Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:27 am

It seems I have been falling a bit behind on updates. Let’s see if I can recall some highlights. Last Saturday I pulled the Jeep back into the shop, jacked it up and did the post break in lube change. There was a little bit of gray metal “fuzz” on the magnetic drain and fill plugs, which I considered to be normal. After draining the drain pan into a recycling container I found a few small shinny specs that I am hoping are just remnants that were missed in the cleanout. Not anything I’m going to worry too much about, but I may do another lube swap on a short schedule, just to be sure.

One thing I also wanted to address was the shock mount angle. The PO had a higher lift, so the shock mount angles tended to twist the rubber bushings a tad at ride height. Ideally I would cut the mounts off, turn them slightly and weld them back on. Here, on the passenger side, you can see how the twist left minimal clearance under the end of the shock body, just enough to chafe a bit of the paint off the bottoms of the shocks in normal driving.Image

This is the driver’s side after unbolting the lower portion of the shock; contour sanding the top inboard edge of the mount down using a flap wheel in the 4-1/2 inch grinder; and bolting the shock back up.
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I still haven’t gotten around to installing the locker air pump; installing/wiring the activation switch in the dash and indicator light for the diff mounted switch that senses when the locker is engaged; or plumbing the air line, but the weather is starting to turn and I wanted to at least plug up the harness connection for the diff switch so that the leads don’t get all corroded. Here’s the end of the two prong connector.
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I stuffed an expanding foam ear plug in the connector sideways to act as a filler…
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… then smeared over it with a cap of Ultra Copper RTV sealant.
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This way I can easily peel the sealant off and pluck the foam out when the time comes to hook it up. Here is the connector hooked back onto its little mounting tab.
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I also attempted to reinstall the rear anti-sway bar, but for some reason it didn’t seem to fit. Later after a little research I figured out what I was doing wrong. Should have been obvious, but the dip in the bar goes over the pinion snout (for ground clearance), not under it. Doh. I’ll get that back in the next time I’m under there.

Unfortunately I did find a minor lube leak. The inside of the passenger side wheel rim was coated and there were traces slinging out on the inner sidewall of the tire. Closer inspection found wetness around the axle tube brake flange making its way down the back of the brake backing plate. I pulled the wheel and drum and found that there was no wetness inside the backing plate nor dripping from the lip side of the axle seal where it runs on the axle shaft, so it must be going by the outside of the seal between the rim of the seal and the ID of the axle tube, since it is never making into the drum. I wiped the wheel out and tried to tighten up the bearing retainer nuts a bit to see if that seated the seal any better, but after a few more days I can see that the inside of the wheel is damp again. I’ll have to pull the axle, clean things up and attempt to seal the outside edge of the seal with a small smear of sealant.

Next up I swapped the speedo drive gear out from the stock yellow gear (IIRC it was 30 teeth) to the white gear, 37 teeth. The speedo indication seems to be much more appropriate now, but I haven’t actually checked it with the GPS yet.

Back to the HPD30 prep work. It took several evenings prepping. I cut a piece of threaded rod that went straight thru the housing from end to end. At each end I put a round piece of 1/8 inch rubber sheet (drops from cutting pipe flange gaskets at work), backed up by what are essential very large fender washers (actually 2-1/2 inch slugs from cutting 1/16 thk sheet with a hole saw) and a couple of 3/8 nuts. This did a great job sealing up the ends of the axle tubes and hopefully keeping the blast media and dust out. I put a cut off bolt shank in a short scrap of vent tubing with a couple of worm drive clamps to seal up the housing vent. With the 3.55 pinion still in place and the diff cover sealed back down, it was sealed up nice and tight.

Next the glass window in the blast cabinet had been broken and replaced, but no one had fished out the broken glass. Now glass bead is a common blast media, but this was shards and chips of glass that would generally just clog up the media feed tube and make ciaos while trying to run the blaster. So I used a sieve to sift thru 5 gals of Black Beauty (coal slag) grit (using my respirator, of course).

Now we ran into a bit of an issue. The bare housing is about 58 inches from tip to tip of the inner C’s, and the cabinet is only 50 inches wide. Even on a diagonal the bulk of the housing wouldn’t fit, and there would be no room to move it around inside of the cabinet, let alone reach to the ends with the range of the gloves that are integrated into the front wall of the cabinet. So that meant that I had to feed the housing in thru the small side hatch door on the end of the cabinet, make a sheet metal closer plate (with a horse shoe shaped notch to fit over the axle tube) and secure that in the side hatch opening (sense the hatch couldn’t be closed with the housing sticking out).

