Super Hub Bolt Upgrade Kit
With Bill Johnston
Have you ever jumped on the gas in four wheel drive expecting the tires to grab and pull the vehicle through the rocks? But then you see bolt heads flying and someone tells you your hubs are spinning inside the wheel? Time to beef up the hub bolts!
Ok, so the hub on the right doesn't seem very stock looking. But believe me, it's got legit Suzuki roots. We just added some bling we built ourselves and combined it with some muscle from Spidertrax.
|Now the hub on the left looks a bit more like you would expect on a Zook, and this upgrade works just as well on the stock hubs, but we had problems with our beefed up back axle that was outfitted with a Spidertrax Full Floater Sidewinder. We kept blowing out stock hub bolts and then aftermarket replacements.|
|Although this looks similar to a front setup, we set the rear up with front disc brake calipers. That is why we know it will work up front just as well. We will probably do the front next to keep everything consistent. The first thing to do was to remove the brake calipers.|
|After removing the brake rotor, we removed the aftermarket bolts and saw just how trashed they were. And these bolts were the ones that survived! The bolts have a limited surface in which to 'grab' onto the threads in the housing. There just isn't enough 'grab' to keep the bolts from vibrating loose, even with loc-tite.|
|These two pictures are where the front and rear look a bit different. Because of the strength of the full floater, we used the drive flange from the front of a four door sidekick that didn't come with locking hubs. This took away the possibility of blowing a rear hub under power. Then we pulled the axle shafts to get them out of the way.|
|We needed to remove the wheel hub so that we could work on it easier. Work on it? Yup. If we are going to use larger hub bolts, we definitely need to increase the size of the bolt holes. If the bearings looked worn, this would be the time to take care of it.|
|We then took the drive flanges and the wheel hubs over to the drill press to make sure the changes were done with the least amount of problems. This is not a job for hand tools. While the drive flange isn't really critical, you still want the bolt to fit perfectly so that there is no 'wobble room'. We used the 3/8" drill bit and cutting oil that Spidertrax included in the kit.|
|Next, we changed out the drill bit for the 'Q' bit from the kit. Using the cutting oil again, we drilled out the threads in the wheel hubs. The new bolts are not only larger in diameter, they are also longer. This adds 81.4% more thread engagement and 41.8% more cross sectional area per bolt.|
|The bolt is about a half inch longer, and would bottom out at the stock depth. This means that it would be better if you just plunged straight through and out the back of the hub. Just a little pressure and some more cutting oil will let the new drill bit cut through like butter. The back side of the hub is not a flat surface, so take your time and don't force the drill. Be patient.|
|Here is where a steady hand will make all the difference. We used the tap from the kit to get the 3/8" fine thread ready for the new bolts. Here is where we tapped deep, going all the way out the bottom of the wheel hub.|
|You will need to click though to see the detail in these two pictures, but you can see the threads as they go all the way through.|
everything is cleaned up and you are satisfied that there are no
metal shavings in or on the hubs, you can install the hubs back onto
You can also see on the right just how much larger the new bolts actually are.
|After reassembling the hub, the bolts are prepared using the locktite that is supplied with the kit.|
|Although you are installing the bolts quickly so the thread locking compound doesn't get sticky - It will still take about 24 hours to completely cure.|
|One small glitch in the installation is the size of the lock-washers. As you can see to the left, the washer sticks out beyond the edge of the hub. The brake rotor and the wheel would never fit past this. So a quick pass with the grinder leveled the washers with enough room.|
re-assembly is quick and easy. We now have a stronger attachment to
our wheels! It also looks pretty trick. The Spidertrax site says
this can only be used on Warn Premium Hubs... I think not.
Just remember to plunge straight out the back of the hub for the
Oh, to answer that question about the not-so-stock-looking cap on the hub flange, we had to come up with something to replace the press on caps the flange comes with... gotta admit it gets the discussions flowing after a hard day on the trail.