|A Grand Cherokee gets locked-up||Short Cuts|
By: Randy Halvorsen - 4/2000
Installing a PowerTrax Lock-Right in a Dana 35 C-Clip Axle
Previous to the installation of my Lock-Right, I had not worked at all on any rear axle. I had changed the axle lube, but that is it. Understandably, I was somewhat apprehensive about undertaking what appeared to be a difficult project. Now that it is complete, I realize that I had nothing to be concerned about, and I would recommend it to anyone who has any mechanical skill whatsoever.
This Automatic Positive Locking Differential, as PowerTrax calls it, is designed to work with standard open differential cases only. So, if you have a limited slip differential presently installed, you will need to obtain a standard open-differential case, thrust washers and pinion shaft before installing this locker.
The manufacturer states that C-Clip axles are the easiest axles to install this locker in. PowerTrax estimates the typical C-Clip install to take about 1 hour. Maybe for a professional, but it took me about 2 hours to perform the install.
Be sure that you have a 1/4", 12-point, combination wrench. It wasn't until I had the oil drained and differential cover off, that I realized I did not have one. 6-point wrenches and sockets will not work. You must have a 1/4" 12-point combination wrench to remove the pinion shaft retaining screw.
The unit comes with comprehensive instructions and pictures. Also included was a toll-free number for PowerTrax.
|Draining the oil.|
After blocking the front tires securely, jack up the rear of you vehicle and place jack stand under the appropriate places. The right rear tire will also need to be removed. Place a drain pan underneath the differential and use a 13 mm socket to remove the differential cover bolts. I used a small screw driver to pry the cover off of the differential. Setting the cover aside, spend a few minutes looking at the different gears and such, inside the housing and try to identify the various components. The carrier is in the center, next to the large ring gear. As you rotate the axle, you will notice that the carrier has a pinion shaft extending from one side to the other. In one end of this small shaft, there is a retaining pin. This is the little bolt that will require a 1/4" 12-point combination wrench. Remove the retaining pin, and the pinion shaft will slide out easily. As the shaft comes out the spider gears will fall out also. You will not be re-using these, so set them aside.
|Dana35 C-Clip differential|
"Bump" the right side axle in, towards the center of the vehicle, and then look at the end of the axle in the carrier. You will see the infamous C-Clip. It will slide right off. Then do the same for the left side. The side gears and thrust washers can now be removed. Set them aside, remembering which one is which, for re-assembly.
The installation manual from PowerTrax goes into some depth as to how to inspect for worn parts. My differential had 106,000 miles on it, and the gears and thrust washers appeared to be in good condition and did not have any scoring or burrs.
|PowerTrax Lock-Right installed.|
Follow the provided instructions for the re-assembly. It sounded complicated when I read them, but when you have the parts in front of you, it is obvious which ones need to go where. The C-Clips and springs slipped into place on the first try. It really is simple. The installation manual includes some simple tests to verify that the locker is functioning as designed. And then you are set!
After cleaning the mating surfaces of the cover and differential housing, apply some RTV to one surface and allow it to 'skin' as directed. Then fasten the cover back on, and fill with your favorite flavor of differential fluid.
|Driving up my 'ramp' in 2-wheel drive. It really does lock!|
The day I installed the locker, it was raining. I drove around the block, gently touching the throttle as I went around each corner. There was definitely a different feeling, it kind of 'pushes' you around a corner. The Axle will lock-up when you step on the gas, and this will be evidenced when you accelerate out of a turn, by chirping of the tires. I have heard very few noises coming from the rear-end, just an occasional 'clunk', which is considered normal. I would recommend this improvement to anyone who is looking to increase the off-road performance of their vehicle.