At first I drilled a few holes in the temporary shield and screwed it to the rim of the hatch, but this turned out to be a PITA. The whole upper cabinet normally flips up so that you can load items directly onto the grating easily, but the side hatch has a rim framing the opening so with the housing part way in there the cabinet couldn’t be lifted to reposition it.

On top of that, because I was reaching inside as far as I could to get as much coverage as possible w/o having to reposition, the gloves kept popping off of their mounting collars.

Each time I would have to unscrew the side plate, turn the housing to where the pinion snout would fit thru the opening, and drag the heavy housing all the way out in order to lift the cabinet and reattach the gloves. PITA going back and forth, taking several steps to maneuver each nub, bracket and ball joint that wanted to catch on the grate bars and/or lip of the hatch opening.

Eventually I got the gloves sorted out; removed the expanded metal grate leaving just the larger grate bars, making it easier for the pinion snout to swing under while still in the cabinet; and switched to using duct tape to hold the side closer on for quicker changes.

After about 3 evenings (2-3 hrs each session) of juggling the axle housing in and out I declared that I was done with that task.

After blasting you can see the trouble areas better. These probably would have never been a problem if I just chose to ignore them, but I found that thought to be, “unacceptable”. After all, I am here, and this axle isn’t as much of a rush job as the rear was.

It was kind of strange. Although the front shock mounts each consist of two nested stampings (essentially a shallow ‘C’ within a deeper ‘C’ forming a box section with both sets of toes down and flush at the bottom), and the rust only occurred in the side wall of the top piece, it acted like it was two layers rusting; first thru the outer portion and then starting into the inner “layer”. I also saw this effect on the spring perch ‘hat’. The best I can figure is that this is a result of stress in the metal grain as a result of the deep drawing process when these parts were stamped. It’s as if the inner most fibers, that took the least strain when drawn out, were the most susceptible to rusting.

Here is the inside wall of the passenger side shock mount marked for cutting. At the top you can also see the spring perch hat where it rusted thru.
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Here’s the same area (mirror image) on the driver’s side after cutting the bad stuff out.
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I used a piece of card stock (scrap toothpaste carton material) and the hammer technique to mark a template for the patch piece. You can just see the faint outline made by holding the oversized piece up and tapping around the opening with a ball peen hammer (or small slug of brass where the hammer wouldn’t fit).
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After cutting out the template with scissors; transferring that to a piece of 1/8 thk steel stock using a sharpie marker; rough trimming that to shape on the big Do-All vertical band saw; and tediously doing the final fit using the big belt sander, and a file, the plug fits the hole pretty well… snuggly enough to hold itself in place. Yeah there are a few uneven gaps, but, “if I can walk across it I can weld it!”.
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Here’s the other side also ready to weld.
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I stuck a couple of magnets on them to help keep me from nudging them thru with the torch or filler wire, just long enough to get a few tacks on.
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There were a few areas where the surrounding metal was a bit thinner than the patch… partly due to the stamping draw and partly due to rust… so I made sure to lead and hold the arc on the thicker patch piece, and just weaved over to the edges of the bracket long enough to progress the puddle along (i.e. heat control). Here are the two patches after welding and a little touchup grinding with a flap disc. Nothing crazy, just knocked down the areas that had extra filler; by keeping the heat on the thicker metal I knew I had good weld penetration along the edge.
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The spring hat was much thinner material to begin with and I wasn’t entirely sure that I could do the repair as well as I would like to hope. The biggest concern was not having enough metal to work with. The second concern was not encroaching on the inside diameter of the spring coil and buggering up how it fits into the pocket (not having a spare spring on hand to check this fit meant that I would have to be super careful). The third concern was that the damage extended around the side of the hat near the steering dampener bracket, which blocked my access to get in there with the TIG torch, even the smaller one. My final concern was whether I had the skill to fit a patch piece that was shaped like a conical banana; the latter was somewhat allayed by the fact that my work had recently purchased a small bench mount slip roll former.

