Dana 44 Rear Axle Rebuild Questions

Discussion in 'General IH Tech' started by Jim, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Hi All,

    Im in the process of rebuilding a rear Dana 44 in a 1977 Scout II Terra. The old carrier sheared the ring bolts and then these bolts tumbled around causing lots of cool damage.

    I have attached some pictures. I dont have much choice but to continue using this housing. There was some galling where the pinion bearing race presses in, but it looks like I should be able to get the new race pressed in. What do you think?

    Here are some questions:

    1. Any tips for installing the new pinion bearing races other than using the old race upside down. For example is there an easy to make tool that will help drive these into place?

    2. How do I press on the new pinion bearing to the new pinion shaft? I see a picture in the manual, but I dont have one of these tools. Do I need to buy a special tool or do I go to a shop to have it pressed on. I dont believe there are any shims on this inner bearing so its just a matter of getting it pressed on.

    3. Should I use the same shim thickness for installing the new pinion? These are the large shims that set the pinion depth. I figured the height would be close enough using the same shim thickness. Im putting in all new parts including new Auburn LS carrier. I know I need to create a new shim pack for setting the "left right" position of the carrier including preload.

    4. Are there preferred chemicals or process for cleaning this housing? Its a dirty mess.


  2. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    dana spicer website has all the specs for that axle assembly.
    Randys Ring AND PINION DOES ,TOO.
    GET A SERVICE MANUAL!!!!!!!!!!
    if you are swapping R &P, you need to look at face of old and new pinion gear, find the markings such as +.oo3'' scribed on the face.
    and compare that with markings on new pinion gear face.
    if the marking is same- both are +.003 , then you use exact same shim pack behind new pinion front bearing/ race.
    If the new pinion is different and the number is + [plus] more than old gear remove the difference in shim pack thickness.
    if the new gear is a minus -."" thousandths then you add the difference and put it in the shim pack.
    the nominal pinion depth is 2.50 inches for a dana 44 and the + means 2.50" plus.003[ example.
    - sign means 2.50" minus the thousandths of an inch.
    hopefull you didnt disturb the original shim pack behind the pinion bearing race . .?????????
    the shims behind the carrier bearings should maybe be the same amount behind respective bearing- coast and drive side.
    BUTTTTTTTTTT--- IF YOU ARE using a new carrier dont bet on it . .
    that may needs be adjusted for proper ring to pinion backlash- expect to adjust it.
    and since you doesnt has no tools for pressing the bearings on or off the pinion..........
    no tools to remove/ install the carrier bearings . .
    you need to ask your self a question or two . .
    why am I doing this?

    you need case spreader
    torque wrench
    dial indicator
    hydraulic press
    bearing splitter
    assorted bearing tools for pressing/removing the bearings.
  3. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Thanks for the tips. Ive got the manual and all the tools except the press and spreader. Ive done this before, but its been many years. The process is starting to come back now. I will start with the original shim for pinion depth and adjust after setting backlash, preload and pattern. Ive got some set up bearings I made earlier, so hopefully we can get away with only having to press the bearings once. Since the carrier , ring and pinion were destroyed, we are starting from scratch.

    I should have read the manual again before posting. Really, the only question I have now is how to get the new pinion bearing onto the pinion shaft. I guess I will take it to a shop and have them press it on for me.
  4. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    the bearing has to be pressed on.
    you cant adjust pinion depth after anything else, its the first step.
    smart thing to do is pull off carrier bearings-save the shims and note where/which side they came off of,
    then grind out the ID of the bearings, enough to slip fit over new carrier bearing shoulders.
    then when you replace the old bearings and shims on new carrier slide it in the housing and check backlash, if its w/in specs, its a quick slide on new shim packs and new bearings on the new carrier and install it.
    saves pulling the new bearings two or three times to adjust backlash . .

    as to driving in pinion races, snap on, otc, mac all have bearing race drivers.
    its worthwhile getting that set, its aluminum drivers that are soft and wont damage the races like another race will do when smacking it to drive it in . .
  5. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Thanks again Jay. I will look for a race driver kit, maybe one of the local stores has one. Ill bring the races in to match up something. I already made a set up carrier bearing set last time we did this 10 years ago. Last time I had the benefit of having Sean Shepard here to help. I should have wrote stuff down since my memory isnt so great.

    In order to check pinion depth I need a pattern dont I? Last time we did this, it took several attempts to get the shim packs to the ideal settings. First we got the backlash within reason, then checked the pinion depth with a pattern. Then repeated the process to get it as good as possible. If Im missing something please let me know.

