Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:58 pm

Imagine my subtle disappointment last night when I pressed the axle bearings off and found this mess lurking under the left side race.
Image

Some prior monkey had used a cutoff wheel to cut a previous bearing race off of the axle shaft and gouged whole hog into the shaft. Rookie mistake.

Two schools of thought: (1) the PO was wheeling 35 inch tires and didn't break it, he broke the spider gears instead, so go ahead and run it (two of my mechanically minded coworkers were fine with this approach) and (2) if it does break the fact that it is a non-C-clip style axle really will not make a difference; it will break right in the axle bearing and the wheel would most likely part ways with the vehicle; do it once, do it right, you're in this deep already. I found a replacement listing on Amazon for $153 w/free shipping, so I think I am going that way, but it could take a week to get here. :NC
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby Philip » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:49 pm

Its already apart. I would replace it.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby u-turnwilson » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:33 am

I wouldn't worry about the cut weakening your axle,that is not where it would brake ,they twist off the splined end when they fail. U-TURN.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby aggie79 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:06 pm

Hi KC,

Sorry to hear about the twists of fate. If you're like me I'm on the wrong side ($) of these almost every time.

I'm back on the mainland and still following this thread with rapt attention.

Take care,
Tom


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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:00 pm

Thanks guys. I too have mixed thoughts on replacing the axle, but have ordered (what I hope is correct) the axle from an e-bay dealer; an Omix-ada stock replacement. There was a great deal of confusion on my part due to the way they are listed. Most postings show the axle with wheel studs, retainer plates, seals and bearings, however, there is a large cost difference between the assembly and the bare axle shaft. There also is a big difference in listings for Rubicons and non-Rubicons. Some suppliers list separately for TJ’s and Wranglers, which is just dumb because all 2003 (my year Jeep) and 2004 (the reputed year for the axle assembly) of this type are both Wranglers and TJ’s; the model differences are Sport, X, Unlimited (long wheel base), and Rubicon (or some variation thereof). Essentially what we think of as a traditional military bred style of jeep is a Wrangler, and all models from 1997 to 2006 are TJ’s (coil sprung pre-JK). At least that is how I understand it.

So what I found was that most 2004 Rubicon axles were listed as having ABS and disc brakes. Disc brakes are correct but ABS, and the accompanying tone ring, with apparently longer spacing outboard of the wheel bearing, simply did not jive. As best that I could tell the ABS didn’t happen until after 2006 with the change coming with the 2007 JK. Mostly I found Rubicon listings approaching $340, whereas basic TJ D44 axles where listed down around $130-140; same 30 spline count, same 29.2 inch left rear length, same 5x4.5 bolt circle.

Anyway, after calling a few major suppliers, all of my local recyclers, looking on CL and e-bay for used, and cross referencing the Spicer assembly number and the Omix-Ada part numbers, I think I got what I need… except it won’t be here until a week from Monday (ack!).

So I can see how the rest of the build goes and make a decision as to whether to assemble the “bad” axle for temporary use, spend more money for another set 10 axle bearing kit for the new axle, and have to pull the wheel and drum again to swap the axle; or spend more money to extend the rental car and do it right the first time.

Today I tried to stick the outer pinion bearing on with the old preload shims and found that the bearing is also a slight press fit on the pinion shaft (Karl and I had to tap the 5.13 pinion out of it so I don’t know why I thought this would be a slip fit and not require a separate setup bearing. I dug out the old Toyo brand bearing, did the lathe/grinder mod to it and got it to slip on cleanly; washed it out, wiped down the pinion again (after test fitting and handling under less than sterile conditions) and assembled with the old 1310 yoke.

The yoke wrench I made worked great, except it was a pain to go between bolting that up and checking the preload with the torque wrench. I ended up just clamping a 2x4 to the side of the yoke and letting it block against the saw horse that the rearend was setting on. This was quicker to install and remove, and did the job fine for the low level of torque needed to take up slack clearance. The heavy bolt on wrench will still be needed when it comes time to fully torque the pinion nut.

