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Discussion Starter #1
The c-clips are just a bit too tall to fit through the gap marked in red below. No matter how I orient the c-clip (location exaggerated in the picture) part of it's going to need to slip through that gap.

1068661


I haven't rebuilt the trak-lok or changed the shims. I only removed the axles for a 5-lug swap and now I want them back in.

To remove the c-clips, I had to tap them out pretty good from the other side with a screwdriver. It's a bit more awkward to do that during the install phase since I can't get a good angle on them. I also notice it's scraping the copper off the clip as it squeezes through the gap. Is that a bad thing?

We used the stupid F150 spring way back in the day, but I didn't find many complaints about this issue via a search. Is it possible the spider gears were jammed loose slightly as I rotated the assembly around without the cross pin installed? I noticed they don't rotate at all as I turn an axle, but maybe that's due to the spring preload?

If there's no dirt simple solution here (i.e. keep tapping them in and tell hell with the scraped material) then I'm leaning toward removing the spring and running without it. It will be a road course car anyway, and I know that option is fairly popular. If I go that route, I'm open to any advice to get the spring out. I don't want it to go flying.
 

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needle nose vise grips and large screwdriver, pull out the spring, install clips

needle nose vise grips, compress and tap the spring back in, never had an issue doing that.
 
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If you had to bang them to get them out, you might have to do the same going back in. Been awhile since I messed with C-clips, but looks like you could feed that bottom in first and then tap or push it in from there, springs compress with some force.....
 

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you can also compress in a vice and hold it with tie wire
 
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Hammer time
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone.

@indy2000 Dumb question but if I decide to go the route removing the spring, when you say use needle nose vise grips, do you mean to hold the middle portion of the spring and pull like hell, or will I need to compress it to get it out of there?

I was all ready to remove the spring but now I might just hammer them in there. Scraping up the c-clip shouldn't matter much. I'll be switching to a Torsen in a year or two anyway! :)
 

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YES , squeeze, hammer and pry it out
 

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The big spring is easy to remove, Vise-Grips and pull, easy to do.

Putting it in is interesting, I've had the best luck with a big chunk of wood. Set the spring in place ready to go in, and then place the chunk of wood against it and hold in place. Then hit the wood as hard as you need to with a baby sledge. That takes less effort than other methods, the wood absorbs the hard impact while holding the spring lined up better in place, and the force does go fully into the spring. The wood helps a bunch to keep the spring from popping back out. Once it starts in, then it's quick to finish it with a few more taps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update: the spring is out. I rotated the assembly to inspect the spring and quickly realized the problem with tapping the c-clips in -- I had inadvertently started to tap the spring out the other side. I figured I might as well finish that approach. I tapped it out most of the way and then I had to use two vise grips and a small pry bar to get it to clear the 3.73 ring gear. I'm sure there was a smarter way to do it, but it only took about 15 minutes of fussing.

My new problem is the cross pin won't go back in. This trak-lok rebuild is 15 years old and it seems to be getting tighter, not looser! Makes no sense, unless the axles are slightly out of spec. (I don't remember which ones North Racecars sent me.)

I might try the trick to get two people to pull on the axles and see if I can get the pin in there. Otherwise I guess I'll rebuild the trak-lok to adjust the shims. Once it's all done, I might appreciate the extra traction.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
1068695


This 5-lug conversion has been pretty easy so far, so I guess the diff is going to be the troublesome part!
 

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Those c-clips don't look like they fit right, they should recess down farther into the side gears. What brand were the c-clips, and do you have the original pair to try?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think it's just the angle of the picture. I tried the original c-clips and that didn't help. The new ones are genuine Ford parts from LMR.

Tomorrow I'll try the original axles, c-clips, and cross pin. If that doesn't work, then either something expanded in the atmosphere or something fell out alignment slightly.

I don't plan to reinstall the s-spring either. Maybe that was exerting enough pressure on the spider gears to squeeze the cross pin in there? It doesn't seem likely. There must be some reasonable explanation.
 

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If the c-clips and axles are properly sized, than it will have to be the shims of the clutches. There is usually a lot of clearance there, but the shims vary, and arranging an extra clutch in there also tightens things in there. I did that twice and one time it was tight to put the c-clips in.

