1) Our housing came stripped down for us already. If yours does not, take the time to measure and record any shims as you blow the unit apart and are left with just the bare pumpkin. Mark the bearing caps for location and orientation if not done so already.
2) We decided to start by installing the centre section components. In our experience, having a carrier in the pumpkin helps keep the housing straight when welding on a truss. The Jantz instructions are broken down well, with many tips for the process such as notching out the bearing pockets as seen here to help pop the pinion bearings out during setup.
3) Don’t concern yourself with the size of the gear on the end but take a peek at the added beef of the pinion shaft itself on the JK piece (left). Larger splines, bearing mounting surface and overall diameter all make this axle so much stronger.
4) Jantz supplied shims go under the pinion head bearing for proper gear mesh depth. If you are at the point of installing your own gears, go get yourself a cheap shop press and put the hammer away.
5) Check for any clearance issues with the new pinion in place as some grinding may be required. We were in luck and everything fit well.
6) The Yukon ring gear is double drilled for both 1/2” and 7/16” bolts. We decided to keep our “bigger is better” mantra and drilled the ARB air locker mounting holes out to the larger 1/2” size using a 1/2” bit and a steady work surface.
7) Before bolting on the ring gear, we took a file to the mounting surface to take away any burrs. Take a sharpie and draw around the entire surface to check for any high or low spots.
8) With the ring gear bolted up, we switched over to ARB’s installation instructions and used the ARB supplied bearings. Shims for
the ARB are unlike those of a standard Dana setup as they go on the outside of the carrier bearings. Our trick is to place the left side shims and air line attachment in first, and then tap in the right-side shims so as not to accidentally hit the air line.
9) As with any gear setup, checking the pattern and making shim adjustments is critical to bearing life, noise, and gear wear. We found the installation instructions supplied with the Yukon gears to be very thorough and complete with diagrams. Getting this pattern took us six or so tries.
10) Once the gear pattern is correct, it’s time to set pinion bearing backlash. The JK setup typically uses a crush sleeve. We are not fans of the evil sleeve and prefer using shims and a spacer, which are supplied by Jantz, as they hate them as well!
11) Having the proper tools to measure bearing preload is critical. Our dial indication torque meter (not wrench) was not cheap, but it is a critical purchase. No, you can’t borrow ours.
12) ARB’s instructions outline where to drill and tap a hole for the air line to exit the housing. With the ring, pinion and locker setup complete, routing the air line is the last step. Before final assembly, clean the housing out of any metal pieces that may have snuck in.
13)Time for new inner axle seals. With the older rear Dana 44’s, there is an inner seal that resides in the housing, and an outer seat that rides on the axle shaft. This keeps oil in the differential, and grease on the wheel bearing. Don’t forget this inner seal and make sure to drive it in squarely. We had to use a hole saw to get the right fit.
14) It is easy to see the difference in shaft extension between the factory Scout unit (left) and the new Yukon 35 spine shaft (right).
15) Don’t forget the shaft retainer (black) before pressing the bearing on. With us omitting the drum brakes, we needed to add a shim that is the same thickness as the backing plate. This is to ensure that the proper preload is placed in the bearings. We just cut the old backing plate down to the same size as the shaft retainer.
16) The shafts are bolted in and it’s time to work on the TMR JK truss. The laser cut pieces fit together like Lego. Some grinding and tweaking was required because this Dana 44 housing is obviously not the same as a JK housing.
17) At the same time the truss was being SLOWLY welded on, the leaf spring mounts were assembled and tacked into place.
18) As mentioned, take your time welding this all together. We did not weld to the cast steel (not cast iron) housing. We feel that if you are going to be welding to the centre section, a proper axle jig should be used to alleviate any possible warping. Now would have been a good time to clean up the shop…
19) With everything welded and cooled, check your gear pattern and backlash again. Ours was still within spec so we bolted up the monstrous TMR cover.
20) The junkyard Nissan calipers got a rattle can rebuild, some new seals installed, and pads bolted in. The new Zuk rotors are cheap and fit like a glove.
21) With Wonder Woman threatening us with the whip, we cannot tell a lie; this axle turned out GREAT and the last step before bolting it in was paint. We spent many late nights in the shop building the axle at home piece by piece as money and time would allow, and we’re confident it will stand up to the brutal punishment we have in mind.
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