Using the previous pinion preload shim stack, but not really torquing the nut too much, but tight, I got to the point where there was no wink or slop, but also no drag (i.e. no running torque resistance); so I figured that I would have to remove some preload shims. (The manuals say to do this step w/o any preload shims, but I kind of wanted to get a feel for it with the original baseline.)

I decided to leave that be for now and do an initial check of the carrier; mostly to see if I was on track w/o the ring gear spacer. So in went the carrier with no shims. I got a consistent 0.152 inch thrust into the pinion. I could make it go more, but sensed that the carrier was starting to ride up on the pinion, lifting the opposite side race out of the saddle. Since I could get this to repeat, and could pretty much tell where the carrier started to ride up, I figured that was good for an initial check w/o installing the bearing caps. This was good news, in that it confirmed that the gear spacer would not be needed.

I measured the original shims again, this time using a 0-1 inch micrometer, and found that they were each .001 inch more than I had measured with the calipers. So .131 inch on the gear side and .141 on the opposite side. So if I swapped the .141 shim to the gear side and add a .011 shim from the kit I would get the recommended gear side preload (i.e. zero initial clearance; .141 + .011 = .152).

From before, the total thrust (less preload) was .258, so that means that the prior preload was actually about 0.014 inch (closer to the spec .015; .131 + .141 = .272; .272 - .258 = .014).

So if we subtract the .152 from the measured .258 total we get a .106 remainder on the opposite side (for zero preload). Add in the .015 desired preload and we are looking for a shim pack of .121.

In theory this preload spreads the housing equally, so we should get about .0075 clearance with the pinion after the carrier is forced down between the shims.

Not having a case spreader, not wanting to have to make one, and having read that you can force it by using a dead blow mallet, I decided to try it even though they recommend using the zero preload settings for setup.

Well, unlike the single individual shims that came out of the 5.13 gear setup, the shims included in the setup kit packs turned out to not be hardened; some were even galvanneal plated. We managed to put a pretty good gouge in one of them trying to get the carrier to tap in. Not only that, but they were also not the full dimension. Compared to the good hard steel shims they were more open on their ID, so would have less bearing surface under the cup race. Not sure how much, but I know that Timken specifies a minimum bearing support diameter; in other words, you have to adequately support the back of the cup and can’t just cheap out on these shims. I guess they weren’t any less than the area backed by the casting on the outer side of the saddles (which have a narrower land than adjacent to the saddles), but they just don’t seem to have the same quality as the larger hardened steel shims.

We figured we could get it to go, eventually, but decided to stop and work on the setup with zero preload.

The thinnest shim in the kit was about .005-.006, then .010-.011, then .015-.016, a couple at .025-.026, and two at .099-.100.

Attempting to set zero preload while splitting the difference in lash clearance, I backed off on the gear side shim to .141 + .005 for .146, and backed off on the opposite side to .099 + .011 for .110. This would still be about .004 preload, and was as close as I could get to balanced with the available shims w/o resorting to stacking a bunch of thinner ones (wanting to keep the thickest shim possible up against the bearing cups to avoid damaging them when “dropping” the carrier in).

The carrier went in much easier, but with some tapping. However, it was pretty clear that there was no lash or wink between the ring and pinion. The ring gear was tight and could not be easily turned, while the pinion could be turned but felt “notchy” in doing so. We decided that it couldn’t hurt to do an initial read with the marking compound to confirm what we suspected was a high pinion; and it was. The pattern on the drive side was running off the toe (inside diameter of ring gear) with the tell-tale wedge shape biased toward the flank (valley), while the coast side looked to be well centered between flank and face (tip of gear), but was also biased toward the toe.

(Required reading: Spicer Dana 44 Service Manual and Yukon Gear Installation Guide)

So that left me with the choice of not getting any further today, or knocking the inner pinion bearing cup race out of the housing and using the less desirable shims. I decided to call it and look and see if any of the shims in the D30 kit I had at home were the same (they weren’t). I could try to lap the good hard shim down, but keeping the faces parallel would be critical, and knowing how much to take would be trial and error.