Here’s the spring hat marked for cutting. The steering dampener bracket is the one sticking up on the left with the bolt hole thru it.
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As with the shock mounts, I cut it out using a combination of a small cutoff wheel and conical rotary file in the die grinder.
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Template was first rough cut and hammer transferred, then transferred to some 1/16 bare steel.
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Here’s the slip roller in action. By varying the gap between the two idler rollers (on the bottom) and the crank roller on top it is easy to form curled shapes. By varying the parallelism between the rollers you can form conical shapes. The trick is to creep up on the shape you want by trial and error.
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I’m happy to say that it was more trials and no serious errors!
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After a lot of fitting, tedious filing and just kissing the patch piece here and there with the belt sander, then going back and forth to the roller a few times once the piece started to fit well, I had it close enough that it mostly fit and held itself pinched into place, except for the far end… which I was confident could be tapped down into place once I started getting some tacks in place… “heat and beat”.
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This pic taken during the fit up stage makes the gaps at the closing end look worse than they ended up being in the end. With the piece up out of the hole at one end or the other it didn’t quite match the true radius until it was tamped down in at both ends, at which time it grew to fit better.
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Here it is after welding. I ended up struggling to get the last little bit behind the dampener bracket, and it was getting late, so I packed it in for the night and came back to it this evening. I moved the housing over to the other welding bench that is setup with the smaller TIG torch and finished that last little bit of welding behind the dampener mount.
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I wanted to make sure that there weren’t any weld bead nubbies that would poke on the inside edge of the spring creating any stress or chafe points, so I went to the trouble to grind the high points down using a small stone disc on the die grinder.
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Then it was two coats of Rustoleum gray primer, followed by a good solid coat of satin black.
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What weld repair?
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Actually, if you look closely in person you can still find the repairs, and I’m not actually trying to hide anything, but I am quite pleased with how well it has turned out.

Now I can get on with the gear setup and assembly.
Last edited by KCStudly on Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby MadMango » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:21 am

Nice patching/welding and restoration!
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:38 am

Thanks! :D
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:58 pm

Last night I pulled the right rear axle shaft out. I had trouble getting the retainer plate past the rear shoe rib and parking brake lever and didn't want to make a mess of things going back together, so I popped the brake springs off and flopped the brake shoes out as an assembly. Then I cleaned and smeared a thin coat of sealer on the OD of the axle seal; reinstalled the axle; reassembled the brakes; wiped all the slung gear oil off of the inside of the wheel, tire and brake backing plate; and reinstalled the rear anti-sway bar.

Here's hoping that it fixed the leak. It only occurred to me today that Permatex No. 2 non-hardening sealer would have been a better choice than the ultra-copper I used.

When I leave here to go to the shop tonight I will look again to see if it is still dry.

Next up for the Jeep is new stereo speakers. The front axle can wait a bit longer. ;)
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby Sheddie » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:51 pm

Hi KC, interesting read. :thinking: Although I have to admit that I did skim lightly through some of the middle bits when you were deep in the bowels of setting up crown wheel and pinion. It all bought back memories of when we had the diffs in our Land Rover changed over (about 25 years ago), it now runs Toyota Landcruiser, big improvement. 8)
KCStudly wrote:Here’s the new driver’s side axle with the new shoes and spring kit installed.
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I’ve done plenty of brake jobs in my time, but hadn’t ever done one with this “modern” style of cable operated adjuster. I took plenty of pictures for reference purposes while taking the D35 apart. Still, included in the new hardware/spring kit were a couple of horse shoe shaped clips and wave washers that did not come out of the OEM assembly. I tried to search on-line to see what I was missing, apparently they weren’t important enough to warrant mention. I thought the horse shoe clips might be a throw away tool for setting the shoe retainer spring cups on the pins using vice grips, but they didn’t fit in the detents inside of the spring cups (I have the driver tool for this so used it anyway). The wave washers are still a mystery.


