April 3

2016 Jeep Cherokee Rear Axle Seal



Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Remarkable Speaking. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience because they've won 24 times. Best auto repair in Vancouver is voted by their customers. We're talking cars. How you doing Bernie?  

Bernie: Doing well. 

Mark: 2010 Jeep Cherokee. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: It's a 2016 Jeep Cherokee. Yeah, so this this vehicle came to our shop with a couple of concerns, but one of 'em was a fluid leak in the rear. And we found that the left rear axle seal coming out of the differential is leaking fluid. 

Mark: Any special testing, diagnosis or inspection that you need to do to determine the exact issue? What was going on? 

Bernie: For this case, no. Just a basic visual inspection was all we really needed. Usually something like an axle seal from a differential is usually pretty straightforward to find. There's basically three or four spots on a differential you can get a fluid leak. One is the pinion seal, the other are the two axle side seals. And if it has a cover you know, there can be a leak from a cover. So those are usually all pretty apparent with a quick visual inspection. So we're able to determine that was the cause. 

Mark: So what led the owner to come in with that issue? Was it a warning light? Did they actually see the leak themselves? 

Bernie: You know, I'm not sure. I believe this client had been to our shop before, and it might be something that we'd actually noted and recommended from a previous inspection.

I can't really say for sure. But it wasn't leaking so badly that it was leaking puddles on the ground and usually differentials don't leak to that extent. If they do, that's a pretty severe leak for a differential. A lot of times if it's like pinion seal, which is probably the most common leak from a differential, it'll end up spraying fluid around underneath the vehicle.

But it usually never drips onto the ground unless it's really bad. And, you know, if you do have a vehicle that's got a diff leak that's actually dripping on the ground best to get it fixed really soon. Because there isn't a lot of fluid in a differential. So if you run out and I've actually seen a differential that had no fluid in it, disintegrate.

It was very interesting when I took it apart, it was basically just powder, a bunch of broken gears and powder inside, literally no oil. It's not a good thing. This is a long time ago and I'm diverting myself, but I dunno how long this person had driven before, you know, to actually have no actual oil in the differential. Like the oil had basically evaporated. Probably from heat, but yeah, you never wanna get to that point. So yeah, back to the Jeep Cherokee. 

Mark: So what's the repair procedure for replacing this seal? 

Bernie: So basically you have to remove the axle shaft. This is an independent rear suspension vehicle, so you have to remove the axle shaft from the differential.

And then this is where this vehicle's a little interesting. It's got this little stub axle that sits inside the differential. So there's kind of an extra little axle that has to be removed with a special tool. So let's have a quick look at a picture here. 

2016 Jeep Cherokee Rear Axle Seal

So this is the differential with the stub axle removed. And this is the seal that was leaking, that we replaced. It's a quick little picture show we have here. So again, there's the differential. You can see the right hand wheel over on the other. 

2016 Jeep Cherokee Rear Axle Seal

And this is a tool we use to remove the little stub axle. So it requires, it actually requires a slide hammer to pull this little shaft out. It's held in with a little circlip. I'm not sure why they do this, as opposed to just putting the axle shaft straight into the differential, which a lot of vehicles do. But for some reason, they chose to do this. 

So it's a little bearing knife that we just put on this little cutout here and pop the axle out. Clean all this piece up, and then put it all back in. So that's basically it. 

Mark: Were there any other parts that needed to be replaced at the same time? 

Bernie: No, that's all that needed to be done. Actually, I'll just get back to this picture show real quick. So sometimes you can't really see it too well, but I'm moving my mouse point around here, you can see the shiny part here. Behind this, this is kind of a little dust cup that keeps dust and dirt from getting onto the seal. Because you get dirt onto the seal, of course, then it can get in and start grinding the seal away.

2016 Jeep Cherokee Rear Axle Seal

But sometimes the shaft that rubs against the seal can get worn, you can get a groove worn in it. So sometimes you would actually have to replace this piece if there's an extreme groove. Or you can actually get little repair sleeves. It's kind of a neat specialty item and you hammer the sleeve over top of the shaft and it enlarges it slightly maybe by a 10th of a millimitre or something. 

There's a very thin sleeve, but it actually takes that groove away and allows the seal to work properly. It's a repair sleeve. It's kind of a neat invention. They make 'em for all sorts of sizes of shafts and it's a good money saver cuz sometimes you'd have to replace a very expensive component. I don't imagine this thing is too expensive, but the sleeve is a good thing for many applications.

Mark: What are the differences between Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this particular, this 2016, this is actually a front wheel drive platform vehicle, whereas a Grand Cherokee is a completely different designed vehicle. It's more of a rear wheel drive with the front wheel drive and four wheel drive is kind of an add-on.

Whereas this one, it's a front wheel drive vehicle with the rear being sort of the add-on, if that makes any sense. Predominantly front wheel drive. So it's a different vehicle. Now, I actually did a little research because it seemed like there was a time when Chrysler stopped selling Jeep Cherokees, and I couldn't quite get the timeframe right.

But I know there was a certain point in around the 2000s where they just thought Cherokees just weren't sold anymore. But when I looked on Wikipedia, they seemed to list them as being continuously produced, but it seemed like at some point in, around the late 90s, early 2000s, they stopped making Cherokees.

But now, you know, since 2013, they redesigned them and with this particular design, it's a Fiat Chrysler design. So different engines. Different engines, than you'd get in a Cherokee, quite a different vehicle actually. Whereas in the olden days, the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee would share some of the same engines, at least up to the four litre.

The Grand Cherokee, they'd have V8s and larger engines. The Grand Cherokee's become a real, luxury SUV vehicle. Sometimes rated as the worst gas guzzler available that the money can buy, which is not far from the truth, but people like them.

Mark: So how reliable, you work on a lot of these vehicles or some of these vehicles, they're not that popular, the Jeep Cherokees, but how reliable are 2016 Jeep Cherokees? 

Bernie: They seem to be pretty good. As I said, we're just starting to see a few of them come into our shop of the actual Cherokees and so far they seem to be pretty good. We don't see any major problems with them.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Jeeps in Vancouver, the guys to see, the experts to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com, or you can call (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. You have to book ahead. They're always busy. Pawlik Automotive. Thanks so much for watching and listening. Thanks Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark. Thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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