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Water 'Proofing' Ignition, Axles, Hubs, Ect.

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To keep from Hijacking other threads, I'm going to post all this stuff together, here, for future reference...

Just some air line, fittings and a little elbow grease!

This is the Manifold Block, right off the compressor that is mounted on the firewall next to the brake master cylinder. (electric Compressor, But will work with any type of compressor, even bottled air...)

Manifold/Distribution Block,

The Lower Right line is the 'Whip' line from the compressor.
Upper Right line is the supply to the storage tanks and on out to the full pressure coupler at the rear of the Jeep.

Top is two pressure switches (redundancy, or you can switch between two pressure settings if you want to).
In the beginning, I had one switch that was 120 PSI,
And one that was 35 PSI to fill tires, blow up air mattresses, ect.

The Bottom Left is an over pressure relief valve (every system should have a safety valve!)
Top Left is the line out to the pressure regulator.

On top is a gauge, and a full tank pressure coupler for this end of the vehicle.

OBA (On Board Air) run through a pressure regulator.
I knock the pressure back to about 10 PSI.
Tank air going to vents in axles, transfer case.


The air line feeding the regulator comes up inside the grill shell, and the blank space on the back of the grill shell looked like a GREAT place to mount the regulator, air dryer for the distributor, ect.
Seemed to fit really well here.

$15 regulator and gauge.
Try and get these types of gauges.
They are cheap and sealed from moisture, mud, grease, ect...

The rest of the air system...

Remember, air isn't like liquids, there is no 'Gravity Draining' to worry about.
Any tanks that are connected ANYWHERE in the system will add volume and make you system more effective!

You can tap ANY air line to the tanks for your couplers and hookups!

Simple Air System Diagram,


Axles and Transfer case are easy, they have built in vents...
All you do is remove the less than effective case vent, screw in a nipple, and connect the air lines.

Transmission is a little more challenging...
So is the distirbutor, it's covered in detail below.

Transmissions don't have vents, they 'Leak' around the shifter.

I used a CV joint boot and some serious 'Zip' ties to seal up the top of the transmission where the shifter is...

CV Joint boot from a Honda 4 wheeler worked great, and was reasonably priced, had the correct size holes for the shifter pivot (Large) on one end,
And the shifter arm (Small) on the 'Axle' end.

Then I drilled & tapped the case (on top) for an air nipple.

The pressure line to the running gear never sees more than about 10 PSI, so I don't have to worry about high pressure lines...
One line from regulator that 'T's off for front axle, continues along frame to transmission 'T', then transfer case 'T', finally terminates back at the axle.

Just put a 'Male Connector' on the end of the hose, and plug it into the regulator.
When the system isn't pressurized, you simply vent the hose to atmosphere.

Screw a screened vent into a female quick couple, and mount it on the fender well.
When the running gear hose isn't hooked up to the pressure regulator quick couple, it's hooked up to the VENT quick couple!

The regulator makes my air system SO MUCH MORE USER FRIENDLY, I should have done this years ago!

No more babysitting tires!!!
Turn the regulator down to 10 psi, and hook the hose up to the tires, the regulator airs them down to 10 PSI.
Hook the line for the running gear pressure, and I'm off to the races!

When we get back,
I unhook the running gear hose and plug in my tire hose to the regulator, turn the regulator up to 35 psi, and hook the air line up to the tires.

NO BABYSITTING! No over inflation of the tires!
When the compressor shuts off, I just move the hose to the next tire!

Tap the pressure line before the regulator, at the Distribution block, and you have tank pressure, 120 PSI for impact tools!

With a simple shut off valve, I have a 'To Go' air tank that adds volume to my on board system. With the 'To Go' tank hooked up, I have about 10 or 12 gallon capacity, and that goes a LONG WAY when you are using impact wrenches or air drills on the trail!

Distributor Preparations,

MIG welder tip screwed into the distributor cap vent hole,
Pressure line connected to it.

Vented Distributor Cap,

Nippled Distributor Cap,

Distributor Cap Installed,

Cap Underside,

Cap On Jeep,

One other bit of information...
The quick couple connectors will want to fill with crud...
Use Char Leg Rubber Caps on them.
Works great, is cheap and you can afford to loose one once in a while!


Makes your OBA system worth it's weight in gold if you decide to do DEEP water!
We've had water over the hood, and not one problem, just keep chugging along like usual!

