Rebuilding a rear differential

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Rebuilding a rear differential

The main reason to have a limited slip differential in your rear axle is to maximize traction on slippery surfaces, such as snow, ice, or mud, which can be exacerbated with an open differential. Another important reason is to help distribute the torque to the wheels from a high-performance engine and transmission combination.

The limited-slip differential transfers torque to both wheels even if one wheel is spinning. This is a huge improvement over the traction-limited open differential. Limited slip differentials also maximize acceleration of the vehicle. To determine whether your vehicle has a limited-slip or an open differential is one of the easiest driveline checks. The first step is to place the vehicle on a flat and level surface, block the front wheels, and raise the rear wheels off the ground with a jack.

As always, practice safety first and place the vehicle on jack stands. Shift the transmission into neutral and make sure that the parking brake is released.

Rear Differential Replacement vs Repair: Which One Should You Choose?

Now just rotate one rear wheel in the forward direction and pay attention to the rotation direction of the other wheel. If it rotates in the same direction forwardthe rear end has a limited-slip differential. If the other wheel rotates in the reverse direction, then the rear end has an open differential.

It is that simple. However, there is one exception: An extremely worn clutch-plate-style limited-slip differential may act like an open differential because the plates are so severely worn. But this method works for most cases. You may wonder why one wheel rotates in the opposite direction. There is a lengthy engineering reason for this, but it can be summed up by the following simple equation:. If the carrier speed is zero, which basically means that the pinion and prop shaft are not rotating, the left side of the equation is equal to zero.

In order for this equation to work, the other wheel, in this case the right, must rotate at the same speed but in the opposite direction:. The equation is satisfied. Basically the differential gears are free to rotate relative to one another inside the differential case while the differential case is stationary. One of two things can happen.

Understanding and Diagnosing Rear Differential Noise

The clutch plates can slip relative to the differential, and the differential case would not rotate. If the differential case does not rotate, the hypoid ring gear and the pinion will not rotate. Basically, it would be the path of least resistance.Select Year: Select Year Select Make: Select Make You have just landed on a site dedicated to helping people in need of a rebuilt rear axle assembly for their car, truck or SUV.

We offer rebuilt rear axle assemblies, reconditioned rear axle assemblies as well as picking up your broken axle for repair or refurbishing. When it comes to shopping for an axle assembly you will find people will also refer to them as a rear end assembly or a rear differential. All of these terms are used by people to describe what part they are looking for when shopping online. A rear axle assembly will include an axle housing, axle shafts, ring and pinion, gears and seals.

With dual-wheel axle assemblies the brake rotors are always included.

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Rebuilt Rear Axle Assembly When purchasing a rebuilt axle assembly, it is important to note there are differences between a rebuilt axle, reconditioned rear axle and a repaired rear axle. A rebuilt axle assembly is a used axle or core rear axle assembly that has been taken down to a bare housing and had all of the internal parts replaced.

Most of the time used axle shafts are installed in a rebuilt axle assembly unless a new axle shaft is needed. This is done to help hold down the cost and has no impact on the reliability of the unit.

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All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. Site Map.See all 32 photos. When it came time to lower the rear of our Ford F project, we knew it was only best to drop the rearend and at least do a quickie "garage floor" rebuild before flipping the springs and bolting it all back together.

The more we thought about it, however, we decided that it would be better to simply truck it on over to the professionals at Currie Enterprises and have them give it a good run through, teaching us a few things in the process. For many years Currie was known as the place to take a 9-inch Ford rearend for a rebuild. But with the company now producing nearly every item to build a rearend from scratch, it's usually cost-prohibitive to rebuild an old rear when you could custom order a brand-new one from Currie for less.

Factor in the shipping of your old rearend to and from Currie's facility, and the fact that it could be an unusable core, the new, crate rearend option sounds even sweeter. They have to be removed by an open-end wrench. Early units have the boss, but no hole. They'll use those numbers if the rearend width is to be modified. Note the difference in the size of the ring gear bolt head—the open diff uses a larger bolt head, and the traction lock unit uses a smaller head bolt so it fits into the cover's relieved area.

The stock '69 F rearend featured sealed large bearings, and Currie upgraded it to the tapered large bearing for heavier load capacity for truck applicationsas well as greater side-load capacity hard cornering, for example. The notations on the back of the axle flange are the length, wheel bolt pattern, and the drill size for the wheel stud holes. But if you're concerned with restoration, or at least keeping the rearend that was in your ride for sentimental reasons, Currie will update it they don't do "restorations" per se.

It may not be cheaper than buying a new 9-inch from them but, if you gotta have the original housing in your truck and want new innards, they'll work with you just like they did with us. For this application, Currie installed larger axle bearings, updated the spline axles with spline units, added a new pair of inch drum brakes, and replaced the old third-member with a new 3.

