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Ram Front Axle Shaft, Seal, and U-Joint Repair
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Disassembly

Subject:       [RAM] Pulling Front Axle.
From:          Chris_Siano@iacnet.com
Subject:       Re: [RAM] Removal of 2500 HD 4x4 Front Axle
From:          Stephen D Belt <Stephen_D_Belt@ccm.ch.intel.com>

I have done some editing here -  Dave

> The U-Joints on the front axle shafts of my '95 2500 V10 4x4 are worn out,
> and I want to replace them.  I have the Dana 60 front axle, with the
> pressed wheel bearing assembly.  I was hoping someone could shed some light
> on the disassembly of the front hub so I can remove the axle shafts.  As per
> the service manual, I have:

> 1) Removed wheel & tire (who would've thought ;-)
> 2) Removed the cotter pin and large nut at the outer end of the axle shaft.

I don't know the size of this offhand, but it is BIG like 32mm or greater, and it is metric.

> 3) Removed brake caliper.

Next, go behind the hub and you'll see some 12 point bolt heads,   These bolts hold the hub in place.  Remove the bolts.  I believe these are 13mm 12 point.

> 4) Removed 4 bolts securing the hub assy to the steering knuckle.
> At this point, the hub assy (including brake rotor, wheel bearings, and hub)
> should separate from the steering knuckle.  I realize this is a tight fit,
> but I am not sure what is usually required to get it off

Now comes the fun.  The hub is fit into the spindle very tightly.

1) get a hub puller that pulls on the studs and pushes on the axle.
2) use a chisel and pry at the tabs around the carrier.

Neither is easy, and take a lot of work.  If you use method 2, you will pretty much mangle the brake dust shield, and nick the tabs.  Will need to file or grind them smooth again.

Hunt around the auto part stores for the hub puller.  Use a lot of penetrating oil, and get really rough with it.

A series of blows with a 3 lb hammer to set up vibrations helps too.  Just don't hit anything vital.

Oh, and use anti-sieze when you reassemble.  Makes it a lot easier next time...

Once this is done, the axle shaft will pull right out.   Be careful, the seals are way inside the shaft and a lot of gunk manages to build up in the tube to the outside of the seal.  You can clean that gunk out with the box end of a LONG wrench.

U-joint replacement is standard.


Reassembly ( continued from above )

To reinstall, slide the axle shaft in carefully to avoid hurting the seal.  This is not easy, and must be done as carefully as possible.

Then place the hub into position.  I coat the joining surfaces with anti-sieze to make the next pulling much easier.  (not that I've ever had to pull one of these hubs more than twice in my life)

Bolt it back up and snug down the bolts in the same manner as you would a tire, use an alternating pattern and bring it in slow.  Torque wrench is the best, but I haven't had any problem doing this by hand and just getting it tight.

Install the big nut.  (no that isn't me)

Reassemble brakes, and mount wheel.

It is a fairly easy procedure.  The bitch is getting the hub free.  If you don't have a puller like I didn't my first time with a Jeep that has this design, I used a large chisel and a 3 lb hammer to spread the hub's flanges away from the spindle.  It does do some damage to the metal, and you need to file the burrs smooth, but it does work in a pinch.  I do recommend a puller if you can get one.

On the Off-Road List's Shadetree Howler Monkey scale of difficulty, this operation is a 3 Banana job, even if you have the proper tools.  See http://www.off-road.com/~lhsoo/yj-faq/text8.htm#text8_6 for the definition of the Off-Road Banana scale.

Subject:       Re: [RAM] Removal of 2500 HD 4x4 Front Axle
Date:           Fri, 03 Apr 98 09:16:00 PST
From:          Stephen D Belt <Stephen_D_Belt@ccm.ch.intel.com>
To:              ramtruck@vcs.org
 
> The U-Joints on the front axle shafts of my '95 2500 V10 4x4 are worn out,
> and I want to replace them.  I have the Dana 60 front axle, with the
> pressed wheel bearing assembly.  I was hoping someone could shed some light
> on the disassembly of the front hub so I can remove the axle shafts.  As per
> the service manual, I have:

> 1) Removed wheel & tire (who would've thought ;-)
> 2) Removed the cotter pin and large nut at the outer end of the axle shaft.
> 3) Removed brake caliper.
> 4) Removed 4 bolts securing the hub assy to the steering knuckle.