I don't recommend you regularly DROWN your electrical system!,
But this will go a long way towards keeping water out of the drive train and distributor...

Here is a diagram of the Manifold/Distribution block I get asked about quite often. It's home made, 3/4" thick aluminum, just a scrap piece from the shop...

To mount this thing, I simply drilled a 1/4" hole in the middle, and used a 1/4" bolt to secure it to the fender since it's not a loaded piece.

Don't forget! When cutting/Tapping aluminum, use cutting fluid specifically for that purpose!
you can get away with murder when tapping iron/steel, but Aluminum will seize on the tap, ball up in the tap and generally cause all kinds of problems if you don't lubricate heavily with the correct fluid, and back the tap out often to break the balling up chips!

Slow and steady with lots of Back-outs/Clean-outs/Lubrication is the name of the game!

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
WINTER means snow and slush in a lot of the US.
Spring means 'Monsoon Season' for us in the 'Rust Belt'!

I got REALLY TIRED of always having to repack my wheel bearings after every run, and lots of the time, I found water in my differentials/axles right after just servicing them!

It's always nice to see $30 worth of Synthetic Gear Lube and a fresh gasket get scrapped because the lubricant looks like a rancid milkshake after one weekend wheeling! :brickwall

Anytime you splash a hot hub or differential housing, transmission, transfer case, ect. off into cold water, the metal will contract and distort.
That leaves gaps where water can get in.

Then the air inside cools and contracts, sucking in water though those gaps in the gaskets/seals...
The result is a nasty 'Milk Shake' effect, and a BUNCH of work to clean, lubricate and seal things up again.

SO, Check above to find out how to keep the water out of your axles, transmission, transfer case with air pressure...
Nothing like an On Board Air Source and a regulator to keep the 'Nasties' out of your drive train!

But, where grease is, moisture can't be!

I'm going to cover getting the axles ready for that air pressure,
and how to UPGRADE & repack the front wheel hubs/spindles so you don't have water in them all the time!

If you don't do a lot of 'WET WORK' in your Jeep, this is a waste of time and money.
Mall Crawlers, Street Jeeps and Desert guys wouldn't need this...


Step One,

Would be to get a spindle nut socket. 2-1/16", Thin Wall.
Available from EVERY Jeep parts supplier in the free world for $6 to $50, with the average being around $8 to $10.

This is the ONLY specialty piece of equipment you will need.
Everything else will be available commonly, or you can 'Borrow/Rent' it at the local parts store.

Don't even think about working on hubs/axles without Jack Stands!

Step Three,
Clean work surface. I don't care if you get a piece of plywood, a $6 Foam 'Sleeping Mat', or a clean spot on the garage/driveway floor, but you MUST have a clean work surface for this!

Doesn't hurt to cover that surface with paper towels so you don't get everything greasy.

A little tray for small parts is a good idea, I use magnetic trays for small parts and they work great, or you can just hack off a gallon jug and toss a magnet in it for the small stuff.
You don't have to be fancy, just handy!

Step Four,
Remove Wheel & Tire.
Remove brake caliper. Wire it up, DO NOT let the caliper dangle by the hose!
(Your FSM or Repair manual will show how to do this)

Remove lockout switch or center cap if you have drive flanges.
(There are so many kinds of lockouts I can't begin to tell you how to take the cap/switch off the lockout)

Remove 'Snap Ring' from end of stub axle.

Remove lockout body or drive flange, this is normally a 9/16" bolt heads.

1/4" Punch and Hammer.
Punch back large washer edge (separation/lock washer) so you can remove outer spindle nut (specialty socket required).

Spindle & Hub, Exploded View.

Remove Large Washer.
Remove Inside Spindle Nut.
Remove Small Spindle Washer.

Hub Rotor should pull straight off.
Be mindful of the outside bearing, with the inside spindle nut removed, it's loose in the hub.
Once it clears the spindle, it can fall out of the hub, be sure to catch it.

Once the hub/rotor is off, you can pull the inside hub seal, and remove the inside bearing for cleaning/Inspection.

Clean out the hub THOROUGHLY so you can see what is going on inside.

You will notice there are 'Notches' on the inside of the hub, These are for driving out the bearing 'Cup' or 'Race'.

