CTM's and Chrome Nickel Alloy Axles
I finally bit the bullet. Last weekend, out at Rodriguez Canyon, I wore out another axle shaft. I've been going through axle shafts faster than I change the oil. The 38.5"x14.5" tires are just too much for the Dana 44 equipment. I did a little searching and found out what I should have. Warn has Chrome Nickel Alloy axle shafts that are lifetime guaranteed. As long as the axle blows before the u-joint, it's covered. CTM has a lifetime guarantee on their stuff too. Seems I can't go wrong. It's a large investment, but it would have paid for itself if I had done it last year. That's because I've gone through a couple sets of axle shafts on each side. These should be the last ones I have to get... Famous last words. :)
03-24-03 - Ordered shafts and CTM's
I ordered the shafts and CTM's from JSA down in El Cajon. The short side was a no brainer because I need a 15.75" axle and Warn makes a 15.8". Close enough. The long side is a little more complicated. I need a 31.5" and the closest they make is a 32.12". Jeff at JSA told me to bring my axles down there to compare the splines. The only concern at this point was if the splines are cut deep enough on the Warn axle. I told him I'd be down their tomorrow since he had all the axles and CTM's in stock.
03-25-03 - Picked up axle shafts and CTM's
I showed up at JSA at about 10:30am. Jeff and I compared the old long side axle to the new one and the splines looked perfect. I was confused at how the .62" longer axle was going to fit in the housing. That's when Jeff woke me up and said I had to cut the new one. Duh! I was having the hardest time figuring out how the longer axle wouldn't hit the cross shaft in the carrier. :) Anyway, I got home and went to work.
I marked the new long side axle, plopped it in the chop saw and hacked it off. Then I put it to the sander and tapered the end. Geez, I'm a regular machinist now ;) Next I went to work installing the CTM's. These work a little different than normal u-joints, so I read the instructions. It wasn't all that difficult, but you need a few extra tools. Including 90* snap ring pliers. The caps are held in place by full circle c-clips which is very reassuring. After both joints were installed in the axles, I put the Jeep back together. It's important to check to make sure the joints don't bind at full turn on the steering wheel. Mine has plenty of clearance.
Here's a few more pictures I took along the way: