D44 Factory Preload and Backlash? - JeepForum.com
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Unread 12-09-2014, 09:19 PM   #1
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1982 CJ8 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 193
D44 Factory Preload and Backlash?

I'm thinking about doing the R&P and Detroit install on my rear D44 (stock '86 CJ unit) myself. Problem is, I bought the axle with no carrier or ring and pinion, so I have no factory shims to go off of to set my reference preload or backlash.
If I do decide to try it myself, where should I start with my shims?

Another thing I've noticed, a lot of the install kits state they come with a crush washer, but everything I've read says that they use preload shims?


'82 CJ-8
AMC 20/D30
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Unread 12-09-2014, 10:26 PM   #2
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1984 CJ8 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 1,156
Yes the 86 D44 uses shims without a crush sleeve. Sorry I can't help with a starting measurement off the top of my head.
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Unread 12-10-2014, 02:26 AM   #3
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1978 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Puyallup, WA
Posts: 801
Old D44 don't use crush sleeve. They use shims. I recently regeared a blank D44. .075 total shims to get to zero preload on the carrier. Can't remember what each side had, but I know it wasn't equal. Was less shims on ring gear side, I remember that much.

Add .007 at the end of the process to each side to preload the bearings (.015 total preload). Whatever you do, don't do what I first tried which is add .005 to ring gear side and .010 to pinion side. Result: .012 backlash (from .005). Theory was to open backlash a little, result was too much. Just go even both sides.

Pinion depth will vary depending on manufacturer of the gears. Last one I did with U.S.A. Standard Gear. 4.88 ratio and pinion depth was set with a .014 shim. It was also a front axle. Not sure if that makes any difference. Hope that helps, but in the end you just have to do what works and repeatedly checking your pattern with paste.

Also you need to make or buy a set of "set up bearings". There's only one bearing you press on from the beginning. That is the inner pinion bearing. The other 3 you will be taking off many, many times and they need to slip off by hand. To make a set use a die grinder, or whatever you have, and remove metal so they just slip on/off the journal by hand, easy. Make sure your setup bearings and final install bearings are the same brand or it will mess up your final results. Can't go wrong with Made in U.S.A. Timken Bearings.

Also, buy a non thread locking nut to free spin onto the pinion each time you check things. Also instead of using the yoke each time, use a piece of tube with similar dimensions. You'll be surprised the amount of time you save each time you assemble/disassemble. You need to figure out how you're going to hold the yoke for final torque. Back in the day I used a giant pipe wrench. I'm sophisticated now and made a long handled tool that bolts to the yoke to hold it. 220 ft lbs final torque on that pinion nut is a fair amount to achieve.

Edit: .058 for pinion bearing preload shims. I remembered Factory book said .065 nominal. So start with .070 to be safe, walk it in. Backlash is from .005 to .010 -- .008 desired (straight out of factory service manual).

To make life a little easier you may want to make a case spreader. Google search for images. It will help you get the carrier in when you go final install. It will also help you get it back out without killing yourself if you have to make an adjustment to your shims because something was off.
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Unread 12-10-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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1982 CJ8 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 193
Thanks man!

Like I said, I'm still not sure if I want to tackle this myself. But the money I would save by self performing it is tempting...
'82 CJ-8
AMC 20/D30
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