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Old 01-25-2013, 02:34 PM
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Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

I tackled the front differential bushings this past week. I decided to drop the entire differential so I could more easily bang on the bushings. You can get the bushings out with hand tools.

What I did was use the ball joint tool to push the rubber center out. Then cut the bushing with a saw. I then curled the edges back on both sides with a hammer and punch. At this point you just start pounding from the back side rotating sides where you hit. The damn thing will start moving slkowly and then pop out. i was able to position the differential on my floor jack and steadied it with one hand and lifted it up and wedged it so it stayed. Then connected the front bushings, then passenger side, and finally drivers side. The drivers side would be a lot more difficult if I had not removed my mid pipes. I rented the ball joint tool from autozone and it worked pretty darn well pushing the new bushings in.

The worst part of the operation was I punched a hole in one of my half axle boots. With 100k miles I decided to just replace with cardone new units. This was where everything went wrong.

To remove the half axles you need to remove the lower clevis bolts and remove the clevis. This was the worst thing I have ever had to do. You need to have an impact, torch, pb blaster, and at least 2-3 hours per side. Heat and spray, pound with a hammer, heat and spray. At this point take the impact and start rocking the bolt back and forth. You will see the rubber bushing flexing as you impact the bolt. Stop again, heat and spray, hammer... Then impact again. You will have to do these steps over and over again, probably 6-7 times. Be careful not to heat melt the rubber bushing in the lower control arm... They say if you ruin it you will have to order an entire new unit for like 700 bucks. Finally the bolt will break its rusty hold and start spinning freely inside the bushing.

The job is not over by any means. You have to pound the crap out of the bolt. Give it four or five good whacks. Then take your ratchet and spin the bolt. This will be difficult because you are pulverizing the rust inside the bushing. When the bolt spins easier give it four or five good whacks again. Spin bolt again. I did these steps 30-40 times moving he bolt a few mm at a time. Once you get the bolt about half way through the bushing you can just put a punch inside and beat the crap out of it.

It you live in a cold climate with salty roads.. Your suspension bolts will be a lot like mine. If I were paying a stealership to do this work I'm sure the bill would be over 1500 dollars. Just invest in an impact from harbor freight for $50, a set of impact sockets for $25. You will have to order new lower clevis bolts because the old ones will be ruined.

Also, I was able to pound one of the hubs off the half axle, but the other one was completely frozen onto it. In the process of pounding on it I actually pulled the half axle through the control arm. So I had to order new omix Ada hubs just to finish things off right.

Advice... Don't rupture your cv boots doing the bushings on the front differential. If you need new half axles do it yourself and save big money... Because he dealership really won't be able to do the job much faster... It is a slow labor intensive process. There are great write ups on jeepforum for taking apart all this stuff... I just wanted to stress the difficult nature of those rusty lower clevis bolts.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:10 PM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyVtCa View Post
I tackled the front differential bushings this past week. I decided to drop the entire differential so I could more easily bang on the bushings. You can get the bushings out with hand tools.

What I did was use the ball joint tool to push the rubber center out. Then cut the bushing with a saw. I then curled the edges back on both sides with a hammer and punch. At this point you just start pounding from the back side rotating sides where you hit. The damn thing will start moving slkowly and then pop out. i was able to position the differential on my floor jack and steadied it with one hand and lifted it up and wedged it so it stayed. Then connected the front bushings, then passenger side, and finally drivers side. The drivers side would be a lot more difficult if I had not removed my mid pipes. I rented the ball joint tool from autozone and it worked pretty darn well pushing the new bushings in.

The worst part of the operation was I punched a hole in one of my half axle boots. With 100k miles I decided to just replace with cardone new units. This was where everything went wrong.

To remove the half axles you need to remove the lower clevis bolts and remove the clevis. This was the worst thing I have ever had to do. You need to have an impact, torch, pb blaster, and at least 2-3 hours per side. Heat and spray, pound with a hammer, heat and spray. At this point take the impact and start rocking the bolt back and forth. You will see the rubber bushing flexing as you impact the bolt. Stop again, heat and spray, hammer... Then impact again. You will have to do these steps over and over again, probably 6-7 times. Be careful not to heat melt the rubber bushing in the lower control arm... They say if you ruin it you will have to order an entire new unit for like 700 bucks. Finally the bolt will break its rusty hold and start spinning freely inside the bushing.

The job is not over by any means. You have to pound the crap out of the bolt. Give it four or five good whacks. Then take your ratchet and spin the bolt. This will be difficult because you are pulverizing the rust inside the bushing. When the bolt spins easier give it four or five good whacks again. Spin bolt again. I did these steps 30-40 times moving he bolt a few mm at a time. Once you get the bolt about half way through the bushing you can just put a punch inside and beat the crap out of it.

It you live in a cold climate with salty roads.. Your suspension bolts will be a lot like mine. If I were paying a stealership to do this work I'm sure the bill would be over 1500 dollars. Just invest in an impact from harbor freight for $50, a set of impact sockets for $25. You will have to order new lower clevis bolts because the old ones will be ruined.

Also, I was able to pound one of the hubs off the half axle, but the other one was completely frozen onto it. In the process of pounding on it I actually pulled the half axle through the control arm. So I had to order new omix Ada hubs just to finish things off right.

