By Jon Maib
We are still running the stock Dana 30 in our 1997 Jeep TJ. The Dana 30 is one of the most widely used front axles in the Jeep. The Dana 30 dates way back to the 1930's, and was loosely based off the Dana 23 model axle and has seen improvements over the decades. Most likely, if you haven't swapped your front axle out of your Jeep, it's a Dana 30.

Our Dana 30 has been trussed by the Skyjacker 6" suspension kit, is running 35's, has an ARB locker and still has its stock inner axles. We have been running this setup for over 12 years with no issues. Lately, we have begun to notice what feels like the death wobble trying let loose. Now given, the death wobble can come from many locations on the Dana 30 front axle, so the question is, where do you start on something like this? One of the first things to check is all your steering components. That is where most death wobbles begin to manifest. We however, just replaced all of our steering components last year for this very reason, so we just needed to do a once over and make sure our new components were good and tight and that everything still looked good. We moved over to check our front hub assembly for any play. An easy way to do this is to jack up the front of the vehicle and put it on stands. Grab one of the tires and see if there is any play by moving it back and forth and up and down. Sure enough, our driver side had some play. So we jumped online to Extreme Terrain and ordered 2 hubs as we decided to just go ahead and replace both sides at the same time.

This is one of those repairs you can do by yourself, in your driveway; with minimal tools in only a few hours (ours took approximately 30 minutes a side). A couple of things that will come in handy for this repair are: A breaker bar or impact gun, some sort of rust corrosion spray (we used PB Blaster) and then either a spindle socket or 1-1/16" socket.
You will begin by jacking the axle up and properly bracing it with a jack stand and remove the tire. On ours, we also have wheel spacers installed, so we needed to remove those as well. Once the tire is off, you can then take a ½" socket and remove the 2 bolts for the brake caliper. Pulling the bolts out, you can remove the brake caliper and set it aside (Note: DO NOT allow the brake caliper to just hang by the line. Place it somewhere where there is no tension on the brake line and it won't fall). This is also a good time to inspect your brake pads and rotors to see if they need to be replaced.

With the brake caliper off, you can now remove the rotor which will expose the spindle nut. You will need to remove the cotter pin and there may be a spindle nut shield that has to be removed. Once those are out of the way, this would be a good time to shoot the spindle nut with some rust corrosion spray and let it sit for a few. Our impact wrench came in handy for us to remove our spindle nut (a good size breaker bar would work here as well). It took us a few minutes to get the spindle nut to move, but once it broke free, it came right off. You can now remove the 3 bolts that hold the hub in place. These can be difficult to get to if your steering is turned at all, so with the steering straight, take your ½ socket or wrench (we've found that a wrench is actually easier than a socket here) and remove the bolts. Once those are out, you can remove the old wheel hub. It may take a little convincing with a rubber mallet for it to come break free (the axle shaft may come out with it but, don't panic. You will just need to re-align the splines and push it back in).

Grab your new hub assembly and line up the splines on the inner axle shaft and push it into place. Line up the bolt holes and re-install the 3 retaining bolts and you have successfully replaced your hub assembly. Now you just need to reverse the order and place everything back on and you're done. It really is that simple and easy (Keep in mind the spindle nut will need to be torque'd to 175 ft/lbs). This is one of those repairs that if you are the slightest bit mechanical, you can tackle this. We buttoned up our repair and moved over and completed the other side as well. After the Jeep was back together, we took it out for a spin to see if our impending death wobble feel was gone. Sure enough, the Jeep felt great and we are now ready to hit the streets and not fear the dreaded death wobble