Eventually if you tempt fate enough times you will lose. Well the same can be said for going four-wheeling with model 20 two-piece Jeep axles. They hold up fine with stock tires and open differentials, but add on a set of 33″ tires, 4.56 gears and a locking differential and fate is now knocking at your door. We had tempted fate long enough and decided it was time to add some beef to the rear of our project Jeep. There are any number of companies that now make 1-piece chromoly axle shafts for the model 20 rear; almost to many to choose. I decided to make a call to one of the industry experts on axles, housings and differentials, Randy Lyman of Randy’s Ring and Pinion. You know the guy with the ring gear halo! Randy wasted no time in explaining to me that he is now selling his own brand of one-piece replacement axles for the model 20. These are high quality 4140 cromoly, rolled 29 spline axle shafts. They are being marketed under the name Yukon and sold exclusively by Randy’s Ring&Pinion. Randy had a set in our hands in no time and we were ready to get them installed.
Unfortunately it takes a few specialized tools to remove the old axles and press the bearings and seals on the new assemblies. Well, now its time to decide where to go for help. We decided to give Dan Drager a call at Desert Dog Automotive here in Tucson, AZ. Dan and the guys at Desert Dog Automotive specialize in all types of Jeep repair from replacement parts to full engine and transmission conversions. With 20 years of Jeep experience under his belt, we knew Dan would have every thing we would need to make this install go off without a hitch. Follow along in the installation portion and see what it takes to add the strength your Jeep rear end needs.
|The vehicle must be supported by the frame via a lift, or jack stands. Remove the rear tires, drums, shoes, all springs and clips used to assemble the brakes and the brake lines and wheel cylinders. Now you need to remove the stock two piece axles, you must separate the splined hub from the axle shaft before removing the axle shaft. (See photo on the left) This is not an easy task and requires repeated heavy blows from a large hammer with a special tool designed to pull them apart without damage. Once you separate the hubs and shafts, you can remove the brake backing plates. The axles can now be removed using a slide-hammer. (See photo on the right) Do not damage the brake backing plates, as you will be reusing them.|
|Remove the old seals (See photo on the left) and clean up the housing ends and you are ready to reassemble. All of the bearings, seals, and the brake backing plate must be pressed on the new axle at the same time, the instructions show the order of assembly. (See photo on the right) If you don’t have a press or access to one, you must have someone press the bearings on for you. Once you have pressed everything onto the new axle, you can begin to reassemble. The kit comes with a tube of sealant for the axle ends, and must be applied before the axles are put back in. Simply slide the new assembly in the housing and install the backing plate bolts. (See photo below) Tighten to the recommended torque, and reassemble the brakes. Move to the other side and install that axle, and brake assembly. After you have assembled the brakes and adjusted them, you will need to bleed the brakes since you removed the brake lines. Once all the rear brakes are bled, and the tires and wheels are back on it you are finished.|
|It took the guys at Desert Dog Automotive about 2.5 hours to do the job, and the install is perfect. If you are doing it in your garage and having someone else press on the bearings it will probably take twice this long. The axles have been in the Jeep for about 2 months, and no leaks, no squeaks and no worries! We put them through their paces in Moab for Easter Jeep Safari and had not a single problem. If you want the strength|
|Desert Dog Automotive
770 W. Grant Road
Tucson, AZ 85705
|Randy’s Ring & Pinion
11630 Airport Rd. #300
Everett, WA 98204
Fax (425) 347-1440
Web site: www.ringpinion.com