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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Torque wrench for TJ D44 pinion nut

I'm doing the rear pinion oil seal on my 98 TJ w/ Dana 44 rear axle.

I have the new pinion nut and seal, and have yet to take out the pinion yoke and nut.

The FSM for my 87 YJ, and the Haynes manual for YJ/TJ (I lost my FSM for my TJ) both state that the correct preload for the pinion after replacing the nut is 5 in-lbs greater than the pinion preload before you removed the old nut.

That's great, except there's a problem: I have never seen a torque wrench that could give you accurate readings to 5 in-lbs.

My in-lb torque wrench is measured out in increments of 50 in-lbs per mark; I've seen some that have graduations of maybe 20, but even then, you are basically guessing at where your +5 in-lbs is coming from.

Am I missing something here, or is this impossible to achieve with normal hand tools? The manuals don't seem to state you need anything special, and I'm sure when these manuals were written they didn't have the fancy $250 electronic models. Is there a trick to this?

I know a lot of folks will simply put the nut on and run with it and have great luck, but I am trying to do this as precisely and "by the book" as possible, but it just seems impossible.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2008, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Btw, I just got under my TJ to measure the original preload as directed... and it's so close to zero, I can't possibly figure out how much the preload currently is.

Does this have anything to do with my limited-slip (Trac-Loc)? Would the pinion be harder to turn with standard open diffs? It takes almost NO effort to turn my pinion by hand. So not only do I have no way of knowing how much I'd be adding to the new nut, but I also have no way of knowing what the original preload is.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 06:57 AM
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I ended up getting a KD tools version of this wrench. It reads 0 - 60 in/lbs. What I found is that the park tools version was typically about $20 cheaper than the version sold by Randy's Ring and Pinion or Complete Off-road.

Park Tool TW-1 Torque Wrench @ Performance Bicycle

As far as the too little to measure, I'm not sure. What I do know is that the torque required to turn the pinion is related to the pre-load on the pinion bearings. For reference, with the 14 bolt, new bearings are pre-loaded to ~25 in/lbs while used are pre-loaded to about <10 in/lbs -- I hope that I remembered those correctly.

Are you measuring your pinion preload with the ring gear installed?

-- mike
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 04:38 PM
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Here's an old thread that might be useful...

u-joint/yoke issues


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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2008, 07:58 PM
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One (old school or redneck) way to do it is to weld a piece or flat steel to a socket and drill holes in 1" increments outward from the center of the pinion nut. Pass a loop of wire through one of the holes and pull on the loop with a small spring scale and note the reading. Now multiply the distance (in inches) by the reading of the scale (in pounds) to get inch pounds. The easy way to set the preload to say 5 in lb. is to place the wire loop through the hole at the 5" mark and slowly work up until it takes 1 pound on the scale to keep the pinion turning (not the force requires to get it to start turning).
If the pic is not bright enough, I'll try to get a better one tomorrow.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 07:11 PM
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Most used rears will have 0 preload or very low even with the carrier installed. The bearings are just broken in and as long as there is no in or out play with the pinion there is nothing wrong with it.

Having a posi will actually make it harder to turn, because you are turning both axles instead of one.

A dial inch pd wrench is the easiet to use but a beam is useable also. I use a snap on that reads to the high side of 75.

As long as they havent put a crush sleeve in the 44. You will pretty much just take off the nut and then re tighten. But it is a good idea to check before and after to make sure nothing else is wrong.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Hey folks... so I was finally able to get this done.

I'd read in various places online that the D44 doesn't have a crush sleeve, but I didn't want to rely on that. Eventually I was able to find the Dana 44 assembly manual (the actual Dana manual) online and it confirmed this, and also that on the D44 you basically just crank the nut to 200-220 ft-lbs. Since the preload is not set by the torque on the nut, you just crank it down and re-check your preload (I guess you still do this to make sure you didn't mess anything up). This made for a little more peace of mind since I didn't have to worry so much about destroying my crush sleeve, and subsequently, my bearings and/or gears. Although I have to admit, I was only able to get it to about 180-190 ft-lbs, I'm a smaller guy and plus I was so tired by this point that I was just too fatigued to crank it any harder. (Btw, I used a pipe wrench to hold the yoke from turning, this worked well.)

As for the torque measurements, I ended up using the in-lb wrench I already had since I couldn't get a better one in time and since I didn't need the accuracy for this job. Best I could tell, my preload was about 10-15 in-lbs both before and after the job, which is within spec per the Dana manual. That said, I was also looking at the KD one from Sears but since sourpwr posted that 'Bike link I'll be buying one of those. I'm sure I'll find use for it, I was in horror when I found that my wrench wasn't going to do the job I thought I needed to do, and I never want to be in that situation again.

As for the leak itself, once I got the pinion yoke off (I used a puller) and could see into the neck of the diff, I could see that the spring wrapped around the inner seal lip had completely fallen off!! No wonder why it was leaking! And on top of that, a groove was worn into the yoke.

I ended up buying an SKF seal repair sleeve (# 99155) for $33 (yikes!) from NAPA, but not long afterwards did I find out that Quadratec sell an entire new yoke for something like $47. At the time I thought maybe I'm better off with the sleeve anyway since it's stainless, and also I don't have to worry about driveline balance issues... but then it turns out the Dana manual (ref above) tells you to outright replace the yoke anyway if it is worn... so I guess the yoke doesn't factor into the balancing.

Anyways, if I could do it again I'd just get the new yoke, because the SKF sleeve was BARELY long enough to reach both seal lips. IOW, there's only a slight margin for error where if you don't position it exactly to the right depth on the shaft, the seal lips will miss it completely, or even ride right on the "step" between the sleeve and the shaft. I used a dial caliper and seem to have gotten it in the right spot, but it wasn't worth all the trouble and worry. For anyone reading this, just buy a new yoke!

All that said, I MAY still have a leak because drops are still forming under the diff (about 1 drop/day, MUCH less than before, it was leaking like a sieve), but it's not coming from the seal itself as that area is dry. So it's either coming from the gasket around the cover (which I also replaced since I pulled the cover to change the fluid and to make sure I hadn't cooked or broken my gears when I was running low on lube)... and I don't think it is... or it's coming from AROUND the seal, i.e., where the metal seal enclosure mates with the inside of the diff neck. I am worried about this because when I started the seal into the neck, it ended up cocked, and I had to tap it straight and then drive it the rest of the way in. Hopefully I didn't stretch or bend the metal of the seal disc or I'll be doing all this over again....

It's also possible that it's not leaking at all and that this is just runoff from all the gear oil that had sprayed onto the underside of my diff and chassis while it was leaking. I'll take it to the car wash this weekend to clean it up, and then check for new wet areas after that to be sure.

Thanks for all the help!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Btw, here is the link for the Dana manual. I couldn't find it earlier, but I just located it again.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 11:45 AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong but don't you want a torque wrench that measures the drag on the pinion to accurately get the 7-10 or 12-15 in/lbs or whatever the specs may be. Similar to something like this that does 1-60 or 1-75 inch pounds.


Or is this only necessary when you are doing a rebuild or replacing gears/bearings on a differential.

I've built a few diffs now and a wrench similar to this is what I've been using.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-26-2008, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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FWICT you can use any inch-lb torque wrench and a socket on the pinion nut in order to get your reading. Mine doesn't have sufficient granularity in the scale printed on it, but as it turns out, it isn't a big deal with the Dana 44 since the preload is set with the internal shim packs, and not directly by crushing a sleeve via torquing the pinion nut.
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