How to: - D35 C-clip Eliminator, Made Easy | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

How to: D35 C-clip Eliminator, Made Easy

Prefix for threads which are instructional.


Moderator Emeritus
Elite In Memoriam
March 4, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
anaheim hills,california
Year, Model & Trim Level
95 ranger 4x4/ 91 X 4x4
...For those who go offroading and have a Dana 35 front axle, this is probably the best mod you can do for yourself...:biggthump ...This can turn a day of dis-assembling your vehicle into a 1-2 hour quick replacement of a broken passenger side shaft...

Edit:..Just for fun I R&R'd the passenger shaft using nothing but hand tools...It took 32 minutes total and that was dealing with the ABS sensor bolt on this truck...:rolleyes:

...This was done at the same time I did the Hybrid Dana 35 VS. True Dana 35 swap


...The driver's side does not have a C-clip, only the passenger side does...

...I had read a couple threads on this back when I put the Aussie in the front of my X...Some required welding, custom ordered springs, and I couldn't find a quick solution so my X did not get this upgrade...After suffering a broken shaft myself in my Ranger, it was time to re-read those threads and I again came to the conclusion that I couldn't find the parts or I would need some special tools and some welding...:thumbdwn:

...This picture shows the location of the C-clip still attached to the broken end of the passenger side axle shaft...It takes hours to get both axles and pumpkin out and get to this point in order to pull this C-clip, just to r&r the shafts...

...These were the 2 most popular threads I have read and they have great ideas on "How To" do this in several variations...I chose the second thread as it had a common spring to buy, but where to get it was a mystery...:scratch:

...While browsing on another Forum I found the same exact thread but it listed a manuf. and PN# so this got me excited to think I could do this...It comes off a piece of lawn equipment and can be found thru lawnmower shops...
Echo Part #:69621655730

...Then in one of the threads a guy added a 2 piece shaft collar and
knurled his shaft down so it would fit...After a little searching for the spring, (and a stop with my axle shaft in hand) to my local Industrial hardware store, I had the parts to do this...

...I found this 1 3/8 inch 2 piece collar and it was a perfect fit...

..I then took a screwdriver, stuck it in a spline on the shaft as a stop for the spring, and then took a pair of needle nose pliers and turned the spring counter clockwise...This made the spring open up enough to get it started over the shaft without having to distort it's shape permanently...


...After getting the spring most of the way on, I used a wider screwdriver to move each section of the spring onto the shaft...It takes a little more persuasion to get the end of the spring on but keep moving the other sections forward and it will move the end right onto the shaft...

...I took and placed the the 2 piece collar over the notch on the shaft (see previous pics) and added red loctite to the screws so they wouldn't back out...I then slid the colar all the way over to the tapered edge and tightened the screws...It was a perfect fit...:biggthump


...In this picture you can see the final working position of the spring and collar...(I used a bad boot as it helped show everything in position and also made a great cut away view)...You can also see with the spring compressed how it climbs onto the shaft and how the collar stops this from happening...



...and here is a front and rear view of it installed...:biggthump


...The parts cost for this was including tax:

2 piece collar = $5
Echo Spring = $2.50

Total cost = $7.50

...Labor will take 20-30 minutes to install..

...The only other thing you might want to do on this project is go to a muffler shop or your buddies house, and have him put on a couple tack welds to the collar...Just in case you are worried about the collar spinning on the shaft...;)

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

Thanks for the research and part numbers!

I was planning on changing my internal spring to an external one...

Collar at McMaster-Carr.

...No problem....:D

...I was so happy with this I almost want to tear down the front end of the X too...Almost..:hammer:

...The good thing about this, say you loose a U joint on the lower shaft, you can just simply move these parts over to another shaft and still be able to get off the trail...;)

Hey tbars, how was it getting the d35 back togther with taking it apart on the truck? I'm taking mine apart soon and I'm trying to figure if its easy to do like this or if I should just take it all off.

...I did it just like in the first pic...My reasoning was I could still easily drive it with the pumpkin and shafts out...Due to time constraints this allowed me to pull the drivers shaft and inspect all the removed parts and then remove the pumpkin (due to the broke pass shaft) on that side one day, and then I removed the pass side the next...The reinstall of the pumpkin itself is easy now on it's own and when time permitted, I installed the shafts at my convenience...

...Due to gravity, leverage/weight, and doing this myself with time constraints, I chose not to remove the TTB itself...

Pumpkin Removal
...You have to strip both the drivers side and the passenger side axles, and then pull the pumpkin in order to get to the C-clip...

...The pumpkin has a hinge on the drivers side and swings out and is fine to use while draining the pumpkin and the pumpkin re-install...Do not use that hinge while trying to pull the pumpkin out but instead, pull the long bolt and pop the pumpkin straight back and then lower it to the ground while pulling the passenger shaft out with it...

...Now you can remove the clip and re-install the pumpkin by itself...With the use of this C-clip eliminator,you now should never have to pull the pumpkin unless you have a problem inside of it, doing a re-gear, or installing a locker..