Also need to reduce the pinion preload shims some, plus whatever I take away from the depth shim. We have a surface grinder at work with a magnetic table, so I can get Don to show me how to run that, but that will take time, as will sourcing more of the correct shims. Ultimately, once I figure out the final opposite side shim thickness I will grind the good .131 shim down to use instead of the unhardened stacked shims.

Arrgh. I suspect this is only the beginning, but hope that after just a couple of iterations things will fall into place… hopefully sooner rather than later.
KC
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:39 pm

Let’s get caught up with some pictures.

To remove the old axle bearings I used a bearing splitter (like this)…
Image

… to pinch in under the outside edge of the inner race, then set that up in the hydraulic press, because the bed on that press can be adjusted way down close to the floor to fit something as long as an axle. I much prefer using the arbor press whenever possible because it gives you a much better idea of how much effort you are using. There is no pressure gauge on the hydraulic press so it can be a bit more unforgiving; pump ‘til something moves, and if it doesn’t move easy it usually goes “bang”… loudly. If you’re lucky it goes bang and moves. If you are unlucky it goes bang and something breaks.

This time no troubles; just a few pumps, a small bang, and the bearings drifted right off.

Going back together, the other way, the setup fit in the arbor press just fine; so that’s what I used.
Image

Here you can see the press plate on the bottom (with various size openings); an old bearing race that was kicking around the press that fit loose over the axle but was very close in size to the new inner race; the new bearing already packed with grease; the axle seal slid up out of the way, also holding the drum brake style retainer plate out of the way; another slug of metal to span across the dished out area of the spigot where the wheel aligns; and the shaft of the press above that.
Image

Although I made sure that the old race used as a push tool fit easily over the axle (so as not to accidentally press it onto the axle), and it looked like the slot in the press plate was plenty big enough, the later turned out not to be true. The taper of the shaft pinched in the press plate just enough that I had to tamp the end of the axle on the wooden floor to pop it free from the plate again. Fortunately there were no gouges or marks, and the bearing was well seated. I used a little different setup for the retainer ring that gets pressed inside of the bearing (not shown). The next size slot in the wheel plate was too big for the spacer, so I used two big rectangular steel plates on edge under the spacer race to push the retaining collar on.

I wrapped the bearing in stretch wrap to keep it clean in the meantime.
Image

For the big wrench needed to hold the pinion yoke while torqueing the pinion nut to 225-250 lbs-ft, the old 1310 yoke that I’ll be using for setup has a slight taper between its shoulders and the land where the U-joint straps seat; so it can be seated up against the vertical leg of the angle and still clear the radius on the inside. However, the new 1330 yoke is much blockier, with straight shoulders, so in order have it be supported by the outer leg of the angle I had to mill a portion of the inside radius away.
Image
Image

Then I transferred the holes, drilled them and hole sawed the clearance hole for the socket wrench.

The research I did into finding more pinion bearing depth setting shims for under the head of the pinion (as opposed to under the race cup) suggested that, unless you have a single solid shim, stacked and/or thin shims can “squirm” around and potentially squeeze out, so the advice was to go ahead and put the shim(s) under the cup. But I figured if I could thin the good heavy shim down and still get away with just one solid shim, I would still prefer to keep it under the pinion. It just so happens that I have also been working on a gear head setup for a mixer drivetrain at work, and we were doing a double cone Timken bearing setup that required a custom ground shim to set the bearing pack free play; so I had the machinist show me how to run the surface grinder. It has a magnetic table to hold the part down, which oscillates back and forth under the spinning grindstone. Similar to a mill, there are hand crank wheels that set the depth of cut, and move the table in and out for each successive pass. It can take from about .00025 to .0005 per pass.
Image
Image

I was shooting to remove about .005 from the .060 thk shim, but, apparently it wasn’t very flat to begin with and didn’t hold well to the magnet. Once I had the first side reasonably cleaned, I flipped it over to set the other side parallel to the first, and by the time that cleaned up I had taken about .009, leaving about .051.

