Dana 44 Front axle tech for the DIY axle builder.
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1)     Measure - measure - measure. I got the distance from everything to everything and all the angles before I removed the axle from the vehicle. Measuring becomes even more critical if you plan to narrow the axle, if you are only doing a cut and turn it is not that critical. Just put the yokes back on to the same depth they were before.



















2)      Tear down and clean axle housing and inspect the housing for damage. You'd hate to put much work into a bad housing. Using a ball joint tool I separated the ball joints from the knuckles, and cleaned them up.  I use a lot of elbow grease, brake cleaner and a wire wheel on my hand grinder to clean axles. You can leave the gears and carrier in the axle if you are not doing a full rebuild, but you will want to drain the fluid or it WILL get on everything. If you leave the gears in place, please put the cover back on to avoid damaging the gears or filling the differential with grit and dirt during the cutting process.





















3)      Remove steering yokes from axle tube. I used a hand grinder to grind out the welds from the yoke to the tube. The first side took an hour plus, the second side took 30 minutes. I just ground slowly at the weld trying not to penetrate too deep into the tube or the yoke. The goal is to grind until you can see a ‘crack’ all the way around the yoke. Some WD40 sprayed on the grind area will help to see the ‘crack’ in the weld. After grinding enough that it looked like it should come off, I whacked it with an 8 lb hammer, then ground some more. Using the grind and hammer technique I was able to get both yokes off without much heavy hammering.








































































4)      Clean up axle tubes and steering yoke. I ground off any remaining weld from the steering yoke and beveled the edge a little to help in reinstalling it. On the axle tubes I cleaned up the end and wire wheeled the tube to provide a clean surface for reinstalling the yoke and welding.

























































   
5) Set your desired pinion angle. I do this by installing steel degree shims to the spring perches. I used a 12 degree shim on this axle to get as close to a direct line between the pinion and the transfer case output for using a CV front drive shaft. This is where your measurements come in handy. If you needed to change the pinion angle 10 degrees, use a 10 degree shim OR if you needed to change the driveline angle 8 degrees, you get the idea... You can either tack weld the shims or weld them on completely. I like to hold the pinion fixed at the angle I hope to end up with when I do all of my work, so I know it is correct.

































6)      Install yokes on tubes. Using my 8lb hammer I slowly, pounded the yokes back on the tubes, trying to keep the caster about where I thought it should end up. While keeping the spring perches at ZERO degrees. And the pinion angle where I set it. I also tried to keep the yokes from going on too far. At this step be sure and check your measurements, you don’t want to pound everything off and start over. One trick that a lot of people use at this step is to heat the yokes up to 400 to 500 degrees to get then to expand just a touch to help in installation. A BBQ, a rosebud torch, your over when the wife is out of the house, a propane heater or any other safe heat source that you can control to avoid overheating the part and changing the properties of the metal.







































7) Reinstall the complete axle assembly into your vehicle to double check your calculations. This is your last chance to get it right. Set jack stands under the axle housing at ride height as if you had tires on it. Jump up and down on the vehicle to get everything to settle, step back and check it all again. Measure the caster angle to see if it is what you want. If not, you can hammer the yokes a few degrees without taking them off and starting over.
























































8) Pull the axle back out and prepare to weld! Welding should be done by someone that knows what they are doing. This should not be a 'first' welding project. The yokes are cast steel (not cast iron like the center section) and the axle tubes are 'regular' steel so no special welding process is needed. It can be done with MIG, ARC or even TIG if you wanted to get fancy.

9) Install the axle back in the vehicle for the final time and admire your work. Hopefully you don't have any leftover parts on your work bench or garage floor....


Copyright © 2012 by CutandTurn.com ·  All Rights reserved
Copyright © 2012 by CutandTurn.com ·  All Rights reserved