A quick way to check if you have a Dana 36 or 44 is the top center bolt. The Dana 36 has one, the 44 does not. Pictured left is the “batwing” carrier cover removed. It’s nicknamed the batwing because the cover has integrated support arms.
Also notice the stub axles and yokes that stick out each side of the carrier. The yokes mate up with the axle shaft yokes using universal joints.
The center of the carrier holds the differential (called the “case”). Many people confuse the carrier with the case – but think of it like this: the carrier holds the gearing, while the case transfers power to the axles.
The ends of each stub axle have splines. The shaft of the stub axle goes through the carrier in to the center of the case where it mates up with the case’s side gears and clutch plates.
The differential (the ‘case’) is held in place by bearing caps – and as the name suggests, bearings allow the case to spin in the carrier. Once the bearing caps are removed, the case can be pried from the carrier (left).
It may be difficult to pry the case out, so I clamped the pinion yoke in my bench vise. When the case is out, the fun begins!
Chapter 9 of my book covers the complete rebuild in unbelievable detail and photos.
The axle seals need to be removed to get at the axle bearings, seen above. This one was stubborn and a screwdriver and hammer were needed – BUT, I slightly damaged the inner wall of the seal bore! Dang-it.
No problem though, with a little light sanding, the mar came out and the new seal fits snugly.
Needless to say, if you use a blade screwdriver, be careful around the edges of the aluminum carrier.
All the bearing replacement steps in Chapter 9 use a 12-ton press I got from Harbor Freight – not expensive. It might have been the best tool purchase of the entire project. Get one or life will be miserable.
Many jobs other than the carrier rebuild also used my handy little shop press.
Stub axle bearings are pressed into the carrier walls (above). These are roller-pin types and allow the stub axles to rotate.
I also replaced the pinion and differential bearings and all bearing cups.
The Dana carriers have unique bearing lips everywhere, and it’s important to know how the bearings are removed and installed without damaging the carrier lips – crucial!
There are other bearing makers besides Timken, but I found their fitment to be troubling. Timken bearing are original bearings for the Dana 36 and their fitment was perfect.
Also, when you buy full kits to rebuild the Dana 36, be careful of what you get. The Dana 36 is such a rare piece that sometimes the replacement parts are not correct. But, the Dana 44 was used in many other cars besides Corvette, so replacement parts for it are more plentiful.