CJ Dana 30 Axle

For those of you out there with a CJ7 or CJ5, chances are you have a Dana 30 up front and you're going to have to work on the outer ends. Even to take the rotor off, you need to take the nuts off of the spindle. Here, I breakdown the steps and show some photos of things you'll see when you take yours apart for whatever reason - be it axle ujoint service, doing bearings and seals, etc. The tools you'll need are:

1. Ratchet and 9/16" socket
2. Spindle Nut socket for the D30
3. Torque Wrench
4. Grease
5. Snap Ring Pliers
6. Drift (Brass)
7. 7mm Hex Key
8. Chisel
9. Hammer (BFH)
10. Rags

The first thing to do is to jack up the wheel and remove the tire. Safety is key here, of course. After it's up, make sure to use a jackstand and a chock on the rear opposite wheel. Once that's done, the first thing to do is to remove the caliper with the 7mm hex key. On the back, there will be two bolts, back them out enough, and set the caliper up on top of the knuckle or where ever, as long as it's not hanging from the hose.

Once that's out of the way, you can take off the 5 or 6 bolts that hold the lockout onto the hub. The lockout is the little part you turn to engage or disengage your 4WD up front. The hub is the part that it bolts onto. Once the bolts are out, you'll have to remove the snap ring to get the spindle nuts off.

Once that's off, all you have to do is take the spindle nut off, then the washer, then the inner spindle nut off. Once that's off, don't worry about the inner washer just yet. If you grab onto the rotor (make sure your hands aren't greasy)and pull, it should come off the spindle. Be careful - behind that washer is a bearing that will come falling off as well, and if you intend to re-use it, make sure it doesn't get dirty. Never used compressed air to clean out a bearing. From what I understand, it'll make the bearings spin, and with no lubrication they die.

If you're going to need to separate the hub from the rotor, all you need to do to get the studs out is to put a lug nut on a little bit and pound it out with a hammer. It's basically pressed into the hub, and you don't want to mess up the threads by hitting it without the nut on there. If you haven't replaced bearings, races, and seals in awhile, now would be a good time. This article doesn't really talk about it but, all you need to do to get the races out is to pound on them with a small punch from the back side. There's one for each bearing, the inner and the outer. The inner bearing is retained by the seal. Once you have the seal and the bearing out, you can get the race out. To put new races in, set it in there and use the old race against it and hit it with a large drift to get it seated. Be sure not to get it cocked in there. Make sure you have your bearings straight as to which is the inner and which is the outer and their respective races. If you haven't bought them yet, or if you need the numbers they're as follows:

Outer Bearing 1349
Outer Race 1310
Inner Bearing 2949
Inner Race 2910

I don't have the seal number, but there's only one. I usually buy more than one seal per side because I usually mess it up trying to get it in there. The parts should all be the same for the 5 or 6 bolt hubs. If you're putting new bearings in and you need to pack them, what you do is put a large lump of grease in your one hand and mush the bearing down into it until there's grease everywhere in the bearing. Also, if you replace bearings, be sure to do the races and vice versa. They become a matched set and using an old part will destroy the new one.

Back to the axle. You're faced with the 6 spindle nuts holding the spindle on. They may take some WD40 or PBlaster to get off, depending on the rust involved. I didn't have any issues with mine, and it was apparent they'd never been taken off before (mine's an '83). With them off comes the scary part. Take a whole handful of rags or something and drape them over the end of the spindle and the splines (your axle shaft).

What you're going to do is smack it with a hammer way out towards the end to try and get it away from the knuckle. You should probably have safety glasses on for this. Hit it in a few directions, side to side, etc to try and work it free. Be careful not to damage the bearing surfaces, threads, etc with the hammer. Once you've got it opened up enough to get a chisel in there, go around between the studs with the chisel to get the spindle off. This may or may not come off easily, but be slow and persistent and it will come off. Once that's off, you can pull the axle shafts out and have the ujoints serviced, or whatever. You'll notice that I no longer have my splash shields. I discarded them long ago, as I recommend you do if you plan on taking the thing off road. Mud can get packed in there, and that's never good.

I'll finish this part at a later time. Only kidding! Now, reassembly is basically the re-installation of all those parts you're sitting on. If you took your hub apart from your rotor, set the hub outer side down and put the rotor on top of it. Put your studs in there, and try and make sure that the splines on the studs go in to the existing splines. There are a few ways to get the studs back in, but the easiest is probably to get a long big drift and pound them in from the back. Make sure they're in there very tightly! If they're not, you could easily knock them out when you're trying to put the tire back on and you'll be really pissed. The stud gets trapped in there and you have to take it all apart again to get it out unless you're really good with a magnet, patient, etc.

Some key points I should mention are to use torque specs. I believe the torque rating on the nuts and outer lockout bolts is 30 ft-lbs. For the spindle nuts, there's a special technique used to pre-load the bearings. The thing to do is to make sure the order of your parts looks right.

Once you put the rotor and hub on the spindle, put the outer bearing in so it all stays put. Put the washer with the tab that's bent on next. Then comes the inner spindle nut. Torque this baby down to 50 ft-lbs. Then back it off 1/4 turn and put the next washer on. Put the outer spindle nut on and torque it to 50 ft-lbs. and you're all set. Put the inner workings of the hub on, and the only thing left is to put the snap ring on, but OH NO! The groove for the snap ring us covered. Well, what I usually do is take one of those 3/8" national coarse bolts that bolt the lockouts down and stick it into the end of the axle shaft. It's probably a hole for a 7/16" bolt, but if you hold the 3/8" bolt at an angle, you can pull on it, and the axle shaft will come out the hair you need it to. Once that's done, bolt the outer lockout on and you're done.

Often, the D30 has some pitfalls, and while you can swap out for D44 outers, etc, some simple and cheap upgrades can be made to the axle. For instance, I swapped in the parts on the right in this picture:

These are the parts needed to get the magic 6-bolt hubs that came on CJs earlier than mine ('83). These are supposedly more durable, but are still not without fault. I upgraded to the Superwinch lockouts, which are metal, but the bolts that hold down the lockout can still seem to back themselves out. I've used locknuts and even Locktite, and other people have used studs. You can buy the stud kit from Warn, but McMaster-Carr probably has them for pennies on the dollar vs Warn.