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John Stewart

Setting Pinion Angle Correctly


Setting Pinion Angle Correctly

Don't know how to set your pinion angle? Read on!
Note the angle of the U-joint (shown in red). The angle constantly changes as the U-joint rotates, causing the driveshaft to speed up and slow down as it rotates.
This represents a standard driveshaft setup that is done correctly. Note how the angle of the pinion is parallel with the angle of the transfer case output. Pinion and transfer case output angles are shown in orange. The drive shaft angle is exaggerated in these drawings.
Another way that a standard drive shaft could be set up correctly. This is a situation that is typically encountered when the transfer case is lowered. Note how the pinion angle has been raised to be parallel with the transfer case output shaft.
This is a standard drive shaft setup that is going to cause vibrations. Notice how the pinion angle is very different from the transfer case output shaft angle.
Here is a CV type setup that is done correctly. The pinion should be 2 degrees below being pointed straight into the drive shaft.
Here's an improperly setup CV system. The pinion should be pointed into the driveshaft rather than parallel with the transfer case output on this type of setup.

Pinion angle is one of the more important measurements on a lifted vehicle. The wrong angle can lead to vibration and premature failure of U-joints, drive shafts, pinion bearings and even transfer case output bearings.

Types of drive shafts

There are two common types of drive shafts used in 4wd vehicles, standard with one U-joint at each end and CV drive shafts. CV stands for Constant Velocity. CV drive shafts are so named because they have a constant velocity joint at one end, the other end has a single U-joint.

There are two types of constant velocity joints, the double cardan and the caged ball type. The double cardan type is the CV joint with the two U-joints at one end that is so popular with 4 wheelers. The caged ball type is similar to a CV joint in a front wheel drive car or a Birfield from a Samuri or Toyota front axle. The caged ball type CV joint is notoriously weak and is it fortunate that these drive shafts can be found in only a few four wheel vehicles including some Bronco II's and a few early XJ Cherokees. Most who find caged ball type CV drive shafts on their vehicles quickly upgrade to a standard double cardan type CV drive shaft.

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Steven Lutz

4340 vs. 4340 - What's in your axle?

Superior Axle does have two versions of chromoly axle shafts, the Discovery Series and the Evolution Series. The Discovery Series is their overseas model which is probably closer to 4140 than 4340, understand that it’s not a 'quality of steel' issue but a 'difference in standards', there is no true "4340" used overseas.  They call it something different and it’s close; but, not exactly the same. The Evolution Series is what we’re after, the good stuff, strong beefy home bred axle shafts made right here in L.A.  Superior’s Evolution Series chromoly axle shafts are made right here in the USA.

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staff_user

IFS Driveshaft CV Modification for Increased Angle


 

Procedure

The tools I used for this project are an angle grinder, a die grinder with a carbide burr, a small sledge hammer, a flat-head screwdriver, a sturdy vise, some small washers, and a small pick or piece of wire and a magnet in case I end up needing to fish out needle roller bearings.

If all you plan to do is get the joint apart to clearance it, the only u-joint caps you need to remove are the ones in the center section of the joint (which I'll call the "H" from here on out).

The basic method I use to remove u-joints is the same as used in this article. It's fast and effective. Reading the article will help you understand how I disassemble this CV joint.


1. Start by removing the grease zerks and c-clips from the u-joint caps you plan on taking out. Use a flat head screwdriver to dig into the grime and to pry and hammer the clips off.

2. Support the flange end of the CV on top of the jaws of the vise. Pound on the "H" with the sledge hammer. A few good whacks will bring the cap up.
Flip the joint over and do the same thing to the cap on the opposite side. Hold the joint at a certain angle to get the cap to be able to be pounded out as far as possible, however this still wont be far enough to get ahold of the caps to get them out.

3. At this point, you should be able to move the joint cross back and forth between the two caps. If any of the needle roller bearings have fallen out of place, use a pick or some wire and a magnet to get them all out. If you don't, they will be ruined when you try to pound the caps the rest of the way out, and then you will need a new u-joint. The same goes if you lose any of them, so be very careful if you plan to re-use the joint (Hint- pumping some new grease into the joints prior to disassembly may help keep the bearings in place).

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staff_user

Suspension install on 3rd gen 4Runner (96-02)


Front install:

My front setup includes OME 881 heavy duty coil springs, Cornfed 2" aluminum spacers, and Bilstein heavy duty shocks.

First thing you should do is spray all the bolts with some PB blaster. This stuff works wonders on stuck and rusted bolts. Just spray it and let it sit for a few minutes. Makes life easier.

Then raise the vehicle up and support it on jack stands. Make sure to lift it high enough that you can droop the lower a-arm assembly down far enough that it doesn't hit the ground. Then remove the wheels.

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