The rear axle on a Quadrasteer equiped vehicle is a Dana 60. It is a pretty common unit that was used on the front of many 1 ton trucks in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and some muscle cars in the 60s and 70s. Even though this is on the rear of my pickup, most of the parts and procedures are similar to a front axle, since the wheels steer. (only move maximum of 15 degrees, instead of normal 40 degrees) These are the steps I took to remove and replace the carrier, ring, and pinion. I’ve included the recommended tightening specs for reference during assembly.
Remove the wheels.
The rear-steer action is accomplished with a electric servo motor, gear box, and tie-rods. It is mounted to a special differential cover housing. I think all of the internal parts are the industry-standard Dana 60 parts, which is a really good thing because there are so many different parts and options available for it.
Remove differential drain plug and drain the oil.
Disconnect differential vent hose.
There are two bolts that I couldn’t get a socket or impact on, had to use a wrench. Don’t use gear wrench to get the one out behind the gearbox because you will find yourself having the wrench and bolt both stuck. I learned this the hard way!
There is one long bolt that is not obvious that it bolts into the differential housing. There is also a big dowel machined into the differential cover / gear housing with a corresponding hole in the differential housing. This prevents the whole thing from falling on you when you get the bolt out. (45 lb-ft)
Remove parking brake cable. It seemed to work best when I used one screwdriver to relieve pressure from the spring, and another screwdriver and hammer to move the cable end from the lever. It is probably easier to just to disconnect the parking brake cable from the left side of the left frame rail. I had to disconnect it to re-install the connections at each wheel.
Remove the brake caliper. Push the piston in a bit with a c-clamp to give yourself some room if you need it (I didn’t). These bolts were a bear to get out. Support the caliper with wire to protect the brake hose. (148 lb-ft w/ threadlock)
Remove the brake rotor. (Mark orientation. Clean mating surface before reassembly) [this step is from the service manual, I didn’t do it – see below]
Remove wheel hub and bearing retaining bolts. These bolts are under the brake rotor, which I never separated from the hub. Separate the wheel drive shaft from the wheel hub and bearing. (132 lb-ft) [this step is from the service manual, I didn’t do it this way]
Remove upper ball joint [this step is from the service manual, I didn’t do it this way]
Remove lower ball joint [this step is from the service manual, I didn’t do it this way]
There are 6 bolts that hold the wheel hub and bearing to the outer steering knuckle. The bolts are a pain to get to, but you can get them all out with a box end wrench. If you remove these bolts, you can remove the hub, bearing, rotor, and axle out all as one unit. Doing this saves you from having to remove or re-torque the axle end nut, and saves you from having to disassemble the upper and lower ball joints. If you choose to take out the axle and assembly out all at once, I recommend you have a helper. It is awkward/impossible to gracefully pull it all out and support it correctly with just two hands. [just go ahead and take the hub off, because you can’t really install the axle shaft back into the housing with the hub installed– you need to hit the shaft to seat it all the way into the carrier]
Remove the c-clips holding the axle shaft at the carrier. This was easy to do with two screwdrivers. You can spin the c-clip around until you have it orientated with the gap facing you, then press each end away from you. It will shoot off and you can retrieve the clip from the bottom of the differential housing.
Now you can play tug-o-war and pull the shaft out. The service manual says to use an axle puller / slide hammer tool, but I didn’t need to use one. The joint on these axles is some sort of CV joint, instead of the standard u-joint used on most Dana 60 units.
The axle shaft seems to be the standard Dana part. It is the large 35-spline variety. Measures 1.50″ at the splines, 1.56″ at the seal area, and 1.6″ for the rest of the length. It is impressive and heavy.
Both axle shafts shown here. I removed one of the shafts with the hub and rotor still attached. It doesn’t save you any time, because I wound up having to remove the hub during installation. (have to hammer the shafts back in, no surface to beat on with hub and rotor in place)
Remove the four bolts from the pinion yoke that hold the u-joint straps on. You are supposed to mark the orientation of the yoke relative to the driveshaft. Use some wire to get the driveshaft up out of the way.
AT THIS POINT, you should remove the whole axle housing by removing the brake line brackets and the suspension U-bolts. It only takes another 20 minutes, and it is worth it. You are about to have to do lots of hammering on the pinion, lots of close inspection work, careful cleaning, and moving the carrier in and out multiple times. You do not want to do this with the axle mounted on the vehicle. A couple of jack-stands on your garage floor make a nice work platform for the axle, it lets you spin it around, which you will be doing many times. It might be better to remove the axle with the quadrasteer, rotors, and hubs still attached. It is very heavy though.
The service manual says you should use a housing spreader tool, but my carrier just fell right out when the caps were removed. You are also supposed to carefully catch the shims from each side so you know where to start when you re-install it. I had no shims. I’m guessing they were destroyed by the side-to-side play after the bearings failed.
This factory carrier is a Dana Trac-Lok, but is not the same size as a standard Dana 60. It is about 3/16″ wider, so be sure you get the right part if you are going to replace it. It does take a standard ring gear, as long as it is 4.30 and down (numerically smaller). (for part numbers and more quadrasteer-specific information, see my other post about the subject)
Remove the pinion nut and washer. Remove the yoke from the pinion shaft. I happened to have this tool on-hand. I used two of the bolts and the u-bolt straps as washers. It worked like a charm. If you have a 2-jaw puller, it is even easier to use than this. It is a good idea to get an extra pinion nut, so you can save one for the final assembly. The nut gets chewed up pretty quickly after all the on-off cycles.
Getting the pinion out of the housing was a bitch. You should use the specified tool (J-22536) or a big brass punch. I started by beating the pinion with a piece of wood and a sledge. I wasn’t able to swing the hammer hard enough to do much, so I I wound up beating on the pinion with the nut installed. It deformed the nut all to hell, and made it almost impossible to remove, but I managed to get it done that way. Be sure to keep and measure your old shims. The ones that will be loose on the pinion are the bearing preload shims. The shims under the inner bearing cup (outer race) are the positioning shims. I won’t try to hammer the pinion out again while the axle is under the vehicle. Get the axle out in the open on a set of jack stands so you can hammer straight down in a good position.
The outer seals come right out with no problem.
The inner seals are a two piece design. The three pictures below are of a new seal. Notice you can’t pry against the inside surface, because it is soft. The service manual calls for a special expanding seal removal tool.
I resorted to brute-force methods of getting the seals out. After I removed them and started cleaning up the axle housing, I noticed something that was giving me hell. There is a gap between the axle tube and the pumpkin parts of the axle housing. That gap lines up with the end of the inside of the inner seals. I was placing my seal removal tools in that gap instead of the seal! As one would expect, I didn’t have much luck tearing the axle tubes loose from the pumpkin with my little seal removal tool!
Here is what my seals looked like after I abused them.
The troublesome gap can be seen in the picture below.
Remove the inner pinion bearing cup (outer race) by tapping it evenly out with a long punch. I don’t know how to do this without destroying the slinger.
All my shims laid out and marked by size. Getting the size you want with the shim sizes available is sometimes not possible. I wound up using some of my old shims too.
Getting the necessary 255 ft-lbs of force on the pinion nut is a real challenge. I drilled some holes in a 3 foot long piece of 3/16″ thick angle and bolted it to the yoke.
After slipping a cheater bar over my breaker, I could apply some serious torque.
My gear pattern starting out was too close to the top of the gear tooth.
After adding 0.020″ more shims to the inner pinion bearing, the pattern moved down into the center of the tooth.