Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:05 pm

Going to the trouble of making the setup bearings has really paid off. Over the last couple of evenings I have done about six iterations of varying shim packs (all the while taking notes, checking the backlash and running the pattern) to arrive at what I think is the final solution, or at least to the point where I am ready to press the new bearings and start working on final pinion preload.

With no (or very little) carrier bearing preload I ended up with .060 on the opposite side and .040 on the gear side; I’ll bump these up to .067 and .048 to get the specified .015 preload. With the large flat .055 thk slinger under the pinion head and .015 stepped slinger under the inner pinion bearing cup, I ended up adding .003 under the cup to get what looks to me in the pattern to be proper pinion depth. This combination got me .006 backlash on the .004-.010 spec. Sweet! I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the pattern while I’m pressing the new bearings on tonight.

I just hope that the pinion depth doesn’t change when I set the final preload and torque the new nut to final. That, and I hope that my setup bearings weren’t so sloppy that things change when it all goes back together. I think I’m okay there, but you never know until you check it that last time!

The coworker that I borrowed the low range torque wrench from (to do the running torque on the pinion preload) is OOC with back trouble. I’m sure he would still loan it to me, but I’m not too keen on driving over to Westerly to borrow it. Gonna’ look and see what other options I might have, up to and including buying one for myself.

<edited to correct carrier bearing shim callouts; I was going by memory earlier and I guess my memory is not so good... again.>
KC
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:40 pm

Got the inner pinion and carrier bearings pressed on tonight. Minor snafu, I lost track of which bearing cup went with which carrier cone. Slight subliminal idea, but I give it a 45/55% chance of getting it figured out after the fact. I'm not sure how much it matters. Internet experts say to keep them paired in their original sets, but I know from experience that some Timken bearings come as separates, so I'm not too sure how important it is. More important not to mix used components with new, I think, than to mix all new components. I do have another full set of bearings (because I had both low and high pinion setup kits), but I'm not sure it is worth it to waste these.

Anyway, here are those pictures of the gear mesh pattern. This is the more vertical drive side of the tooth.
Image

And here is the more slanted coast side.
Image
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:44 pm

So the project has come to a short delay. On the D44 once I put the extra preload shims behind the carrier bearing races I was still able to tap the carrier down into the housing despite not having a case spreader. However, on the HPD30 there are notches at the tops of the faces that the races bear on that allow oil to pass around the bearings, lubricating the seals and flushing back thru the bearings. These notches allow the races to cock out of position instead of pinching in, where the edges of the races bind on the edges of the notches. Not sure if there is another technique, as I have read of people doing this w/o a spreader, but it just isn't working for me w/o a spreader. Perhaps they back off on the preload in order to get it in? ...Unacceptable!

Karl and I contemplated making our own spreader, but I figured that would take about the same amount of time as just buying one, and at the relatively low price of this unit it didn't seem to be worth the effort... so I ordered one.

Should give me a couple of days to get back onto the camper and continue the bodywork (except the weather has turned very cold again for a few days).
KC
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:20 am

Well I learned a lesson last night, even with the case spreader set at .015 spread there was just no way that the carrier was going to drop in. This was frustrating because before adding the preload shims (and switching from the setup bearings that were made from the old used bearings... hint, hint) the carrier went in and out fairly easily. After numerous attempts, double checking that the bearings were fully seated on the shims, eyeballing the shim packs with a dial caliper as best we could as a dumb idiot check that I hadn't messed up my math, various dubious efforts to cram the thing in there, and me fending off Karl's suggestion to go too far with the case spreader, Karl asked the obvious question: "what else has changed?".

Well, I had switched from the used setup bearings to the new bearings. :scratchthinking: :lightbulb:

Sure enough, we measured the stack height (width) of the old bearings, cups stacked in cones and while held firmly together, and found that one of them was .005 under size. First thought was that this is a lot of wear for a precision bearing that didn't really look that bad (just a little gray coloring in the cup race), but on second though, with .015 preload and .005 wear, the bearing would probably still be performing fine since there was no catastrophic damage.

Although frustrated, and then somewhat relieved to have found the potential problem, that was a good place to stop for the evening. Like Alton Brown making tender biscuits, just walk away.

Anyway, now I have to go back, double check which bearing it was (probably the gear side bearing that gets the most thrust... good thing I have been keeping tags on everything), remove the good bearing and shim pack from that side (hope it presses off w/o damage), re-shim accordingly, press the bearing back on and recheck the backlash and mesh pattern.
KC
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:04 pm

I was making machine guards at work today, so was covered with polycarbonate saw dust from running sheets thru the table saw; so despite cleaning up, I was not comfortable going straight to the shop and hovering over the axle housing or parts. Too many opportunities for shards to fall off of my person and land inside of the works; no bueno.

