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Unread 09-16-2010, 04:21 PM   #1
krazymatt
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Buying Used Axles-What to Check?

I'm going to be looking at a set of axles locally which a friend of a friend is selling: a Dana 30/Super 35 with 4:56gears and a Detroit Locker in the rear. The person is upgrading to D44's. What can I look for to try and assure they are good, and they are what they're telling me they are? Also, if I do get them, shall I go ahead and replace the ball joints while it's out? Thanks...

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Unread 09-16-2010, 04:28 PM   #2
Wheelin98TJ
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Look for leaks anywhere including leaks around the tubes where they enter the housing.

I would pull the diff cover and check the ring and pinion gear for any strange wear patterns.

If you pull the diff cover, you might also want to pull the axle shafts.

I would also verify the gear ratio. There are a few ways to do this. If you do not know how, check here:

How do I determine my gear ratio?
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Unread 09-16-2010, 04:36 PM   #3
krazymatt
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Thanks, you sort of lost me on the 1 revolution/2revolutions?!
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Unread 09-16-2010, 04:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazymatt View Post
Thanks, you sort of lost me on the 1 revolution/2revolutions?!
Maybe this will make it simpler.

If you rotate the axle shaft 1 turn and the pinion only rotates 2 turns, you know you have to do another rotation of the axle shaft. There is no way you would have 2:something gears.

If you rotate the axle shaft 1 turn and the pinion turns 3 3/4 turns, you know you do not have to rotate the axle shaft 2 times because that would put you at a 7.5:1 axle ratio.

So in other words, you can tell by the results if you need to rotate the axle shaft 1 turn or 2 turns.
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Unread 09-16-2010, 04:57 PM   #5
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At the very least, I'd pull the diff covers and check for any sort of shavings, chipped teeth, etc. If you do pull the shafts, check to make sure that they're not twisted (the splines on the diff end should be parallel to and line up with the splines on the wheel end). Also check for any play in the ball joints by wiggling the knuckle, that way you'll know if you HAVE to replace them (although it's probably a good idea anyways while the axle's out.)
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Unread 09-16-2010, 10:33 PM   #6
krazymatt
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What special tools would I need to get to replace those ball joints? Is it a special Chyrsler/Jeep tool, or could I pick up the ball joint tool at Harbor Freight? Thanks....
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Unread 09-17-2010, 05:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazymatt View Post
What special tools would I need to get to replace those ball joints? Is it a special Chyrsler/Jeep tool, or could I pick up the ball joint tool at Harbor Freight? Thanks....
I have the harbor freight Ball Joint tool and it worked for my buddy. Ive heard stories of them flexing under load but with the impact gun it worked fine. If you are using a regular socket an its flexing too much just run to an advanced auto and borrow theirs for free.

And yes, id say replace the ball joints and even the unit bearing while its easy
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Unread 09-17-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
pmccoy9876
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazymatt View Post
What special tools would I need to get to replace those ball joints? Is it a special Chyrsler/Jeep tool, or could I pick up the ball joint tool at Harbor Freight? Thanks....
I 'rented' the autozone one, and both things mentioned in the post above happened: it flexed to the point where it actually contacted the upper spring mount/shock tower, and it worked fine. As long as you tighten it until the ball joint comes out, you're fine, but it definitely flexed. Other than that, a breaker bar or impact and the appropriate socket (3/4", maybe?) , you don't need any special tools, it's a pretty simple job other than the sheer force required to break the ball joints loose, then press them back in.

Also, when pressing them back in, make sure that they go in level. If they're crooked, they'll get really hard to push any farther really fast. Oh, and make sure you install them in the right order, I think the top one first. If you do it wrong, there's no way to press the second one in.
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Unread 09-17-2010, 07:54 PM   #9
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Since you may have limited time/tools when looking at the axles to buy, I would:

-Look for leaks anywhere. Be very suspicious of a pinion seal leak, they often indicate a bearing starting to go out.
-Grab the yoke and try to move it up/down; in/out; side/side. If you can move the yoke any direction except around and around there is a bearing going out.
-The general condition will tell you a lot, how many dents/dings, cakes of mud in corners.
-Pull the cover for 3 reasons, to see if the fluid is OK (or mainly that it's not also full of water/rust/chips). To see if the gear pattern is OK. To see what the ratio is (it's written on the ring gear).

I will disagree with some of the previous posters:
1) Unless the ball joint is completely worn out (to the point the knuckle is about to fall off) you are not going to be able to check it with the wheel off the axle. So, yes check it, but that may not mean it's good.
2) I have worked on axles laying in the back of truck beds and on work benches. I much prefer the axle to actually be in the vehicle when working on it (unless you've got a really big 'ol boy to hold it while your working on it.
3) I personally wouldn't put new ball joints or hubs in it until I installed it and checked to see if the current ones are good. I'm not sure what you are planning to pay for this D30 axle, but I certainly hope it is way less than the cost of a set of hubs and ball joints (ie don't automatically throw $300 worth of parts into a $200 axle).
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Unread 09-17-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
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I've decided to pass on the deal. I had the guy send me pics because he's about 80 miles from me, and it appears like that pinion seal might be leaking. My axles are tight, and I don't need problems like this to wher I'll have to pay and end up spending what I would to regear mine. I've found a guy to do them for labor per hour and he's pretty reputable. At least that way I'll know what goes into them. This whole deal just sounded too good. Thanks.
axle10.jpg  
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Unread 09-17-2010, 09:55 PM   #11
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when i pulled my junkyard HP D30, the first thing I looked at was the unibody & fenders - crawled under there, looked for rust, dents and welds on the body anywhere. nothing to do with the axle...but I wanted to see if it had been in an accident - aka would the housing be bent.

so, in other words, the axle isn't necessarily the only thing to look at when shopping used...you want to know if the housing is bent...and sometimes the only way to tell is after its on an alignment rack...well if you don't have that luxury you need to get inventive. leaky seals can be replaced pretty easily...housings after they've been built up...not so much.
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Unread 09-18-2010, 09:51 AM   #12
krazymatt
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Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Re gear my d30/35 with no locker as a fix for the gearing for now and just take it easy as I ususally do. Look for a set of d30/35 from a 4cyl jeep with 4.10 gearing? I'm stumped. I'd love a Dana44 but the money I don't have right now, plus I've searched online and I'd pretty much have to buy a new one at about $2500!
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazymatt View Post
Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Re gear my d30/35 with no locker as a fix for the gearing for now and just take it easy as I ususally do. Look for a set of d30/35 from a 4cyl jeep with 4.10 gearing? I'm stumped. I'd love a Dana44 but the money I don't have right now, plus I've searched online and I'd pretty much have to buy a new one at about $2500!
run smaller tires to match the gearing you have now. save money till you can do it right.
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Unread 09-18-2010, 10:46 AM   #14
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re gearing a Dana 35 is a waste of money. It is just not worth it.

Im sure you've heard this before but go the 8.8 route! Iron Rock just came out with a nice TJ swap kit for a nice price. even if you cant weld, Im sure you know someone with atleast a cheap chinese welder. set it up the instructions directions, tack it, test fit it, bring it to a welder, done.


I plan on doing this with my 4 banger TJ because you can find these axles with 4.10 gears.... the perfect ratio for 33's......... and a V8!
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Unread 09-18-2010, 11:34 AM   #15
krazymatt
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run smaller tires to match the gearing you have now. save money till you can do it right.
Thanks, but that's NOT an option. What would my TJ look with stock tires!?
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