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Axle Temp Gauge Project #5414621 04/27/20 12:49 PM
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The weather and life in general finally aligned and I was able to complete my project. After playing contortionist under the dash for several hours, my back is reminding me that I am still alive. cry


All in all, it was not an overly difficult task and my fish tape paid off in spades again as I routed the ¼” loom covered sensor wiring through the frame securing the loom with tie-wraps to the rear axle vent tube and the lower fan shroud housing above the front axle. I used the rubber firewall boot on the passenger side to pass the wires into the interior. Power was pulled from the ignition/accessory wire (pink/orange) in the upfitter wire pack under the dash and I tapped into the ambient lighting wiring in the passenger footwell, to provide the gauge lighting. A ½” hole was bored by hand using a drill bit to pass the wiring from under the dash to the gauge cups.


Speaking of the dash, it was necessary to remove the glovebox, the front bezel (it has the start stop button in it), and the 8.4” LCD panel to gain access to the space behind to route the wires. This trim tool kit was invaluable to removing everything without breaking anything (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RRNDBYG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)


Each sensor has two wires (power and ground) and the gauges require three (power, ground, and illumination) so there are total of 5 wires in the red & black braided loom (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075VR7ZQS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) going into each the gauge cups.


I had considered fabricating some protection plates for the sensors (using the axle cover screws to mount them), but the sensors are fairly high up and tucked behind some of the suspension components so they may not be needed. I have a new Metal Cloak covers coming so I may look into that after I have them mounted. The temperatures sensors are mounted directly into the gear oil splash stream and they work very well thus far. I can confirm the ring gears do not turn in the front axle because it has not registered any temperatures at this point and I know the gauge is working.


The rear temperature when to 160°F during a 75+ MPH dash for about 20 minutes. I will see how the temperatures fare on a road trip whenever the lock down is over. At any rate, I am very happy with the results and like the aesthetics of the installation.


Enjoy!


Rear Axle Cover:
[Linked Image from iili.io]

Front Axle Cover:

[Linked Image from iili.io]


[Linked Image from iili.io]

[Linked Image from iili.io]

[Linked Image from iili.io]


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414637 04/27/20 01:06 PM
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wings&wheels Online Content
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Nice job there, those are fun little projects. Did you have to drill for the sensors or were there existing ports?


'05 Lotus Elise S/C
'85 Land Rover 90 diesel
'74 Triumph TR6
'74 BMW 2002
'72 Land Rover Series III 88"
'99 Porsche 996
'01 Porsche Boxster S (mostly Wife's...)
'19 VW Golf R (Wife's)
Piper Pa28-236


Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: wings&wheels] #5414641 04/27/20 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wings&wheels
Nice job there, those are fun little projects. Did you have to drill for the sensors or were there existing ports?
I welded in some 1/8" NPT steel bungs. See this post:

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/foru...-rubicon-axle-oc-5-000-miles#Post5282088

The Metal Cloak covers are 5/8" thick nodular iron, so I may simply drill and tap those instead of welding/brazing on steel bungs.


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414642 04/27/20 01:15 PM
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racin4ds Offline
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I've never seen the need for axle temp on a street vehicle, were you just bored and had excess cash laying around? or do you honestly see a need for this? I can think of a whole host of other critical things I'd want to monitor....

Also you do realize with the sensor being at the top, you aren't getting actual fluid temp being the sumps are usually only about 1/2 full...

Last edited by racin4ds; 04/27/20 01:17 PM.

Just say NO to thin oils and M1!
05 F350 Powerstroke
05 Hyundai Tucson
'13 Passat TDi SE+Nav
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414653 04/27/20 01:25 PM
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wings&wheels Online Content
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I think he'll get good temps when the diffs are spinning...