That's all correct so far.  I did all of this last year, when I changed my ring and pinion gear.  To do that, I needed to remove the axle shafts, just like you are needing to do for your u-joint replacement.

> At this point, the hub assy (including brake rotor, wheel bearings, and hub)
> should separate from the steering knuckle.  I realize this is a tight fit,
> but I am not sure what is usually required to get it off

A slide hammer shouldn't be necessary for any part of the disassembly.  The steering knuckle (or ball joint) at the end of the tie rod that attaches to the hub can be separated with a ball joint splitter.  This isn't the best possible tool, as it can rupture the grease boot, but it is what I used.  You just need to remove that bolt from the ball joint and then hammer the separator in where the rubber boot is at.  Once the ball joint is split, everything should remove easily.

> Before I go too crazy with the slide hammer, I had a couple of questions:
> 1)  Is heat usually required to expand the steering knuckle?  If so,
> is there any risk of damaging the grease seal for the wheel bearings?

No heat should be necessary.

> 2)  By pulling on the axle shaft, am I risking damage to the wheel bearing
> assembly?  If so, where should I be pulling/hammering in order to
> separate the hub from the knuckle?

The bearings inside the hub are very well protected.  There isn't much fear of hurting them during disassembly.  You should worry more about the axle seals around the axle shafts that are inside the axle tubes. These are easy to damage, and you can't see them.  Just be careful when you start to slide the axle shafts in and out of the axle tubes.

Steve Belt
1995 2500HD V10 4x4 -- Scotts, AZ
http://www.primenet.com/~sbelt/truck/sbelt.html



Subject: [RAM] 2500 HD Front Axle U-Joints: Done!
Date:   Mon, 06 Apr 1998 00:37:38 -0500
From:  Grant Zozman <gzozman@escape.ca>
To:      ramtruck

Thanks to all those who replied to my request regarding removal of the front hub assy. on a 2500 w/ Dana 60 axle in order to replace U-joints on the axle shafts.

I got busy today and did the driver's side; pass. side is on the agenda for tomorrow.  Here is a rundown of my experience, for those who are interested, or who are in the same boat as me:

1)  Go shopping; buy 6" bench vise (8" jaw opening) and 1 11/16" socket (now my biggest socket!).
2)  Remove cotter pin and large nut at end of axle (using 1 11/16" socket).
3)  Remove wheel & brake caliper.
4)  Remove 4 bolts holding hub to steering knuckle.
5)  Get out the cutting torch; heat steering knuckle so as to loosen hub assy.
6)  Attach slide hammer to axle shaft using large nut removed earlier.  To do this, I manufactured a tool made of 1/4" steel in the shape of a square about 3" on a side.  On one side I bored a hole large enough for the axle shaft to stick through, on the opposite side I cut a hole large enough for the slide hammer to go through.  Using the axle nut and the slide hammer nut, the tool joins the two solidly.  Now pound away till hub pulls free from knuckle.  This was tough; these parts rust together solidly!
7)  Remove axle shaft from diff (carefully; to avoid damaging seal in axle).

To remove the u-joint from the axle shaft, I found that my fancy new vise was not strong enough to press the cups out of the yokes (much heavier than the Dana 44's I'm used to).  Using a hammer and appropriately sized socket worked great to drive one of the cups out of each yoke piece.  Since the other cup is now driven into the middle of the yoke (and the u-joint can't be removed with the cup in place), I used the cutting torch to cut it off (avoids having to drive the cup back through the yoke towards the outside.

To assemble the new u-joint into the yoke pieces, I first sanded the yoke bores smooth, then coated with WD-40.  Using the vise, the new cups could be pressed into the yoke pieces quite easily.

Oddly enough, when I re-assembled the hub assy to the steering yoke, the two slipped together very easily after I filed & sanded the rust off the two mating surfaces.  Hard to believe they could become so badly rusted together in the first place.  I used anti-seize when re-assembling to avoid the problem in the future.

The new U-joints have grease nipples, so I should be able to significantly extend the life of the joints past the 3 years the factory joints lasted. The original joints went dry and ground the needles into powder; the joints were actually loose and flopped around at low speeds, making an incredible noise!

Grant Zozman
gzozman@escape.ca


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