Installing the POWERTRAX No-Slip Locker
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Authoring and Photography By: Chris Perosi
First Published: March 2000

Installing the POWERTRAX No-Slip Locker in a Dana 44 Rear

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The POWERTRAX No-Slip arrives in a colorful box with an owner's manual and an installation manual.

Part 1: Getting Started

As always, the first step in any installation is to gather the tools needed and review the instructions included. Nothing needed for this installation is beyond the scope of most basic toolboxes, although some tools like an impact wrench will make the installation easier. POWERTRAX provides a different set of instructions with each type of No-Slip, specific to the application for which it was designed.

Once you have all the parts and tools needed, the first step is to jack the rear of the vehicle up by the axle housing, support it using jackstands, and remove the tires. Be sure to chock the front wheels safely before proceeding. Once the tires were removed from our test vehicle, the brake calipers needed to be removed in order to slide the axle shafts out. This will vary by application, but if you have to remove the calipers anyway, this is a great time to replace the pads.



Once the calipers have been unbolted and hooked securely so as not to pull off the brake lines, the axle backing plates can be unbolted. On a Dana 44 rear, this consists of four studs and the accompanying nuts on the frame side of the axle backing plate. Since the axles are not C-clip retained, once the bolts are removed, with some persuasion, the axle shafts should slide right out. However, before pulling out the shafts, you should drain the rear differential thoroughly by removing the inspection plate. Draining it before removing the shafts will minimize the amount of gear oil that will spill from the axle tubes once you pull out the axle shafts. Still, you should position a drain pan under each axle end before removing each shaft.

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Jack the vehicle up, chock the front wheels, and support it using jackstands, then remove the tires. Loosen all the cover bolts, and break the seal carefully near the bottom. Editor's Note: Your fluid should not be this emulsified color. Once unbolted from the backing plate, the axle can be pulled out to free it from the side gears. After the differential is fully drained, remove the cover plate to reveal the carrier, ring, and pinion.

Part 2: The Heart of the Beast

Once the preliminary concerns above are taken care of, you get to the heart of the beast: replacing the spider gears and side gears with the locker itself. The biggest problem with this is that due to ring gear thickness, some applications will require that the carrier be removed from the case, and the ring gear unbolted from the carrier to remove the pinion shaft. Since the instructions from POWERTRAX do a great job of covering the in-housing installation, we'll stick to covering the worst-case scenario of removing the carrier. In our case, after removing the bearing caps, a long pry bar and a block of wood were all that were needed to remove the carrier. However, some applications may require a case spreader. In either case, be sure to keep the bearing caps and races and any shims labeled so they can be replaced exactly as they were found. Any changes will require the gears to be reset, so this is highly important.

Proper Removal of the Trac-Lok
If you plan on re-using or selling your Trac-Lok innards, you may wish to remove them the proper way. For this, you'll need a 5-inch long 1/2-inch bolt with approriately sized washers and a nut, as well as a .020-inch feeler gauge. Insert the bolt through the side of the carrier opposite the ring gear, and tighten it down to compress the clutches and take the pressure off the side gears. Use the feeler gauge to knock out the washers behind the side gears. Loosen the bolt slightly and rotate and remove the side gears and spider gears. It is more complicated to do it this way, but there is less chance of damaging anything using this method.

After carefully removing the carrier, the next step is to unbolt the ring gear. Before doing so, mark the carrier and the ring gear itself so it can be reinstalled in the exact same position. Without an impact wrench, it will be difficult to break the torque, so placing the carrier in a bench-vise is recommended. Once all the bolts have been removed, the ring gear and the pinion shaft can be removed. Use a 3/16ths-inch pin punch to remove the roll pin, then push the pinion shaft out from the backside.

With the pinion shaft out of the way, the spider gears and side gears, as well as the clutch packs and thrust washers, can be removed. This is much easier said than done, however. On our installation, we opted to rotate the whole inner assembly inside the carrier using a hammer and a punch, and after several minutes of persuasion, one spider gear popped out, followed by the rest of the innards.

Once all traces of the Trac-Lok are removed from the carrier, it is fairly simple to follow POWERTRAX's detailed instructions to install the locker itself. Basically, all the parts are inserted into the carrier in order, and everything fits together precisely. If done correctly, when complete, the supplied "check block" will fit in between the center gap vertically, but not horizontally. Be sure to apply a light coating of wheel bearing grease to all parts, as this will help "glue" the parts together to ease installation.


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A look at the carrier, removed from the vehicle with the ring gear and pinion shaft still in place. Remove all the bolts around the ring gear, then remove the roll pin and pinion bolt. With some persuasion, the Trac-Lok side gears and clutch packs will come out. Follow the step-by-step instructions from POWERTRAX to install the new No-Slip inside the carrier.

Part 3: Finishing Up

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The No-Slip installed inside the Trac-Lok carrier, and bolted back inside the Dana 44 housing.
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Reinstall the cover plate, and refill the differential with gear oil.

Once the No-Slip is installed in the carrier, you can replace the pinion shaft as per the instructions, then bolt the ring gear back on. Be sure to torque the ring gear bolts down to manufacturer's specifications, in the case of the Dana 44, 80 to 90 ft-lbs. Then, the carrier can be reinstalled in the axle housing, again making sure to use the correct races, caps, and shims on the correct side.

With the carrier reinstalled, slide the axle shafts back into the housing, lifting up in order to line up the splines inside. Bolt them back on, and replace the calipers and brake pads. Finally, reinstall the tires and wheels.

Now, the moment of truth: the test. Follow the instructions outlined in the installation booklet to test the function of the locker. If installed correctly, while in gear, both tires will not be able to rotate in the same direction, however, they will spin freely when turned in opposite directions. If this all checks out, all that's left is to replace the inspection cover on the differential using a new gasket or gasket-maker, and refill with gear oil. POWERTRAX recommends you use the same weight gear oil you used prior to installation, however, Limited Slip additive is no longer required.


Review: POWERTRAX No-Slip Traction System
Isuzu Editor Chris Perosi puts the new POWERTRAX No-Slip Traction System through its paces for several hundred miles on the street and trail!
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