Advice... Don't rupture your cv boots doing the bushings on the front differential. If you need new half axles do it yourself and save big money... Because he dealership really won't be able to do the job much faster... It is a slow labor intensive process. There are great write ups on jeepforum for taking apart all this stuff... I just wanted to stress the difficult nature of those rusty lower clevis bolts.
Oh man, do I feel your pain!!!! I just went through trying to get my clevis bolts out to change the struts. Just like yours, I ended up with a torch, about a can of PB blaster, and about an hour of spraying, heating, two 3/4 breaker bars ( 1 with a 4 foot cheater bar on it), and MANY expletives later, we got the nut off! LOL!! Again, as you said with yours, I had a punch and a BIG hammer beating on one end and my buddy twisting the bolt of the other end, we finally got it out. That was the left side!! We could not budge the passenger side at all. We decided that if we could get the lower bolt out of the strut, we could force the lower control arm down enough to get the bottom of the strut out. Thats what we ended up doing, but again, like you, I ripped the outside CV boot..

What originally was going to be a strut change ended up being, struts, brakes, inner and outer CV boots on both sides, and a new wheel bearing that I just happened to find when I spun the hub.

You're absolutly right about the stealership. I kept thinking about that as we were beating on, and swearing at bolts!! This would have cost me two fortunes instead of about $600 in parts.

I'm glad to hear of someone else that had as much fun with that as I did!!
But, I do have to admit, its unbelieveable how much better my GC rides and drives!!
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  #3  
Old 01-28-2013, 03:53 PM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

I didn't have to take the lower clevis bolt out to change my struts. You just take the bolt out that pinches the strut into the upper clevis. The first time getting the shock to come out of the clevis is a bitch... heating and pb blasting is a must. i just took a sledge hammer and banged over and over again. The strut assembly will eventually come out of the clevis. I wish they had better designed these bolts and bushings... Or at least used higher quality metals or something. May just be a ploy by designers to get all of us to trade our jeeps in after six or seven years when working on these parts gets too labor intensive to have dealerships to work on them. Everything seems to take three or four times longer to work on with rusty older cars
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  #4  
Old 01-29-2013, 12:35 PM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyVtCa View Post
I tackled the front differential bushings this past week. I decided to drop the entire differential so I could more easily bang on the bushings. You can get the bushings out with hand tools.

What I did was use the ball joint tool to push the rubber center out. Then cut the bushing with a saw. I then curled the edges back on both sides with a hammer and punch. At this point you just start pounding from the back side rotating sides where you hit. The damn thing will start moving slkowly and then pop out. i was able to position the differential on my floor jack and steadied it with one hand and lifted it up and wedged it so it stayed. Then connected the front bushings, then passenger side, and finally drivers side. The drivers side would be a lot more difficult if I had not removed my mid pipes. I rented the ball joint tool from autozone and it worked pretty darn well pushing the new bushings in.

The worst part of the operation was I punched a hole in one of my half axle boots. With 100k miles I decided to just replace with cardone new units. This was where everything went wrong.

To remove the half axles you need to remove the lower clevis bolts and remove the clevis. This was the worst thing I have ever had to do. You need to have an impact, torch, pb blaster, and at least 2-3 hours per side. Heat and spray, pound with a hammer, heat and spray. At this point take the impact and start rocking the bolt back and forth. You will see the rubber bushing flexing as you impact the bolt. Stop again, heat and spray, hammer... Then impact again. You will have to do these steps over and over again, probably 6-7 times. Be careful not to heat melt the rubber bushing in the lower control arm... They say if you ruin it you will have to order an entire new unit for like 700 bucks. Finally the bolt will break its rusty hold and start spinning freely inside the bushing.

The job is not over by any means. You have to pound the crap out of the bolt. Give it four or five good whacks. Then take your ratchet and spin the bolt. This will be difficult because you are pulverizing the rust inside the bushing. When the bolt spins easier give it four or five good whacks again. Spin bolt again. I did these steps 30-40 times moving he bolt a few mm at a time. Once you get the bolt about half way through the bushing you can just put a punch inside and beat the crap out of it.

It you live in a cold climate with salty roads.. Your suspension bolts will be a lot like mine. If I were paying a stealership to do this work I'm sure the bill would be over 1500 dollars. Just invest in an impact from harbor freight for $50, a set of impact sockets for $25. You will have to order new lower clevis bolts because the old ones will be ruined.

Also, I was able to pound one of the hubs off the half axle, but the other one was completely frozen onto it. In the process of pounding on it I actually pulled the half axle through the control arm. So I had to order new omix Ada hubs just to finish things off right.

Advice... Don't rupture your cv boots doing the bushings on the front differential. If you need new half axles do it yourself and save big money... Because he dealership really won't be able to do the job much faster... It is a slow labor intensive process. There are great write ups on jeepforum for taking apart all this stuff... I just wanted to stress the difficult nature of those rusty lower clevis bolts.

Rock auto sells these bushings for around 20-30$. Beat and melt away. I just did all of my bolts both sides, cv boots and lower control arms. It took me nearly 2hrs a side but torches are your best friend.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:04 PM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

that is great information.... i was under the impression that those bushings only available as part of the entire assembly. How were you able to get the new lower control arm bushings in?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:18 AM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

heat and a press. i have a snap on press i use. works awesome!!
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:59 AM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

Did you have to remove the lower control arm or were you able to press it in while on the jeep?
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:48 PM
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Re: Front diff bushings/ clevis bolts/ half axles

I had to remove the control arm. The bolts were rusted (similar to your clevis bolt) and I torched them out. After that, I decided to just replace the LCA's for 130$ ea. Can't beat that.
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