Installing a Powertrax
By Tolan Harding
No-Slip rear differential in a 1998 Jeep TJ with a Dana 35-C.
After approximately 2
years with my Jeep with the Trak-Lock rear differential, I decided it was
time to upgrade to a locker. Being
rather new to four wheeling I was hesitant to drastically change my jeeps
stock set up too much. After
reading quite a few articles and a little on-line research I settled on
the Powertrax No-Slip insertable rear differential. From my research, it appeared that this locker offered the
best performance with the best street manners.
The on-street performance was very important, as my jeep is a daily
driver. Cost was another big
factor. ARB offers the best
of both worlds; a locker and an open differential, but cost, both for the
parts and installation, ruled the ARB out.
The Powertrax is designed for do it yourself installation.
I ordered the Powertrax
and it was delivered ready to go. The
parts are easy to identify and there aren’t a lot of them, 20 all
together. The instructions
seemed fairly clear and the toll free technical support number was
reassuring. I am a fair
mechanic and felt the installation would be fairly easy even though this
was my first attempt at any kind of rear differential work.
I started following the
instructions: I blocked the
wheels and raised my jeep on to jack stands.
I removed the differential cover bolts and drained the fluid.
So far so good I thought. Next
step, remove the pinion shaft retaining bolt and remove the pinion shaft. First call to technical support.
The pinion shaft bolt had a 12-point head instead of a 6-point
head. I had never seen a
12-point bolt head before. Technical
support explained what I was looking at and even gave me the size of the
box end wrench to use. They
were off on the size by 1/8of an inch but solved my dilemma for me.
Next, after the pinion
shaft is removed, is to push the axles in to disengage the axle shaft
“c” clips. This of course
requires that the brake drums be removed to access the axle flanges.
Well, my drums had not been off since the jeep was built and
didn’t really want to come off now.
After a little banging, clanking, prying and gentle encouragement,
the drums came off, the axles pushed in and c-clips disengaged.
With all the parts
removed, I cleaned the differential housing and case and prepared to
install the new parts. The
instructions of the various parts made it easy to identify what went
where. The coupler is
installed on the ring gear side of the case followed by a synchro-gear and
a spacer. The ring gear side
axle is pushed back in place and the parts are then held in place with the
c-clip. The driver is then
inserted and the remaining coupler, synchro-gear and spacer are inserted
on the non-ring gear side. With
all the drive parts in, the springs need to be wedged into their openings
between the two sides. Powertrax
includes a metal block to determine if the parts and springs have been
installed correctly. If all
has gone well, the remaining axle is pushed back in and secured with a
c-clip and the pinion shaft is reinserted and secured with the retaining
instructions on how to test that the differential is performing correctly
by blocking a rotating the tires before re-sealing the differential.
If all works correctly, the rear cover can be installed and
lubricant added. The rear drums can go back on and then the rear wheels.
Ready for a test drive.
My overall impression
of the installation was that it was pretty easy.
Most of my problems were just getting to the point where I could
actually install the new parts.