Make an AAM Axle Preload Adjuster
AAM's 9.25", 10.5" and 11.5" axle design has several quick-service
features. The crush sleeve for pinion preload adjustment and the threaded adjusting rings for setting
carrier bearing preload are two time savers.
The preload adjuster rings have external slots for rotating the
ring. To rotate these adjusters, Miller-SPX has produced a special spanner for the task. (See
Miller-SPX #8883A Tool is the official tool for
the adjuster nuts on AAM 9.25", 10.5" and 11.5" Chrysler, Dodge and Ram
#8883A Tool is available at the SPX website. If your shop does
this work regularly or you prefer using the factory recommended tools for your axle work, consider investing in
those doing this job one time or not being able to afford the 8883A tool, you can fabricate a similar tool
with basic welding equipment and a grinder. We do use the Miller-SPX 8883A tool, but in the interest
of viewers who need to make their own spanner, we built a functional tool for this
Here is the procedure:
Step 1: The materials include flat steel
strap 1/4" thick (at left), an old and expendable impact socket and a high-tensile used steering
Step 2: Pieces are now cut to rough size.
Plate is the body of the tool. 1/2-square insert will accept a rachet. Bolt shank can be made into the small
Step 3: Grinder and file create a notch in
high-tensile steel bolt shank. The grinder makes quicker work of this task.
Step 4: Torch quickly cuts hole for modified
socket section. Note the rough shaping of the arc for leveraging the pull, similar to the goal with the
Step 5: The arc is not contoured for the
adjuster ring surface. It leads to a leverage pivot point. This tool actually fits the 9.25", 10.5" and 11.5"
AAM axle adjuster rings, regardless of ring diameter. Bevel at the plate edge will allow welds to burn into
each other for maximum strength.
Step 6: The plate is now welded to the
shank. Weld from opposite side overlaps and creates one solid piece of metal at the weld section. Filler
material is 70,000 psi tensile. Grinding has flattened the hook to fit slots.
Further shaping and the socket gets welded to the plate. Socket has been cut to provide rachet hook-up from
either side, a simple 1/2"-square drive receiver. Welding and surface grinding have eliminated any trace
of the original bolt and plate as separate pieces. Metal fusion was
Step 8: Here, the ratchet fits readily into
the tool receiver. This tool is ready for a trial fit.
Step 9: The new "tool" fits the adjuster
ring, its hook grabbing the slot hole much like the factory tool.
Step 10: Force angle wants to rotate the
ring. Hook angle is critical to get this effect. Hook ledge catches the inside edge of the ring (as
shown) and turns the ring. The tool was tested on the 11.5"
ring-and-pinion gear set installation.
Caution: For this difficult application, torque is limited
for both the homemade tool and the factory tool. Avoid bending or shearing off the hook arm on either
design...More comments can be found at the AAM 11.5" axle rebuild
This tool is
for made for one-time use and not intended to replace or outperform the Miller-SPX 8883A spanner. The hook is
the weak point due to the narrow width required in this tool application.
To fit the
slot, the hook must be small and narrow. Miller-SPX notes, "Do not use for removal", indicating the factory
8883A tool will not handle excessive force in the case of a binding or stubborn
adjuster ring...Even bearing preload, after years of
hard axle service, can create resistance beyond the range of the Miller-SPX 8883A or this homemade