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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading and spending a lot of time looking into everything I need for my swap,I have heard of some people taking there dana 44 to a shop to get there knuckles rotated,I am trying to do my swap as conservitately as possible so am wanting to rotate my axle myself....does anybody have a link to a writeup on how to do this....or maybe somebody can just explain it to me.

Thanks,Anthony
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
OHHH Shit,I just realized I posted in the wrong folder d'oh :eek:
 

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Hey. Rotating the knuckles can be simple or a huge pain in the ass, it just depends on where you axle is from. If it is from CA, then it should be fairly easy. Here in Indiana, I usually have to use a hydraulic press to remove the knuckles. Anyway, use a 4.5" angle grinder and grind down the weld that keeps the inner knuckles on the axle tube. Make sure you go into the axle tube and the inner knuckle just a little bit. With the axle on the ground, take a large sledge hammer and start hitting the knuckle on one side, then on the other. If the knuckle is stubborn you can try a number of things. Using generous amounts of PB or WD40 will sometimes work, though once you finally get the knuckle off, you will see that it really doesn't penetrate into that much of the knuckle. If you don't have a hydraulic press, you can use an oxyacetelyne torch to heat up the knuckles to make them come off easier. Once all that is done, you can bang the knuckles back on, put the axle back together, and bolt it up to the leaf springs. Support the axle with some jack stands, and put the weight of the vehicle on the front axle. Now is the time that you will find the correct diff angle. Make sure that it points up to the transfer case as nicely as possible. Once you are sure that your diff angle is correct, tack weld the leaf spring perches in place. Now, using a castor finder (look for them on google, they're around $120 bucks but well worth it) place the caster finder on the hub, set the caster finder to 0 degrees, then have a friend turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, then all the way to the right. The caster will be off, so you will have to hit the knuckle in a counter clockwise motion to rotate it. Most guys run between 4 and 6 degrees of positive caster, so I went for 5. Once it's at 5 degrees, tack weld it in a few places to keep it in place. Repeat this step for the other side.

I'm sure many people will refute this method, but it is the correct way to do it. I've heard that people use a cheap angle finder, and just rotate the knucles 13 degrees. There is no way they're getting both knuckles exactly the same, the tolerance on those cheapo $10.00 angle finders is a joke. The reason why you put all of the weight on the front axle, then check the caster is so you can get the most accurate measurement of caster. Although this is a lengthy process (at least 4-5 hours if it's your first time) it is well worth it in the end. Caster is one of the most important steps when doing a SAS. If your caster is off, then your truck will drive and steer like shit. If you're confused, PM me and I can more thoroughly explain this. Take care!
 

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Oh yeah, once you finally have the knuckles off, you will most likely start wishing that you would have simply paid a shop to do it!
 

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I had mine done for about $75 from an old high school classmate. He lives in Concord if you are interested. His family does a lot of their own fabricating from slow speed crawlin' rigs to high speed desert rigs.
 

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$75.00 is awesome... in this neck of the woods, you can't find anyone to rotate knuckles for anywhere close to that price. I've noticed a lot of you california guys pay around $100.00. The closest shop besides my shop is and hour away, and they charge $250.00. I could charge $200.00 to do it and people would have no problem paying for it around here.
 

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Just freaking pay someone. If you can afford an axle swap, you can afford the $100 to get them rotated. I did them myself and I will never do it again. Too much work. In my life, time is money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks supahonky,reading all of the steps involved makes me want to just take my axle to a shop now lol!

My thoughts where by rotating my knuckles myself it would be a good learning experience, and save a few bucks but now I dont think it's even worth trying myself! Thanks for the information though :xrocker: !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
3TRDMARINE said:
I paid $300 in Colorado!
Holy shnikies.......I cant speak from personal experience but it seems 300.00 is a bit expensive to rotate knuckles!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Timbuddha said:
Just freaking pay someone. If you can afford an axle swap, you can afford the $100 to get them rotated. I did them myself and I will never do it again. Too much work. In my life, time is money.
I think I am going to do that lol!
 

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Yeah, $300.00 is a bit crazy. I have done it quite a few times, and to do it the way most shops will do it (using that shitty angle finder and rotating it 13 degrees from their original position) it would take around 2 hours, which should equal out to about $100.00 - $150.00. The only way to correctly rotate the knuckles without going through my steps would be to KNOW that 13 degrees gives you 5 degrees of caster (which can easily change per setup based on weight) would be to put the axle on a machinist granite table (where the table holds a .001" tolerance across the length of the table. I would then place the axle on blocks and secure the axle to the blocks. Using a machinists angle finder, I would rotate the knuckles to their correct position.