    Im currently reading all the posts I can find on setting up bearings, As long as the housing didnt get tweaked, I think we will be okay.

    PS We got the housing good and clean on the inside and mostly clean on the outside. Hopefully by the end of next weekend we will have the shims all set and ready to have the new carrier bearings pressed on.
  6. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    clean out the axle tubes real good, might want to paint them, too.
    that avoids rust forming and migrating out to the bearings. if you use gear lube to supply the bearings . .
    the pinion depth is etched on the pinion gear face.
    that depth adjustment is what the dana factory found to be the quietest running of the gears, thats why they put that info on the gear face, ok?
    so the installer knows what adjustments to make for quietest running of the gears.you dont have to do it that way..........
    if you had pinion depth troubles on previous installs, you-or some one else, in my opinion, did not set up or install the pinion to correct depth to begin with . . .

    Want to get all techincal- you can buy a tool that fits in the housing and you can then using the tool -measure pinion depth and adjust it, before installing the carrier and ring gear.
    BUT the easy and quick way would be gather all the shims behind the front pinion bearing race, check for the etching on the new pinion gear face as to depth adjustment, ADJUST FOR THAT difference and install the pinion!
    you can fool your self and think the pinion depth is off by not having the correct r & p backlash, but once the backlash is.008" you should see that the pattern is kind of middle of ring gear and more towards the heel of ring gear tooth than the toe. which is where its supposed to be.

    and pulling it apart 5 and 6 times . .can damage bearings each time you do that . .
    or put it together correctly the first time . .
  7. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Hi Jay,

    I had planned on using the +/- info on the pinion as you and the manual mention. But my new pinion has no information stamped on the face. I dont see how trial and error will mess the bearings if Im using a setup bearing for all but the last step.

    When I get home from work I will look over the new pinion again to see if there are any marks. I got the set from IH only north and they ordered it from Randy's R&P. Yes, I saved the shim pack that adjusts the pinion depth. If I cant find any markings, I guess I will start with that depth.

  8. Dave Nuenke

    Dave Nuenke High Wheeler

    Jim, I wish you were closer, that housing looks rough, and I probably have one that already has a good R&P in it. The pinion bearing is shimmed, measure your old shim pack as a starting point. I have a set of "set up bearings" that I use when I do these (I enlarged the inside so they come on and off easily), one still has to double check with the new bearings but it saves taking bearings on and off a bunch of times. Like jay said, a bearing driver is the best for getting the race into the housing. To ease the pressing on of the new bearings (though you usually still need a press, I heat them up to about 250-275 in a pan of hydrolic oil (use a laser thermometer to check the temp of the bearing itself). Then they pretty much slip right on and just need a nudge from the press. The next best advice I can give you is to measure, measure, measure and follow the service manual, the IH diff section is second to none, and is actually what I used to teach myself how to rebuild diffs.

  9. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Hey Dave. I wish I had a source for another housing but there are none close by that I can find. This one looks worse in the pic than it really is. A half dozen ring bolts sheared off and tumbled around inside making some bad scars. But no scars on any bearing surfaces. Im pretty sure the housing is still straight. This Scout is a daily driver to work and we use it as a truck for lightweight hauling. No long distance driving. I figure if I do a half way decent job rebuilding the axle, it will last longer than me, or at least longer than the Scout?

    Thanks again for the suggestions.
  10. Dave Nuenke

    Dave Nuenke High Wheeler

    If the bearing surfaces are in good shape, then I figure you'll be ok. They really aren't that hard to rebuild, you just have to measure everything about three times and take your time. Our "official mechanic" at work loves to re bearing GM diffs but is scared to death of actually doing a shimmed diff. It's gotten interesting a couple of times because he's one of these people that hates to admit that he's not always right... If you have questions, feel free to ask.

  11. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    Yeah, I actually like this type of work. I just ordered a bearing driver set, cant believe Ive waited this long. I suspect I will have future need for a press and am considering one from harbor freight.

    Im looking into the following for my bearing needs. Do you think it will do the job for differential bearing work? Surprisingly the shipping is only $14. Probably comes from our next town 70 miles away.

    Im pretty sure this one is stout enough for pressing the pinion and carrier bearings. I have a bearing splitter. Would this rig work for removing/ replacing the rear axle bearings?