I caught the sunset just right on the way to the shop to really highlight some of the fall colors here in New England, unfortunately I didn’t take the time to get setup for any really good pics and my photography skills just aren’t that good on the fly, but I thought this shot with the halo glare of the windshield was kind of neat.
Image

Back at the shop I removed a .010 shim from the pinion preload stack, plus another .003 to try to get a little preload to show up (at the low torques I’m using for these initial setup attempts, it didn’t). I double checked the carrier side thrust clearance with the new pinion depth and while I had some trouble getting a super consistent read, it seemed to be close enough to before that I stuck with the same carrier bearing shims. That got me .003 backlash (still low from the spec .005-.008, with 3 readings around the gear within .002 of each other… which I didn’t even bother checking at this stage).

I figured it couldn’t hurt to mark the gears and check for a pattern. This one wasn’t as easy to read as the first one, but it seemed to suggest that the pinion was still too high.

So I plan on taking another .003 - .005 off of the pinion depth shim.

I’m struggling a little to understand the manual instructions, since they say to set the gear side carrier shim for zero clearance with the pinion, and then wedge all of the preload onto the opposite side; or leave out the preload amount for setup. The issue I see is if you leave out the preload for setup, you still won’t have any backlash unless you take shim away from the gear side to simulate the shift that will happen when you put the preload shim in. So, as mentioned previously, I am leaving about half of the preload amount out from gear side and only adding about .004 of the preload amount on the opposite side (mostly because that is what is convenient with the shim thicknesses that I have).

Taking that much out of the pinion depth shim doesn’t make much sense if you just look at the pinion markings, but the marking compound has the last word.

Next time I’ll do it all again with the thinner depth shim, even less pinion preload shims, and will probably start snugging the carrier bearing caps down while checking.
KC
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:21 pm

So last night I ground the formerly .060 pinion depth shim down from .051 to .046 and tried again using what I thought were the same carrier shims; but the shims were tight and I ended up with no backlash again. To this point I had mostly been following the Spicer manual and had just kept a copy of the Yukon Gear instructions for the gear pattern picture references. Through frustration I decided to take a 2nd/closer read thru the Yukon manual. There are some nuggets of useful information. For example, it lists the baseline pinion depth shim as .042, not .060 that I had read in a different forum (“it must be true, I read it on the internet”). So with the -5 (or was it -.5?) reference etched on the pinion I actually expected the .046 shim to be pretty dang close (.042 + .005 = .047, or at least .042 + .0005 = .0425), or at least much closer to the correct depth than anything I have tried yet.

I also removed a whole bunch more pinion preload shim (too much, really) and was able to at least feel a little drag starting just by holding the yoke by hand and wrench tightening the nut. Mind you this was near impossible to detect on the lb-in torque wrench… just handling the wrench and bumping the socket shot the tell-tale needle out of spec, never mind trying to get a reading so far down on the scale; so I switched to the little 1/4 inch drive oz-in wrench and was at least able to read between 60 and 80 oz-in (3 to 5 lbs-in), which topped out that scale.

The other thing they suggest doing differently, or at least explain better, is using the carrier shims to get the correct backlash at zero carrier bearing preload, before attempting to add preload shims equally to both sides (as opposed to setting the ring gear tight to the pinion, getting no backlash, and then compensating by putting all of the preload shim to the opposite side. I kind of already had that figured out, and it didn’t help that I must have mixed up the thinner of the carrier shims (each side currently consisting of one thicker and one thinner shim), but it just didn’t make sense that I had lowered the pinion even further and seemed to have lost backlash instead of gained.

Well, once I readjusted the carrier bearing shims again, I managed to get it to a happy place with zero preload, verified no side-to-side thrust slop, and had about .005 backlash (the minimum acceptable value). Now I can fine tune that by biasing how much preload I add to either side, and hopefully it won’t be affected too badly as I get the pinion depth dialed in.