Hub, Showing Clean 'Notch',

What I do is drill into these 'Notches' with a 1/8" drill bit so I can inject grease directly into the hub and full the air spaces so water can't invade when I splash through water.
This is a DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE IDEA, and farm equipment have had these grease fittings for years.
Only seemed right that my little 'Tractor' get some too!

Hub, Pilot Hole Drilled and Marked,


Once the 1/8" pilot hole is bored, you simply back bore the outside of the hole for about 1/4" deep for threading or pushing the grease Zerk in.
(Zerk is a brand name for the little nipple/valve that accepts grease)

There are two basic types of grease Zerks, Push in and threaded in.
I prefer threaded type so when they break off, the 'Stump' is easier to get out...

This is a 'Grease Zerk Wrench' and it's available at any of the better parts stores, farm equipment stores, tool stores, ect.
The pointed end is an 'Easy Out' for removing broken off Zerks,
The other 'Arm' is a threading/thread cleaning tap,
The two socket ends are for straight fittings and 45 or 90 fittings.

Zerk Wrench,

This is a Great Tool to have for all of your grease fittings, from Ball Studs, to Universal Joints, to Suspension Bushings, Tie Rod Ends, ect.

Once the outside 1/4" deep back bore in the pilot hole is done with a #5 drill and can be threaded with the Grease Zerk Wrench or a 1/4"x 26 TPI NF Tap.

The common small grease Zerks are 1/4"x 26 TPI NF,
(TPI: Threads Per Inch, NF: National Fine)
And that is NOT your average fine thread...

Then just screw in your Zerk, Mark it's location so you remember to face it DOWN when changing wheels, and that's all there is to it!

From now on, you can fill the hub cavity up completely with grease, eliminating air pressure changes and water infiltration completely!


Since you have the hub off, you should probably do the spindle too so water doesn't invade your lockouts via the stub axle channel.
Good time to check/replace your spindle bearing and it's seals!

Spindle Graphic,

What you will need...
9/16" socket and drive tool,
Spindle puller.

Once the spindle is off, you can do this upgrade to fill the spindle air spaces completely up with grease, eliminating air pressure changes with temprature, and excluding all moisture!

This is VERY easy, it's simply drilling a hole in the spindle and using a 'Grease Needle' to fill the spindle channel once the spindle is installed on the stub axle...

I use a 1/8" Drill and locate the hole just behind the inside wheel bearing.
I usually align the hole with the slot in the spindle for easy finding when things get greasy!

Locating The Hole,

Then, you use a 'Grease Needle' to fill the air gap between stud axle and spindle...
I use a metal one intended for chain saw blade tip lubrication.

Grease Needle,

You simply press the needle into the hole, and pump until the grease exits around the axle inside of the spindle!
Rotate the axle by hand a few times, and make sure the void is full with a few more pumps, and you are done!

Needle In Spindle


This upgrade is VERY EASY, requires nothing more than the tools you already use to change wheel bearings/spindle bearings, and it's a REAL BEARING SAVER for those of you that like to splash through the mud and water!

1/8" drill.
#5 drill.
2 small Zerk fittings.
1/4" X 26 NF tap.
Cutting oil.
Hand drill.
Fitting wrench for small fittings.
Paint marker.


Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)

For those of you that might be shaky on Packing Wheel Bearings or Servicing Spindle Bearings,
Or don't know how to service the Ball Studs or Front Axle U Joints,

I'll Cover that in general here...

There are SEVERAL VARIATIONS of lockouts and a couple or three variations of brakes on the '76 to '86 CJ's, so you might find some differences!
Always good to have a Service Manual for your particular year handy to explain the particular version of things you have!


Same three steps as above apply here!

Step One,
Would be to get a spindle nut socket. 2-1/16", Thin Wall.

Available from EVERY Jeep parts supplier in the free world for $6 to $50, with the average being around $8 to $10.

This is the ONLY specialty piece of equipment you will need.
Everything else will be available commonly, or you can 'Borrow/Rent' it at the local parts store.

Don't even think about working on hubs/axles without Jack Stands!

Step Three,
Clean work surface.
I don't care if you get a piece of plywood, a $6 Foam 'Sleeping Mat', or a clean spot on the garage/driveway floor, but you MUST have a clean work surface for this!

Doesn't hurt to cover that surface with paper towels so you don't get everything greasy.

