It would be nice if Dana axles used side adjusters. That would make it easy. To give you an idea how much carrier bearing preload you are supposed to have, some side adjuster housings spec up to 200 ft pounds of torque on the side adjusters for preload. I really don't think you can get that kind of preload by pounding thin shims between a carrier and the housing with a mallet.
Dana wants the housing to be spread up to .015" and THEN pound as many shims as you can into the thing. You are supposed to only be able to remove the carrier after the housing is spread, and then with pry bars. It's almost impossible to get too much preload, very easy to not get enough.
It it a huge big deal? No. Most shops don't use one since it take another 30 seconds to set it up and from the way factory carriers fall out when the caps are removed they aren't even tight enough from the factory.
If, on the other hand, you are pushing the gear set HARD, you will want as much preload as you can get to mitigate ring gear deflection, especially if your housing is prone to flex. This is one of the reasons the first generation D30 ARB failed. Not enough carrier preload coupled with a floppy housing made everything move around inside the housing flexing the case of the ARB and eventually snapping the heads of the bolts off.
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