Chrysler has a history of making parts that interchange between numerous years and models, and in this case with various options. I just ran into something similar with the half shaft for my '88 Grand Caravan. The shaft was for a '95 model, which is quite different, but the shaft is the same except the newer models were available with anti-lock brakes. The replacement shaft had the ABS tone ring that I didn't need, but it also had a metal ring that forms part of a splash shield on the newer models. That ring hit the wheel bearing and prevented the outer cv joint from going all the way into the wheel bearing. Look for that on yours too, especially if you don't have anti-lock brakes. I just had to tap that ring off.
I've also run into a couple of vehicles where that metal ring was part of the outer cv joint, and it fell off and got stuck to the spindle. If that gets overlooked, you'll have two of those rings in there and the joint won't go all the way in. Compare the old and new outer joints to see if there's a difference.
Also, when you say you can't put the hub on, do you mean there isn't enough threads to start the axle nut, or you can't push the spindle in enough to reconnect the lower ball joint? I've had people think the outer joints hadn't gone all the way into the bearings because they couldn't push the spindles in far enough to reconnect the ball joints' studs to the spindles. In fact, it was the inner joints that had been pulled apart too far and had come apart. Wiggling them until the rollers lined up allowed them to collapse back to where they belonged, then the shafts became shorter and allowed reassembly of the ball joints.
Friday, February 27th, 2015 AT 7:52 PM