A little tray for small parts is a good idea, I use magnetic trays for small parts and they work great, or you can just hack off a gallon jug and toss a magnet in it for the small stuff.
You don't have to be fancy, just handy!

Step Four,
Remove Wheel & Tire.
Usually will be 3/4" lugs, but with wheel & tire swaps, you may have something different.

Step Five,
Remove Brake Caliper.

Usually 1/4" Allen (hex) wrench in the "Caliper Retaining Screw" in the image below,
Then use a 1/4" punch and hammer to drive out the "Caliper Support Key",
And be aware the "Caliper Support Spring" is going to come with the Key when it drives out.

Hub Exploded View,

If you are even a little bit fuzzy about how all this goes together, TAKE PICTURES, LOTS OF PICTURES! So you can get it back together again!

The Caliper will lift straight away from the rotor...
Remember, there is a rusted edge on the rotor keeping the caliper from lifting, so it often takes some 'Persuasion' with Mallet (NOT Hammer) or pry bar to get the caliper to let go of the rotor.

Once the caliper is free of the rotor, DO NOT let it hang by the hose!
YOU MUST wire tie or wire the caliper up so it DOES NOT HANG BY THE HOSE!

Step Six,
Removing the Hub Cap or Lock Out Switch.

Some of the 'Quadra-Trac' models, won't have lock-outs.
They have 'Drive Flanges' instead of lockouts, see the diagram above, top is 'Drive Flange' with hub cap,
Bottom is 'Lockout' with outer switch.

You need to remove the OUTSIDE SWITCH of the locouts (usually small Allen (hex) bolts or the 'Hub Cap' on the drive flanges.
Since there are SO MANY different designs of lock-outs, there is no way I can cover all the different kinds...
So this is one of those times where you will need to have a CLOSE LOOK and see if there is an outer switch & face plate that can be removed, or the lockout is just held on by bolts into the hub...

Hub Caps just come off by prying on them, or pulling with large pliers.
They are 'Interference Fit' and just pull off.

Step Seven,
Snap Ring Removal.

Clean off the end of the axle in the hub, and you will find a snap ring on the outside of the stub axle end that sticks through.
Look on the article pictures above, where the axle end sticks out of the spindle, and you will see the snap ring groove.

You will need Snap Ring Pliers to get this Snap Ring off.
Snap Ring Pliers, A Common tool that's sold everywhere.

Step Eight,
Unbolt and pull off the body of the lock-out or drive flange.

Once the 5 or 6 bolts are removed from the drive flange or hub body, they pull straight off the axle.
Some will be rusted on, or some dummy will have them glued down with RTV sealer, and they will require some 'Persuasion'...
Go easy and take your time loosening them up.
Hammering on them can distort the sealing surface face, so use a 'Soft' hammer face when 'Tapping' them loose...

Remember, these have to be cleaned out REALLY WELL for the gears to mesh with both axle and lockout body.
Lots of RTV sealer, or improperly installed gasket/'O' ring will interfere and keep the Lock Out from engaging properly...
So make sure you clean ALL the RTV gunk the Previous Owners heaped in there!

Step Nine,
Lock Washer Straightening.

The outside SPINDLE NUT will be showing, but if it was properly installed,
There will be a large washer bent outward keeping it from backing off.
Use the 1/4" punch and hammer to straighten the lock washer up off the outside Spindle Nut, then use the 2-1/16" Specialty Socket listed above to remove the outer Spindle Nut.

Idiots often use chisels to remove/install Spindle Nuts.
If your Spindle Nuts have been damaged, REPLACE THEM!
This is the ONLY thing holding your wheel on, so don't try and save $5.00 and reuse damaged nuts!

Spindle Nut Set,

Every Jeep Parts supplier carries spindle nuts and spindle nut sets...
And the entire set (2 Nuts, One Large keyed Washer, One small Keyed Washer for $5.00) is dirt cheap so there is no excuse!

Step 10,
Removing the Spindle Nuts & Washers,

This is pretty straight forward, unscrew the outer spindle nut, large keyed washer, the inside spindle nut, and the small washer if it's convent.
The inside small washer DOES NOT have to come out, it can come with the bearings & hub when you pull it off...

Step 11,
Removing The Hub/Rotor Assembly,

The Hub in it's entirety should pull directly off the spindle at this time.
Be careful of the outside bearing WILL fall out when it clears the spindle!
Be ready to catch it!