The only thing not replaced was the housing itself, which still had the original leaf spring pads in place. So follow along to see how Currie does it and, keep in mind, we were only able to capture a portion of all the measuring and rechecking of the parts and pieces during the build process—they're obsessed with it!

rebuilding a rear differential

They are about 2 inches long, which allows for adjustment when the rearend is assembled. The result is a reduced operating oil temperature of up to 85 degrees. Currie used the shorter version both are inch thread to give the rearend a cleaner look and allow the builder to relocate the brake line and block to a less conspicuous location.

Close Ad. Ryan Manson writer Eric Geisert writer. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter.Your rear axle differential serves an important purpose in your vehicle, and you count on it to keep functioning properly. But what happens if your rear differential starts to malfunction or cannot work properly at all? Otherwise, you will need to find a mechanic you trust to make some important rear end repairs.

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To understand the importance of rear differential repairs, you should take some time to understand exactly what this component of your car, truck, or SUV does. The rear end differential connects to the transfer case or transmission via the driveshaft. The rear differential is responsible for changing the direction of the power, so it is no longer along the car or longitudinal.

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From there, the differential directs that power to the wheels. The differential contains gears that help with this degree change of direction on the rear axles. The axle shafts in the rear differential connect with the wheels and are responsible for rotating so the auto moves forward. You need to take care of your rearend differential just like you would any other component of your auto.

One important aspect of servicing rear differentials is their lubrication. The gears within the differential need to be covered in gear oil, a substance that lubricates not only the gears but also the bearings.

The oil also helps keep the components cool, so they do not overheat. This fluid will break down as time passes.

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Additionally, metal filings come off the bearings and gears and collect in the fluid. Between the metal filings and the breakdown of the fluid, you must change the rear differential fluid every once in a while. Your maintenance for this component will also involve changing the gear oil as a preventative measure against damaging the interior gears, which are the pinion gear and ring gear.

During rear differential service, your mechanic will take off the cover from the component. From there, they will clean any of the old fluid found in your differential cases. They will then reseal the cover and add in the appropriate amount of clean, new fluid. For most cars, you just need to change the rear differential fluid every 20, to 40, miles.

From there, you can ask your mechanic about the cost to service your rear differential. Two main symptoms occur in the case of a bad differential sound: rear differential noise and rear or front differential leaks. One of the most common signs of an issue with your rear diff is an unusual differential sound. This may sound similar to howling.

This pinion bearing noise may have variations in pitch, and it may come and go. These variations will depend on the load on your differential, as well as the severity of the problem. If you think you may hear a rear differential noise, let your mechanic know. Many people mistake it for tire noise and then just ignore it. If this happens, you may find yourself with much more serious problems and more expensive and extensive repairs.

Although noise is a common symptom, you are probably more likely to notice a fluid leak or just low oil for your rear differential.In recent years, rear axles have become so robust and reliable that most mechanics have long forgotten how to diagnose and repair them, much less modify them.

The rear axle is one part of the vehicle that has evolved over time into a variety of designs but has never been replaced. Yes, we have made huge advances in materials to increase strength, developed better mounting structures to control deflection and noise, and designed even better bearings and seals to ensure long-term durability.

We have even developed suites of sophisticated tools to analyze and predict the math and physics behind gear reaction loads. But the same basic function and implementation is evident. The most frequent complaint made of any rear axle is a gear-generated or bearing-generated noise.

The next most common complaint is a fluid leak. Fortunately, actual gear failures are very uncommon on modern vehicles, so gears are typically serviced only when the vehicle owner desires a ratio change. Altering the axle ratio or swapping a limited-slip differential in place of an open differential can greatly change the performance and feel of the vehicle.

For instance, a hp big-block with a 2. However, you need to resist the temptation to install 4. First you must understand the effect of tire size on the overall ratio. And you must understand the basic structure and maintenance of axles. The typical beam axle has to provide the structure to support the gears and differential. It also needs to provide mounting points for the brake hardware and suspension, and must react to loads imparted by every interfacing vehicle system.

This chapter covers most of the in-depth processes required to rebuild the complete rear-axle assembly. I will also include references to specific topics that are covered in other chapters, namely hypoid gear set contact pattern Chapter 6 and limited-slip differential rebuild Chapter 4.