  12. CareyWeber

    CareyWeber Diesel Herder / Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Bearings can been warmed in hot oil (a crock-pot works just don't use your wife's :nono: ) and then they will go on with a gentle pressure from fingers (wear gloves ;) ).
  13. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    iVE NEVER SEEN a DANA Spicer gear NOT have the marks on the pinion gear face.
    maybe you got another brand like - yukon?
    double check the face.... maybe its a 0.00 setting?
    make sure you always use NEW ring gear bolts-EVERYTIME.
    I try to avoid using set up bearings. especially for pinion depth. because the new actual bearing might be different in size.
    I have had excellent results with timken bearings, all being the same dimensions- so far. but other brands if I've had to use them- will be different.
    so to avoid errors, I'll set up with the bearings I'm gonna use.
    and good pullers will not hurt a bearing, but knocking the pinion race in and out a couple of times will damage it . .
    I don't think that harbor freight press is tall enough to do a rear axle bearing- go measure the length of a rear axle end to end,that press only gives you 23 inches [ I think thats what i read]
    pressing on maybe, but not pressing off.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  14. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

  15. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    cruise around for garage sales/auctions, I'm sure youll find one easy enough thats a larger size- even made in america!.
    I see 'em all the time, just seen one yesterday at an auction . . but I already has one . .
    It's no worries actually- if you look at the bottom frame of it, the axle end will fit thru that slot- by the looks of it.
    So raise it up off the floor with two cinder block bricks straddled . . gives plenty clearance for shoving a bearing back on the axle and the cinch collar, if you are real careful with removing the cinch collar and drill a couplea holes in collar, or maybe cut thru most the way with a dremel cut off wheel,whack it witha cold chisel, you can then put a big bearing splitter behind the bearing, tighten it, and pick the whole axle up and drop it down onto concrete and itll pop the bearing and collar off easy enough.
    I do that trick all the time, saves tossing all that affair into the press. seeing as how the bearing isnt on very tight to the axle [ most of them] and the collar if drilled/cut will pop loose anyhow . .
    thats an old trick of mine, of course, and I'll have to charge you for it, now that I've told ya!
  16. Dave Nuenke

    Dave Nuenke High Wheeler

    Jay, I have a 25 ton press at home that I bought cheap, at the cheaptool sale, it works ok, and had clerance. We just rebuilt the little press at work with a 50 ton jack, so I like that one better. Point being that a couple hundred will buy a press that will work, but the spendier one will be nicer. Kind of like the generic wrenches will work, but I prefer the Snap-On ones, and I prefer my Mac seal/bearing driver set, but the OTC will do the job....

  17. Jay Tabor

    Jay Tabor Banned

    yeah- I wasnt recomending any particular brand, rather that there are lots of them all over the place for cheap, new, used . . etc . .
    nothing wrong with that harbor freight press per-se, cept it aint tall enough to do axle work, or has slots in frame for horizontal long piece work.
    but its better than no press at all --------when you need one . .
  18. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    After checking into it further, reading posts here and reviews, Ive decided to drive over the mountain to the nearest HF and get the 20Ton H frame press. The 12 Ton press seems to work for most that reviewed it, but requires some adapters (lift) for the axle work and isn't as versatile as the H design 20T press. The 20T is taller and should be able to handle the axle work. With coupons it can be had for $160. I figure I would have to pay at least half of that in shop time this week alone. Should have it together by Saturday afternoon and hopefully the axle will be assembled and ready to go by Monday. I really want to get this Scout back in action since 2 of the 3 rigs are down right now and we require 2 daily drivers.

    If I get the time, I will take some pictures of the press in action and post later with a review of the tool.

  19. Ronmc1954

    Ronmc1954 Binder Driver

    FYI, I have been watching this post because I will be installing LS in both of my axles, so I am picking up alot of info here, thanks.

    Harbor Frieght is supposed to be having a parking lot sale this weekend, I assume it is a nation wide sale. You might get even a better deal on the 20 ton press your looking at.

  20. Jim

    Jim Binder Driver

    I made some progress today. I got the HF 20 Ton press last week and it worked great for pressing the pinion and carrier bearings on. First I used set up bearings to get things looking good. Then I added some preload shims and pressed the new carrier bearings on.

    Here are some pictures of my patterns. 4.09 gears Dana 44 rear. It looks like the pinion could move a little closer (add some shim)? Im tempted to run with it as it is now. The backlash is .006 measured in several places. This truck is for local, light use, so Im hoping Im close enough to bolt it up and drive. Im willing to press off the bearings, and try again...but of course it would be nice to be done! What do you think? Are these patterns good enough?


    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011

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