Dana 44a wheel bearing play? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
jbsj33p
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Dana 44a wheel bearing play?

Hey everyone! I had a question about how much if any play should you be able to feel in the wheels on a dana 44a? On the passenger side I can pull the wheel in and out about a 1/4" and on the driver side none. However on the drivers side you can rock the wheel back and forth if you grab it at 10-2 and 12-6 just enough to feel it clunk but it has no in and out play.

I assume that they way the wheel bearing is installed they shouldn't have any play you can feel by hand?

I have been chasing a noise in the rear end for awhile now that happens during cornering so I assumed wheel bearings were the culprit and feeling the play in the wheel confirmed it for me, so I took it to a shop and had them change both wheel bearings this past week after they also confirmed the wheel bearings were bad. But when I get the jeep back the play is still in the wheels exactly the same as before and the noise is as happy and healthy as before. So did the shop completely screw me over and not change the wheel bearings or is the play normal to a degree? or could the play and the rear end noise be caused by something else wrong in the rear end?


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post #2 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 04:20 PM
007matman
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Yep. I'd bet you have a weekend project there.

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post #3 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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If its not the wheel bearings making the slop it must be the carrier bearings. Has anyone successfully rebuilt one of these things before? I've seen tons of stuff about rebuilding the 44 but not the 44a.

I should also add successfully rebuilt in their driveway with hand tools.

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post #4 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 05:52 PM
CarlJH
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did they replace the axle retaining plate, the part that actually holds the axle shaft in? and if so did they use the proper OE mopar part or Crown? I tried the cheaper Crown one and couldn't tighten the bolts as it just stripped the splines in the plate and spun.
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 06:18 PM
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^ real good point Carl and I've heard the same thing about the new Crown seal retainer studs breaking loose or spinning.

I had one of the studs break loose/spin on my OE retainers when I removed my 44a axles. But that's understandable considering the 15 years of heavy road salt rusting the stud threads plus they use an oval-center lock nut on those bearing seal retainer studs. The dealer wanted $5/each for just those little retainer stud nuts!

I'd be interested to see that shop invoice just to see what they replaced? I would think it should be itemized with parts like bearings, seals, possible retainers, etc..

Below is a photo of my 04 44a axle with new bearing & locking collar, seal, and new Mopar seal retainer.
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 06:33 PM
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Something is going on there, there should not be any play in those wheel bearings. The way those bearings are pressed on with a solid retainer, and then bolted to the axle tube flange makes it impossible to wiggle unless some thing is not ideal. I would have another look in there asap.

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-26-2020, 06:44 PM
riverzj
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Just build this 44a for a customer. 3 difficult things about this 44a were the trac-lok rebuild sucks to do, also the bearings are large so youíll need tools for working on bigger axles not just the normal pullers that can work with the smaller d30/35 axle sizes. The carrier preload was also hard to achieve. It was on the same difficulty level as installing an ARB and loading it imo. It was extremely tight with only 8inchlbs preload on the carrier bearings. Got it done with no spreader still, but itís the tightest fit on any axle Iíve seen.
Crush sleeve was also very easy to crush on this axle.
Not many videos on YouTube or specifications about doing this 44a online, or atleast that I could fine. It was extremely similar to a dana35 so you can watch videos on that to get a similar idea, just know the bearings are much bigger you need a large puller.

Another thing to look at is when the outer bearings go bad, they can rub the axle shafts down and then the shafts are junk because the shaft will move around in the bearing when your driving. Also when carrier bearings wear out, or anything else contaminating your diff, they can get junk in the space between the tube and the pig, so the fluid stops traveling into the outer bearing and people will replace several outer bearings because they never get any fluid. Hope you can find and fix your issue!


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post #8 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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In the bill for parts it doesn't show retainer plates only the bearings, seals and the axle shaft bearing retainer. So what could have gone wrong with the wheel bearings lets say if I was going to fix them myself?

If the studs slip in the retainer plate that would be problem one, but if I can get the nuts to torque down to the proper torque that wouldn't be the problem? The torque on the nuts would be 45-55 ft-lbs?

Using cheap bearings that aren't quite right would be my guess for problem two.

Or not pressing the bearing all the way on the axle shaft, how do you know when they are properly seated?

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post #9 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbsj33p View Post
In the bill for parts it doesn't show retainer plates only the bearings, seals and the axle shaft bearing retainer. So what could have gone wrong with the wheel bearings lets say if I was going to fix them myself?



If the studs slip in the retainer plate that would be problem one, but if I can get the nuts to torque down to the proper torque that wouldn't be the problem? The torque on the nuts would be 45-55 ft-lbs?



Using cheap bearings that aren't quite right would be my guess for problem two.



Or not pressing the bearing all the way on the axle shaft, how do you know when they are properly seated?
The retainer plates are easy enough to replace. If the studs slip just grab them with a vice grips. if you get them a little tight they should torque down just fine. I'm not looking at the torque specs so can't answer that one. I know it's not much.

If the bearings or the race weren't seated right you'd know it. The axle would either protrude too much or not enough.

If you're going this deep might as well rebuild the whole thing and do it right. New seals would be a must in my book.

You'll also need a shop press.

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 09:04 AM
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Yes, if the retainer bolts torque down, then thats not the problem. 45-55 should get it. If the bearings arent pressed on all the way, the axle shaft itself would be sticking out if the axletube to far. If its out to much, your brakes wont bolt up right. (rotor wont sit right, allowing the caliper bracket to bolt up.) Sounds like cheap bearings or wrong bearings are possible here...
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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OK everything fits like it should, brakes are on fine. So first thing is I will check the torque on the nuts then go from there.

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post #12 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 10:47 AM
CarlJH
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I remember reading some years ago Alfaitalia who use to have a WJ 2.7CRD, had to source some packing shims from DANA to fix this very same problem.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Where do the shims go? behind the race in the axle?

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post #14 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 01:03 PM
CarlJH
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from what i remember they go in the end of the tube to pack the bearing out on the retaining collar side
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-27-2020, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
jbsj33p
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Checked the torque on the nuts they weren't at 45 ft-lbs, closer to 15-20 ft-lbs. Tightened them up to 45-50 ft-lbs but somehow that made the play in the wheel worse? I don't know how that's possible. But I've probably damaged something now so the shop will blame it on me. Hooray!

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