Putting it back together

The Jeep is clean-ish. I have my seal press and my case spreader. Time to get the seals pressed in, the locker back in the differential, axles back in, brakes and wheels, and get this Jeep rolling again!

Drives great. No leaks. No weird noises. No new ones anyway. Looking forward to driving this all summer long.

Seal Press

As I mentioned before, you really need to use a proper seal press in order to seat the new seals in the front differential. I could buy one for around $100. But this is something I really wanted to make. I was recently trained on how to safely use a metal lathe down at the CWRU Thinkbox, so I wanted to give it a try and make one.

I designed the part in Fusion 360.

I went to a local hardware store, and they just happened to have a drop of some 2.75″ round bar that was just the size I needed for $12. I took an afternoon on the lathe, and with some help, was able to turn the piece that I needed. It took a while, but I think it was well worth it. Not only did I learn a lot, but I saved a bunch of money!

Axle Progress

I decided to buy and install outer axle seals this time. I think that part of the issue why I get so many axle seal leaks is the gunk that gets into the tube and creates an issue for the seals.

Installing outer seals will eliminate the from happening.

I also made some progress getting the CV joints on the axle shafts put back together.

Axle Seals Part 1

Time to break down and start looking at replacing the front axle seals.

One of the new tools arrived recently, a case spreader. From past experience, I know that the front locker will not come out easily, or go back in at all, without the use of a case spreader. I couldn’t find where to rent one from, so I bought one off the eBays.

I wish I had bought one years ago.

The process removing the old seals is simple. Insert a piece of conduit into the axle tube and smack it out. Putting it back in, is a different story. I wanted to use a proper seal press. Buying one was only around $100. But making one would be more fun. I designed this in Fusion 360.

Replacing the seals is next.

CV joints

I started taking apart the CV joints. I need to use a brass punch (so I don’t dent the steel – the brass is softer) and manipulate the joint to get all the ball bearing out. Once out, the internal race can be removed and the joint cleaned out.

The axles are making a clicking noise while in 4WD and at full lock. Rebuilding the joints was the easiest option to seeing if it is the problem. If the clicking remains, at least I know the joints are in perfect order.

Front axle rebuild

Time to take care of the front axle. There has been a leak on the passenger side from the internal seals. Plus, I want to rebuild the CV joints in the axle shafts. I’m still going to need a couple tools, but I might as well start taking it apart.

Axle Seals. Yay.

Took it to Nella Enterprises in Streetsboro and got it up on the lift. The owner/mechanic was pretty cool. Listened to what I had to say.

Discovered why the seals failed. I installed them perfectly, so says the mechanic. But the pinion bearing was worn and loose. Found a not-so-nice present on the end of the drain plug.

That’s a lot of shavings!

Which meant these were all junk.

Replaced all of the bearings with a set from G2 @ Summit Racing. My driveline vibration is gone!

It was money I didn’t want to spend, but money well spent.

Not much left to do

New ABS/wheel speed sensors installed (no pictures). Pretty easy to swap if you don’t have that stupid dust shield in place. So glad I didn’t put those on. The hubs were so new that taking the old sensors out was a breeze. The new wires are a full foot longer than the old ones. I zip tied them to the brake lines and they are the same length. If I’m popping one, I’m likely to lose the other.

The remaining to do items list is getting shorter. I need to check the front diff fluid again. I’m not 100% sure I have the right amount in there. I checked the level this morning and it was darker than I expected it to be. Not sure if I need to be concerned about this or not.

The details matter

Trying to get this axle swap buttoned up. A few small details remain.

Painted the drive shaft yesterday. Went to put it in this morning. Did you know you can’t mate a 1310 U-Joint on the end of a drive shaft to a 1350 yoke on the pinion of the axle? Of course, I did, but what I didn’t realize was that the pinion yoke on the axle was a 1350. Oops. I have no idea why I didn’t pay attention to that. Of course, I realized this AFTER I had attached the shaft to the t-case.

Got lucky and Summit Racing had a Spicer 1310/1350 cross over U-Joint and a set of 1350 U-bolts. I’ve never replaced a U-Joint. YouTube to the rescue! Found a video that explained it very well and gave me the confidence to take care of it myself.

I am a little disappointed that they only had a greasable joint. The other u-joints are all solid.

You can see the size difference here.

Got the front locker wired up so I could put the dash panel back together. I put the locker power switch in the lower dash panel where my lights are controlled. I put the locker switches in the dash panel to the left of the steering wheel. All parts came from OTRATTW, minus the blue locker indicator LEDs.

The locker power switch is fed by a switched 12v supply, so it can only be powered when the ignition is on. This energizes a 40 amp relay which feeds, through a 15A fuse, the front and rear locker switches themselves, which in turn supply power to the lockers. I did not add a relay between the locker switches and the lockers. I felt that was redundant and unnecessary. The indicator LEDs are powered from the battery directly and get a ground from the locker indicator plungers in the diff housing.

So the lockers cannot be engaged with the power switch off or the ignition off. But, if something is wrong, the indicator lights should still light up if the locker is stuck on. I’d like to say that the LEDs are purposely off centered. Maybe one day I’ll fix them. It’s just a blank panel in the middle that’s removable. Next time I order from ORTATTW I’ll replace it. I’m in no rush.

The last detail is to replace the ABS wheel speed sensors. The cables that came with the new hubs were only 24″. The stock ones are 36″. As much as my axle droops, I’d rip out a sensor on the first wheeling trip.

Getting closer!

Got the drive shaft back from Cleveland Clutch the next day. Very quick turn around. I am going to paint it, however.

Took an angle grinder to the Barnes 4WD rear track bar bracket. The Rock Krawler track bar is so fat that it was hitting the bracket.

I also had to rotate the track bar back a little. It was hitting the diff cover a bit. With it rotated, the bend will pass by the cover. The ARB cover is just so thick.

A couple more things checked off the punch list!