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212 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1998-99 Durango

This is my first how-to, i'll do my best. You'll be reading about how we changed the axle from the left of the pic with the good one from the right.

The "book" calls for 5 hrs from what i'm told, it took myself, my brother, and a friend about six hours on a beautiful sunny day. We didn't have a lift, just some jack stands, and took a lot of beer breaks.

Make sure you have a 1/2" breaker bar, and a good 1/2" drive rachet set, i broke a couple 3/8" drives doing this, and a set of long wreches.

I removed the wheels and tires for more room, but the wheels do not need to be removed to do this.

1. Lube all the bolts well. I used PB Blaster 3 days before the repair, and the morning of the repair, as well as during and still broke a couple bolts.

Make sure the vehicle is properly supported like in the photo below before attempting the following steps.

2. Remove skid plate and skid plate cross member. I broke a couple bolts on the crossmember. It's pretty straight forward, you'll have no problem with this.

3. Remove the C/V driveshafts from the axle shaft flanges. I don't recall the size of the bolts, break the bolts loose with a breaker bar and then they come right off. No problems. Although you will have to apply full brake, loosen two bolts, release brake and turn axle to reach two more bolts, and repeat. Both sides will require the brake/tighten/no brake/turn steps as well as intallation.

I won't have detailed pics for the rest, my hands were too dirty to keep taking pics of everything.

4. Separate the driveshafts from the flanges, they just push off to the side.
"beer break"

5. Remove Propeller shaft. Four bolts 5/16", very easy to remove, you may need to nudge the universal with a hammer.

6. Remove vent tube. Its' on the passenger side of the axle, can be tricky, just use pliers and remove the whole thing sticking out of the axle.

7. Remove the side axle support bolts attached to brackets on both sides of the axle assembly. One side was 15mm, the other was 18mm. In the photo you'll see a bracket on the left and right side of the oil pan.

This is pretty tedious, my bolts were rusted pretty well, and there is not a lot of room to get your hands in there with tools. We all traded spots when our arms got tired, and one guy always supported the axle housing. Each bolt took quite a while to remove, so we'd do a couple then another beer break and so on.

8. Remove bolts holding axle to the engine mounts (18mm). Again, very difficult, rusted and very hard to reach. Tip: you can fit a wrench for the nut through the wheel well. I think one of these bolts we broke.

9. I failed to mention that in step 8 you should have a jack holding the axle housing, in this step, ensure the driveshafts are out of the way and just lower the axle housing. If you were able to reach all bolts, the axle housing will come right down.

We took a nice long beer break before installation, and were very happy we were able to get this done so far with only a few broken bolts.

Before installation, ensure that the new axle needs no servicing, it's much easier with it on the ground then in the vehicle.


1. Raise the axle into position, it sat well on the jack and we just lifted it into place. We also had three sets of hands to move this around and adjust it's location.

2. Loosely install all the bolts to the brackets and engine mount. We started with the engine mount bolts, the axle will just hang there after that and you can move the jack out of the way. This will require a lot of moving around of the axle to get all of the bolts to line up. This took a while so we had another long beer break following this step.

3. Install propeller shaft. This was simple, 4 bolts.

4. Install C/V driveshafts to axle flanges. Again, very easy to do.

The following steps i didnt' do because i need new bolts, and one of them is to support the axle housing.

5. Install skid plate support/crossmember.

6. Install skid plate.

7. Another beer break, high fives, and fist pounds for all the good work you just did.

8. Lower vehicle.

We had a great time doing this, just made a day out of it rather than a repair. It helped having friends there, there is no way i could have done this alone. Thanks Eric and Mike for your help.

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