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axle spares, 1 or 2?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bp71k5, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Since I only have a 12 bolt, I'm going to get a spare (or 2) axle to have when and if it breaks. Do the axles tend to break one at a time or both at once? I'm not real hard-core on it, and the first wheeling trip will be in moab. I've got it apart right now for disc brake conversion, should I put some better axles in it now while it's apart or just keep a good spare axle to swap in if it breaks out there. I figure i can live without spare front's since I can just unlock the front and drive out if one broke. Is that a dumb idea?
     
  2. chevy wrangler

    chevy wrangler 1/2 ton status

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    get a 14 bolt ff
     
  3. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    I'm not going to be switching any time soon so I'm asking from that point of view. I want to keep the 6 lug wheels and save the expense of the larger axle.
     
  4. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    That was helpful:rolleyes:

    Depends on what size tire you are running. A 35 or smaller radial I would just take one. However, I would look for a set of front shafts. You are more likley to break one of them than a 12B shaft. Driving with the broken front could cause problems depending on where it is broke. It will cause more problems unless you unlock both hubs and stay in 2WD.

    If you can't find new shafts for the front in time, at least put some new Spicer 5-760 u-joints in there. It will cost about $50 for the pair.
     
  5. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    If you have room carry 2. If you have reached the fatigue life on one axle and it snaps then the fatigue life of the other axle is probably close to being up too. It probably won't break at the same time but it might only be a little while longer till the other one goes.

    Therobzilla ran his stock 12 bolt shafts for 4 years. One weekend he snapped the first one. Two weekends later he snapped the other one. Leason learned is if two parts have been abused similarly and one breaks the other is probably not to far behind.

    Make sure you carry a long magnet. When a 12 bolt shaft breaks it grenades and leaves alot of metal debris in the tube that you need to get out.

    Harley
     
  6. jms

    jms 1/2 ton status Author

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    Any of the parts stores carry that u-joint, or is this an Internet deal? I kow Randy's Ring&Pinion has them, and also the full circle clips...
     
  7. Chaddy

    Chaddy 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    You can never have too many spares if you dont plan to upgrade. Like said before " if you have the room carry 2 " And maby spare yoke's and drivelines.
     
  8. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. It does make sense to carry two rears if I carry any at all. They both look like the originals from 35 years ago. I did just get new ujoints for the front too, although they are the difficult to replace spicer joints with internal rings. I couldn't figure out how to press them out since the caps are metal (I think) and have a lip on the outside (identical to original) I have one of those ball joint presses that's supposed to work on ujoints. Anyone know how to replace the ones with the internal clips?
     
  9. jms

    jms 1/2 ton status Author

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    Press the cap in a bit, pop the clip with a screwdriver, start pressing the joint out, and if it doesn't move, hit the ears of the shaft with a hammer while the press is on...lather, rinse, repeat
     
  10. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    how do you press the cap into the joint? it looks like there is overlap and can only be pulled out of the joint. Maybe it just looks this way?
     
  11. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    it might also be worth lookin into a 14b sf, since they can be had in 6lug and are pretty strong for a sf.

    i would care 2shafts just incase, because if you only have one, and both snap, your are SOL. you can never be over prepared.
     
  12. jms

    jms 1/2 ton status Author

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    You just apply a bit pressure to loosen the cap and any pressure that may be on the clip inside the ear - makes it easier to pop the clips out. Or you could take a bigger screwdriver...

    Once you've got the clips out, you need to press one cap inwards in order to get the opposite side towards the outside of the ear. Once that cap sticks out by a bit more than 1/4", you can grab it with locking pliers and twist/pull it out of the ear. At that point, turn the press around, and push on the u-joint cross in order to push the opposite cap out of the ear.

    That big C-clamp has made changing u-joints rather easy for me, and it's even easier if you have a vise to hold the C-clamp firm while changing the joint. Of course, the hardcore dudes around here will tell ya that real men do all this with a hammer and two sockets, in the dark under two feet of mud and water...

    And about things going sour in pairs: once my passenger front u-joint decided to kick it, the driver's side followed suit two trail runs later...
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2006
  13. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Great point about the magnet Harley.