Anthony - Yeah, you won't save yourself anymoney, by the time you buy the caster finder, you will have spent just a bit less than you can pay a shop to do it. One thing you want to keep in mind is that the shop only knows how much to rotate them based on what you tell them, so it will be hard to know how many degrees to rotate the knuckles in order to achieve 5 degress of caster. Many people say to rotate them 13 degrees, but that can easily be wrong if the weight of your vehicle is different than other's (i.e. engine size, bumpers, winch, etc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
supahonkey said:
Yeah, $300.00 is a bit crazy. I have done it quite a few times, and to do it the way most shops will do it (using that shitty angle finder and rotating it 13 degrees from their original position) it would take around 2 hours, which should equal out to about $100.00 - $150.00. The only way to correctly rotate the knuckles without going through my steps would be to KNOW that 13 degrees gives you 5 degrees of caster (which can easily change per setup based on weight) would be to put the axle on a machinist granite table (where the table holds a .001" tolerance across the length of the table. I would then place the axle on blocks and secure the axle to the blocks. Using a machinists angle finder, I would rotate the knuckles to their correct position.

Anthony - Yeah, you won't save yourself anymoney, by the time you buy the caster finder, you will have spent just a bit less than you can pay a shop to do it. One thing you want to keep in mind is that the shop only knows how much to rotate them based on what you tell them, so it will be hard to know how many degrees to rotate the knuckles in order to achieve 5 degress of caster. Many people say to rotate them 13 degrees, but that can easily be wrong if the weight of your vehicle is different than other's (i.e. engine size, bumpers, winch, etc)
Hmm,intersting ....so what you are saying is everybody who has gotten there knuckles rotated from a shop may have an an unacurate caster,I wonder how off it is, it cant be more than +or- 1 degrees can it? What are the tolerances...... and is really worth worrying about?
 

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Davis3000 said:
Hmm,intersting ....so what you are saying is everybody who has gotten there knuckles rotated from a shop may have an an unacurate caster,I wonder how off it is, it cant be more than +or- 1 degrees can it? What are the tolerances...... and is really worth worrying about?
Mine is off about 1/2* degree from left to right. I haven't had any issues with it, and it drives just fine. Like AJ from bentup.com says, "we're not building a space shuttle here!". :D

Later,
....Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mike said:
Mine is off about 1/2* degree from left to right. I haven't had any issues with it, and it drives just fine. Like AJ from bentup.com says, "we're not building a space shuttle here!". :D

Later,
....Mike
lol....very true,I was having trouble believing that it's that crucial to have everything dead nuts perfect! :xcrazy:
 

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While we aren't building a space shuttle, I still believe that it should be done the right way. I'm just trying to explain the correct way to do it. Many people don't understand the importance of caster, and after their SAS they accept the fact that their tacoma steers like crap, but excuse it as being part of the whole SAS, when in fact you don't have to have crappy steering. While Mike's many be very accurate, I can't imagine everyone who rotates their knuckles 13 degrees (or whatever the standard is) from original position comes out with a nice 4-6 degrees of caster. I only wrote out that long process to stress the importante of obtaining the correct caster.

Maybe my pursuit of perfection could be a result of most of my "training" in automobiles was obtained from a IRL Suspension Racing Mechanic, so his ideas might have rubbed off on me! That's okay, perfect doesn't hurt!
 

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supahonkey said:
While we aren't building a space shuttle, I still believe that it should be done the right way. I'm just trying to explain the correct way to do it. Many people don't understand the importance of caster, and after their SAS they accept the fact that their tacoma steers like crap, but excuse it as being part of the whole SAS, when in fact you don't have to have crappy steering. While Mike's many be very accurate, I can't imagine everyone who rotates their knuckles 13 degrees (or whatever the standard is) from original position comes out with a nice 4-6 degrees of caster. I only wrote out that long process to stress the importante of obtaining the correct caster.

Maybe my pursuit of perfection could be a result of most of my "training" in automobiles was obtained from a IRL Suspension Racing Mechanic, so his ideas might have rubbed off on me! That's okay, perfect doesn't hurt!
I agree that proper caster is important! Mine is about 5* on one side and about 4.6* on the other. It drives very nice on the freeway at any speed I can get my non-aerodynamic rig up to. :D

I have seen people focus on pinion angle, and end up with less than perfect caster. It takes a lot of measuring and planning to get it right. Most of us don't haul ass in 4WD, so the pinion angle is less of an issue. I mainly wanted to get mine up out of the rocks.

Solid axle rigs should not be expected to handle like shit! If properly done they should handle great on the road!

Later,
....Mike
 

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Caser needs to be perfect. Most people will notice a .5 degree discrepancy, but will just counter the effects with a steering stabilizer. The "correct" way to do it does not take anywhere near 4-5 hours. Any professional shop doesnt take the axle on and off, lower and raise the vehicle 10 times, they just do some simple geometric calculations and put the axle on a jig.
 
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