Rebuild front axle Part 2 (renamed) was "Cleaning" thread

JABJEEP

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I’m guessing here, but don’t some of the Jeep vehicles have longer steering arms than others? I’m gonna guess that the trucks and wagons have longer arms and therefore lower pull force required. I'll look it up in the truck manual later this evening when I have a chance to get out to the shop and let you know what is says.
 

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Both the Utility Vehicle (trucks and wagons) and the Universal Manual (CJ2A through CJ6) use the 12-16 lb figure. These are the factory re-print manuals.
 

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Well now, that's VERY interesting! Thank you for looking.

My "Mechanics Manual" (reprint) is copyright dated 1948, and also talks about the '49 models, and mentions that it is to be used for 1950 too, as no manual has yet been printed, and about the new fangled CJ-3A coming out. So that nails it down as published in 1948-49.

And it is clearly talking about the pull measurement for ALL models, because it specifically mentions the CJ-2A. I'll attach a photo of that page.

And you're right, there are differences in length on the axles and steering linkages on the trucks, slightly longer. (And this spec is really only about bearing preload anyway, so the geometry shouldn't really be a factor.)

So it almost sounds like later on they changed the spec to a higher value?!

Maybe I'll just split the difference and set mine at 10.5 lbs half way between the 2 different specs!!!


 
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JABJEEP

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Interesting... Also that they have an alternate 3-5 foot lbs. setting. I wonder where/how that would be measured? Maybe make a little adapter that would center a 3/8 drive ratchet on the four bolt heads and use a regular torque wrench?

I may have an older manual. I'll go out and look in a bit.

I realize that with these antiques and the way in which they'll be used in the future means that we can easily get away with bending the rules......but before you split the difference I suggest you look into the reason the spec changed. Maybe other changes occurred that matter, like a change in bearing part numbers. Or, maybe they just found that they were too loose in service and tightened the spec a bit. Either way, I think the perfectionist/do-it-right-the-first-time part of both of us will prevent you from splitting the difference before you do at least a little research! Lol!!!
 

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OK, my oldest Utility Vehicle manual is a (printed in) 1961 factory manual and it states the same 12-16 pound figure. I have a (printed in) 1962 FC manual with the same spec. I realize that for the most part not much has changed between the years, but your manual is specific to your truck. My sources are for a newer trucks, (in fact, newer than mine, and it's what I've always been using!). I'd go with the spec in the specific manual unless you can uncover the reason for the change. We can't use the WWII jeep manual for a reference because the steering arrangement differs.
 

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FYI, there is a standard shim pack thickness for the bottom, then all your changes are made at the top. There is a good write up on it on the Novak site. I just set mine until they "felt right". Whatever that means, lol.
 

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OK, I've been doing some researching on this. I also asked Metal Shaper (via email) about the differing specs. Here is his reply (in blue) -

"The early manuals called for less preload and the later manuals called for more. There was a service bulletin at some point which explained the new caps, with shims on the top only, instead of the early style where there were shims top and bottom. Either way the new preload was 12 to 16 with either shim set up. 12 to 16 pounds of break away pull will give you approx. 8 to 10 pounds of pull thru the center. Hope this helps."

And it appears that the older books all call for the 6-9 lbs, and as Metal Shaper says, they put out a Service Bulletin and (apparently) made it retro-active.

Sprint 6, I'm going to disagree - all the stuff I'm reading says with the early style with shims top and bottom, that you are supposed to pull the shims equally from both, so that the shim pack remains the same up and down. Which is what I've been doing. And I am getting close to agreeing that "feels right" might be the ticket! This is becoming another area to make myself crazy, and it probably doesn't really make a helluva lot of difference when it is all back together anyway. Besides, when I put on the grease seal on the inner side, everything gets so tight I can't even hardly turn it! Seriously tight.

And another thing - it's an "imperfect science" trying to read how much pull I've really got. How fast do you pull the scale, for instance. Right now, I've got both sides at 9 or 10 lbs of pull. Which kinda "feels right," and is right in-between the two sets of specs. If I go back and pull out another shim, it's gonna probably get too tight. I'm tempted to leave it alone, especially with how tight it gets to turn with the grease seals installed. (It's not really a "Bendix Joint" inside (Spicers now), but I put the old labels back, they look cool)

 

JABJEEP

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Don, the grease seals have nothing to do with this spec. This is all about bearing preload. If they're too loose I would think that the shock-loading from bumps in the road would tend to damage the bearing. The friction from the seals is reduced pretty quickly after they get lubed from use and wear (and start leaking again!) anyway. I've seen some of these where the cups were brinelled so bad that the rollers must have rolled in place and you could hardly tell when driving. The difference between the two specs isn't all that much and if a service bulletin was retroactive, the splitting the difference is probably just as good as using the new spec.
 

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Sprint 6, thanks for that link, which I have read through. It told me something that I had failed to do, which is to coat the big "ball" with a light coat of grease. This is probably why it is so tight with the seal on, and will help that move a little easier - until, as JabJeep says, it loosens up and eventually starts leaking on its own. (Speaking of which, this whole assembly looks like it is designed to pretty much be a leaky nightmare in service!)

I would also suggest to you that the Novak article is written for somewhat newer Jeeps than my 1948. They talk about after 1963 when the "no shims on the bottom" change was made. It certainly does say what you said it did - to only adjust by removing from the top bearing cap side. But I'm thinking that is a newer vehicle than mine - so I'm going to go by the Mechanics Manual from 1948 with my truck, which says what I had said, that same page I posted earlier. Here's the words underlined - (continued below) -



So I gotta trust them, right? They built it.

JabJeep - I understand that the pull measurement is made without the seals in place. It is very clear about that point in the Manual. And obviously that would make it far too tight and give a bad adjustment here. I'm with you, I think the current preload setting is close enough where it's at (9-10 lbs). I'm just above the tight end of the old spec - and just barely shy of the low end of the (maybe applicable) new spec. With new bearings and races, I'll surely be OK to get on the road (eventually...) If it shows itself to be an issue later, I'll go back in. By then, I'll need something to shim!! Haha.
 
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JABJEEP

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LOL! While you were typing I read the Novak article (which mentions blending gear oil and grease to lube the CV joints in the knuckles) and then immediately went to the G503 site and did a search on "knuckle pudding". Oh the (bad) memories that brought back! Lol!!!
For the record, I've been using a 5 gallon pumper pail of something my Brother-in-law gave me, uh, decades ago now. The dealership he worked at didn't know what it was because although it was branded (Pennzoil I think) the product code was missing. It looks like a black graphite grease similar to what the early GM front wheel drive cars used in the booted CV joints. What ever it is, it's about the right consistency and I still haven't run out! But before I had that I mixed a little gear oil with a little grease. In fact, when I was a kid, I just pumped some 90 wt. in followed by a couple of shots with the grease gun. Driving mixed it. That's my '58 and that's what's still in it. The newest manual I have is for the last J-trucks, the last Jeep light trucks to use closed knuckles, and it says to use 140 wt. gear oil.
 

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Yeah, I have read about a hundred threads on different forums about what to put in there. I have carefully NOT asked for recommendations about that! Because I think it's right up there on The List of "everybody has their favorite, and everybody else is wrong." After all my reading, it sounds like the most common informed choice is either John Deere Corn Head grease (sounds like it is usually "0"), or a "00" grease at Tractor Supply. Or a little less common choice is a CV lube from various brands, such as Land Rover and others. So I bought a quart of "00" at Tractor Supply. I get the impression that whatever I put in there, half the people will agree, and half the people will tell me it's a big mistake.
 

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I think what the Novak site is saying is after 1963, that was the Wilys service procedure for the early knuckles, .058 on the bottom and adjustments on the top only. Probably because of the mix of original and service parts typically found on a 20 year old vehicle at the time. You are operating on the period correct manual for your truck, which is fine, too. Likely, Willys found out that close enough was good enough, hence the easier service procedure. Not like it was getting done, anyway. Most old stuff was only fixed well enough to work, not much time or money for exact (like they were even "right" when they rolled off the assembly line).

I mixed JD Corn Head grease (that stuff is good for what ails 'ya) and Lucas oil stabilizer. That's what is in mine. Basically, it only has to be thick enough not to leak (if that is possible), and thin enough to lube the joint. Basically anything has to be better than the tar (or nothing) that is typically found during the teardown.
 
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Bill Kuran

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gear set that was made to much lower tolerance than anything today. The metallurgy in it is also low by today's standards. I have seen "perfect" setups be noisy, and less than perfect be quiet. To make matters worse, your differential was likely not "right" when it was new. I know that comes as a shock to folks who think all old stuff was better, it really wasn't.
Chris - Since I'm planning to use my wagon in a way for which it wasn't designed, your comments have me thinking about failure. What information do have have about gear set tolerances, metallurgy and setup procedures that I should know about? Should I be concerned that the Dana 44 (probably built and assembled in 1960) in my wagon may be inferior to one made today? Should I have set up the gears using different specifications than those in the service manual?

Having the differential fail would be the start a a very bad day.
 

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That sounds like a plausible explanation for what Novak is saying. Plus, the large majority of people reading Novak are more likely working on stuff from the '60s than from the '40s.

I still say these knuckles are just made to leak. A giant sweeping seal, shims open to the world around the edges, bolts that go through to the inside... it can't NOT leak!
 

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Bill, I cannot speak about the differences, if any, in metallurgy but the methods in manufacturing have changed somewhat. Many gear manufacturers now use face hobbing (two cut process) instead of face milling (five cut process) and the means of reading and correcting the pattern have changed but the basics have not. http://www.differentials.com/two-cut-vs-five-cut-gears/
 
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Sprint 6

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Chris - Since I'm planning to use my wagon in a way for which it wasn't designed, your comments have me thinking about failure. What information do have have about gear set tolerances, metallurgy and setup procedures that I should know about? Should I be concerned that the Dana 44 (probably built and assembled in 1960) in my wagon may be inferior to one made today? Should I have set up the gears using different specifications than those in the service manual?

Having the differential fail would be the start a a very bad day.
I don't have any literature for my comments, just experience. Metallurgy has improved in just the last 15 years alone. Manufacturing tolerances have gotten tighter in that same time frame. If your differential is together and functioning, run it. If you are tearing it down, there are a few things I would do. When pushing a differential hard, you are much more likely to have an axle fail, or a hub. The biggest problem I would see with using your stock differential is the coarse spline axles and two-piece rear hubs. If I was going to up grade anything, the rear axle needs a modern, fine spline carrier, and one piece axle shafts. The next weak spot is the coarse spline pinion shaft, which can be remedied by a modern gear set and pinion yoke.
 

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Willys changed tech data occasionally, usually for a reason, they got better at building these things. I've always used the 12-16 lb preload, and shoot for as close to 16 as I can get it. Looser with tapered roller bearings is generally not better. As for the shim pack, that DID change in 1950. After 1950 .058 was used on the lower knuckle bearing, with adjustments made on the upper bearing. Later on, the lower bearing boss on the knuckle was machined .058 thicker, and no shims were used. Later Spicer joint shafts were more tolerant of the spindle being slightly off-center, and the shim pack change seems to follow their introduction.

So what to do? My first instinct would be to look at what was there originally. If the shim packs were equal when you took it apart, put it back together that way (or close). If the bottom pack was .058 keep it that way and adjust with the top.
 

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That sounds like a plausible explanation for what Novak is saying. Plus, the large majority of people reading Novak are more likely working on stuff from the '60s than from the '40s.

I still say these knuckles are just made to leak. A giant sweeping seal, shims open to the world around the edges, bolts that go through to the inside... it can't NOT leak!
The felt “seals” are designed to wipe grease on the smooth ball surfaces at the end of the housing as the wheels turn back and forth. In fact, I’ve read someplace in the manual, I think, where it says to manually coat these with grease if the vehicle is left to sit for a long time, to prevent rusting.

So in that sense, they do “leak.” They also seep a little from oil separating out of the grease over time, especially in warm weather.

But otherwise, when filled with the proper grease, they really don’t “leak.” At least mine don’t.

There was an outfit that sold tubes of No. 1 grease, but they seem to have gone out of business. There was a thread about knuckle grease in the Library Forum at one time, if I remember correctly, that contained some links to some sources for No. 0 and No. 1 grease.

Edit:
https://www.oldwillysforum.com/forum/index.php?threads/front-axle-knuckle-lubricant.7198/
 
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Vintage Don

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A couple steps forward, and a giant leap back.... that's how I roll.... I'll explain, this is gonna be a long one I'm afraid. New problems - or "opportunities...."

OK, first let's wrap up what I've done with the steering knuckles and the preload with the alternate specs, and all that. I pulled them apart again, and took out one more shim all around, which puts them at right about 12 pounds of pull both sides. Herk, what you say makes good sense. And I thought about it too - the part number for these pivot bearings and cups are the same, 1941 to 1971, at least for replacement. So when they revised to a higher figure, that should logically be retroactive, it's the same parts. That helped me decide to go tighter. But now I'm down to zero shims left on the drivers side, and I want to keep both sides the same, so looks like it's going to be 12 lbs!

OK, did that, torqued them and called it done. Then I went to the next thing - installing the grease seals. That seemed pretty straight forward, and it was. And with a coat of grease on the "big balls" (yes, my axle has big balls....hehehe) - they turned a whole lot easier, they felt reasonable. Grease matters.

So then I turned them back and forth, feeling how they felt (pretty good and smooth) and I was getting happier, and even starting to think about tie rods and a drag link.

BUT THEN - when I turned the drivers side all the way to the right - it got stuck there. I tugged and pulled, looked at things, and it looked OK. Got it pulled loose and turning again. Did it again, and it stuck again, and I couldn't get it off of the full right turn position.... This is on the drivers side. So now we need some background info.

I have to confess some things here. This truck was rough. It clearly got run into the ground and parked for a reason. Or a bunch of reasons. The old cowboy definitely got his money's worth out of it - and he wasn't wasting any money on routine maintenance those last few years, either! It got permanently parked in 1962, that's a known fact from surviving family still on the property in Oklahoma where I got it. Sat for 55 years. OK, that's fine, I understand that's what I bought when I bought it.

So back when it was on (and off) the road, the drivers side axle (it had the Bendix "5 balls" axles in it) had busted apart at the steering u-joint. He then obviously went to just 2 wheel drive after that. They just removed the outer section of the driver side axle. (That's why the other hub just had a soup can on it, remember that story, Scramboleer?) And he broke the left leaf spring, main leaf, and it all dropped down on the frame. And that in turn broke the plate across the front of the engine at the motor mount - because the engine plate was trying to hold up the weight of the left side of the truck after the spring busted. I imagine all this happened in a fairly close time frame. It would hardly have been driveable with all that going on.

So that busted axle banged around inside the (driver side) Big Ball of the knuckle, and moved some metal around, not in a good way. When I started out, I had to clean that up in there, get rid of burrs and smooth things so the new (Spicer) axle would clear everything and be happy turning in there. I also had to knurl the upper bearing cup bore, because it wouldn't seat/grab any longer. But the knurling and some green goop have held it tight,and it all lines up true.

So - back to the knuckle being "stuck" now - I determined from studying inside that the rubber seal had gone PAST the edge of the ball, and dropped inside where it doesn't belong, jamming and preventing it from turning back. I pulled off the felt and the retainer. It's hard to get a good photo of the problem, but here's a couple, inside first - that's where I drew with a black Sharpie to show where the seal has intruded -



And from the outside, you can see it falling in, marked with chalk here. It's gone past the point where it shouldn't go -



My first big concern was that some of the grinding on the outer edges of the Big Ball circumference had gone too far. That it no longer extended as far as it needed to for the seal to work right.

I took the seals all back apart and pulled the knuckles back off. But as looked at them closely, the original "edge" was still there - the grinding and smoothing have only been done on the INSIDE, so shouldn't affect the surface area where the seal moves on. I measured and compared both sides in every way I could think of (passenger side was not damaged), and they are the SAME. That outer contour is unchanged from the old inside damage.



Here's the inside, you can see the evidence of the old damage and the "smoothing out" that's been done.



So next I started to try and understand if somehow it was turning too FAR - what made it stop. And it kind of looks like the interior boss of one of the hub bolts is the thing that stops the rotation. I see that happening on the passenger"good" side, too. (I know there is also the bolt on the axle housing that serves as a stop - but that's for turning the other direction.) -



And on the interior of the knuckle housing, that boss IS damaged and ground away a bit on that particular bolt hole - that's the hole just right of center in the photo below. Although there is still plenty of meat, and SOME of it is as tall as the original position.



So what have I got? I know the REAL answer is maybe go get a better axle housing, but then I just spent a month building a diff for nothing! I want to make this work. I was thinking of building up weld and filing and grinding it to shape to extend the ball edge - but I don't think that is what is needed now. Maybe build up that boss where the hub bolt threads in, to make it stop sooner?

Or am I maybe being stupid and this is something about how I have installed the seal wrong, or a common problem (I hope!!) that others have had.....

Told you this was going to be a long one!
 
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