I was amused when you refered to these as "“modern” style of cable operated adjuster." I was working on them when I left school in the early '70s. The wave washer and the horse shoe clips go on the pivot pin where the hand brake leaver attaches to the brake shoe. Just slide it in to the slot at the end of the pin and give the ends of the clip a little squeeze. Did you get the hand brake adjustment issue sorted?
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby Sheddie » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:49 am

I was in the shed this afternoon fitting brakes on to our teardrop. :thinking: As brakes were on my mind I was reminded of your jeep, so I thought I should check out my collection of repair manuals, :roll: and sitting on top of the stack was this one on the Australian Chrysler Valiant. 8)
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Sure enough when I checked inside I found exactly what I had mentioned to you this morning and thought you may be interested to see these photos. :pictures:
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:21 am

Thank you Sheddie for taking the time to post. That explains it; they are in fact extras for my application. My parking brake levers don't have a pivot pin like that. They have a bent tab that slips into a slot on the shoe rib, so no harm no foul.

I've always been a Chevy guy, which have a slightly different parking brake adjuster w/o the internal cable arrangement, but with a couple of different dedicated springs. It wasn't hard to figure out how it needed to be, tho, just "new" to me. :lol:
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:45 am

I should have added, since sealing the outside of the passenger side axle shaft seal there has been no more sign of leaking. :worship: :D

Also, the speaker install has gone fairly well... although it is taking a bit longer than expected. Contrary to popular internet information, the 6-3/4 Kicker subwoofer does not fit the factory enclosure, even after snapping out the internal stiffening ribs. The louvered plastic cover surrounding the speaker basket hit on the side adjacent to the notch for the CD jockey box, preventing the speaker flange from seating flatly. I had to custom fit a spacer ring, which in turn required a couple of shims to keep the outer shell of the center counsel from rubbing the speaker surround.

Last thing to do, which I can't recall if I have mentioned before, is to cut the passenger side door latch loop out so that I can get the door open. This is a relatively common problem with TJ's where the door latch pins loose their lube, the rod gets out of adjustment, and no amount of pushing/pulling, jimmying or swearing can get the latch open. Some say that you can take the inner door panel off, but that just doesn't seem possible to me with the door still closed, even if the passenger seat was to be removed. I have ordered 'new to me' latch loops (strikers) so that once I cut the existing one, get the door open, get the panel off and hopefully get the latch working again, I will be able to swap the passenger side dash speaker, replace the striker, and have the door working again. Fortunately, on the Jeep the latch loop is accessible between the door gap and jamb when the door is closed.

It's amazing how many little (...big?...) things stop working and don't get fixed when I am not the one driving the vehicle on a regular basis. :roll:

After that, the blower motor, resistor and speed selector switch will be replaced; I'm sick of only having high speed for the fan and burning out switches on a very regular basis. Maybe while I have that pulled apart would be a good time to wire the locker pump and switch.
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sat Jan 28, 2017 12:41 am

I haven't been updating regularly, but have still been making slow progress. Did I mention that I lost the hard drive in my primary computer?

Anyway, the outer knuckles that came with the HPD30 were crusty and rusty (PA salt ridden vehicle). I ran them thru the blast cabinet taking special care not to blast the unit bearing pilot holes, ball joint and steering tie rod end tapers too aggressively. What I found was that the spots where the brake pad tangs bear on the knuckle wings were pretty well worn/rusted/wallowed out. This is pretty common for TJ/YJ/XJ's and can cause the pads to hang up, cause the brakes to pull to either side, and/or not work well.

Given that I want to have the "new" axle already to swap in, and I can't really rely on the existing axle knuckles, with 175+ K miles on it to be in great condition anyway, I figured I either needed to fix or replace these.

A little Jeep forum exploration was reassuring. I found that the knuckles are nodular iron, and that it is common to weld these areas with some SS or even mild weld cladding and then grind it back. The guy who does the Vanco brake mods seems to be the "expert" and warned that welding on the iron brings carbon out, resulting in harder material that can only be dressed with grind stones, abrasives, and maybe just a little with files. Other commenters recommended hard cladding alloys and pre/post heating, while the Vanco guy was adamant about not over complicating things.

I took it all in consideration, and knowing that we had some hard cladding TIG wire at work, researched that. 6010 was recommended and is a high nickel alloy specifically listed as compatible with iron and steel alloys for hard surfacing. What we had was NI 625 Inconel from Washington Alloy. I looked it up and it didn't really say anything about iron or steel, but my coworker/machinist friend said he had specifically sought it out for this type of thing and had good success using it to restore steel shafts and other hard wearing surfaces, that it welded very similar to SS. So I decided that I would try it. The worst that could happen is that I would waste a couple of hours and end up spending another $250+ on new knuckles.

