with Bill Johnston
Swapping ARB Sidegears
When upgrading to a beefier set of front axle shafts, it isn’t just a quick swap of the shafts. The kits that are out there require a gear change inside the carrier. The stock inner axle shafts in the front of the Samurai are 22 spline. The upgraded axle shafts out there are 26 spline. No big problem if you contact ARB USA and order a set of sidegears designed to fit in a rear air locking differential. One word of warning – to get this right you will need to know how to set the gears up right after you are done. Here is how you get to the sidegears. Just like a stock differential, you should to loosen the ring gear bolts first to make things easier. Mark all the components where they meet. Then remove the bearing caps. Remove the ring bolts and then the ring. Flip the diff over and remove the short end to reveal the first sidegear. Pulling the gear shows just how small the stock shaft really is next to the new gear. Make sure you use the right gear. One side is different from the other. Here you can see where the test shaft is way too big for the old gear. Drop in the new gear and add the shim from the old gear. Replace the short end and bolt the ring back on. Flipping it back over you will notice bolt keepers on the heads of the retaining bolts. Pry them off with a small flat tip and remove the bolts. Lifting the cap will reveal the other sidegear. Again, you can see the difference.
Put the new gear into place, making sure you use the shim from the old gear. Replace the cap and bolt it in place. ARB recommends that you use new bolts and keepers. You can get them straight from ARB USA by calling their Tech line. If you have ever abused an ARB, you know that it helps to have spare parts on the shelf, so make friends and order what you need. After reassembling the differential you can check the sidegears with the shaft again. You won’t want to get it all back together and then realize you mixed up the gears.
To complete this conversion you will need the ARB 26 spline sidegears, stretch bolts and keepers.
ARB USA can be contacted for the correct parts by visiting www.arbusa.com or calling their tech line at 1-888-427-2872.
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