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Unread 12-01-2013, 03:27 PM   #1
bgohsman
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Wj Dana 30 front axle won't go back in

Hi all,

Here's a new one for me. I just rebuilt a Dana 30 axle assembly. It has new bearings, races and seals. The pinion and ring gear were not changed.

The driver's side axle went in just fine. But the passenger side axle goes in and stops about an inch or so short. It's in far enough that the splines engage as I can turn the yoke and both wheel hubs turn.

Anyone run into this before?

Thanks,

Brandon

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Unread 12-01-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
narnwv
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slowly turn the yoke as you press in on the axle. Is it Vari-Lock? I had the same issue when putting mine in. there's two sets of splines to engage with the axle shaft.
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Unread 12-01-2013, 06:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narnwv View Post
slowly turn the yoke as you press in on the axle. Is it Vari-Lock? I had the same issue when putting mine in. there's two sets of splines to engage with the axle shaft.
Thanks! I definitely try that in the morning. I ran out of daylight, strength and patience hours ago. lol

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Unread 12-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #4
bgohsman
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So...F%$#.



Today I tried rotating the yoke while inserting the passenger side axle. After about 25 minutes of it hitting metal, I begrudgingly decided to take the [freshly sealed] differential cover off to see what I could see.

Then I swore a lot.

The passenger side axle is literally hitting the carrier pin. So there is no way it's going to go in any further. Additionally, the driver's side axle, while it does engage the splines, is barely engaging the splines.

So, I opened up my old Dana 30 to see if anything was different. And it is completely different. The surrogate Dana 30 has planetary gears that are pretty much centered within the differential. My original Dana 30 has them off to the right. This is why my old axles (really only a year old) don't fit in the new axle assembly.

I see two possible courses of action here and am wide open to others:
1.) Get a set of axles that fit the new surrogate differential. The last time I bought axles from RockAuto, they were like $40 each. That would be a relatively inexpensive and quick fix.

2.) Swap the carriers.

I like #2 the least because the ring and pinion gears wear into each other. So I'd have to migrate the new ring gear so that it mated with the new pinion. And that is assuming the position of the ring gear isn't different between the two carries (which I do not know for a fact yet). Otherwise, I'd have to migrate both the pinion and carrier, which means re-shimming, setting preload and backlash...geh. And that's assuming that my bad pinion bearings didn't ruin the old pinion gear or ring gear.

Also, my WJ has full-time all-3-wheel drive (much to my chagrin). So I'm not sure what the consequences would be of using a different differential carrier.

So I have this absolutely gorgeous axle assembly with new bearings, races, seals and freshly welded spring coil perches. And I can't put the frickin' axles in.

Anyone have any thoughts other than a large calibur hand gun to the temple?

Thanks,

Brandon

P.S. This is exactly why I don't do my own dentistry.
new_differential.jpg   old_differential.jpg  
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Unread 12-02-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
fast540
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That second pic is a variloc. It takes different axle shafts
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Unread 12-02-2013, 12:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fast540 View Post
That second pic is a variloc. It takes different axle shafts
Right. And those are the axle shafts that I have. I can get axle shafts for the standard differential. I'm just not sure if my Jeep requires varilocs because of the full-time 4-wheel drive or if it is irrelevant.
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Unread 12-02-2013, 12:23 PM   #7
fast540
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You can use either axle housing in your jeep but must run variloc axles in a variloc housing and vise versa
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Unread 12-02-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
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You can use either axle housing in your jeep but must run variloc axles in a variloc housing and vise versa
I think that answers my question as well as tells me something new I did not know. So the physical housing is actually different between the two Dana 30's? I'd assumed the only difference was the carrier/pinion.

As long as I can run the standard, I think I'll just get the proper length axles for it and go from there. When it's not freezing, perhaps I'll rebuild my variloc axle. But I'm in no hurry to deal with shims and that crush sleeve again anytime soon.

Thanks,

Brandon
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Unread 12-02-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
StrokedWJ
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Who did the "dana 30 rebuild"? You or someone else? If you originally had the veri-loc carrier and now have an open carrier the ring and pinion would need to be setup properly on the open carrier. It does kind of look like some remnants of gear marking compound on the ring gear in the open carrier pic.

Physically the Dana 30 housings are the same, but the carriers and axle shafts are different between the open and veri-loc units. I believe the offset was to house the veri-loc pump in the carrier.
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Unread 12-02-2013, 01:29 PM   #10
bgohsman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrokedWJ View Post
Who did the "dana 30 rebuild"? You or someone else? If you originally had the veri-loc carrier and now have an open carrier the ring and pinion would need to be setup properly on the open carrier. It does kind of look like some remnants of gear marking compound on the ring gear in the open carrier pic.

Physically the Dana 30 housings are the same, but the carriers and axle shafts are different between the open and veri-loc units. I believe the offset was to house the veri-loc pump in the carrier.
I actually did the rebuild. And the original pinion and carrier remained in the same axle housing that they started in. My original (old) axle has the variloc. And I have not taken that carrier or pinion out of that one yet. In fact, today is the first day I've had the cover off.

I did use gear marking compound. However, what you are seeing is some kind of paint that was already on the carrier when I took it apart. I cleaned all of the gear marking off with brake cleaner. That other yellow stuff won't come off with anything like Zylene or Acetone.
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Unread 12-11-2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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New axles fit like a charm. Glad they were only $44 each. More RockAuto magnets!
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Unread 12-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #12
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Wow! It turns out that not having bad bearings improves your gas mileage. lol. On my drive from Grand Rapids to Holland (typically about 40 minutes), going a steady 65mph, I was getting between 18 and 19mpg. On my trip yesterday with new...everything...in the front end, I got over 23. Of course, the second I got off of the expressway and hit lights in town, that was all over.
gas_mileage.jpg

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