But the cross pin slipped right in, something is amiss for you to have the axles pushed in that far.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, the weird thing in this case is that I didn't re-shim or rebuild the trak-lok at all. I popped everything out and right back in.

From my last picture, the side gears do look pretty far out compared to some other pictures and videos I've seen. I'm very curious now so I'll investigate tomorrow.
 

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The c-clips are just a bit too tall to fit through the gap marked in red below. No matter how I orient the c-clip (location exaggerated in the picture) part of it's going to need to slip through that gap.

View attachment 1068661

I haven't rebuilt the trak-lok or changed the shims. I only removed the axles for a 5-lug swap and now I want them back in.

To remove the c-clips, I had to tap them out pretty good from the other side with a screwdriver. It's a bit more awkward to do that during the install phase since I can't get a good angle on them. I also notice it's scraping the copper off the clip as it squeezes through the gap. Is that a bad thing?

We used the stupid F150 spring way back in the day, but I didn't find many complaints about this issue via a search. Is it possible the spider gears were jammed loose slightly as I rotated the assembly around without the cross pin installed? I noticed they don't rotate at all as I turn an axle, but maybe that's due to the spring preload?

If there's no dirt simple solution here (i.e. keep tapping them in and tell hell with the scraped material) then I'm leaning toward removing the spring and running without it. It will be a road course car anyway, and I know that option is fairly popular. If I go that route, I'm open to any advice to get the spring out. I don't want it to go flying.
I just rebuilt my 8.8 with new clutches. The kit came with the spring you mentioned but it was meant for 31 spline setups and not my stock 28 spline axles. Still it was a PITA to get in. There is a great video on youtube from Chrisfix who put new clutches in a 8.8 and he shows you how to remove and install them. I ended up buying a long nose locking plies and used them with another locking pliers I had. Once I clamed it in a vice and then locked the compressed spring with the two locking pliers it was easy to pound in witha 1"x2" plank and a hammer. Good luck
 

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Yes, the weird thing in this case is that I didn't re-shim or rebuild the trak-lok at all. I popped everything out and right back in.

From my last picture, the side gears do look pretty far out compared to some other pictures and videos I've seen. I'm very curious now so I'll investigate tomorrow.
That suggests the axles you just replaced might be too thick at the end, I wonder if there is a dimension for that which can be checked online.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update: it's the axles. I put the old axles back in with the new c-clips and cross pin. It was tight but it went in. There's almost no play in the axles, which honestly surprises me after 15 years.

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You can kind of see in the last picture there's a little crown on the end of the 5-lug axles that my originals (this picture) do not have. Or maybe it was ground down in the 10 years before I changed the gears last time. Unfortunately my digital calipers are garbage so I don't have enough precision to check the difference.

It sounds like the answer might be to grind the end of the axle slightly. Here's an example thread:


It seems like I could also rebuild the trak-lok with a smaller shim.
 

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Very good, know you know better what's going on there. You can check the shim thicknesses in it to see if they have enough to gain the clearance you need. But it looks like the aftermarket axles are not uncommon to need a little work on the ends too.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I talked to Richard at North Racecars and he gave me a laundry list of the usual tricks, like having two buddies pull on the axles, lubing everything up, maybe freezing the cross-pin, etc. Running without the s-spring means I lose some of the preload that would normally be on the side gears. That makes sense, and my stock axle ends getting ground down a bit over the years also seems like a reasonable theory.

They're Yukon axles so I'd expect that brand to build to spec pretty well.

I have lots of things to try before I start grinding metal or loosening up my trak-lok.
 

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You want the S spring in there for sure, it does help the LS to work better. I'd look at the shims first, they are not hard to get out, and if they are a little thick, that's something easy to gain clearance. If you didn't replace the clutches, it might be the right time to do that too. You can play with them and the old frictions if needed, also to adjust the clearance.

Removing one steel and replacing it with a new friction is a common trick too, which affects the clearance because the parts have different thicknesses. Note to do that though, the order of the frictions and steels has to be one of each side by side, not two steels together anywhere. Keep at it, you are close.
 
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