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With the parts inventory out of the way and the parts laid out for easy access, Scott showed up with some 90 weight gear lube spewing out of his 8.8 breather hose. (yet another story for another time).
We grabbed the floor jack and slipped it under the driver side lower control arm skid. A jack stand was put in place as well. The tire was removed so we could get to the task at hand, which was to removed the entire axle assembly. I've already done a write-up on this so I won't do the details here. You can see the axle shaft removal here. Since I planned on parting out the factory axles and unit bearings, and since I had Warn inner shafts for this project, I separated the outer shaft from the unit bearing while removing the axle shafts.
With the factory axles and unit bearing out of the way, we turned our
attention to assembling the Warn inner and outer shafts. Scott and I have
done a number of u-joints during our years of 4 wheelin'. Both of us have
replaced the u-joints in a CV drive shaft and have done a couple of D30 axle
assemblies also. Let me say that never before have I had such a time
putting a u-joint into a pair of axle shaft yokes. Blaine warned me that
the Warn yokes have a bit tighter tolerances.
I also opted to use full circle retaining rings to hold the bearing caps in place instead of the standard "C" clips that come with the Spicer 5-760x u-joints that are supplied by Warn. Warn does not specify that the clips should be and I am not aware of Spicer doing it either. Blaine had found some of these clips and was good enough to send a few of these for me to use. I've included the dimensions of the clips so you if you decide to go this route (and I suggest you do), you will know what size you are looking for.
I am still trying to determine if I like the new u-joint design. I was glad to see that the needle bearings are a bit bigger....I always have better luck keeping them all standing straight up when putting the end caps in the yokes. On the other hand, I am not impressed with the end cap grease seals. I am use to being able to push the u-joint completely through the yoke while installing the u-joint. These seals appear to have a metal component in them which do not like to clear the yoke very well. If you are not careful, you can damage the seal (usually by putting a little crimp in it). Scott commented that although he recently installed a pair of the 5-760x u-joints, his were not like mine. Perhaps Spicer has made some production line changes. I hope mine were replaced by the style that Scott used. He told me he did not have this kind of seal nor the problem that came with it.
With the inner and outer axle shafts now connected by a fresh new 5-760x u-joint, I put a spot of grease near the spline end of the shaft (where it passes through the oil seal in the diff housing). The axle shaft assembly was now slid into the differential, leaving the outer shaft sticking out of the knuckle.
Next, we gently tapped the seal shield (part #18) into place on the outer shaft. Sorry that I did not get a picture of that by itself, but you can see it in the following photo. We used a small brass hammer to gently tap the seal shield into place. I was surprise at how snug the fit was.
Once the shield was in place, we put a bit of grease on axle shaft where the
inner seal rides (near the differential end of the inner shaft) and CAREFULLY
slid the inner and outer axle shaft into the tube. I say carefully because
you don't want the spline end of the inner shaft to pick up dirt and such when
you are slipping it into the axle tube. I support the shaft right where it
goes into the tube and then carefully leverage the other end while feeding it
into the axle tube. With patience, you can slide it all the way in and
still keep your splines and seal area free from dirt.
You can see the seal shield in this photo. The thrust
washer (part #16) has also been put into
place, chamfer side towards the yoke. Scott has his fingers on the V-ring
spindle seal (part #17) and is just about
ready to put it up onto the seal shield lip. As you can see, the thick
flat side goes towards the yoke.
Here is the everything, up to this point, properly put into its place.
The V-ring spindle seal has been pushed up onto the seal shield. I put a
small amount of grease on the seal surface where it will contact the spindle
once it has been slid into place.
With a laytex glove on, I opened the container of wheel bearing grease and started in on the messy (but easy) part of the job. Warn shipped the spindle (part #13) with the needle bearing (part #16) installed. I took several minutes and worked some grease into the needle bearing.
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