Difficult, but not impossible. The gear installs I've done take a pretty good amount of work to get the carrier in during final install and you can feel a pretty good amount of preload on the bearings. If you don't struggle getting it lined up and forced into the housing, you need more shims.
It's been awhile since I've looked at case spreaders, but they only recommend spreading the housing up to a maximum value, what is that value and would it be any different if you added that much shim and drove it in the housing without a spreader?
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.
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.
I should mention, every one I've done is shimmed under the bearing, so there is no pounding thin shims in. I agree, you wouldn't get anywhere near enough trying to do that.
You make a fair point, it would be better to have a spreader so you can get the most preload, but I was just pointing out that it is done all the time without one, most people are not going to push the limits of the housing and gear set enough to where more preload would make the difference between the gear set holding up or not. I've yet to break a set of gears myself but we'll see what happens when I start using excessive right foot with the new powerplant
2007 WK Limited, Red Rock Crystal, 3.0L CRD, QD-II. OME HD lift. 255x75x17s. Pinchweld mod. 1.5" Alloy hub-centric spacers. F/R Stillen rotors and pads. 4xG rear diff guard and belly armor. Tuned by Green Diesel.
[QUOTE=bhoch]...you never, ever, skimp on suspension and tires as they will save your *** when you do something stupid - and .. you *will* do something stupid. [/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=DeansWings]Rock crawling is a whole 'nother animal. To me, the off-camber low rpm negotiation of lines provides a different type of adrenaline than plowing through mud. It's terrifying at times, but the pride of looking back at what you just climbed over is what is addictive.[/QUOTE]
Long time reader first time poster here. I started reading this thread last week and I've taken a wealth of information from it. Now it's time for the boys and I to get out to the shop and get the old CJ running.
Today's Jeeping: Some sort of virus escaped from the Biological Research Wing and I've not felt well since yesterday. Comments and responses when/if I recover; if I turn into a ghoul or zombie, someone end it quickly, m'kay?
If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing.
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