Wheel Bearings & Warn Lock Nuts

By Chris T. Grover

Overview:

When running large tires on the Dana 35 a severe jolt to the wheel can cause the outer spindle locknut to come loose, causing excessive play in the wheel bearing (loss of preload). 

In the stock configuration, the inner spindle nut has a pin which engages a keyed washer. The keyed washer keeps the inner nut from turning but there is nothing to keep the outer nut from breaking loose except the torque that is applied to it. 

Warn now has a solution to this problem. Warn’s Conversion Kit (See below for Spindle Nut Kit Part Numbers) replaces the stock keyed washer with a new washer which incorporates slots instead of holes for locking purposes. The new outer locknut has been drilled for three small allen screws. These screws when tightened will engage one or more of the slots in the washer. Combined with the stock pinned inner locknut this makes for a nearly bullet proof set up.

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Warn kit 37207 for Dana 35 Axles

A very, simple kit that will resolve the spindle nut loosening problems that plague Ranger’s/BII’s and Explorer’s with the Dana 35 front axle. As long as you have a FEW minor tools, you can do it yourself.  Here is a list of tools and the procedure to do it:

  • One jack (and possibly a jack stand for safety, but not required)

  • One lug wrench

  • A spindle nut tool

  • A 1/2″ wrench (breaker bar)

  • A set of allen head wrenches (I THINK Metric.  Get them and a set of Standard…you’ll always need them)

  • Two flat bladed screw drivers

  • A hammer

Okay.  Here is all you do (unless you are changing your bearing. If you are, consult the Chilton Manual.  Remember the races will come out with some pounding (3 lbs hammer and a wider flat bladed screwdriver) and will go back in by using the old race.  Just be careful NOT to screw up the inner portion of the race or you’ll have to get new ones):

Loosen the lug nuts on one side.  Jack the truck up and remove the tire.  Remove the hub.  There will be a little half moon clip that you will have to take off.  If you can not see this, pull the end of the axle shaft out until you can.  To do this, use the two screw drivers on the ends and push up.  You MAY have to pound them a little. There is a little washer (with inner grooves) that will have to come out.  You can do this by hand.

Then take the spindle nut tool, 1/2″ wrench and remove the outer spindle nut.  You MAY have to use the cheater bar to do this.  Due to the nature of the nut (four small, square groves), I highly recommend having someone help you so you don’t screw up the tool or hurt yourself. Once the outer is off (watch the inner one to see if it comes loose. If it does, turn it a half turn tighter than what it loosened up. IE.  A half a turn would require a full turn), take the washer (that’s between the inner and outer spindle nuts) out.  This can be done by hand.  Put in the new washer and outer spindle nut. Put the nut on to where you can get to the Allen heads to tighten them down.  Make sure the Allen heads areFLUSH with the outside of the new spindle nut or you MAY trash a screw.  Using the spindle nut tool, tighten it the outer spindle nut key down.  Then torque it down accordingly (Ford says 140 lbs (I think), but I get it to where the whole assembly is a little hard to turn.  But! , not impossible).  Take your Allen wrench and tighten the Allen screws down.  One SHOULD go all the way to the inner spindle nut. Put the little washer back on (the one with inner groves).  Push the little half moon clip on snuggly (don’t hurt yourself trying to get it tight).  Take a screw driver, place it in the middle of the clip (I used a stud for stability) and tap it into place with the hammer.  Put the hub back on.  It will only go all the way on the correct way.  If it doesn’t go all the way on, remove it and try to put it on differently.  If you aren’t sure, keep trying it until you get the best fit (you have 5 tries).

Put the tire back on.  Put the lug nuts on (up to a point) and put the truck down off the jack (or jack stand).  Tighten up the lugs accordingly and repeat this process for the other side.

If you decide to get the Warn 37207 kit, get it from Clemson 4×4 in South Carolina (1-800-257-4294).  Get them from a guy named Jimmy and tell him that it is okay to let it go out with their normal Friday Warn order.  It will save you some money if you do it this way.

For the Dana 28, I haven’t heard any word from Warn about a kit like this.  However, seeing what this kit is and having installed it.  I recommend doing this:

Getting an extra set of outer spindle nuts and washers.  Get some smaller Allen headed screw, a small drill bit and a small tap set.  I would HIGHLY recommend using a drill press as well.

Using the picture on the Explorer page as a template, I would drill out three small holes through the outer spindle nuts.  Then, tap then to the same threads of the small Allen heads screws.  Drill out ALL the washer holes to allow the Allen head screws to fit through.  Then, replace your existing washer and outer spindle nut.  It should work like this kit does.

Chris

2008 Update:

This story was written back around 2000-2001. The Warn P/N 37207 can no longer be found. The only conversion spindle nut kits Warn carries for the Ranger/Explorer Dana 35 is P/N 32720.

As you can see, they’re not the same design as the old black & white photo shown for P/N 37207.

Warn Part Numbers
’83-89 BRONCO II, RANGER

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 23, Footnote:E, D PN 29070
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 39128
Spindle Nut Kit PN 27988
’90-94 EXPLORER

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 27, Footnote:E, D PN 29071
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 39128
Spindle Nut Kit PN 27997

’90-97 RANGER

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 27, Footnote:E, D PN 29071
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 39128
Spindle Nut Kit PN 27997
’66-96 BRONCO

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 19, Footnote:B,G, H PN 9790
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11967
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 19, Footnote:B,G, H PN 20990
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 20825
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
’59-96 1/2 TON PICKUP

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 19, Footnote:B,G, H PN 9790
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11967
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 19, Footnote:B,G, H PN 20990
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 20825
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
’59-75 3/4 TON PICKUP

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 19, PN 9790
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11967
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 19, PN 20990
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 20825
’77½-97 3/4 TON PICKUP, LIGHT DUTY

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 19, Footnote:H PN 9790
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11967
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 19, Footnote:H PN 20990
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 20825
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32720
’63-77 1/2 TON PICKUP, HEAVY DUTY

Premium Manual Hub, Spline count 19, Footnote:G PN 9072
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 7302
’76-77½ 3/4 TON PICKUP, CREW CAB ONLY

Premium Manual Hub, Spline count 19, PN 29063
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 7302

’78-97 3/4 TON PICKUP, HEAVY DUTY

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 30, Footnote:H PN 11690
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32721
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 30, Footnote:H PN 38826
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32721
’78-97 1 TON PICKUP

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 30, Footnote:H PN 11690
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32721
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 30, Footnote:H PN 38826
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
Spindle Nut Kit PN 32721
’99+ SUPER DUTY

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 30, PN 11690
Standard Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
Premium Manual Hub Spline count 30, PN 38826
Premium Manual Hub Service Kit PN 11714
’99-01 COURIER, RANGER INT’L ONLY

Standard Manual Hub, Spline count 26, PN 61572
 

Cautionary Footnotes:

Will not fit ’87-early ’88 model vehicles, flange mount. (Dealer item only. See Ford parts & service).

Very early ’90 vehicles with 23 tooth axle spline require 1989 model hubs.

When replacing factory automatic hubs with manual hubs, you must also purchase Spindle Nut Conversion Kit #27988 for ’83–89 vehicles; Conversion Kit #27997 for ’90–97.

Vehicles with full-time 4WD will require a transfer case conversion kit.

H When replacing automatic 3 hole cap screw hubs with manual hubs, you must purchase corresponding spindle nut conversion kit per application chart.