Installing a Detroit Locker
By Bob Kennedy
The removal of the hubs is pretty straightforward. A set of small dental type picks are needed to remove the outer lock ring that sits just inside the rotor assembly. My hubs are Warn, the outer screws are allen head. once removed, the hub sits inside the rotor and is sealed with a small o-ring. Remove it and the next part is the retainer, I think this is where conversion kits come in, soem hubs are 3,5 and 6 bolt. The retainer ring is what the hub attaches to. There is one screw in the retainer ring it comes out, along with the retainer ring and spring. The next piece out is the sleeve and ring assembly. Here is where the picks come in, the assembly will not come out until the lock ring on the inside of the rotor is removed. It is split so find the end of it and work the pick under it, it will slide right out. The assembly will follow, then you are down to the locknut, pinned spacer, and the nut to remove the rotor. These are notched and require a special tool to remove. Get the socket, the amount of torqu
e required to put this back together makes it essential. From here, there are 6 bolts holding the spindle. I had to take a block of wood to the spindle to work it loose. It fits very tightly to the steering knuckle. Once the spindle is removed, the axle will slide out. The passenger side requires pulling the outer axle shaft out of the boot that protects the splined connection of the 2 axle shafts. The inner shaft stays with the carrier, it has a retaining clip inside.
gears, I put the ring gear in the oven
to heat it up a little and it seated on
the new carrier just fine. New bolts
came with the install kit along with a
small tube of thread sealer. I re-used
the oil slinger and the old shims to
install the new pinion gear. The old
shims were in great shape and I figured
the distances should be pretty close.
Once the new bearings are pressed on and
the pinion gear is installed, tighten
the yoke nut down until the bearings have
just made contact with the race. This is
the preload. The new bearings need to be
pressed on the new carrier and then the
new races are placed on the bearings and
the new carrier is inserted. Take
special care in making sure the bearing
caps are installed exactly as they were
removed. Torque the cap bolts and get
ready for the fun. I had both a dial
micometer and gear marking compound. The
gear set up requires a good combination
of forward pull and backlash. The
micometer will give you the exact
measurement, or you can use the gear
marking compound to ascertain your work.
Me, I used both. That thing went
together like it was meant to be.
Finished torqueing it down and got ready
for the EZ locker.
The EZ locker is fairly simple and the
instructions are pretty good. I read
through then a couple of times and all
the pieces fit right in. The only
problem was, no clearance for the axle
stub retaining ring. This is where the
infamous spring loaded stub axle became
a part of my Bronco.
The old pinion shaft was removed and the old shims removed so I could reuse them. Everything went back together extremely well. The Detroit has a slot in it to allow the C-Clips to be re-installed and then a lock pin covers it up.
I managed to break one of the cast aluminum spacers, it turns out that they won’t take any abuse to try and seat them. I managed to have enough shims to compensate for that little blunder. The gear pattern was perfect and the backlash settled in at about .005″ I’ve got about 85 miles on the gears now, I’m looking forward to getting this thing off road.