Well it worked out pretty well. No pre or post heat, TIG instead of MIG and it welded just fine. I used a combination of the die grinder with a good sized cylindrical stone and a Dremel with small cylindrical stone to dress the raised cladding back to the nominal surface. Then some coarse emery wrapped on a file to flatten. Let me tell you, the Inconel is wicked hard and will never rust no how. This is the stuff that internal combustion intake valve stems (hard) and sea water valve stems (corrosion proof) are made of.

I got picky with some of the under cuts and did a second evening round of weld pick up and grinding while waiting for the new calipers and pads to come, but once they did I realized that the clearances were generous. A test fit found everything to slide together nicely with no fetching up, so I consider it to be a design improvement upgrade and save (i.e. even if I had spent the money instead of the time I would have still been right back were I was... now I have solved the design flaw and should not have to worry about it again).

So tonight I masked off the areas of the knuckles where the pad tangs ride, the lips inside where the unit bearing OD's pilot, and each side of the ball joint and tie rod end tapers. I used blue masking tape and a 1/2 inch flat washer as a template to trim the tape with razor knife, but only wherever I couldn't use the 'hammer' method to trim the masking tape along sharp edges of the casting. Then I primed and painted them using the left over paint from the axle housing.

I ran out of top coat before getting done. The can says that you can top coat or clear right away, but to do so within an hour, or after 48 hrs. I figured to catch the chemical bond it would be better to run and get more paint than it would be to wait, so I did that.

That same coworker was collecting items necessary to do ball joints on a late model Suburban, and had purchased a ball joint press (from HF), but did not have an air chisel for the factory rivets. Well, I have a barely used air chisel and need to use a ball joint press, so we swapped/shared.

I have been busy buying all of those "small" parts that always seem to make these cost saving efforts run almost as much as just buying "new" outright. New axle inner and outer dust shields, new calipers, new brake pads and hoses, new calipers and rotors, new upper control arm bushings, new adjustable heavy duty lower control arms, new unit bearings, new ball joints, new brake dust shields, and new unit bearing mounting bolts (I might have been able to reuse the existing but flushed out that order to get free shipping... threw in a new spare tire cover to fit the 31 inch spare).

When I went to swap the spider gears into the new low (high numerical) ratio carrier I found the spider gears and washers to be in good shape, but the spider gear cross shaft had some wear. Sort of marginal, but bad enough that at this depth, time to change it out. Another one of those parts that isn't very expensive, but costs as much to ship as the purchase price. :x :cry: :?

So tomorrow the plan is to run into work and get the dried knuckles, grab the ball joint press that I forgot at my desk, and go to Mecca and get some more stuff done.

Still waiting on some of the mentioned parts.

Sorry for no pics, but there doesn't seem to be enough interest here to justify the added effort and time. Squeak if you disagree.
Last edited by KCStudly on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:46 pm

Last night I picked up the new front brake pads and calipers, and checked to make sure everything slide together nicely over the weld repairs I did. Aces.

Then I masked off a few key areas, primed and painted the outer knuckles.

Today Karl and I used the borrowed ball joint press to press out the old and in the new. Was really nice to have plenty of different sizes of scrap pipe and a big old band saw to cut custom spacers when the limited selection included in the HF press kit just weren't the right size. Also, had to make one with a mitered cut to accommodate the tapered faces of the inner C's.

While we were at it we collapsed the upper control arm bushing shells using a cold chisel, and drove them out, too. Nice fresh OEM replacement rubber bushings drove in their place.

The parts I ordered have started to roll in. New disc brake back shields, inner and outer axle dust slingers, new unit bearings and bolts, etc. Still waiting on a few things.
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:29 pm

Today I removed the previously broken free pinion nut, tapped out the 3.55 pinion, and tapped out the pinion bearing outer races. There was a flat slinger shim between the outer pinion bearing and pinion seal (that was damaged by prying the seal out), and a stepped shield/slinger between the inner pinion bearing outer race and the housing (that had been warped... presumably from errant installation of the pinion... and became more warped because there was no other option but to drive against it when pushing the race out... I hope there is a replacement in one of the set up kits). There is another larger flat slinger between the inner bearing and pinion gear, and several shims between the outer bearing and step on the pinion (preload shims), but so far I have not found any pinion depth shims (other than the stepped slinger). I'll take the pinion assembly in to work with me and see if I can separate the inner bearing w/o damaging the big inner slinger, see if there are any shims underneath it. I know the set up kits have new ones of the flat slingers, but just didn't take the time to double check on this unexpected offset slinger.

