<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT"%> ROCKCRAWLER.com - Powertrax No Slip for Dana 30
Powertrax No Slip for Dana 30

By Chris Shontz
Trail Photos By Greg Hiens

Adding the Front Locker

PowertraxIf you have any other questions about the locker, feel free to send me a personal email. Also don't hesitate to contact Powertrax or your local Powertrax dealer for application information. The Powertrax No-Slip has been manufactured to fit many rear ends, including some limited slip applications.

Shortly after I installed the rear locker and took it out on the trail a few times, I became addicted to traction. With each outting I found myself attempting more and more gravity-defying feats in my moderately-equipped TJ. There was no stopping me, and I have the dents and dings to show for it.

Every now and then, I'd encounter a steep rock ledge, or some kind of terrain that my locked rear axle was unable to push my open front axle up on to. I'm sure all of you know what it feels like to be stopped by terrain that you just know in your gut that you could have made it if you had adjusted your line a little... or if you had a front locker.

You'll want to get your tie rod out of the way. Unbolt it from the spindle, give it a good smack on the knuckle with a hammer, and the tie rod end should drop right out.

Front End Concerns:
Never having been equipped with a front locker before, I had a couple of concerns which were as follows:

  1. Will my Jeep still be tolerable as a daily driver with the addition of the Powertrax No-Slip front locker?
  2. Not being much of a mechanic, will I be able to install it myself as easily as the rear locker?

My questions were answered soon enough, because my locker was on the way, whether I was ready to tackle it or not. First, I combed the web for answers to these two questions. They were answered, but not to my satisfaction. After some searching, did manage to piece together enough information about the install.

From the information I pieced together, I found out that most people had tried to install front spider gear replacement lockers on late-model Jeep Wranglers, and they had encountered a problem where the cross shaft interfered with the ring gear. This means the ring gear needed to be removed to complete the installation successfully, which also meant that the whole carrier must be removed from the housing.

Remove the Diff. Cover and Inspect
The first thing that needed to be done after the tie rod was hanging out of the way, was to move the differential cover and examine my setup. That would tell me exactly what I was in for in an instant.

I did just that, and after admiring the apparent dirtiness of my gear oil, I turned the carrier and noticed that, indeed, the removal of the cross shaft would be obstructed by my ring gear.

Again, this is a 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ with a stock 3.73 gear ratio. The ring gear is too thick and impedes progress.

Now that I removed the differential cover, I knew what had to be done, so it was time to slide the axle shafts out. This is necessary in order to remove the entire carrier, and to install the locker. Once the locker is installed, and the carrier re-installed, the axle shafts can be slid back in.

You can see the problem as clear as day in this picture. For those who don't know what youre looking at, this is the ring gear on the carrier behind the differential cover. The circle in the center is the cross shaft which needs to come out to install the locker. As you can see, the teeth on the ring gear block it from sliding out.
Brake calipers are hanging out of the way and we're one step away from sliding the axles out.

The first step to sliding the axles out would be to disconnect the brake calipers. You don't need to disconnect any brake lines, just unbolt the calipers from the rotors. Just a quick warning - be very careful to not cross-thread the caliper bolts when putting them back in later (what a pain in the butt that was)!

Hang the calipers out of the way using a wire or bungee cords. Once that is done, the rotors should be able to slide off easily. Put them down on the floor.

Also, don't let anyone accidentally press your brake pedal while the calipers are off the rotors. If they're left alone, they should slide back on over the rotors easily when you are done.

Two of the three bolts needed to disconnect the axle shaft assembly from the spindle can be seen above.
In the picture above, the rotor and shield are still attached - this is not necessary.

Remove the Axles
On the back of the spindle, there are three bolts around the axle u-joint. You can see two of them in the picture above and to the left. The third is obscured on the other side of the axle shaft. These three bolts attached the sealed wheel bearing assembly to the spindle. The axle is secured to the wheel bearing assembly, so when the bolts are removed, you can slide the whole assembly out in one piece.

The axles are removed from each side. It is possible that your axle tubes are very dirty on the inside. I recommend cleaning them out thoroughly before re-installing.
Inside the rear, on the left and the right side, you can see the bearing caps. These must come off, but you must remember their exact position to ensure proper wear.

Pull the Carrier
Once the axles are out of the way, you're ready to pull the carrier out of the housing and set it on the bench. This is the only really critical step that I was instructed to pay close attention to. On the inside of the differential, on the left and right side, there are two arcs that are bolted down. These are bearing caps. You need to remember how they are positioned when you remove them so you can re-assemble them the same way.

By re-installing them in the same position they were un-installed, you ensure that you are not changing any tolerances that would affect how the bearing wears underneath. Mark them and put them in a safe place while you work.

When the bearing caps are removed, the carrier will most-likely roll right out. If it resists, you may have to pry it out with a pry bar, in which case, be careful not to damage anything. The carrier is the assembly on which the ring gear is mounted and the spider gears are contained within. On each end there will be a race that seats a bearing. Pull off each race. Again, keep track of their position so they get put back in the same position.

Tearing Down the Carrier
At this point, we're done working under the Jeep and we can continue our work on the bench. The carrier in which we install the Powertrax No-Slip is now seperate from the vehicle. Next, we unbolted the ring gear by securing the carrier in a bench vice and turning each bolt out one by one. You'll need your Popeye arm for this. Once each bolt was out, we marked where the ring gear was seated on the carrier so we could put it back the same way.

The ring gear wasn't bolted down, however, it is still tightly seated on the carrier. It took some prying to remove it. Once we had it off, we cleaned it and set it aside.

Now it was time to remove the spider gears. This was the last thing we had to dis-assemble before we could begin re-assembly with the Powertrax No-Slip.

Pictured here is the carrier with the ring gear still on it. Also, a hammer, a punch, and the roll pin that holds the cross shaft in can be seen here. The roll pin is out and between the punch and the hammer.
An empty Dana 30 carrier awaiting the installation of a Powertrax No-Slip Traction System.

The roll pin caught us off-guard. I had been used to working on my Dana 35, which uses a retaining bolt to hold the cross shaft in, not a roll pin. Not having worked with it before, I didn't know exactly how it liked to come out, nor did I know how much force to exert on it.

I tracked down the proper tools, pictured above, and tapped it out with only very mild force. Once the roll pin or retaining bolt is out, the spider gears practically tumble right out.

Take the old cross shaft, spider gears, side gears, and all related thrust washers and put them in a box and take them with you to your next swap meet. Who knows, someone might need them on the trail. You won't need to re-install them.

Page 3 (Install and Test the Powertrax) --->>>