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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would anyone happen to know what brand of carrier/pinion bearings the 44a came with from the factory? Also, does it suffer from the same issue as the wheel bearings where no parts store (rock auto included) knows what bearings they use? I know at this point tolerances may be a bit off, but I would like to buy the same brand of bearings. I could pop the cover off/carrier out and see, but I'm not ready to work on it yet and I'm ordering stuff for another Jeep.

Rock auto shows the TIMKEN DRK339A for the 97 ZJ with the dana 44... It doesn't have an 'a' after the 44 though.
 

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I can tell you what I ordered to rebuild my Dana 44A. Came with Koyo bearings with USA stamped in them. Axle has been quiet and no problems for 5 years. The solid spacer is so much easier than that stupid crush sleeve, makes life easy during setup and down the road if you need to remove the pinion.

Grand Cherokee Dana 44HD rebuild list

  • Nitro Solid Pinion Preload Spacer
SKCSD44HD

  • Nitro Master Install Kit
Dana 44HD, Dana 44-A, Jeep Nitro Master Install Kit

  • Dana 44HD Trac-Lok rebuild kit
DAN707018X
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Boone, It looks like they take the same bearings as the WJ, so I should be good.

I'll ponder on the solid spacer. Sometimes those crush sleeves crush perfectly and other times I've fought them for hours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
'Preciate it, ordered the Timken rebuild kit.

I used Koyo bearings on my KJ and within 1,000 miles, the pinon bearing went bad. I have speculations that it was due to many unfortunate events on my part, but it still makes me wonder.

On the crush sleeves, the two times I've installed new ones, one time I was also installing a new pinion gear and the other time I was not. The time I did use a new pinon gear, the splines were SUPER tight when putting the driveshaft flange on which made torquing the nut to crush the sleeve that much harder. I had to use a 3' breaker bar on a floor jack to tighten the nut... The bar had a very significant bow to it... I think the tolerances were a bit too tight on the splines, which is what led to the unfortunate events I mentioned earlier.... When replacing the new/bad Koyo bearings, I ground down the splines a bit to where all it took was a tap of a dead blow to install/remove the flange, the crush sleeve was very easy to crush after that....

I use locktite on the pinon nut threads, but I do put some gear oil on the washer.
 

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I've never had any issues with Koyo, Timken or SKF bearings. The last D44HD rebuild kit I got had Koyo bearings. My front axle has Timken bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The bearings were indeed timken. The pinion bearings sounded like they were bad, and they didnt disappoint. Ive never seen so much metal flake, its everywhere. 5 cans of brake clean later, I think I've got all of it. Carrier bearings feel like they were on their way out and they appear to have been changed before. Guess even though its a low mile Jeep, its had some issues. Hopefully I don't have to deal with this again anytime soon... after seeing how much metal was in it, I ordered some new wheel bearings/seals.



 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
that's what mine looked like when I opened it up for rebuild. inspect the surface where the carrier bearings sit, looks like they spun a little in the housing. mine looked the same but has been fine since the rebuild.
I'm trying not to look at that, as I do believe you are correct... Just gonna ignore that for now.
 

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I can smell it from here !! Lol
After you get the axle bearings and seals out, you can shove a rag down the tubes and you’ll see a lot more metal hiding in there.
Before you put the carrier back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Yep, they had metal all in them. I jacked up the axle from each end and sprayed brake clean each direction in the tubes. Then I shoved a rag down them and sprayed them again.

This was after spraying it and pushing a rag through it. Still had some metal in it

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unfortunately the timken DRK339A kit came with the wrong pinion seal. Im assuming its for the WJ dana 44, but I didnt check. Local Oreallys had a spicer seal in stock.

Wheel bearings wont be here till monday, but I should have things wrapped up in the diff tomorrow.

Call me a pansy, but Im not able to torque the pinion nut when the breaker bar is literally on my face. I bought a pinion holder (maybe from bleepin Jeep?) that works pretty good. The flange takes 1/4-28 bolts. I wedge a breaker bar against the frame then put my torque wrench on a floor jack. I'm able to jack up the floor jack with my leg, so torquing the nut is pretty easy. My torque wrench only goes to 250 lb-ft so I switch to another breaker bar on the floor jack if I exceed 250. Spec is minimum 220, max 280. No idea if I exceeded 280, but I set the rotating torque to ~25 in-lbs. Spec varies depending on where you look in the FSM. One place says 15-35, another says 20-40 for new bearings.











Had a miller pinion seal driver that I bought for my Liberty, worked perfect on this seal.



 
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Got the carrier hammered back in today. Those shims are tight. Ive always wondered why the carrier bearings go bad in the 44a so I was doing some searching today. No idea if its true, but I read that Dana, Chrysler, and Timken fell out when the dana 44a's started having issues. Timken blamed it on Dana for the way they were manufacturing the axles. They were setting up the gears then pressing in the axle tubes, which screwed up the carrier bearings preload. Timken wanted 20 in-lb of preload on the carrier bearings and once they pressed the tubes in, it was higher than that. I've already installed the driveshaft, but I would be interested to see what my carrier preload is. They claim you can take your pinion preload (25in-lb for me) then check the torque after installing the carrier. You multiple the additional preload by your gear ratio and that 'should' be your carrier bearing preload... No idea if any of that is true. And supposedly Dana tried to talk Chrysler out of using the aluminum center section but they wanted to reduce weight.

Had to use a rather large dead blow to get it back in. Backlash is now 0.006 compared to 0.005 before I removed it. The contact pattern did change a bit, but I'm not going to worry with it. If anything I think the pattern is better now, but the pinion seems to be a bit deep. Just don't look at it. I'd sure hate to have to setup a diff like this from scratch. The side adjusters on the 8.25 sure spoiled me.





Everything in my garage has a light coat of metal shavings on it. I plan on changing the diff fluid after I drive it a time or two, just incase. Bought some lube locker gaskets so I dont need to worry about RTV.



Next up is the trans. I adjusted the bands this evening, may put the new filter and pan on tomorrow.



 
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