'05 Lotus Elise S/C
'85 Land Rover 90 diesel
'74 Triumph TR6
'74 BMW 2002
'72 Land Rover Series III 88"
'99 Porsche 996
'01 Porsche Boxster S (mostly Wife's...)
'19 VW Golf R (Wife's)
Piper Pa28-236


Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: racin4ds] #5414656 04/27/20 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by racin4ds
I've never seen the need for axle temp on a street vehicle, were you just bored and had excess cash laying around? or do you honestly see a need for this? I can think of a whole host of other critical things I'd want to monitor....Also you do realize with the sensor being at the top, you aren't getting actual fluid temp being the sumps are usually only about 1/2 full...
FCA reduced the oil capacity by at least 50% with the new Dana 44 axles versus the previous version (it has a total capacity of 1.6QTs) and the UOA at 5K was the worst one I have ever seen and the 10K UOA was not much better. With such a low capacity of the sump, I want to know what the axle temps are while on extended runs.

Why would I not be measuring the actual axle fluid temperatures? The probe is directly in the oil being slung over the ring gear towards the pinion gear. Mag-Hytec has their temperature probes in about the same location so I am curious why you do not think I am measuring the fluid temperature.


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414692 04/27/20 01:59 PM
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Dave9 Offline
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Even if the temp sensor is a few degrees lower than the hottest spot, it should still provide an increasing temp readout that either feeds paranoia, or reminds to change the fluid often enough to feel like you did what you could, but if it's really bad enough that you can't go 5K mi, that is going to be a problem eventually unless you take even more elaborate measures.

Have you looked into whether there is a finned diff cover for that to aid in cooling? Does it have a drain plug? I'd want that even more than the temp sensor if you're going to be changing fluid at crazy short intervals.

Last edited by Dave9; 04/27/20 02:01 PM.
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414763 04/27/20 03:16 PM
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Zaedock Offline
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When I saw your other post on adding/welding the bungs to the Metalcloak diff covers, I didn't realize you already had this set up in the existing Dana 44 covers.

It looks good, but I'm curious, as you said you won't be rock crawling, why would you buy $200+ covers designed for off road bashing, and then install compromising sensors that take away from the covers? Why not just stick with the Dana covers? If you're not rock crawling, what's the difference?

It's your coin, but as a hardcore wheeler, I'm curious. Thanks man.


2019 Escape EB AWD/2016 KIA Optima SXL 2.0L Turbo/2012 F150 Ex-cab 5.0L
1992 YJ "The Heep"/2015 Chrysler 200 Limited
1975 Ford Bronco/1959 Willys CJ5/Tube Rock crawler
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414767 04/27/20 03:22 PM
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Be careful of aftermarket cooling diff covers. The simplest looking stock diff covers fit closely to the ring and movement creates a pumping action up the cover that cools and flows oil to the carrier bearings. Aftermarket covers with square box higher capacity or cooling fins do not create the pumping action and the bearings are not bathed in oil properly.

160 degrees sounds really hot under low load cruising. Methinks something is going on in there. Heat = friction ...maybe pinion depth is off? My old ford pinion depth was off brand new and you could hear it at certain speeds. Took in for warranty and they would only change fluid. Just after warranty the bearings gave up.

Last edited by Kawiguy454; 04/27/20 03:25 PM.
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: Dave9] #5414778 04/27/20 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave9
Even if the temp sensor is a few degrees lower than the hottest spot, it should still provide an increasing temp readout that either feeds paranoia, or reminds to change the fluid often enough to feel like you did what you could, but if it's really bad enough that you can't go 5K mi, that is going to be a problem eventually unless you take even more elaborate measures. Have you looked into whether there is a finned diff cover for that to aid in cooling? Does it have a drain plug? I'd want that even more than the temp sensor if you're going to be changing fluid at crazy short intervals.
It is my hope that (sooner than later) the wear metals will wind down so that I can extend the OCI out quite a bit. I changed the fluid at 5K, but did not change at 10K (only sampled). The covers for this new D44 axle are limited and I have not seen any of them which are finned and since those are typically aluminum, it would not be a good choice for off-roading. I have two Metal Cloak covers coming (5/8" thick nodular iron), but they do not increase the capacity nor do any of the others I have seen on the market.

Both axles do have drain plugs so the R&R is simple, though they also have silicon metal embedded gaskets so pulling the covers is not a big deal. I have skid plates to install on both axles because the drain plugs are underneath and a few on the Jeep forums have knocked it out by hitting/landing on a rock while off-roading. The covers and skid-plates will be installed after drilling/tapping/power coating in the near future.


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: Kawiguy454] #5414787 04/27/20 03:54 PM
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Zaedock Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawiguy454
160 degrees sounds really hot under low load cruising. Methinks something is going on in there. Heat = friction ...maybe pinion depth is off? My old ford pinion depth was off brand new and you could hear it at certain speeds. Took in for warranty and they would only change fluid. Just after warranty the bearings gave up.


160*F is a normal temp for a Dana 44.

Typical oil capacity for a standard Dana 44 is about 1.9qts.


2019 Escape EB AWD/2016 KIA Optima SXL 2.0L Turbo/2012 F150 Ex-cab 5.0L
1992 YJ "The Heep"/2015 Chrysler 200 Limited
1975 Ford Bronco/1959 Willys CJ5/Tube Rock crawler
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: Kawiguy454] #5414789 04/27/20 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawiguy454
Be careful of aftermarket cooling diff covers. The simplest looking stock diff covers fit closely to the ring and movement creates a pumping action up the cover that cools and flows oil to the carrier bearings. Aftermarket covers with square box higher capacity or cooling fins do not create the pumping action and the bearings are not bathed in oil properly.

160 degrees sounds really hot under low load cruising. Methinks something is going on in there. Heat = friction ...maybe pinion depth is off? My old ford pinion depth was off brand new and you could hear it at certain speeds. Took in for warranty and they would only change fluid. Just after warranty the bearings gave up.

None of the covers for the D44 axles in the late model Jeeps are "flat back"; all of them mimic the shape of the OEM so no issues there. I am not sure 160°F is abnormal (yet); I had much higher temperatures (200+) when towing in my Fords and those had double and nearly triple the fluid capacity. I have a 7 year unlimited mileage warranty so if I need to exercise it, it is there. From what I have seen, FCA is fairly stupid to have lowered the capacity in the quest for increased MPG (it's a box with 4.10 gears running down the highway--do we really think the rear axle oil viscosity/capacity is going to impact MPG?) .

They even specify 75W-140 for towing, and yet my Rubicon (with the towing package) came with 80W-90 in it. Hopefully, the wear metals will settle down and I now have a way to watch the axle temperatures to see what is happening there. I have not been able to find any data on "what is normal" for these new D44 axles, but I keep looking for it. I may have to hit Dana up and see if they will tell me, but since the final design/specification was FCA, they may not be willing.


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: 2015_PSD] #5414813 04/27/20 04:22 PM
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zeng Offline
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160*F is a bit too high in your context .
A higher viscosity grade (or two) gear oil is required ,if it's mine .

Last edited by zeng; 04/27/20 04:23 PM.
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: zeng] #5414823 04/27/20 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by zeng
160*F is a bit too high in your context .
A higher viscosity grade (or two) gear oil is required ,if it's mine .


Two higher viscosity grades for driving around town?!?!?!

160*F is normal for a Dana 44. When it gets some miles on her, she'll even drop down a bit.


2019 Escape EB AWD/2016 KIA Optima SXL 2.0L Turbo/2012 F150 Ex-cab 5.0L
1992 YJ "The Heep"/2015 Chrysler 200 Limited
1975 Ford Bronco/1959 Willys CJ5/Tube Rock crawler
Re: Axle Temp Gauge Project [Re: zeng] #5414847 04/27/20 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by zeng
160*F is a bit too high in your context .
A higher viscosity grade (or two) gear oil is required ,if it's mine .

Zeng - it has Amsoil 75W-140 in it; not much higher that I can go :P


2019 o)|||||(o Rubicon Wrangler Unlimited 3.6L V6 [Castrol Edge + Ultra]
2018 Mercedes Benz C300 2.0L Turbo [Pennzoil Platinum + Mann filter]
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