Installing a Detroit Locker

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By Bob Kennedy

4.56 Gears, Detroit, and an EZ…


The first part was getting the axles out, this was a case of laying them out as they were removed so they would go back in without too much difficulty.

The driver’s side is 1 axle.

It is great getting the Dana out and up where you can stand upright to work on. No such luck on the 8.8″


The passenger side is a little tougher. The axle is in 2 pieces. The 1st comes out with the spindle removal. The 2nd is lock clipped inside the carrier.

I used a drill bit to knock out the center shaft retaining pin. It and the center shaft are to be re-used so keep up with them,


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.

4.56 and a Detroit EZ. It went together after scrutinizing it for an hour or two.

A new carrier was required with the 4.56

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 8.8 was a little tougher. It stayed under the truck as it was worked on. The pan came off, the bearing caps came off, The axle C-clips were removed and the axles removed, then the carrier was popped out. Be careful with the cast spacers. They reside on the outside of the carrier bearing.

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.

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