And now for something (almost) completely different. When I went to leave work today the clutch pedal in the Jeep felt like it hung up part way down and then snapped free to the floor. I'm checking the placement of my feet (specifically the lazily placed heel of my throttle foot) to make sure I'm not tripping over myself (despite not having felt myself kicking myself). No, that doesn't seem to be it; still doing it. Maybe it's a bad swing bushing in the pedal pivot? Maybe it's the return spring wearing a notch in the pedal arm? Still doing it, but at least she is still driveable.

Since I have been driving the Jeep regularly I have missed the occasional shift, and felt that certain mistimed shifts weren't necessarily my fault, wondering if the hydraulic system was starting to falter; but the fluid level was always good and there weren't any obvious leaks under it, so I assumed that was A-okay.

The "hang-up" felt a bit "grunchy" a few times, stopped entirely on occasion, but still persisted. On arriving at an interim stop on the way home, entering the parking lot I decided to pump the pedal a bunch of times, again getting various results.

When I went to leave the establishment, having to push the clutch in to engage the starter safety switch, when the engine kicked over there was an immediate grinding noise, as if I was clashing gears, despite being in neutral.

This is really not good. I shut it off. Try again and it seems to dissipate. I'm thinking throw out bearing. I'm close to home, so let's see if we can limp this thing there.

As I was rolling out of the spot trying to pump the clutch and get the tranny in gear, of course there was another car that had already passed, but was now backing up behind me into the parking spot opposite.

So now I've rolled half out of the spot, no power steering or brakes. Get it in reverse, clutch pedal in and start it... in gear as if the clutch is out, and we are backing up. Turn the key off and we stop. Get it in first, and there are pedestrians. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Okay, clutch pedal in (as if that matters, but it allows the starter to turn), she fires up and we are rolling. Get to the stop light at the exit, shut the key off. Wait for green, wait for oncoming traffic to clear, start her up and we are rolling, left turn and let's hope we can get this thing to shift because 4.10's in the rear don't get us very much ground speed before revving out at about 3k (it's a Jeep).

Okay, once we are rolling I can still manage to shift the thing up into third (I guess all of those fun times driving Freshy's Buick w/o the clutch and just matching gears is still with me). Thankfully I didn't have to stop at either of the remaining two lights.

Now usually I pull around the short side of our circle and have to back up the hill a little, and over the berm at the end of our driveway; so I decided to go the long way around so that maybe I can just pull up, stop, shut her off and coast back into the drive from the other side of the hill. No luck. She hung up on the berm. Okay, in reverse, don't crash into the Ford or the Chevy; start 'er up, bump the rear wheels over the berm and shut 'er off. That should be enough down hill to get the front wheels to bump over the berm. Nope. First gear, start 'er up again just momentarily, shut 'er off. Out of gear and this time she feels like she just barely wants to bump over the berm so I give a little hip bump in my seat and she just nudges over and down into the drive. No tow truck for this cat! No sirree.

Crap.

So out comes the flash light, and we're under the hood checking master cylinder fluid level; still good. Dive under to have a look at the slave and she is not dripping or looking loose or anything weird, so it must be in the bell housing; probably.

:thumbdown: :(

Crap.

Okay, so it's supposed to snow tonight for the morning commute, so that complicates the wife and me car pooling, and I have to go in on Saturday for a few hours to take a bulk delivery; probably will get stuck there, so I better get the carrier stuff organized somehow so that I can work on it there with the press after I clock out.

When the weather clears Karl and I will likely use the flat bed trailer to haul it to the shop. There I will start by removing the slave cylinder from the bell housing and see if that tells me anything. Then I guess I will have to decide how much pain I am willing to accept vis a vis pulling the transfer case and trans, or having it done by a shop. If I do it myself there is the option of upgrading the transfer case with a slip yoke eliminator, wider chain and 6 planetary gear (in lieu of the stock 3 gear). Also, there are tranny upgrades that eliminate the rattling sound in neutral with the clutch out (the stock design allows the reverse gear to rattle on the idler shaft when not loaded... or, to the best of my recollection, something to that effect).

Probably don't need any of that, but it is nice to dream.

Blah.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:55 am

Jeep NV3550 front bearing retainer snout... busted off. Throw out bearing not working well at all after that.
Image
Image

That tubular thing in the middle of the TOB is supposed to be attached to the bearing retainer where you can see the shinny ring of broken metal.

[urlhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhzWOti-Yf4]Oops, you broke it.[/url]
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:22 pm

So after becoming discouraged by the carrier not fitting, and taking my sweet time deciding what to do, I have tinkered on and off over the last couple of weeks.

I pressed the “new” bearings and shims back off and checked all of the bearings on the granite surface plate at work to compare their stack heights.

Compared to the second set of new bearings (as yet untouched) the set-up bearings (made from the old Cherokee carrier bearings) were both -.005, each. One of the new bearings that had been installed (IIRC on the gear side… I have it written down) was also -.003 to -.005. I racked my brain trying to figure how it could be that far off just from having been pressed thru the cage (can’t get the bearing splitter under the inner race) but I just couldn’t come up with anything. Maybe the rollers got damaged from all of the attempts to wedge the carrier in? Or maybe I was not diligent enough about keeping the cones paired up with their packaged cups?