Pry out the rear grease seal, then take out the inside wheel bearing.

Clean the hub out REALLY WELL, all the old grease MUST come out, and there is no such thing as 'Too Clean'!

Step 12,
Inspection of Hub Bearings and 'Cups' or 'Races'.

Clean out the bearings with 'Brake Cleaner' or 'Parts Cleaner', and SLOWLY roll the bearing around on your fingers, inspect the roller for any Pits, Scratches, 'Warbles', Chatter Marks, ect.
If you don't find any problems of the bearings, you can reuse them with no problems at all!

Check the Bearing 'Cups' or 'Races' for all of the above...
Pits, Scratches, 'Warbles', Chatter Marks, ect.

If both bearings and races pass inspection, then sit them aside for packing, and it's a good idea to cover the clean hub/bearings while you are servicing the Spindle/Axle/Ball Studs.

Step 13,
Remove the 6 nuts holding the spindle and brake dust shield on.
(On '76 to '78 brakes, these 6 nuts hold the brake caliper bracket on also)

Spindle Puller.

5 Piece NAPA BK1 Spindle Bearing & Seal Kit.

You will probably have to use a 'Spindle Puller' to get the spindle off.
Auto Zone has a spindle puller for 'Lend/Rent' Part Number OEM 27104
Or, you can use your spindle nuts on the spindle (use BOTH) and use a gear puller, DO NOT forget to 'Rent' the slide hammer that makes this thing work!

Gear Puller.

Clean up the spindle and Inspect the internal SPINDLE BEARING.
Normally, these are shot and have been for a LONG TIME!
The full bearing kit is NAPA p/n BK1 and that is for the 5 piece set.
Bering, both seals, thrust washer and 'Slinger' or 'Grit Guard'.

Spindle & Steering Knuckle,

While at NAPA, pick up new 'Prevailing Torque' nuts for the spindle bolts.
The 'Crimp Nuts' used on spindle bolts are technically called 'Prevailing Torque' and you should replace them every time you service the spindle, they were NOT intended for more than one use!

If you find the bearing in the spindle is bad...
You can make a tool by bending the tip of an old screwdriver about 20° and use it to drive the old bearing out,

Home Made Bearing Remover,

You can use a 'Pilot Bearing Puller' on the 'Lend/Rent' from Auto Zone p/n OEM 27059. Again, you will need to 'Rent' the slide hammer that makes this thing work.

[B]Pilot Bearing Remover[/B]

New bearings can be driven in with a bearing/seal driver, also a 'Loan/Rent' item, or you can use the correct size socket for the job of 'Driver'.
You CAN damage this bearing easily!
Tap it into place gently, and it DOES NOT have to bottom out in the bore!
The bearing only has to go in far enough for the smallest of the grease seals to fit in the bore with it, any farther, and you have gone too far!

Spindle Bearing & Seals,


I would also use 'Never-Seize' on the metal to metal contacts before assembly, it will make things MUCH easier to work on next time!


Step 14.
Axle Removal & Inspection.

At this point, you can pull the axle straight out of the axle tube and get a good inspection of the U Joint.
This would be an EXCELLENT time to replace it if you find any problems!

Also keep in mind, this is an EXCELLENT time to prepare the axle housing for air pressure if you intend to do that!

U Joints are easy to remove and replace once you have done it a time or two, but they are DIFFICULT to do if you have never done them before!
I suggest if you haven't done this before, you take the axle someplace with the correct equipment and let them change the U Joint while you watch.

REMEMBER, Presses often bend the ears of the U Joint yokes in and that is a REAL PROBLEM with this type of 'Internal Clip' U Joint!
A Cable Puller is a MUCH better way to do things.

Look for cracks in the splines of the axle, twisted splines, stuff like that is going to indicate an impending failure, and a good time to change the defective/damaged parts is NOW!

Step 15,
Checking Ball Studs.

Ball Studs are what allow the steering knuckle to swing through it's arc, and it's the part your spindle bolts to.
Normally, you can bolt up your spindle,
with or without the axle installed for a test,
And shake the spindle forward/backward and up/down to see if there is any 'Play' in the Ball Studs.
If you find very much at all, REPLACE the ball studs now!

