Hi, I'm helping a friend put a pair of dana 44s with OX lockers in his '97 TJ Wrangler. The front axle seals are some kind of aftermarket seal with a red annodized metal body that protrudes from the axle tube. The seal part looks like a normal seal that would be used from front engine seals, etc. I'm sorry if I don't know correct terminology for everything, I am a Volvo/Saab mechanic with little 4X4 experience.
We have the rear put in and everything went smoothly. We have the front installed, but we are having a problem with it. The side with the short shaft is fine. The problem is with the other side.
When you turn the steering knuckle, the axle shaft itsself moves from front to back. You can actually see the seal deflecting from this. The range of movement is around 1/4". We have the hub bolted down and the spindle nut installed, and as far as I can tell the Upper and Lower ball joints are also tight.
The shaft doesn't look like its pushed too far in, and the spindle nut should hold it in its correct position anyway.
We popped the diff cover off trying to see if something is improperly installed, but you really can't see anything with the locker mechanism in there.
Is the shaft supposed to move? What is supposed to support the shaft? Thanks.
Sounds like you got the alloy usa axle seals on there. Those don't support the axle shaft, They just help keep the crap out better than the plastic ones that come stock.
Hard to figure out the axle shaft movement without seeing it.
Do you have pics?
Nothing to see here.
The front axleshaft is supported by the unit-bearing hub on the outside, and the carrier inside the differential. Those two keep it centered That seal, as noted, is an aftermarket seal who's purpose is only to help seal the axle tube from mud, dirt, etc. Is the unit bearing hub secure and in good condition? Is the carrier present inside? Something is really wrong somewhere if you can see the axleshaft moving like that.
Is the front axle fully installed? Does it have the trackbar (you probably know it as the panhard bar) installed? Both lower control arms and the upper control arm are installed?
I'm only looking at the seals movement as an indication that the shaft is moving too much, I realize it doesn't support the shaft.
The hub is secured to the knuckle, which is secured to the ball joints. However it is the original hub. It does not appear to be worn out, I will check for play in it next time I'm working on it. EDIT hub has no play.
The axle was doing this sitting on the ground uninstalled, and does it partially installed on the Jeep (upper and lower control arms and driveshaft) The steering is not installed, nor is the track (panhard) rod.