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Looking for help with 90 LBJ failure damage and rear axle swap.


New Member
Jun 6, 2023
Country Flag
Hey I’m brand new here, I’ve got a 2001 3.4 90 series and I really need some help getting it back on the road.

First, one of the axle mounts for the upper support arm busted right after I bought it due to rust so I went ahead and found a used axle in great condition and slapped it in. The problem is, I didn’t even notice the original axle has no diff locker, the new one does.

Second, I had the passenger side lower ball joint fail on me at about 80 k/h and there was a lot of damage, I replaced the cv, steering knuckle, brake caliper and ball joint, but I’m afraid there may have been more damage to the front differential. There was quite a lot of yellow oily fluid that came out when I pulled the cv and that didn’t seem right. Also at the time of the accident, after the car slid to a stop, there was some grinding noises seemingly coming from the transmission or front differential as I shifted into park. Now the 4x shifter is acting a bit funny as well.

Now that all these new parts are installed, I tested the drivetrain by starting it up and putting it in drive while its off the ground and there’s some weird things happening. The drivers front wheel seems to be getting all the power in Rwd, 4H, and 4L, which seems strange. The passenger front wheel that was damaged won’t spin at all, and the rear wheels don’t spin evenly or seem to get much power.

could there be an issue with the transfer case?
should I pull the front diff?
what can I do about the rear diff locker? is there a way to set it and forget it without having to wire it up?


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Jeepers, that's some bad luck with the axle and the ball-joint, I'd say you got some fright when that ball joint went. :astonished::grin:

I have read on here of the lower ball joints being an issue, apparently no play in them beforehand to indicate they might be about to fail cause of the way they're designed or such, apparently they want to separate or pull apart with the position they're in. I don't think they're that common to go though, at least I don't recall reading many threads like yours on here.

Is the 3.4L petrol?

I don't think the rear diff lock matters, if you just leave the electronic actuator in place with it's wires not connected obviously I don't think that'll be an issue, but maybe wait for confirmation from someone else too. :)

Can you turn the passenger front wheel by hand even?
Hey thanks for the response!

To make it even worse, I had read online about the LBJ problem with these 90’s before I bought it. I had the new ball joints sitting in my garage waiting for me to have the time to put them in when it happened. I felt so stupid, it could have caused a really bad accident.

Correct, 3.4 petrol.

I hope you’re right about the rear diff lock, something seems off though.

I can’t spin the passenger front but I’ve only tried spinning the rotor by hand, I should mount a wheel for more leverage and try again.
Was the replacement rear axle from a petrol ? The ratios are different on a diesel.
It is from a diesel, Could I put in a front diff from a diesel to match? Or swap internals in the rear from my old one?
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If the front diff is ok, then swapping the internals from your old rear one is probably the way to go.
Ok thanks.

Just an update, I am able to spin the passenger front wheel. Also I’ve noticed when I put it in park there is a Grinding noise that lasts for about a second that sounds like a gear slipping.
The ratios are different on a diesel.

Not necessarily so, depends on the axle code on the VIN plate. More the difference in manual and auto. A front diff I bought off TonyToyota when he was breaking his Collie VX diesel auto was the same ratio as my V6 Collie GX. This I passed on to another member who fitted it into his GX diesel auto Collie.
If its an auto then the axle code should be A02 whether V6 or diesel, you will need to check.
Apologies if wrong info given. If still on axle there is a white sticker, The R16 is 4.100 the R17 is 4.300
Thanks guys!

The new rear axle has no sticker or other markings but I looked up the vin of the vehicle it came out of and it was indeed a manual.