Bolts and Front Axle

I’ve got some repairs handled, finally. This weekend I’m going to do a couple of days out at Cougar Buttes with the SoCal Zen Jeepers. I’m going to baby it a bit as this will be the first time out since October. It’s also the first time out with some of the recent repairs so it’s a shake down run for The Whisky AND for my driving skills, which I feel are a bit rusty. But I am really looking forward to getting the rig out there and crawling a few rocks.

Driveshaft bolt, Rear T-Case

Rubicon Express did end up getting back to me. We had to go back and forth a bit to confirm what I had and what I was talking about, but I got the information I needed. They did not offer to sell me the stand alone bolt and lock washer but they did get me the specification, so I was able to source it myself. The spec was 7/16-14 x 1 ¼”. Based on the hash marks on the heads of the other three bolts they should be grade 8. So that’s what I ordered.

The hole was just slightly out of alignment so I couldn’t just screw the bolt in. I needed to loosen the other three bolts, start the new bolt, then tighten everything. Turning the driveshaft so I could access all four positions was a problem at first. Ultimately, I put the Jeep in neutral, pushed it forward or backward to turn the driveshaft, then set the parking brake and tightened the bolts.

The Rubicon Express installation instructions note a torque spec of 45 ft-lbs. It was too tight to get a socket in there. I had to use an open-end wrench. So, I couldn’t torque it correctly. I’ve ordered some crows feet heads that I can use with my current torque wrenches. This is the second time I’ve come across a bolt I wanted to torque but couldn’t get the socket in place. So, these should come in handy. When they arrive I’ll check all four bolts to be sure they’re torqued correctly. And while I’m doing that I’ll check the other bolts on the other flanges as well. I used a little blue threadlocker. I wanted to use some red threadlocker, but I couldn’t find it in my bag. Time to reorganize. In any case, I’ll be checking these bolts more frequently and carrying a couple of spares in my kit.

Front Axle:

The dealer finally got the parts in and took care of the front axle. It required some extra out-of-pocket cost for some extra labor. The rest of my front suspension is not stock so they had a little more work to do to install it. But overall, the whole thing ran me about $600. That’s for the entire replacement front Dana 44 axle with the e-locker, installed. I’m okay with that. While they were at it I also had them put a new ARB heavy duty diff cover on it. The old one was okay, but badly shaved on the bottom from scraping rocks. I’ll keep that as a spare.

I still need to get some new shock mount skids for the front and I think I want to also add some diff skids. I know the diff skids reduce my clearance a bit, probably by a ½” or so. But I’m already hitting. I’d rather scrape up a skid than the diff itself.