To best diagnose an axle problem, it is always preferable to road test the vehicle before tearing it apart unless, of course, the part failed catastrophically and made its own exit through the axle housing. Most issues can be lumped into one of the following categories: noise, vibration, or leakage. Try to isolate the exact circumstances that exhibit the noise.

rebuilding a rear differential

Is it occurring during mild acceleration, heavy acceleration, during deceleration, or all the time? Does it get worse as you drive faster or slower? Tire noise is usually most prominent around 60 to 80 mph. Noises that change with acceleration and deceleration are typically gear noises.Schedule Service Locations. This system comes into play when turning corners in particular. Differentials vary depending on the drivetrain:.

If you experience any of these issues, make sure you schedule an appointment with your local Chicago-area service center to avoid further damage. Visiting a service center could help avoid a full differential rebuild, as sometimes a simple repair can solve the problem.

Possible repairs include:. A complete rear differential replacement includes replacing the housing, gears, bearings, and seals. The average time it takes a certified mechanic to perform a differential rebuild at a shop is usually three to five hours. A rebuild on a commercial vehicle by someone without prior experience could take much longer. Our service technicians specialize in trucks and commercial vehicles and have all the equipment and OEM parts necessary for the repairs.

We also have a rotating selection of service specials to keep your business vehicles running at an affordable rate!

rebuilding a rear differential

Look for this link on your favorites: Save. Cab vs Engine Trucks? Search Anything Do I Need a Differential Rebuild? What is a Differential? Differentials vary depending on the drivetrain: Standard rear-wheel-drive vehicles have the differential on the rear axle.

Front-wheel-drive vehicles have the differential on the transaxle. All-wheel-drive vehicles have differentials on both the front and rear.

How to Rebuild a Rear Differential Visiting a service center could help avoid a full differential rebuild, as sometimes a simple repair can solve the problem. Possible repairs include: Rear differential gasket replacement Rear differential pinion seal Differential side seals Rear differential bearing replacement Replacing the rear differential gears A complete rear differential replacement includes replacing the housing, gears, bearings, and seals.

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Differential Repair & Rebuild

Saved Vehicles Close. Share This Close. Choose How To Share: share-via-facebook share-via-twitter share-via-linkedin share-via-email share-via-sms text. Contact Us Close.Other then a catastrophic failure where all the internal gears are destroyed most rebuilds are performed because the differential is either leaking or has excessive free play.

I've known of a number of Torsen differentials getting fried when the owner puts 2 different size tires on one axle and drives on the street. This causes the torsen gear set to constantly bind, overheat and destroy itself. Differential failure is almost always a bearing, and the noise would be a rear-end rumble which could come from the rear diff, of course.

A clunk implies that there is excessive play and the only place that much play could come from is the ring-pinion gear interface.

Rear Axle Restoration and Rebuild (Chrysler 8.25)

Again, once it starts to go out, the noise will also be a rumble, not a clunk. Noises travel well, especially in things like the rear end, so locating the actual noise can be tricky. Most clunks are due to either U joints failing, or a problem with the axle shaft CV joints or center bearing. The clunk noise is saying there is too much free play somewhere, while a bearing failure, with its characteristic rumble, usually doesn't cause a clunk. Noisy rear ends can go many thousands of miles before failing as long as the case has oil in it.

What usually happens is that the pinion bearing fails and self destructs. This allows the pinion gear to thrash about causing incredible noise. It sounds like the world is coming to an end; and it is. Once the pinion gear fails it causes excessive play in the pinion shaft causing leakage at the seal. The differential then proceeds to drain itself in a period of a month or so. Once the oil is gone things quickly degenerate.

I've seen pinion gears that have had all the teeth sheared off completely. In one case, the ring gear was still in good shape, and might even have worked. Of course other damage resulted in having to replace the entire unit. On a flat surface I jack up one corner of the truck under the A-arm to get the tire just off the ground.

I go under the truck and look at the half shaft as it comes out of the geared hub. I move the tire back and forth a bit and watch the half shaft. If I can move the tire and the half shaft doesn't immediately move I know I have free play in the geared hub. Next do the same thing looking at the half shaft as it comes out of the geared hub. Watch the brake rotor. When I rotate the tire back and forth and the input side of the half shaft moves I see if the brake rotor is moving with the half shaft.

If it isn't the half shaft has free play You might want to grab the rotor and move it while watching the half shaft at the hub. Next I put a screw driver in the U joint on the input side of the diff and try to turn the diff. You can check all the U joints this way.

Then I chock the wheels that are still on the ground and put the tcase in Neutral. If you don't chock the wheels the truck will roll. I rotate the drive shaft watching for free play in the U joint as it enters the diff. As you turn the drive shaft watch the brake rotors for movement. You can grab the rotor and drive shaft and move both to detect free play.

It's not unusual to have some free play Only experience will tell you if there is too much. If you do all 4 corners you should find differences. If you find one diff much looser then the other then you may have a problem. I've found that new half shafts don't have any discernible free play.


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