Q: Rear pinion has a lot of play in it.

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I have a 2000 Jeep Cherokee Sport with a Chrysler 8.25 axle in the back. I was driving it when it started making this god awful noise in the back. It happened over 10 mph and when I was braking or just coasting. When I was accelerating it stopped. I took the drive shaft off and checked the U-Joints which were good. When I pulled on the rear pinion it wiggled a lot with barely any effort. I removed the pinion yoke and the seals but that's as far as I could get by myself. What could be causing the rear pinion to move around and how could I fix it?? Thank you so much in advance!!

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The pinion engages with a ring gear and the other end of the pinion is supported on a tapered roller bearing. If there is any radial play in the pinion itself, there is a problem with the bearing and/or the engagement with the ring gear. If indeed there is an internal mechanical breakage or bearing fault, the rear axle will have to be completely disassembled. Re-assembly requires careful attention to backlash, preload, bearing and shim adjustments and you need a bearing press if you are replacing the bearing. Before doing anything, and to simply confirm that disassembly will be required, you should request a noise diagnostic. If it is determined that the axle will have to be disassembled and repaired, in some locales certified Mechanics dispatched by YourMechanic are equipped for such major on location repairs so you should inquire based on your locale.

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