Speaking of pinion depth, I ran the pattern and, if I'm reading it correctly, it now says that the pinion is too deep, so I need to source new shims (or go to the under cup shims that I just don't want to use.)

I found compatible steel shims from McMaster-Carr for the pinion depth, pack of 25 for $9 (97063A129, 1-3/8 ID x 2-1/8 OD x .075 thk), but will have to grind them down to find the sweet spot on thickness.

Now that I know for sure that I don’t need the ring gear spacer, I brought the carrier into work with me today. I used one of the large bench vises with soft jaws to clamp the locker body; removed the ring gear bolts one at a time; applied a drop of red locking compound; and tightened them to spec in three (3) stages (20, 45 and 55 lbs-ft) using a star, or crisscross pattern. I made a sharpie mark near each bolt at each stage so that I did not get confused (yeah, picky… but that’s how I roll). So at least I got something done tonight.

I considered making a new pinion depth shim from round bar, but figured by the time I got done turning and grinding it, it would be too late to go to the shop and try it anyway, so may as well wait until tomorrow when the newly ordered shims arrive. I’ll still have to grind them, but at least I can set several up, grind them all to rough thickness at the same time (say .062 thk), and then progressively step them down so that I have a selection, instead of going back and forth each night and only getting one shot at it. (Those pesky details, I am a slave to details.)

Again, I’m sorry that I’m not taking more pictures of the dial indicator setups, marking compound patterns, literally each step… I will try to do better… but this job really just needs to get done and it takes a surprising amount of concentration to keep moving in a positive direction w/o stopping to take pictures. I can’t imagine how anyone would even attempt to do this under a vehicle. When it comes time to do the front axle I will either pull the existing assembly out, or buy another axle to setup and swap in.
Last edited by KCStudly on Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:13 pm

The replacement left axle shaft showed up early upon arriving home tonight, so that is good; saved a few bucks not using the bearing set on the old axle as a crutch, but spent a few for the reassurance of having a pristine axle.
KC
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:53 pm

It occurs to me that I haven't mentioned that the new 1330 pinion yoke is about an inch shorter than the 1310 yoke. So that might solve the driveshaft length issue, save a few bucks by not having to modify it, and make the decision for me to run the hybrid 1320/1330 U-joint.

Ba-dump-bump. :D 8)
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby aggie79 » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:34 am

Still following and still impressed!

The fall colors are beautiful. We don't have those here. We just have two seasons - "hot" and "sometimes bordering on cold" with an occasional freeze thrown in for good measure.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:13 pm

Thanks, Tom.

The plan for tonight is to press the bearing on to the new axle, and grind the new pinion depth shims. If that doesn't take too long I'll try to get out to the shop and keep after it. By tomorrow I hope to have the final gear set up done and maybe even start stripping the old axle assembly out of the Jeep, at least get the brake assemblies and lines harvested off of it so I can button up the new assembly.

Maybe, if things go super, I will be driving it before the end of the weekend. That would be the extremely optimistic view.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:29 pm

Found a Spicer 1310/1330 crossover U-joint, PN 5-134X (Moog 353) in stock at my local NAPA store (NAPA know how, go Ron Capps!). Will be picking that up after work today.
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:15 pm

Last night I pressed the wheel studs out of the damaged axle using this setup in the arbor press. The trick was to keep the flange supported well, and flat, as close to the stud that was being press as possible. Not as easy as it sounds with the long axle shaft sticking down; had to cantilever the big press plates off the edge of the table.
Image

Close inspection found the studs to be suitable for reuse, so I pressed them right back into the new axle. The first one wasn’t so hard, since I had all of the flange to work with; but the axle shaft barely cleared the head of the press with the arbor just covering the stud head.
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Once I had the first stud in I realized it and the rest would prevent this same setup, so I found a round spool piece whose wall thickness fit between the stud and the wheel hub. I had to make sure that the arbor didn’t come down on the flared step on the back side of the wheel flange.
Image

With the clutch on the press not working well, I practically needed 3 hands to hold the axle shaft up, get the arbor down onto the stud, and then switch over to using both hands to put most of my weight hanging on the lever to drive them in (about 6k lbs force). Then I had to be sure to not let tension fully off until I had a hand on the axle to keep it from falling when I let up. Felt like juggling a 30 lb. dumbbell.