Another thing I found, despite all indications that this axle is a "virgin", with no previous activity other than a cover drop to replace fluid, was that the inner pinion bearing was a Timken, while the outer was an NTN. Not sure if that means the outer was replaced at some time, or that the factory used two different sources (which seems unlikely). Doesn't really matter, since the worst condition issues were from rust on the outside and not abuse/wear on the inside.

On a side note, Chris, Karl and I went down to a nice bar/restaurant in Madison last night to meet up with our friends Dale and Tina (with the boat from NY... except they sold the boat... in one day with an endorsement from the regional Sea Ray sales manager), some other friends, had a great meal, and watched "the band" (blues/rock/oldies pop) that Dale has traditionally had play at their big bash shindig, with slow cooked ribs, etc. They haven't put on the party in a few years, but will be doing so this year for their tenth anniversary. We had a great time, the band kicked ass, and we are happy and looking forward to the party come memorial day weekend. Not much chance of the camper being done by then, but if it is campable then maybe drag it out, stay up late, and crash in it when the band stops playing.
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby aggie79 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:29 pm

Hi KC,

Good to get caught up on your axles(s) rebuild(s). Regarding your post, no need to post pictures, but I still like reading your processes.

BTW, don't let not being finished stop you from camping in your teardrop. On our first outing, there was no cabinets, galley, electrical, etc. And...with the ongoing (and mushrooming and time consuming) air conditioner hack, we'll probably be camping this spring without a tongue box and HVAC (not that it is necessarily needed.)

Take care,
Tom
Last edited by aggie79 on Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tom (& Linda)
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:04 pm

Thanks for the continuing interest, Tom. I've been watching your AC hack and have to admit that electronics are not my strong point; though I can still follow along pretty well, find it interesting, and am impressed with your skill.

Anyway, carrying on, tonight after work I rinsed the 3.55 pinion parts in the parts washer and disassembled everything in order. Measured all of the shims, and tagged and bagged them. I was able to save the inner pinion bearing by getting a bearing splitter in under the roller cage, pushing thru that, thru the rollers onto the small end shoulder of the inner race. The fit was snug but not so snug as to wreck the cage getting it off of the pinion. This allowed me to save the big slinger (incase the new one in the set up kit isn't the same thickness... not sure why it wouldn't be, but just in case), and save the used bearing to modify as a setup bearing (preserving both of the new bearings, one for final install and one for "just in case ya").

So I spun up each of the cones in the lathe and ran the cylindrical stone in the Dremel thru the bores until they just slipped onto the 4.10 pinion. Before doing this I washed the packing grease (Termalene?) off the new pinion; had to scrub it pretty well with solvent to get down into the threads and splines, then hit it with some clean gear lube and WD40 to keep it from rusting in the meantime. Had to make sure that the bearings were thoroughly cool after grinding, so as not to accidentally shrink fit them on. The stone left a bit of a rough texture, so the final fit was done by running some emery in the bores.

Next I measured the outer races and used the same technique to remove .002 inch from the OD's. Hopefully that will yield an easy slip or very light drive fit with the housing.

Washed all of those parts again to make sure there wasn't any grinding dust, blew them out, lubed with a light film of gear lube, labeled and wrapped up in zip bags.

Next I will try to pull the old carrier bearings off of the old carrier to get to those shims, and maybe save/convert those bearings for setup use.
KC
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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:59 pm

The replacement cross shaft for the open diff spider gears finally came in, so on Wednesday I put the diff together. There was a bit of wink in the spider gears in the old carrier with the worn shaft, but in the new carrier with the new shaft all of that is gone. I'm grateful that I didn't have to replace the spiders or spider shim/conical bearings.

Thursday I had to go get my respirator qualification renewed for work, and took some time to do errands shopping for new work clothes.

Friday I washed the ring gear in the parts washer and sprayed the new ring gear bolts down with Loctite solvent prep. I was uncertain about the torque wrench at work, so I just pseudo torqued the ring gear down onto the carrier snug, but did not go to final torque or use Loctite.

