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Spindle Nut Upgrade 
How to replace one of the week links in the Dana 35 TTB
by: Chris Grover

Steps to upgrade the Ford spindle nuts that should've been stock on the Dana 35's....

Step one, go to 4x4 store (or order on-line (Milemarker made mine)) and get a Jeep Dana 30 spindle nut tool. NOTE You may nor may NOT need this at the junk yard, I'll explain later.

Step two, locate a 4x4 CJ Jeep (Wagoneer's with 44's might work as well, I have heard they use the same outers. Scout and Scout II's use the same, but their who hub assembly is quite bizarre and you only get ONE spindle nuts for all your work. This is untested with the Ford version of the Dana 30 or Dana 44 or GM Dana 44 or Dodge Dana 44 and it probably won't work anyway.). NOTE Finding all the right parts in the junk yards might be hard. Heck, finding Jeeps in the junk yards is pretty hard to do. SO, you might have to go to a 4x4 store or the local Jeep dealer for the parts. You will need the two spindle nuts and washers for both sides. NOTE There are two different styles of washers. One is a thick and small. The other is quite a bit bigger, but is far thinner.

Step Three, get the following tools and head to said junk yard (NOTE, if you get the parts mentioned below at a Jeep Dealer or a 4x4 store, then obviously ignore these steps and go to "Now, for the rest of the fun of the upgrade..." step)

9/16" socket with appropriate wrench and a three inch extension

5/32" Allen wrench (will depends if it has Warn aftermarket lockouts. Which, if it does I doubt it they'd still be there).

REAL small Allen wrench (I'll explain later, again IF it is the Warn aftermarket hubs)

Split ring pliers

Two flat bladed screw drivers


Chisel (just a tad smaller than middle sized)

4 Way lug wrench


1/4" Allen wrench or socket (for removing a caliper on a disc brake Dana 30, utterly not required)

Step four, go to the CJ and LOOSEN the outer nuts with the hub LOCKED with the 9/16" socket/wrench/extension. NOTE Sometimes, locking the hub is NOT enough. You MIGHT have to get creative and use something to hold the axle in place. Go find a spare tire iron lying around in the junk yard and wedge it into outer axle u-joint and the ground/frame/motor/etc. Once the bolts are loosened, unlock the hub. NOTE It could be a 5 bolt or a 6 bolt hub or even be a Warn aftermarket hub (identified by 5/32" Allen screws holding a cover on). Jack the vehicle up and support it. Remove the tire and drum. If it has the rotor, you don't have to remove the rotor or the caliper. Unless you want to....your call. If you do, you'll have to remove the 1/4" Allen screw and pound out the little clip it is holding in place. After it is removed, get the caliper off of the spindle and put it out of the way. Now, I'll explain first the removal procedure of the stock hubs (5 and 6 bolt), then the Warn hubs. Afterwards, the rest of the directions are to be followed accordingly.

Sub-step four alpha, take the outer hub off. There will be a piece that has a spring and a toothed gear attached to it. It may or may not come off. Generally, this piece will off real easy or will come off when you get past the split ring and small lock ring. Using the split ring pliers, remove the split ring. There will be a small lock ring that you'll have to remove by pushing the inner part of the hub back toward the rotor and using one of the screw drivers to pop it out of it's groove. Once it is out, then wiggle the inner part of the hub off the axle. This might get tricky and require some use of the hammer and screw drivers. If it does NOT come off with mild aid of the hammer and screw driver, skip this side!!! Go to the other side and dismantle the other side. If this is the case, obviously you'll have to find another Jeep to get parts from...especially if the second sides seal won't come off. Trust me, you won't get it off by beating the shit out of it if you simply can't get it off by hand/light pounding and prying. It simply isn't worth the effort or frustrations. Go to sub-step four charlie.

Sub-step four bravo (steps for the Warn aftermarket hubs ONLY), use the 5/32" Allen wrench to take the outer cover off. You might have to use the really small (I used the smallest one I could find) Allen wrench to clean out the heads of the Allen screws. Once all the screws are out of it, take the outer part out of the hub. Take the split ring pliers and remove the split ring. Pull the housing off the inner part of the Warn aftermarket hub.

Sub-step four charlie, you'll see that there is a 2 3/32" hex nut inside the remaining hub. Look to see if the washer right behind it has been folded over the nut. If it has, simply take the hammer and chisel to semi-flatten out the washer that has been folded over the nut. Then, take the punch and hammer and lightly remove the nut. NOTE You can TRY to use the Jeep Spindle nut tool. BUT, do NOT be surprised if it doesn't work. 99.95% of the time, they are pounded off and on with a chisel/screw driver and hammer. Removing the thin big washer is kinda "fun". I've pounded on one end until the other end pops over the threads. I suggest you do that as well. There will be another spindle nut, take it off by using the hammer and chisel (or you can try the spindle nut tool). Once taken off the spindle, take the thick, little washer off the spindle. This will require some patience and both screw drivers. Then remove the jack, and repeat step four for the other side/other vehicle. Once done, you'll end up with the following

4, 2 3/32" hex spindle nuts

2, Thick, small flat washers

2, Thin, big flat washers

You can leave the rest of the parts you can either leave in the vehicle, bring it to the owners of the yard or buy the parts yourself. Buy these parts and head home.


Now, for the rest of the fun of the upgrade...

These are the tools needed to complete the upgrade on your Ranger/BII/Explorer


Lug wrench

Two flat bladed screw drivers

Ford spindle nut tool

Jeep Dana 30 Spindle nut tool

Torque wrench

Grinder (very important)

Decent sized pair of Channel locks




Loosen the lug nuts, jack up the vehicle and remove the tire. Pull the hub off, remove the little u-shaped clip, the internally splined washer, the outer spindle nut, the crush washer and inner spindle nut. Put these aside for paper weights to be used at a later date. Take the Ford hub, the Jeep spindle nuts (if you got them at the junk yard) and the thin large washer (no matter where you go them) over to the grinder. Grind down the spindle nut edges that have been made from taking them off by hammer and chisel (again, nullified if you bought them new). Take the bigger, thin washers and flatten the edges down down in the vice (unless new). Do NOT flatten the tab!!! This will RUIN all your work so far!!! Grind down the edges (all the way around) until it fits into the Ford hub. Make sure it is still bigger than the Jeep spindle nut! This is CRITICAL for this to work. If you grind down the thin big washer(s) too much, it will ruined them and will have to get more of them!!! Grind off ANY rough edges that may have been created using the grinder.

Last step, put the thick small washer on the spindle against the outer bearing. Put one of the Jeep spindle nuts on the spindle. Crank it down to 32 LBS of torque and back off to one foot lbs of torque. Put on the thin modified washer with the tab going UNDER the inner spindle nut in the grooved part of the spindle. Take the other spindle nut and crank it down to 140 LBS of torque. Take the channel locks, grab a hold of outer edge of the washer and the edge of the spindle nut (make sure you don't muff up the threads on the spindle). Then, bend one of the sides of the modified washer over one of the flat sides of nut. Make sure NOT to bend the edges over the little stud that goes under the inner spindle nut due to strength concerns. You will NOT be able to completely bend it over the spindle nut. BUT, you'll be able to pound the edge down against the spindle nut with the hammer and punch. Then, put the little inner splined washer back on, then the u-clip. the hub and the tire. On the other side, go to the "Last step" and you'll be done.