difference must be compensated for to prevent the tires from scuffing and skidding through turns. To accomplish this, the differential allows the axle shafts to turn at unequal speeds (Fig.

4). In this instance, the input torque applied to the pinion gears is not divided equally. The pinion gears now rotate around the pinion mate shaft in opposite directions. This allows the side gear and axle shaft attached to the outside wheel to rotate at a faster speed.

Fig. 4 Differential Operation-On Turns
Fig. 4 Differential Operation-On Turns

1 - PINION GEARS ROTATE ON PINION SHAFT

Trac-lok differential

DESCRIPTION

In a standard differential, if one wheel spins, the opposite wheel will generate only as much torque as the spinning wheel.

In the Trac-loky differential, part of the ring gear torque is transmitted through clutch packs which contain multiple discs. The clutches will have radial grooves on the plates, and concentric grooves on the discs or bonded fiber material that is smooth in appearance.

OPERATION

In operation, the Trac-loky clutches are engaged by two concurrent forces. The first being the preload force exerted through Belleville spring washers within the clutch packs. The second is the separating forces generated by the side gears as torque is applied through the ring gear (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5 Trac-lokY Limited Slip Differential Operation
Fig. 5 Trac-lokY Limited Slip Differential Operation

1 - CASE
2 - RING GEAR
3 - DRIVE PINION
4 - PINION GEAR
5 - MATE SHAFT
6 - CLUTCH PACK
7 - SIDE GEAR
8 - CLUTCH PACK

The Trac-loky design provides the differential action needed for turning corners and for driving straight ahead during periods of unequal traction.

When one wheel looses traction, the clutch packs transfer additional torque to the wheel having the most traction. Trac-loky differentials resist wheel spin on bumpy roads and provide more pulling power when one wheel looses traction. Pulling power is provided continuously until both wheels loose traction. If both wheels slip due to unequal traction, Trac-loky operation is normal. In extreme cases of differences of traction, the wheel with the least traction may spin.

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