Thursday, September 6, 2012

How-To: Removing your front axle


Removing axle sounds kind of scary at first but really, its just a handful of bolts and some position of the truck on jack stands.  We wanted to show that it can be done in your driveway, by yourself and in 110 degree weather. Some power tools were used but mostly all by hand.
The first time it would be wise to have someone give you a hand since the axle is a little heavy.

Most of the tools you will need is 2 tall jack stands to hold the truck up, then 2 more small jack stands holding the axle up,
18mm wrench and socket
21mm wrench and socket
15mm socket
13mm socket
10mm socket
5/16" socket
5/16" allen
15/16" wrench and socket

A few other small tools but nothing really out of the ordinary

Anyways lets get rolling

Just a picture showing I'm doing this on my driveway




4th gen's have a few screws and clips holding on the fender liners.  A 5/16" wrench and a small clip removal or screw driver will work.








Don't forget to push the ABS sensor out of the liner.




Few more shots




My truck uses a small fender liner instead of a flare, if you do have flares they come out with the same screws that hold on the liner.






Fender liner out




Before I take the truck off the ground I take out both shock bolts as well as the track bar bolts. A 21mm socket makes short work of everything.










I use a breaker bar to loosen the track bar bolt








Next, I back out the end links so I can pivot the sway bar up and away allowing access to remove later on if need be
Just a note, some 10+ rams have either a 15mm socket which is the most common or an 18mm socket which is rare to remove the end link nut.






Take a 13mm socket and loosen up the brake lines at the axle; this is between the upper and lower control arms.  Be sure to do this so the brake lines do not get stretched during the initial spring removal.






Go ahead and take a 10mm socket and an 18mm wrench and bust the upper shock mount loose.




Now is the time to lift the truck up.  Use a jack at the axle to get the truck up high enough to put some tall jack stands under there. I personally do not like to extend it a lot so get some wood or a block under the base. Just make sure you get the truck high enough so with the wheels removed the axle will fall far enough to get the control arms to rest on the frame. This will give you enough room to remove the coils springs and shocks.


Everything up to this part is basically the same as if you were adding a leveling kit or some sort of lift






Fully drooped out






I went ahead and removed the tower since I have something planned for the future but you may or may not need to remove this depending on what your doing.  A 15mm takes care of it.




Infamous retaining rings that get tossed out a lot on leveling kits.




Use a pry bar to remove the shock.




Now the spring and shock are ready to come out.




A side shot of all the pieces of the stock coil spring components; Tower, stud ring, isolator, shock and spring.



 



Now the parts that need to be removed for the axle removal.

Front driveshaft needs a T40 Torx bit. A little rotation and you should have access to the bolts. You may want to do this before the axle reaches full droop so that you can rotate the shaft as many times needed with out binding.






The next few steps will also teach you how to get to the ball joints.  Full detail on ball-joint removal can be found HERE

Hit the tie rods with a 21mm deep socket and a hammer.








Next, remove those pain the @ss little brake rotor hold down clips.






Remove the brake calipers. On the 4th gen they have a much bigger bolt. A 15/16" socket takes them off.




A 5/16" allen wrench will remove the abs sensor on top of the hub bearing.




The 4th gen seems to use a hold down for the brake sensor.  It's the little clip that needs be twisted up.




Next, the hub bearing needs to be removed.  Four 18mm bolts are on the back and they usually come out pretty easy.




Once those are out of the way, you're ready to pull the stub shaft out. I use a pry bar between the axle and the housing. In Arizona it comes out pretty easy, but other people that are back east may not have it as easy.

As you notice the brake caliper backing plate is different then a 3rd gen. Third gens are held on by the hub bearing, the 4th gens are held on by 3 10mm bolts. Regardless you do not need to remove them on the 4th gen.




Now that the shaft is out, lets pop the knuckle off.  I use a 15/16" socket for the upper and a big crescent for the lower. Loosen the upper a little then move to the lower. This will give you some room to smack the knuckle so it "unseats" from the ball joints.






Use one of your favorite hammers and give it a smack around the upper part of the knuckle.




Removed!!!




Remove the rest of the steering stabilizer. You can do this in an earlier step but I like to jump on the more time consuming stuff first then little things like this later.  15mm at the axle with an 18mm wrench then an 18mm socket at the tie rods will remove the steering stabilizer.




Use a 21mm to take out the other part of the track bar.




Now back to the axle.

Use a 15/16" socket and loosen the cam bolt nuts. I use a breaker bar for this step.




Use a 21mm deep for the top control arm bolt nut. You might need a 21mm wrench for the head of the bolt




The only thing I forgot to picture is before you remove the control arm bolts is jack up the axle and slide under your small jack stands. I put them right under the axle housing "C's". This is where the lower ball joint goes. This way, once you pop out the bolts, the axle will not move around on you. You can also use two floor jacks.

Another step that can be done sooner but I figure this would be a good time to drain the diff oil.  13mm socket works perfectly.






After the oil is drained you will need a hand to lift the housing off the jack stands. I use a furniture dolly but you can use a spare tire or another floor jack.

Viola.. Its out!




I'll continue the rest of this post as I get the axle back from being plated at Carli...

Cheers!

Chuck

1 comment:

  1. Wow! these are wonderful tips. Thanks for sharing them with us. Please visit http://goo.gl/7sBg8p

    ReplyDelete