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Yukon Spin Free Hub Kit for our Dodge 2500 Project Bighorn - PRODUCT REVIEW
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October 18, 2017, 09:38:46 PM

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Yukon Spin Free Hub Kit for our Dodge 2500 Project Bighorn

One thing we do a lot of here at is tinker with perfectly good vehicles. Let's face it the engineers at the auto manufactures do a good job building a decent car. What they do that I don't necessarily like is follow the trends of what "most people" want or at least what they think most people want. An example of that is the introduction of the unit bearings that are equipped on most 90's and newer vehicles that replaced the old spindle and manual locking hub technology. They do this so that you don't have to get out of your car in order to lock the front axle. As a result when your not using your 4wd which for most people is 95% time the rest of your drivetrain spins away causing unnecessary wear to these parts. Fortunately there are a few manufactures like Yukon making kits to convert your Jeep or Truck back to the old style. This means better fuel economy, wear items like bearing are easily serviceable again and cost a fraction of the cost compared to a replacement unit bearing. Don't forget about your axle u-joints, the differential and driveshaft that is all going to wear out faster because it's spinning down the road like your in 4wd... everyday!
So we picked up a Yukon Spin Free Hub Kit for our 2007 Dodge 2500. Part #
YA WU-04

What comes in the Kit
Yukon Spin Free Hub Kit for a Dodge 2500 The kit come complete with new 35-spline stub (outer) axle shafts, a pair of conversion spindles, zinc coated hubs, wheel studs, Timken bearings, races and finishes it off with Yukon's low profile Hardcore locking hubs. See pictures below

Click on images for large view


Install Part 1
The install is moderately difficult but could be easily accomplished in a day or two by an reasonably experienced shade tree mechanic with some basic tools and some not so basic tools i'll talk more about in this article. I completed the install by myself in about 7-8hrs. To get things started I jacked up the truck and removed the front tires followed by the calipers and rotors. Be careful with the calipers not to let them fall or hang by the brake lines, you don't want to be making unnecessary repairs. I zip tie them up and out of the way. Next I removed the wheel speed sensors attached to the unit bearing that are held in by an allen bolt. I then removed the 4 bolts holding the unit bearing in place. These are located on the inside of the knuckle. Using my Craftsman 1/2" air impact I was able to get these off with no trouble but if you live on the east coast you may want to prelube them with some penetrating oil a day or two before, along with the rest of the bolts and parts you'll be removing. Next I removed the unit bearings with the axles still attached. I've read this can also be a challenging task depending on your trucks age and the climate in your area. My truck is a California truck with 65k miles so they came off with not too much trouble.

Click on images for large view


Now that we have the axle shafts on the work bench it's time to remove the stock outer shafts and install the new 35 spline units. This was one of two somewhat challenging parts of the installation. I prelubed all of the u-joint caps the day before but they were still seized onto the stock shafts. A combination of using a heavy duty bench vise mounted to a 500lb welding table, a u-joint puller and some love with the sledge hammer I was able remove the stock u-joints. This task alone burned an hour or two for the pair. Also note I didn't remove the unit bearing from the outer stub shaft. The instructions called for it but it wasn't required because none of those parts were going to be reused just the inner shafts. Also be careful not to get to crazy with the sledge or u-joint puller, the ears on the stock axle shafts can oblong if your not careful.

Install Part 2

Next step was installing new u-joints onto the axles. My truck had 65k miles on the stockers so it was time to replace them anyways. The u-joints install was straight forward just pay close attention to the needle bearings. The kit doesn't come with u-joint so we picked up some Heavy Duty greasable Moog's (Part# 464) for about $45each from our local auto parts store.

Installing the new u-joints, don't forget the supplied the spacers

New 35-spline outer axles attached and ready to go back in the truck

Install Part 3
Next we began reinstalling the axle shafts followed by the dust shield and Yukon spindles. The instructions recommended applying ant-seize to the mounting surfaces of the spindle. This will make for a easier disassembly later down the road. The spindle was secured to the knuckle using new hardware provided in the kit. The bolts were torqued to factory spec's.

Next we had to press the races and studs into each Yukon hub. This can also be a time consuming task that could be done prior to the install day if your looking to save some time. I wasted some time because although I have a shop press and I didn't have the race driver set to press the races in. So I took the hubs up to a local shop were they pressed them in for me for about $40. The studs I pressed in myself using a 20-ton press.

Yukon Hubs ready for install

* One thing id like to mention at this step is that the studs provided in the kit were a little shorter than the stock ones and I feel should be longer in my opinion. With the stock steel wheels you get enough thread per lug but my aluminum factory wheels didn't get threads entirely through the lug nut
So after the hubs were ready to go I packed the bearings with grease and installed them onto the truck along with the provided dust cover and seals. Yukon uses Timken bearings that are an off the shelf part so replacement later down the road will be easy to find. Very inexpensive id like to add compared to the stock replacement unit bearings. I priced out new Timken bearings for the heck of it and it will cost me about $50 total for both sides. That's a hell of a lot cheaper than new unit bearings.

Next we installed the spindles and speed sensors. The spindles are attached to the knuckle replacing the unit bearing assembly with 4 new supplied bolts. We used an air impact along with some blue lock tite to make sure they don't back off. Yukon's custom spindle is machined to house the stock speed sensors that is a must have for the trucks computer to work properly. The sensors drops into the spindle using original hardware. Next it was time to install the Yukon hubs. With the bearings packed with grease I slide them onto the spindle and snugged them down with the supplied spindle nuts.

Final Touches
We wanted to keep the stock wheels for now along with the hub caps. In order to keep the front hub caps we cut a 4.25" hole in the center of the cap. We placed some masking tape over the center of the hub cap and carefully found the center of the hub and marked it with a permanent marker. Using a drill press, a 4.25" hole saw and an extra set of hands we drilled holes in each of hub cap. The tape works good to not only mark the center but also helps keep the fake chrome from peeling up along the edged. Below are some pictures of the final product. I think the hubs give a nice finished look. P
icture coming soon

Without hub caps

As I mentioned earlier I don't necessarily care for some of the changes auto manufactures do on the newer cars. Replacing manual hubs for full time locked unit bearings is a perfect example of this. They cause unnecessary wear to the differential, u-joints and driveshafts all spinning as if they were in 4wd full-time. In the end this cost more down the road replacing components that would last 10x longer with manual hubs.

The other benefit to installing the hub conversion is mileage. I've heard most people get 1-2mpg gains and that's pretty much the same results I get from the conversion. It does feel less resistant to steering movement and much smoother overall driving, especially down hill were I noticeably pick up more speed than I used to. All in all I'm very pleased with the kit and feel Yukon has done a great job putting together a complete well thought through conversion for the Dodge 2500 & 3500's along with many other makes and models they've made available.

For more information about Yukon Gear & Axle products check out there website or give them a call.

10411 Airport Road
Everett, WA 98204
Phone: 1-888-905-5044

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