Also, can't remember if I mentioned it, but I sprang for the Ruff Stuff adjustable lower front control arms with poly bushings at the chassis end and large heim joints with misalignment bushings at the axle. The misalignment bushings fit inside the oversized heim joint bores, extending the spherical shape of the inner races while at the same time reducing the bores of the heims too match the factory size bolts, and space the joints out to the width of the factory brackets; thus allowing for great articulation at the axle end.

The arms come bare steel. I was showing off the huge heim joints to the machinists at work, and when Don asked if I planned to paint the links, Dave, with the powder coating business, jumped in and said no, that he would powder coat them for me. Nice! And he did a great job, and over night, too!

So Friday I pressed the polyurethane bushings in, lubed the heim joint threads with anti-seize, and set the overall center-to-center length to that recommended for a 2 inch lift.

Today I started by pulling the ring gear bolts out, applied a drop of red Loctite and used my torque wrench in stages running the pattern twice to final torque.

Then I took a 3 inch flue brush (a wire brush made for sweeping duct work or chimneys) and dragged it thru from the carrier housing out thru the axle ends. This helped clean out the rust and debris in the tubes that was outside of the inner axle seals, but was closed in by the plugs I used during sand basting. A little hand wire brushing around the inner knuckle to axle tube joints with a toothbrush sized wire brush, push some clean rags thru each tube inside out several times, wipe out the housing thoroughly with some of the bottled parts cleaner spray and I was pretty happy with the degree of cleanliness.

Next I used Karl's lathe with a scrap of sandpaper on a flat file backer to cut the old used pinion bearing outer races down a little more to where they would just slip into the housing. That way they would perform the duty of setup bearings without having to be driven in and out of the housing.

Other than the large slinger disc under the head of the pinion, and the stepped slinger that fits under the outer race of the inner bearing (which I found I have a few unmolested extras in the kit), there weren't any other depth shims for the 3.55 gears. The new 4.10 gears are marked 0.006, indicating that they have a best ideal mesh with the ring gear when set .006 higher (further out toward the axle centerline) than nominal. I need to check the original 3.55 gear markings again to compare, and make shim adjustments based on the difference between them for the initial baseline checks.

I jumped ahead a little and started fitting the pinion with the setup bearings and slingers, and now have to add the D30 yoke pattern to my angle iron "wrench" to hold the yoke while tightening the pinion nut. I laid that pattern out, but that was about where I got for the day.
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

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Re: Jeep TJ Axle Upgrades HPD30/Rubicon D44

Postby KCStudly » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:56 pm

Today I checked the free play of the carrier in the housing with the setup bearings and got about 0.100 to 0.102 total play. This compares to the 3.55 gear setup that had .045 and .047 shim packs, or about 0.092 minus .015 preload equals about 0.077 clearance. I suppose that is reasonable given the carrier change and over all shim allowance.

The markings on the OEM 3.55 Spicer pinion were "RO" (which I have seen on other stock gears and assume are the initials of the factory guy who set it up) and "754", which does not match what the manual says I should see. What I should see is a + or - value indicating how much above or below the 2.250 nominal axle centerline offset that the pinion snout (or "button") wants to be at when the setup is optimized. I would not expect this etched value to be more than +/- .006.

The new gear set has .006 etched on the pinion which means that it wants to be .006 positive greater than the standard pinion depth (i.e. take .006 shim away from nominal). Unfortunately, the 3.55 gear only had the .055-.056 thk large slinger under the pinion head and the .015 thk stepped slinger under the inner bearing outer race. While .070 to .071 pinion depth shim (.055 to .056 + .015) is reasonable, there were no other shims, and the new slinger parts in the kit are all the same thickness with no variation, so there isn't anywhere convenient to take .006 away. The "754" etching doesn't make any sense. If it is nominally the same as .070-.071, then how do I take .006 away when there are no other shims to remove?

I decided to just start with the slingers and work from there. With the pinion in and snugged up, and no carrier bearing shims, I got .050-.052 clearance before the ring gear started to ride up on the pinion. So that is pretty consistent with the carrier being roughly centered on the available clearance.

It doesn't sound like this was much progress, but setting up the indicator and getting repeatable results, all the while maintaining cleanliness (and helping Karl do the final forming on some rolled aluminum channel for an architectural decorative glass shop) was tedious.

At least the weather has been warmer and is only looking to improve!
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"
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