Pumpkin Re-install

...To re-install the pumpkin by itself, I guess the most important thing was a new tube of Black RTV...I first put a good bead on the axle arm and circled all the bolt holes...While under the truck, I had already pre-positioned the pumpkin and pulled it back down so I could have the right angles to put it back in after I RTV'd the pumpkin itself and not get my fingers in it...Again, I circled the holes and put a good bead on the pumpkin too...

...I then put the pumpkin up and slid it into place at a 45* angle, just enough for the bolt to be re-installed...Now, the pumpkin is ready to swing into place on it's "Hinge"...I got in front after swinging the pumpkin into place and eyeballed the screw holes for alignment...(this might take a little digging of the RTV out of the threaded holes to see the alignment)...I had one screw hole perfectly aligned and started there...I eyeballed the holes for the next screw and so on, all by hand...I used red loc-tite on each screw..

...The pumpkin is aluminum so care should be taken when aligning the bolts and tightening of the bolts...after all screws were in and snugged up as tight as I could finger tighten them, I used a star pattern to gently snug each bolt as I went...This is also important as the pumpkin is slightly off kilter until they are all snugged properly...I actually used a stubby ratchet to final tighten the bolts as I tend to over torque things wrenching by hand...

...Snugging the bolts on in the star pattern, you may find you have to repeat a couple times so be patient...I then Drove it for a day and re-checked the bolts to be sure they were still snug...Then I refilled the pumpkin as the sealant is totally dry by now...;)

...Changing the axle shafts, seals, and shaft bearings just got a little easier...I hope this answers your question...;)

Yes it did thank you, I think ill try this while I have to pull the pumpkin off to clean inside it, my axel seal was broken and didn't know what it was for a month or two, and when I changed it I noticed how muddy and milkshaky it was inside it, so ill do this while I'm in there, thank you again.
Should ask just to make sure thisworks for the 94 d35 ttb

...I don't think I mentioned it but, if for some reason you need to adjust the collar on the shaft for the spring tension or using a different spring, this collar can do that too...;)

...Let us know how it works out for you...:popcorn:

Dang thats much better then my setup, I welded the dust cap on and run a spring inside the slip yoke, it works, but I have to play with spring tensions and lengths and even then I have been in Moab twice now and lost the outer axle (came apart), finishing the Moab trip in 3wd

next time I have it apart I am going with an external retainer like this! Thanks!

...No problem and that brings up a couple good points...:biggthump

...The spring is only about a 30# spring and this set up will let you make adjustments easily without removing anything...You had mentioned welding the dust cap...A stiffer spring will knock that dust cap out but with this set-up, hopefully that won't be a problem...

my dust cap is now fully welded 360 degrees LOL the last ne had two spot welds, it didnt hold.

My local ace hardware sells a huge selection of springs, all sizzes and lengths and tensions, I have an entire box of them :) that 1-3/8" pipe collar is th ekey here!! daddy like!!

What dust cap?

What is the dust cap you are referring to? I've had my D35 apart (more than once) and I don't remember seeing anything like that.

When you went and closed everything up. Was it hard getting it to seal right? I've herd it can be. And ill be doing this myself aswell so just wondering

When you went and closed everything up. Was it hard getting it to seal right? I've herd it can be. And ill be doing this myself aswell so just wondering

I assume you mean re-attaching the pumpkin. No, it is quite easy.

The trick is to take 2 long bolts that thread into the housing (IIFC it's 3/8" - but check to be sure) and cut the heads off. Use these bolts as alignment pins when you re-seat the housing. Put the other bolts in, remove the pins, replace with bolts - you're all set!

..I do not have any pics of the dust cap but I am hoping 410fortune or, someone else who had welded theirs would add a pic here...

...I just edited post #5 on the pumpkin R&R...;)

..I will also add a couple more pics of the spring in the first post this eve...

..I do not have any pics of the dust cap but I am hoping 410fortune or, someone else who had welded theirs would add a pic here...

OK - can you tell me where it is?

...I'm waiting for you to run out and check yours...Is it missing???

...Thanks gentlemen...:salute:

...Here is another pic of a internal spring C-clip eliminator failure, and of the missing dust cap that I borrowed from a TRS thread...

If you look on the right side of the pic, you can see where the male shaft had knocked off the dust cap which led to a failure on trail...

Ok so is the dust cap the axel seal? That's what I'm understanding looking at the pics.

Ok never mind that I went out and looked at mu truck, but one more question. I see the pivit bolt. And my raidus arm has a cut out in it for that bolt. Do I still need to swing out the raidus arm to get the pumpkin out? OR NOT?

Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!

...If you can get it off without removing that, that is a plus..

...Can you edit your last post with a pic of the RA with the cut in it???..

..Removing that bolt was as bad as removing that C-clip in my opinion...If the Ford design was to be able to remove that bolt with the RA on, it would have made the job easier..:rolleyes: