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Differential Case Spreader


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I'm looking to buy one of these soon for some gear changing madness that is bound to occur at my place down the road. Does anyone have any brands that they would shy away from or recommend?

 

I'll be needing to change gears in D30 and D44 axles.

 

I've been thinking of making a spreader myself...? :dunno:

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With your background Brent, and your "handy" nature, I would believe you could build one stronger and cheaper than anything store bought. But, every time I have done bearings or seals, usually, the carrier comes out with a decent sized prybar, and back in with a nice dead-blow... Never used the spreader.

 

IMHO.

Rob L. :cheers:

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Well,

 

Here is the situation that I am really in.

 

Yes, I could use one of these for uninstalls and re-installs, I've heard that it does make the job easier...

 

However, I see the other side of things. I've taken carriers out of multiple D30 axles where they just popped out. I've never played with anything greater than a D30, and my experience playing with them has always been taking them out, I've never put one back in. So...really I have no experience re-gearing an axle, even though I am very familiar with the workings of the stock open differentials.

 

I just bought a D44 from a yard locally and I set out to remove the carrier from the axle and I could not get it to pop out of the casting like all the D30 carriers have in the past. I started looking at it harder and it seems that the carrier is a limited slip setup. At least thats what I think it is, there seem to be clutches behind the spider gears on the axle shafts. Being that I've never messed with a limited slip, I started thinking that I now need to get a case spreader to remove it...

 

Thats what has gotten me where I am right now.

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Technically, you do need it for setting up dana axles. Youre supposed to spread the housing during install to properly preload the carrier bearings. You can get away with not using one though, but I have found they are very useful for new diff setups, especially if the axle is still in the vehicle. Its not a very sophisticated tool though, ebay seems to have better prices than retail, Id probably go that route.

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I have removed carriers dozens of times for a half a dozen different axles. Some are just in there tighter then others. I have yet to find one that wouldn't come out. I never used or felt I needed a case spreader.

 

One trick I can pass along to you. Loosen the bearing caps, but keep a couple threads in the case on each bolt to keep the carrier in the case. Get a socket that will fit one of the ring gear bolts. Put it on and hold it there while you rotate the pinion so the socket is lodged against the interior of the case. Now get something with some leverage that will allow you to rotate the pinion yoke. The carrier will be forced out. On REALLY stubborn ones you may need to pry a bit on the opposite side of the socket so it evenly comes out. Also have a soft blow hammer handy to adjust things so they done get wedged crooked.

 

Good luck,

CW

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Yeah, you don't need one for carrier removal, but thats not it specific intended purpose. A case spreader is an installation tool. Usually a long pry bar/screwdriver will do the trick for removal, or threading a rag in between the pinion and ring gear will also force the carrier out.

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It is a trac-lok.

 

I tried to pop it out tonight and I kinda got it. I got the bearing on the ring gear side to move out, but then had to stop cause I didn't have the right tools to finish it farther. Its still in there pretty tight... this is by far the tightest fit I've ever dealt with.

 

:dunno:

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I've done I don't know how many Jeep axles over the years.. Dana 30s, 44s, and AMC 20s...

 

I've both done them with a case spreader and without. Technically, what was said about preloading the bearings upon new bearing reinstall is correct. Once the bearings seat in, you effectively lose .010 or something (its been a while since I read a manual) worth of shim, hence the preload. The preload is supposed to make the setup stay where set for longer, resulting in longer service life for the gears.

 

That said, the gears I set up that have gone the furthest, and are still on the road, are over 80,000 miles (on a 44 rear), I didn't use the spreader, and they still look good.

 

Nowadays, I'll only take the spreader out if it is a rear axle on a daily-driven Jeep. And even then, only if I think the guy is gonna stick with those gears for way over 50,000 miles. I've not used it on any of my own Jeeps in a long azz time. It makes the whole setup process easier, that's for sure, especially if you are a bit rusty at the time.

 

The thing with the Dana axles, is with the shims behind the bearings, it isn't a huge deal to just line it all up and dead-blow the carrier back in the housing.

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