Next up was assembling the wheel bearing set. First the drum brake style retainer plate; then a little wheel bearing grease on the seal lip and mating surface; the seal; press the bearing; and press the bearing retainer ring.
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Grinding the inner pinion bearing shims.
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I had hoped to fit enough on the table to get .0015 increments from .062 down to .047, but the magnet wasn’t as strong to the sides and they wanted to roll out from under the stone if I tried to make any kind of time roughing them down. So the loose ones got peeled out and I prioritized grinding .0585 thru .050 or so (plus the .046 shim from before; .0545 was installed when pic was taken).
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Once I had them all down to .062 it just took a few more passes until I could peel one off, closing up the needed table travel and gradually speeding the process up as I peeled each successive one off. It still took a surprisingly long time, and once I had it setup I didn’t want to stop until it was done, so I didn’t get home to dinner until about 9:30 last night.

Now that I had the backlash situation opening up, I had a feeling that I needed to be headed back in the thicker direction on the pinion depth shim; so today I did three (3) successive fittings moving back up thru .0545, .0565, and .0585 thick shims.

But wait, you say, that’s thicker than when I was getting readings saying that the pinion was too close. Yes I say, but that was with inadequate backlash. The other thing I learned was that it helps not to be timid and just start right off following the instructions. The Yukon Gear instructions say to run the marking compound past the pinion 4 or 5 times before attempting to read the pattern, and, for used gears, to concentrate on the coast side of the tooth. The multiple turns didn’t really change the pattern, but it did make it much clearer and easier to read.

All the time I’m doing this I was also adding pinion bearing preload shim back in. By taking the time to put a little more torque on the pinion nut I could start to get a better feel for the running torque preload, eventually getting up to 150 lbs-ft on the nut with about 20 lbs-inch drag registering on the dial wrench while turning it free. Here’s the yoke wrench I made.
Image
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All the while the gear pattern kept improving. So I went back into work and ground four more shims in .0005 increments, covering .059 thru .0605. Remember that etching on the pinion? It was -.5

Now I started to wonder if the .042 baseline listed in the Yukon Gear instructions was more of a conservative starting point than an actual OEM standard zero reference. So I jumped right up to the .0605 shim and pulled another .006 out of the gear side carrier shim (the backlash had crept down to about .003 with the .0585 depth shim). That did it. The backlash was finally in the middle of the spec and the pattern looked about as good as I could expect it to get. Here’s a shot of the drive side pattern.
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And here is the coast side.
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So I’m happy with that. So out comes the inner pinion setup bearing. Tomorrow I’ll press the real/new bearing on.

On the carrier bearing shims I have a choice to make. The large thick shims that came in the 5.13 setup must be from an official OEM Spicer shim set. Rather than a wimpy stack of weenie little sheet metal shims, they are one thick single shim of sufficient ID to fully support the bearing cup race. So I’d prefer to use them if I can. The above pattern was with the original .131 shim from the opposite side located on the gear side (.131 gear side) and a .127 thk stack of the wimpier shims from the setup kit on the opposite side (.099 + .016 + .006 + .006 = .127 opposite side). Which is the same as my original no preload measurement of .258 (.131 + .127 = .258).

Now to get to the recommended preload of .015 total and keep everything else the same, I would need to add .0075 to each side. The kit doesn’t come with .0075 shims. That would equal .1385 gear side (.131 + .0075 = .1385) and .1345 opposite side (.127 + .0075 = .1345). (I know I probably don’t need to sweat the 10000th decimal, but humor me for the moment).

I could grind the other thick shim from .140-.141 down to .139, and run a .006 shim behind the .131 on the opposite side for .137, yielding .018 preload. The Yukon Gear instructions say that you can’t really run too much carrier bearing preload, but I figure that is also predicated by the fact that you will have a hard time getting too much shim in w/o a case spreader.

Another option would be to just try it with the original setup, running the .140 shim on the gear side and the .131 on the opposite side. That would probably tighten the lash up (hopefully not too much) and might affect the pattern a little too, but maybe not enough to make a discernable difference (I hope).

Or I could attempt to grind one of the .010 shims down to .0075, run it behind the .131 shim on the gear side for the desired .1385; and then grind the .141 down to .1345 for the opposite side. Unfortunately this puts the wimpy shim on the most highly loaded side (the gears are constantly trying to push apart putting thrust into the gear side bearing). I’m not sure that I can grind something that delicate that thin without wadding it into a little ball of scrap, but I have two that I could try.

The last option would be to turn a new shim from scratch for the opposite side, finish it on the grinder, and grind the thicker of the existing shims down for the gear side.

I know plenty of people manage to set their rearends up using the shims that come in these kits, but then again, plenty of people end up with blown up gears after trying.

Since I plan on going in in the morning to use the press, I think I’ll try to grind the .0075 shims as a contingency (maybe). Then out at Karl’s shop I’ll get the pinion final assembly preload set, and try the carrier with the same old shims .140/.131. If that throws things off too much and I manage to grind the .0075 shim okay, then I’ll run it with the .131 on the gear side and go back and grind the thick shim down to .1345/.1350.

Not as far along as I had hoped, but headed in the right direction and will be happy to get it right.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby KCStudly » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:18 pm

I started out at work this morning using the arbor press to install the actual inner pinion bearing (the new cone instead of the setup one). Here you can see the press setup with that same tubular piece I used to press the wheel studs being the perfect size spacer to push on the face of the inner race without interfering with the roller cage or pinching on the pinion shaft. That’s resting on the big press plates with the threaded end of the pinion sticking down in one of the slots in the main press plate. Above the spacer is the bearing cone with the .0605 thick depth shim sitting on top. On top of the gear is an aluminum puck to protect the surface from the arbor.
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It was a moderately easy press, just like it was supposed to be.
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I needed to decide how I wanted to do the carrier bearing shims. I thought I had brought two (2) .010 shims to try and grind down to .0075, but realized the ones I had grabbed were actually .026 (actually .0255). And I decided that trying to take them that thin probably wouldn’t work. So instead I ground the large .131 thick shim down to .113 to get the combined .1385 desired for the gear side. Then I ground the .141 shim down to the desired .1345 for the opposite side.

Back at the shop getting ready to install the pinion; here’s a comparison of the original Rubicon spec pinion yoke (plain steel w/ rust patina) and the Yukon Gear replacement (yellow zinc chromate). Hopefully the shorter yoke will compensate for the longer snout on the D44 and will preclude having to have the drive shaft shortened; if so, a lucky accident. I could feel a little hint of the tool pattern on the seal mating surface, so before installing it I wrapped a greenie pad on it and polished it just a tad. You can also see the worn area where the seal had been riding on the old yoke.
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I did a first install on the outer pinion bearing (the new one, rather than the setup bearing) still using the old used nut. The nuts are the crimped/displacement style of all metal self-locking, so are only good for one use in service. Had to pull the bearing onto the pinion using the yoke as a spacer, the yoke wrench to hold it all, and the nut to drive it.

Now I don’t have a torque wrench that goes to 200-225 lbs-ft. But torque is just force by distance. So I measured Karl’s big breaker bar; 15 inches from center of drive lug to center of handle; did a little ratio math (15 inches = 1.25 ft and 225 lbs-ft / 1.25 ft = 180 lbs); then, making sure that the handle of the wrench was parallel to the ground during coming up on final, I stood on my bathroom scale and pushed down until I lost 180 lbs. Good enough and far more accurate than guessing with an impact gun.

The final preload shim ended up being the same as the 5.13 setup; .077 (two at .030, one at .010, and two at .0035 thk). That resulted in a running preload torque of about 20 lbs-in turning the pinion (low end of Spicer spec/high end of Yukon Gear spec).

