Two thirds of a rolling chassis

Over the last few weeks, I was able to get the front axle all back together. Unfortunately for the blog, it took an awful lot of time for almost nothing to appear to have changed. With the extended Thanksgiving weekend, I had two days that I could spend working on the Jeep. On Friday, I finished the front axle and hub assembly, from new-to-me lockout hubs, to brand new brake lines and brake hardware, and a nice coat of black paint on the whole thing. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Now, there was one bummer to the whole thing that I discovered far too late. When I first started taking apart the front axle, I noticed that the pinion seal had a bit of a leak. By a bit of a leak, I mean it was leaking like there was a giant hole in there. The plan was that after I finished taking the axle apart and the thing was drained, cleaned, and painted, I’d take it down to the driveline place to get the seal replaced since I don’t have a socket that will fit the width of the nut and the narrow yolk. Now that I have the axle completely put back together, and even filled the differential with oil on Friday, that pesky pinion seal made itself known again by leaking all over my workbench. What I’ll end up doing is draining the differential next weekend, and then once the chassis is rolling, I’ll take the whole thing down to the driveline place I think.

Aside from finding out that my front axle is marking its territory all over the workbench, I spent nearly 6 hours today putting the rear axle on the frame. I ran into a variety of problems and issues, that will hopefully not be a problem for the front axle. A while back I had purchased a suspension rebuild kit that included all the new suspension parts that I needed from new leaf springs, shocks, shackles, pivot joints, bushings, etc. One issue with the leaf springs is that the end that is designed for the shackles had a bushing that needed to be pressed out before it could be used. After spending a few hours figuring out the best way to accomplish that, I got all the extra bushings removed, and after a few more hours, got the rear axle fully set and installed.

With that, I’ve got two thirds of a rolling chassis!

Over the next two weeks, I should have the front axle mounted and then it’s just a few small things that need to be adjusted. For instance, I don’t have the appropriate washers to hold on the shocks behind a cotter pin, because the washers are special and I didn’t think to keep the old ones around. Hopefully I’ll have a rolling chassis when I hit the 2-year mark on this restoration.

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