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Dana 35 Grinding on passenger wheel

The_Epsicle

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I drive a 1994 Ford Ranger Extended Cab, 4.0 OHV, auto tranny, auto 4x4, Dana35 front, Ranger 8.8/3.73 rear. The odometer reads about 202,000 but it has been running fast since 15,000 in 1996, I've owned this truck since November. I have recently replaced the Ball joints and repacked the wheel bearings.

I have a grinding noise that comes and goes, when it starts my truck pulls left, it doesn't occur in 4x4, it goes away after sometime driving in 2WD. I haven't used 4x4 for awhile but after sitting for some work for about a week I heard a clunk as it got moving and the grind came back. I parked it and tried turning the front driveshaft with my hand, I noticed the passenger side spindle was turning but not the drivers side, when I tried turning the spindle on the drivers side I couldn't until I jacked up that side and turned the wheel by hand. So the spindle on the drivers side is engaged to the wheel but the passenger side is not and that is what's causing the grind. This confuses me greatly:icon_confused:

I am about to go on a multi-state road trip to help my sister move, if I can't figure this out I am seriously considering removing the front axle-shaft to prevent further damage, so any help is appreciated.
 


4x4junkie

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Sounds like your passengerside locking hub isn't working properly, since it failed to engage while you were turning the driveshaft by hand (I assume you meant the axle shaft or u-joint when you said "spindle").

Normally the driveshaft will rotate about a half-turn before both hubs click into engagement (backing up for 10-20 feet while in 2WD disengages them).

The automatic hubs are not known for reliability, my suggestion would be to swap to manual hubs.
 

The_Epsicle

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Sounds like your passengerside locking hub isn't working properly, since it failed to engage while you were turning the driveshaft by hand (I assume you meant the axle shaft or u-joint when you said "spindle").
I did mean axle-shaft, sorry for the confusion.

Normally the driveshaft will rotate about a half-turn before both hubs click into engagement (backing up for 10-20 feet while in 2WD disengages them).
Weird, the clunk happened while I was reversing 10-20 feet.

The automatic hubs are not known for reliability, my suggestion would be to swap to manual hubs.
This may seem like a stupid question and it probably is, but can I switch the hubs and keep push button 4x4?
 

4x4junkie

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Yes, the push-button t-case will work the same as before, you just have to lock the hubs themselves in manually.
 

The_Epsicle

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I just read having greasy hubs will prevent them from engaging properly, I know I have a lot of grease in my hubs because thats what I saw when I pulled them off to replace the ball joints. Shouldn't cleaning them fix the problem?

EDIT: would driving without the axle shafts even be safe?

EDIT2: Just remembered how the axle shaft is set up and realized it's probably not a good idea if I like having 4 wheels...
 
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4x4junkie

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2WD / 4WD
4WD
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35x12.50R15
The hubs need a very thin coating of grease on all the internals. More than that though certainly can cause them to not engage correctly.

You can drive it without the axle shaft in place, though you'll need something to seal up the back of the spindle, as well as the differential so dirt, water, etc. doesn't get into them (and the oil come out).
 

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