After that I removed the used nut and drove the yoke seal in using the cap off of a high pressure gas bottle as a driver tool. The seal shell comes with a bead of rubberized material on its OD to seal it to the housing bore, but it seems to be common practice to add some gasket sealant, too. So I stopped short of driving the seal flush and ran a bead of silicon under the flange; then drove it the rest of the way and wiped up the excess. Here’s the driver arrangement.
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With the seal installed, its lip greased, some gear oil smeared on the sealing surface of the yoke, the washer faces and the face of the new nut, I put a dab of red Loctite on the pinion threads and did the scale thing again to final torque.

With the seal in the drag on the pinion felt like it went up significantly, but the running torque measured about the same on the wrench, so I guess it affected breakaway torque more than running.

Now with the locker apply piston locating off of the opposite side bearing cap, I had to slip the cap in between the tangs on the piston and that bearing before installing the carrier; but it sort of snapped into place and wasn’t as hard to manage as I thought it might be.

With the extra preload thickness now in the carrier bearing shims it took a few tries to get the carrier started without knocking the shims out of place, but once it started all went well tapping it down a little at a time using a rubber tipped hammer and carefully placed blows not to strike the rim of the locker apply flange. It went snuggly but consistently, and the carrier turned a whole lot harder now, but still smoothly.

The little wired spacer piece that I made to hold the locker indication switch plunger had been a pain during some of the earlier work; I kept bumping it and/or the spacer would fall off of the end of the relatively thick welding wire. I didn’t show it, but my solution was to ditch the welding wire and replace it with the much thinner and more flexible wire from one of the manila tags that I have been using to help identify parts. That wire was nimble enough to tie the spacer on and trained easier without joggling the spacer out of position if bumped. This worked perfectly when retrieved, however the next time I spun the carrier I could hear a little scratching noise. Looking down with a flashlight as best I could tell this was just the button of the switch plunger riding on the tin edge of the locker apply flange without any lube. I may take the time to hook the air pump up and probe the switch leads to make sure everything is working properly before buttoning things up.

As I was getting ready to put the driver’s side bearing cap on, considering Phillip’s advice from earlier, it did look like that race may have walked a little, so I took a piece of fine emery cloth, placed it flat on the big steel bench, and just lap polished the pads of the cap a little, not even enough to remove all of the OEM Blanchard grind marks, but measured about .003 using calipers.

Then oil between bolt heads, washers and caps with a drop of red Loctite on the clean threads, and torqued the caps to 75 lbs-ft (Spicer says 75-90, Yukon said 60).

Final backlash taken in three separate locations all read .006 (Spicer .005-.008 spec +/- .002 each; Yukon spec .006-.009). (In the first pic you can also see the air hose routed from the bulkhead fitting thru a clip captured under the top right bearing cap bolt, and clamped to the spigot on the apply piston.)
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…and the final pattern checked good, too (drive side followed by coast side).
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When I took the rearend apart I only found one of the little wire clips that are supposed to clamp the air hose at each end. Apparently these are notoriously faulty. Also, of the cover bolts that came off only half of them were the factory bolts with serrated washer faces to spread the bolt load out on the tin cover (the others were nice Gr 8’s with split lock washers). So I am going to stop by the Jeep dealership tomorrow, before buttoning up the cover and see if they have them in stock; it’s just a couple of blocks up from where I work.

Also on the agenda for tomorrow is to unload the Jeep from the trailer and get it inside to start yanking the D35.

I finished up the night by cleaning/wire brushing the cover bolts and installing the drain plug with some Teflon pipe sealant. (The cover is just installed loosely here as a dust cover for now, although I still covered everything up with plastic garbage bags and moving blankets like I have been doing all along to keep shop debris out.)
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Last edited by KCStudly on Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
TnTTT ORIGINAL 200A LANTERN CLUB = "The 200A Gang"
Green Lantern Corpsmen
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KCStudly
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Re: TJ Rubicon Dana 44 Rebuild

Postby Philip » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:30 pm

Moving along pretty good.
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