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*Updated: 02/06/2022 5:26PM PST

A "better" Warn hub installation


deluded
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I know these have been sold forever and thousands are in use on Pathfinders, AND I a come-lately, but follow my logic here and see if you don't agree with me. Also, remember I have most of an ME degree and multiple racing world records to my company's credit so I have a little experience in the automotive world.

 

So, the Warn instructions state that you should discard all but the select-thickness snap ring at the bottom:

20160718_151948.jpg

 

The reason that snap ring is available in SEVEN thicknesses is so that the axle end play can be set to the factory spec of .004-.012" (I know few owners bother to set this up correctly, but bushing/washer and seal wear as well as added CV joint loading is the cost of not doing it right). The FSM clearly defines the procedure to set this up correctly and all the snap ring sizes are still available.

 

So if you follow the instructions and install the Warns by simply installing the snap ring in the outer groove your end play is probably out to lunch... mine measured .065" with the original snap ring in place. That is over 5x the factory suggested maximum clearance! The thickest snap ring can't fix that by itself. If you refer to the picture again you see the silver washer; it measures .0635" thick :) So nearly a perfect shim but it is too large in diameter to fit inside the Warn outer hub. So I rigged it up in the lathe and turned it down to...

20160718_154554.jpg

 

With that washer in place I was able to set the end play to the middle of specs at .008" using an appropriate snap ring.

20160718_161415.jpg

(side note: the spindle must be near ride height for measurement so that the axle can move in and out freely)

I realize that not everyone has a lathe and dial indicator on hand, but certain maintenance requires special tools to finish correctly. I have far more confidence in the longevity and reliability of the system with this modification. I've learned a ton on this forum and hope I can contribute some meaningful information back to this great community.

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While you're probably right, I don't have the kind of tools to do that.

 

I wonder how many pathfinders that have had CV shafts replaced with aftermarket parts, or had the bearings repacked, (this would impact the distance) if the mechanics in garages went to the trouble to replace the snap rings? I wish I could say everyone but few probably do.

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I just got a regular style snap ring from my parts bin and made sure it moved a bit.

.005 is about when you can see it move.

 

In the same vein, I don't adjust wheel bearings to factory specs. It's too time consuming, and too easy to screw up and burn up the bearings. I get them seated, then get about .005 of play. Just enough to feel.

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Pathy, I think guys like us with lots of experience can trust in it and get away with some shortcuts. But for younger or inexperienced auto enthusiasts the cost of short cuts is too often greater than the cost of buying/renting/borrowing the tools/correct parts and following the procedural manual to learn the "feel" of how the finished product should be. My wife and I ran RaVerMotorsports for 13 years and the best experiences for us stemmed from teaching our core group of customers (mostly guys <20 years old) how to accomplish fairly advanced maintenance and gain the confidence/satisfaction to tackle the next thing that came along. Doing things this way allowed us to roll our car off the trailer at Bonneville and El Mirage and set a record in one pass and back it up on the next at multiple events. I was lucky enough to have a grandfather raise me like a son and teach me to do things this way... there are way too many kids without any semblance of direction on how to do things right today. Typing on a forum it's easy to loose the enthusiasm that I want to impart with the information I share, and I know it can sound even snobbish, but I promise that is the exact opposite of what I'm trying to accomplish.

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