    As far as changing the u-joints dig the clips out, press one cap out, then back the other way. If the ears of your axles are in good shape and the joints have been in there a long time they will be a bitch to get out. The first set I did let go with a "Bang". Just look at your new joint and it should be clear what to do with the clips. The originals are 3/4 and just get knocked out with a screwdriver & hammer. Like was mentioned above, tapping the ears while in the press will help things to move.

    I have two local stores that carry the Spicer line, one is an auto parts store the other is a truck spring shop. Most of the local places carry Neapco parts. They are good too but not as good IMO. That said, I have a Spicer in one side and a Neapco "Brute Force" in the other.
     
  14. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Brian,

    Here is my advice and experience on 12 bolt shafts and wheeling.

    First off, I still wheel on 12 bolts, for the first many years i wheeled on 12 bolt stock shafts. They worked just fine for a very long time. I wheeled 35" MTR's and ran some pretty hard trails. Not for the next statement, I have broken my share of 12 bolt shafts. Yes as Harley has said and has witnessed, when they do break they blow up into many parts in the carrier and axle housing. Do bring a long magnet like Harley said, and make sure you have at least a 12 bolt housing replacement seal and replacement bearing. When the axle goes, if you have to drive on it for any length of time, it will take out the seal and the bearing. They are cheap insurance and easy to replace on the trail.

    Next, I replaced my stock shafts with Superior Cromo shafts for the 12 bolt on both sides. They are much stronger than the stock shafts, and are not that expensive. I think around 100 a side. Good insurance. I have broken 12 bolt Cromo shafts also, it's not fun.

    Now let me add some background information here to help you understand what and how I wheel.
    • I don't take the easy lines, I take the hardest lines I think I can run.
    • I wheel, as most on the board would classify 1/2 ton junk. I love it.
    • I have run 35" MTR almost from the begining of my wheeling, I now run 37" MTR's on my Cromo front and rear 1/2 ton axles.
    • I have a doubler, and run 4:11 gears in my axles.
    • I have a custom 500 RPM converter for my TH350
    • I run a TPI top end on my blazer, lot's of toruque.
    • I converted to disc brakes in the rear of my 12 bolt
    • I have broken 2, yes 2 12 bolt housing, by twising the axle tubes from the diff, with 12 bolt cromo shafts. One of these time, I twisted the splines of the 12 bolt shaft but did not break the shaft.
    • I wheel during the season for us 2 to 3 times a month on the weekends.
    • I have never broken a ujoint in the driveshafts.
    • I have broken more front side short axles in my D44 than GM made
    • I now run Front cromo d44 axles on both sides with CTM u joints, and so far have not broken any front axles.
    • I rarley wheel in muddy situiations, and rarley use any type of wheel speed, everything for us is a slow and steady crawl.
    I hope this puts things into prespective. Good luck and will see you in Moab at BB06.

    Rob
     
  15. bp71k5

    bp71k5 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Thanks Rob, that's good info. It sounds like you are probably harder on the truck than I plan to be. Not that i don't like hard core wheeling, it's just I'm afraid of denting the fenders too much. Almost all of them are still original.

    I just ordered an auburn locker for the rear along with some Yukon shafts. I'll put all the new stuff in and seal it up. I figure that will reduce my chances (as best as possible with a 12b) of having to repair anything on the trails and gives me some spares to crawl back home if I do. Good advice about the seals though. The axles are coming with some inner bearings. Are the outer bearings what I should have spares of?

    I also backordered the Eaton Elocker for the D44. I'm not sure if I'll have it in time, but if so, I'll probably upgrade to new shafts on the front too just to keep everything the same quality.

    FYI: I called 4wheel parts warehouse for the lockers and the guy didn't sound like they even knew what I was talking about. Randys ring and pinion was a breeze to get this stuff from (he knew what he could and couldn't get) and it was a lot cheaper than 4wpw.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  16. therobzilla

    therobzilla 1/2 ton status

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    Brian,

    The only seals/bearing on a 12 bolt are in the outer axle tubes. There are bearing on the carrier, but nothing on the "inner". On the outer of the axle tubes there is a bearing and a seal.

    Going cromo and a locker on a 12 bolt will take you down many of a fun trail without issues.

    Front's are a diffrent story.

    See you in Moab
     

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