Replacing the Jeep Wrangler JK rear axle shafts with the Superior Evolution Rear Axle Kit is a relatively simple task. The kit comes complete with both axle shafts, bearings seals, collars, and wheel studs. There are different kits for the Rubicon Dana 44 (32 spline)
and non Rubicon Dana 44 (30 spline)
If you are not going to re-use the factory retaining plates and ABS tone rings, then you will to purchase these seperately. It makes sense to do this, as you will then be able to leave the factory shafts intact and ready to be used as spares. You will also need to replace the four torque bolts on each retaining plate, as they should not be re-used.
- Retaining Plate - Mopar 68008523AA (2 required)
- Retaining Plate Nut - Mopar 68003275AA (8 required)
- ABS Tone Ring - Currie CE-11320 (2 required)
Superior Axle shaft compared to factory shaft. They look very similar, the difference is in what they are made of and the cold-formed rolled spline process that produces axle splines that are up to 35% stronger than traditional cut splines. The way the bearings are fitted also differs slightly.
First thing you will need to do is press on the ABS tone rings. These need to clear the shaft collar by approx 1/8"-1/4", do not go further than 3/8" or they will no longer line up with the ABS sensors. The opening of the tone ring should be facing outwards towards the hub end of the shaft.
Apply grease to the axle seal and place the retainer plate axle seal on to the shaft, followed by the bearing and collar. The inner bearing surface is chamfered on one side, which indicates the way it goes on the shaft, chamfered side towards outboard end of shaft. Then press the bearing and collar on to the shaft, until the bearing seats on the lip on the shaft. Every time you have built up pressure with the press, it is a good idea to release the pressure and rotate the shaft in the press 90°, this insures that bearing and collar are being pressed on evenly.
Installing the shafts is simple, exlcuding the lug nuts there are just seven bolts/nuts that need to be undone for each shaft. First, remove the caliper and rotor, then undo the four retaining plate nuts.
Remove the bolt on the ABS sensor and pull the sensor back so it is out of the way, there is no need to remove it.
The bearings are lubricated by the differntial fluid, so it is a good idea to tilt the axle up slightly so as not to spill diff fluid when you remove the shaft.
The shaft should just pull out, very slight force with a pry bar will help it un-seat if it is stuck.
Looking inside the housing you can see the diff fluid (showing the reflection of the bearing).
Bolt in the Superior lug nuts, some blue Loctite will ensure they do not move. Grease the bearing with suitable wheel bearing grease, in this case Mobil 1 Synthetic Grease, wipe any excess grease off the bearing mounting surface.