Loosen the 'Castle Nuts' on the ball studs, but don't take them all the way off!
Use a 'Ball Joint Fork' or a 'Ball Stud Fork' & a hammer,
Pop the bottom stud first! If you don't the top 'Split Ring' won't let go enough to get it out!
Once the bottom s popped, you can pop the top loose if it hasn't already, and take the Castle Nuts the rest of the way off, then remove the Split Ring from the top of the Steering Knuckle....


Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Since CivilianJeep.Info is my web site, there will be some duplication.
This particular dissertation is for this web site.


Differential Axle Seals.
While the axles are out, consider doing a seal change on the differential housing..
The axle seals in the front are just outboard of the differential carrier in the center section of the axle.

Take the differential cover off, unbolt the differential carrier, and pop it out.
Just pop the differential carrier out, and when you are done, pop it right back in again, and Torque the caps down again.

When the axles and carrier is out, you can drive the axle seals out, and drive new ones back in.

Differential Axle Seals,


Axle Vent.
The axle vents on the Dana 30 front end is UNRELIABLE at best, and a PITA at worst!
I just pull them out (only held in with an 'O' ring that gave up a LONG time ago!) and drill/tap the hole for a thread nipple for good hose.

While the differential carrier is out for the axle seals, this is a GREAT time to drill/tap the case because you can catch/clean out ALL the debris created from the drilling & tapping!

Axle Outer...

Ball Studs.
Start with ball studs if you need to change them.
I use these now for the top...

Moog Top Ball Joints,

These can be greased without having to remove the axle to install a grease Zerk!

A Ball Stud press, sort of a 'C' Clamp looking thing can be had from the parts stores on the 'Lend/Rent' basis, or any shop can press these in for you without much problem.

Be mindful of which way your grease Zerk is going to face when you install!
Face it the wrong way, and you can't get a grease gun on it without removing a bunch of crap anyway!

Install Axles.
Nothing to this really, just slide them in the tubes, find the spline mating, and push them into the differential carrier.

Spindle Assembly & Install,
The 5 piece kit from NAPA is Part Number BK-1

Spindle Set BK-1

See images above for bearing install.

Bearing & Seal Order.

Using some 'Never-Seize' on the metal to metal mating parts doesn't hurt anything either!

Don't forget the brake caliper bracket if the vehicle has the '76-'78 disc brakes,
And don't forget the brake dust/splash shield if you intend to reuse it.

Remember to use NEW PREVAILING TORQUE NUTS on the 6 spindle bolts!
DO NOT use Never-Seize or thread locker on the spindle bolts with prevailing torque nuts!
Torque to 35 Ft.Lb.

If you did the spindle hole upgrade, this is the time to get the grease gun and grease needle and fill that spindle up!

With Spindle in place,

It's time to REPACK the wheel bearings.
If yo have never done this before, it can be a little tricky.
There are a few ways to do this, and the one I like most might get you in trouble with the wife!
Pump a generous amount of grease on the ends of the bearing, put it in a vacuum packing bag, and run the vacuum pump on it!
That will pull the grease right in the bearing with little or no mess!

Another way is to hold the bearing firmly in the right hand with two fingers through the center, large end of the rollers facing down,
Get a good sized 'Gob' of grease in the palm/heel of your left hand,
Then 'Tap' the large end of the rollers in the grease of your left hand...
do that until it comes out the top, or small end of the rollers,
Then turn the bearing (With out rotating the roller) in your hand, and start again.
Keep doing that until there is grease 'Packed' into the bearing and coming out the top all the way around.

A third method is to buy one of the little plastic 'Bearing Packers' at the auto parts store.
They are ineffective and a waste of time and grease, but they will eventually get the 4 front bearings packed... While making a HUGE mess! :)

Use fingers to 'Gob' some grease on the inside bearing 'Cup' or 'Race', an once it's coated, you can drop the bearing in place and install the grease seal with the 'Bearing/Seal' driver (Loan/Rental Tool)

Dry starts will ruin a seal in a hurry!

Repeat the packing process with the outside bearing when the time comes...

Even if you did the 'Grease Zerk' upgrade, it will still save you a bunch of time on the grease gun, and if you didn't, the more grease you can get in the hub, the better for your bearings!

'Gob' Some grease on the outside Bearing 'Cup' or 'Race', and install the hub/rotor on the spindle.
Install PACKED outer hub bearing...

Install SMALL Keyed Washer against Outer Hub Bearing.

Install Inside Spindle Nut.

*IF* you had to change bearings/races, torque the Inside Spindle Nut to 50 Ft. Lb., then back it off completely.
This should seat the 'Cups' or 'Races' in their bores just in case you didn't get them seated completely.
DO NOT EXCEED 50 Ft.Lbs. or you will ruin the bearings!

Once backed off, or if you didn't change Bearings/Races, tighten the inside nut GENTLY as you spin the rotor....
You are looking for ZERO forward/backward or up/down play in the hub when you shake the rotor, but you DO NOT want any drag when you spin the rotor.
Zero Lash, Zero Drag.

Put on the Large Keyed Washer.

Put on the Outside Spindle Nut, and torque it down.
I've read all kinds of things, but around 50 Ft.Lb or 60 Ft.Lbs is usually plenty...

Then bend the large washer OUTWARD over the outer nut to lock it in place.
It's keyed, so it won't turn, and holding the OUTER nut in place will keep the rest where it suppose to be.

If you didn't do the hub grease Zerk upgrade, this is the time to pack as much grease into and around the bearings, nuts, ect. as you can!

If you DID do the grease Zerk upgrade, then this is the time to start the pumps!
Just pump until the grease oozes out the outer wheel bearing and fills up hub, then use the grease needle to fill in around the spindle nuts and washers.

Reinstall your Hub Body or Drive Flange, using the CORRECT gasket,
Or make a gasket out of sheet gasket material.

If you don't have a gasket, go buy a yellow file folder, and cut gaskets out of it.
That compressed paper they use in the yellow file folders works pretty good and so does the covers from the soft back repair manuals!

The 9/16" head bolts or studs and nuts should be torqued to spec., around 35 Ft.Lb.
( The holes in the hubs are threaded 3/8"x16 TPI, NC)

You can use Lock Washers and Never-Seize on the threads.
You can use 'Blue' thread locker and FLAT WASHERS,
DO NOT use Flat Washers and Never-Seize together!

Personally, I opt for external locks, bolt keepers, lock washers, ect., and Never-Seize...
But that is just personal preference.
I'd rather not rust a bolt in the threads when I KNOW I'm going to need to service the hubs at least twice a year...

Same deal with Drive Flanges.

Many times, the axle won't want to push fully in far enough to get the snap ring in it's groove with new seals in the spindle.
Use a pry bar at the U joint, and push the stub axle out where you can get to the snap ring!
This is VERY common, and you may have to lean on it pretty good, but it's no big deal, happens to all of us!

Reinstall the Hub Cap on Drive Flanges,
And reinstall the Lock-Out Switch on lockouts.
Again, use the correct gasket or make a gasket, and leave the 'Gasket Goop' for the Goobers!

Reinstall the Brake Caliper in it's mounts.
Remember, you will most likely have to push the piston back in the caliper some to get the caliper on the disc, so a 'C' clamp comes in handy.

If you need to change brake pads, THIS IS THE TIME!

Remember to use 'Never-Seize' on the bracket to Caliper contact points!
This will help keep your caliper from rusting in place and causing poor braking and premature brake pad wear.

Putting the Support Spring & Key back in between the caliper bracket arm and caliper can be maddening!
One 'Trick' is to push it in the way it came out, from the back forward.
You almost need 3 hands to hold the Caliper, Key & Spring all at the same time... So having help for this part would be a good idea!
Once you do it a couple of times, you can do it by your self!

Install the Caliper Retaining Screw!
DO NOT OVER TORQUE! This is a dead soft metal, and I've had to drill out many a twisted off screw over the years...
So 'Snug' it up good, and leave it alone!
Leave the breaker bars in the tool box and use a short handle when dealing with that screw!

Install your wheel and tire.
It's just fine to use 'Never-Seize' on wheel studs, no matter what people tell you...
Torque lugs to 80 Ft.Lb. in a 'Star' pattern.
Remember to retorque at least once after you 'test drive' the vehicle,
and again in a day or two...

Retorque at least once a day for a few days...
Since the studs press through the rotors into the hubs, many times the studs aren't properly seated, and move outward as the seat, loosening the lugs!
Retorque everyday for about 5 days just to make sure!


Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You *SHOULD* check bearings EVERY TIME you get into the soup,
But we don't do that.
Once I get my bearings done, I CHECK them in spring and fall.
(not to say they need repacked every time I check them)

It used to be a repack and differential check/service EVERY TIME we got into the soup, now my axles are pressurized and my spindles are packed with grease.
(most water migrates in through the failed inside spindle seals),

Now I don't have problems with flood through the seals for the spindle, lockouts and wheel bearings with the grease pumped into the spindle sealing between axle and spindle...
And most of the time I just drop the hub off the spindle,
Flush the spindle with fresh grease, and put the hub back on and button things up and we are off to the races again!

How often you clean/pack your bearings is your business...
I would suggest at least TWICE through the summer,
And if you drive your Jeep in the winter, then check them in the spring before you start driving again...

Winter can be REAL HARD on wheel bearings,
Most people don't realize how much salt, condensation, ect. get into the hubs/spindles/lockouts in the winter, but if you clean/repack bearings in the spring and fall, you are usually going to do fine.

23 Posts
I have to send a huge shout out to JEEPHAMMER, your years of experience and wisdom have saved me some considerable heartburn when it comes to dealing with my Jeep. I am in the process of a Dana 30 rebuild (and doing the added upgrades in this post), and I came up with an idea regarding installing the inner axle seals, and I am going to try it tonight or this weekend. I will let you all know how it went, I gotta say I love this forum, and the fact that so many people are helping one another.

Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tried to add current links, hope NAPA doesn't change the part numbers/links address around again!

Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It's the cardinal rule for farmers,

By keeping the HUB and the SPINDLE full around the short axle shaft (Stub shaft) in the front,
you NEVER have to worry about splashing a warm hub off in cold water again,
And the air spaces contracting and 'Sucking' in water.

Since there are no 'Air' spaces, they are full of grease, there is no way for water/crud to get in,
No way for it to migrate to the bearings if some does manage to force it's way in,
And you can flush your wheel bearings from the hub grease zerk from the center out without handling the bearings.

With the spindle full of grease, that little dinky spindle seal that is EASILY overpowered,
Is now reinforced by a 6" column of grease the moisture can't penetrate.

In stock trim, if the moisture gets past the spindle seal, and it's TINY and gets PACKED with mud!
The water/crud has direct access to the lockout and wheel bearings!
With the grease column in there, the water has NO CHANCE of getting to the wheel bearings or lockouts from that particular problem prone route...

With rear wheel bearings, I put my grease zerk between inside seal and bearing.
By loosening the outer seal/retianer plate, just loosen it enough to let grease ooze out,
Then pump grease in SLOWLY,
The INSIDE seal is still on it's sealing surface, so the grease doesn't pile up in the axle tube...

That directs the grease OUT through the WHEEL BEARING,
That REPACKS the bearing, flushes any contaminants out with the old grease,
And when you see new grease coming out,
Wipe off the 'Grease Leach' and bolt things back up!

Flushing/Packing wheel bearings has NEVER been more simple!
(Same way most farm equipment does things...)

Just an old farm kid passing on some ways to make things 'Better' or more simple to service!
Once you change wheel bearings/seals or have to repack wheel bearings two or three times in a muddy season,
This will make more and more sense!

Well worth the time it takes to drill a couple of holes, tap a couple more and install grease zerks!

1 Posts
Is there any problem with blowing seals in the diffs with 10 pounds of pressure? I am building a 48 willys with a d60 rear and d44 high pinion front, 5.0 efi ford mustang and 4 speed auto so I don't know about doing the trans and lastly how did you hook the line to the mig tip on the dist cap? Great info and thanks much

Premium Member
11,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Trust me when I say I've done this and you WILL NOT blow out the seals with 10 PSI at the regulator.

By the time it leaks around axle seals, pinion seal, there is barely positive pressure in the case, and I haven't moved my new seals one bit since I hooked pressure up to my rebuilt front end.

Most of us have old, leaking seals anyway, that's how the water/crud is getting in in the first place (and my expensive gear lube is getting out!)
So all you are doing is adding some pressure tying to give those leaking seals some reinforcement doing their jobs.

7 to 10 PSI hasn't been an issue for me, but you might try some lower pressures if you *Think* 10 PSI is too much...

I just wish they made a seal that did it's job without dying from vibration, age & crud long before the differential needs rebuilt...

Corripe Cervisiam
7,768 Posts
I may have missed it (this thread has a ton of information), but is there a preferred type or brand of grease for the spindle bearings and related areas?
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