I carefully kept track with label tags and step by step handling to swap each pairing in turn, but the stack heights stayed the same (I made sure to swap them back after).

So if I was to believe my readings, the first shim pack was only .005 over the target .015 preload. However, the interference Karl and I were seeing as we tried to install the carrier sure seemed to be greater than that. So I decided to use the new-new bearings, since I knew I hadn’t mixed up those races. That meant that I needed to take a total of .010 shim out. I was prepared to loose up to .005 preload (.010 in lieu of the specified .015), so I decided to take .005 from each side. Since the shim pack on the gear side had been damaged taking that bearing off, I rebuilt that pack from scratch.

So tonight I finally made it back out to the shop. At first I tried dropping the carrier in without the case spreader, mostly just to compare to where we had been before, but also as a test to make sure that I hadn’t lost too much preload. This showed an improvement, but also confirmed that there was still enough preload that the carrier still did not want to go in past the oil notches in the bearing seats. So I set up the case spreader, dialed in .015 spread (as specified with the indicator at the top of the seats) and now the carrier would start in easily. However, once it got in to where the races were trying to slide onto the seats past the axle thru hole, it did still require a few well placed dead blows. This makes sense when you consider how the case spreader works, how the indicator is set up, and how the housing is configured like a bowl; essentially you are spreading the opening in the housing near the tops of the bearing seats more than at the bottoms.

Satisfied, I finished up for the evening by torquing the bearing caps down with a dab of red thread locker on each bolt; making sure to match the factory orientation stampings so that the caps went back on in the proper orientation.

Now I just need to reindicate to verify the backlash reading, and run the gear contact pattern again. Then it is on to the outer knuckles, axles, unit bearings, etc. Then I can add gear oil and button up the gear cover. And more.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:28 pm

Good progress on the front axle today.

Started by swinging by the parts store to get gear oil; 3 qts for the front (2 loads of 3 pints each, one for break in and one for the 500 mile swap).

Double checked final backlash in the gears. I took the opportunity to clean up my old last word indicator and used that for this. Much easier to get a good tangent reading compared to the shaft of a plunger style dial indicator. It was spot on at .006 inch.

Painted on some more of the pattern checking grease and ran the mesh pattern again; still well centered on both the drive and coast faces, so no issues there.

I am just a little bit concerned about how tight it all feels compared to how the rear axle went together, but everything seems to be checking per spec, and according to the measurements I made, even with the adjustments I made to the carrier bearing shims.

Got the outer steering knuckles torqued onto the ball joints and the cotter pins installed.

Got the Superior Alloy axle shafts cleaned up. Not that they were that dirty, but I made sure to clean all of the splines out well with a little acid brush, and wiped down everything inside of the axle seal seating area. I had bought new dust shields that drive onto the backs of the outer axles just outboard of the u-joint yokes and protect the inner unit bearing seal, but the existing ones weren’t really that bad. They were just a little bent from being handled, knocked around and stored resting on their edges, so I just tapped them true with a piece of brass rod, rather than hassle with R&R’ing them. I also bought the new plastic dust slingers that slip onto the inner axle shafts and ride near the ends of the axle tubes. The long side shaft (passenger side) has a step and is a larger diameter further out, so this slinger slid on very firmly; whereas the short driver’s side axle is all the smaller diameter so the slinger never really got snug. Once I get the axle nuts torqued down, putting the axle in the final location, I will run a bead of sealant around to glue it into the proper location. I used some moly grease that Karl had in his grease gun to lube the inner splines and seal mating areas before slipping them in. This would not have been my grease of choice, but should be okay. The lube oil will get changed after just 500 miles anyway, so no big deal.

Brushed some anti-seize onto the bores in the knuckles where the unit bearings fit and on the outer axle splines, installed the new brake dust shields and unit bearings with new bolts torqued to 75 ft-lbs. I could have sworn that the unit bearings came with new nuts, stamped star locking washers and cotter pins, but for the life of me I could not find them.

So that was about as far as I could go today. On the way home I stopped at the parts store (again) and got new u-joints for the front drive shaft, one for the front and two for the double cardan joint at the transfer case. I’ll wait and see if the central ball kit needs to be replaced once I get it apart (they did not have one in stock).

I need to figure out if I lost the new axle nuts and/or get new ones. I’ll have to go to the dealer to get a new panhard bar nut and bolt (the old one snapped off at disassembly due to rust, special nut with flag washer tab that lets you slip it into place up in behind the cavity formed into the mounting bracket under the spring perch). Also need to decide if I am going to replace the steering link and tie rod end with new stock or aftermarket upgrade (the later of which is $$$, so not too keen on that).

Not much left to do before doing the swap.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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