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Best way to break in front gears?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Masher, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. Masher

    Masher 1/2 ton status

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    What is the best way to break in the front gears? The rear was easy, just drive. Should I just lock the hubs in and drive in 2-wheel so at least everything up front is spinning, or do I need to lock it in 4-wheel so there is more of a load going to the front gears??
     
  2. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    I think driving with the hubs locked in is about all it takes. You cant drive down the road in 4wd... But if you have sand dunes nearby a putting a few miles in on sand with it locked in 4wd can be a good way to go as well.
     
  3. Masher

    Masher 1/2 ton status

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    Hey thanks for the quick reply! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Yeah driving down the road in 4-wheel witha locked front would not be fun. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  4. supersize75

    supersize75 1/2 ton status

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    lol, I for got about breaking mine in, but I had put my hubs together wrong and they were locked all the time for days so I guess they gor broke in anyways /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  5. muddysub

    muddysub 1 ton suburban status Staff Member Moderator GMOTM Winner

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    actually driving around with the hubs locked and not in 4wd is not going to break them in. by doing that your only wearing the coast side of the teeth on the ring instead of the drive side wich is the side that matters more. because your basically dragging them around instead of pushing with them. (get it.. kinda)
    i would go out and drive around on sand or even dirt roads for a while with the hubs locked and the case in 4hi. you need a load on the gears for them to begin wearing properly.
     
  6. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    by doing that your only wearing the coast side of the teeth on the ring instead of the drive side

    [/ QUOTE ]

    All GM front axles are running on the wrong side of the teeth to begin with but loading up the gears set is not the point of the break in. Even if you are running the axle off of the wheels instead of the driveshaft the same surfaces are in contact and they will be broken in properly if kept cool.

    [ QUOTE ]
    In order to make them run cooler and quieter, new gears are lapped at the factory. However, they are not lapped under the same pressures that driving creates. The loads generated while driving, force any microscopic high spots on the gear teeth back into the surface of the metal. This is called "work hardening". Work hardening is similar to forging in the way that it compresses the metal molecules into a very compact and hard formation. This can only be accomplished if the metal surfaces are lubricated and the gear temperature stays cool enough that the molecular structure does not change. If the temperature of the metal gets hot enough to change the molecular structure, it will soften the surface instead of hardening it. This may seen like a balancing act but it all happens easily & passively as long as the oil keeps the gear cool while it is breaking in. Some of the synthetic oils on the market today can help a gear set live longer. I've had great success with Red Line ®, Torco ®, and Richmond Gear ® synthetic gear oils. These oils will continue to lubricate at temperatures where many crude oils break down.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Randy's Ring & Pinion article
     
  7. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    lock the front hubs and drive it in 2w but make sure you watch the temp of the front gears stop and get out and feel the front pumpkin if it is way hotter than the rear stop and let them cool down /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  8. bigblock44k5

    bigblock44k5 1/2 ton status

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    I agree with muddysub 100%, the whole point to breaking in something is using it the way it was intended but by being gentle to it. what you guys are talking about makes as much sense as breaking in a cam with no lifters in it, its all about the wear surfaces on the product you are breaking in. if you drive around with the hubs locked, you will break in the backside of every gear, instead of where the load goes when you accerate in 4-wheel. besides, why would you want to drive around with a locked axle? leave the hubs unlocked and drive around TOWN in 4HI, avoid the highway. /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif
     
  9. kennyw

    kennyw N9PHW Premium Member

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    I emailed Randy's Ring and Pinion and asked about this...

    [ QUOTE ]
    I wanted to get your opinion on breaking in the gears on a 4x4's Front
    axle.

    Would simply locking in the lockouts and driving around in 2wd stopping often to allow the axle to cool for 500 miles (following your tech article procedure for the rear axle) be enough? Or would it be better to drive it in 4wd with a light load off road at a place like a sandy beach (still
    stopping often to allow the axle to cool)?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Then recieved this reply:
    [ QUOTE ]
    You have a very good question; the break in process for the front is not as crucial as the back for the following reasons.

    The back is always engaged and it takes the entire load in 2wd. The front rarely takes the entire load because the load gets distributed between the front and the back as you would have your 4wd engaged.

    If you want you can take it off road but don't take any loads as you might strain the back and stop to let the gears cool off.

    Following the tech article is enough for the break in process for the front and the rear and please remember to change the oil after the first 500 miles.

    I hope this answer you question,

    Xiomara Pilon

    [/ QUOTE ]
     
  10. Masher

    Masher 1/2 ton status

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    Cool /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif Thanks for all the help guys.
     
  11. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I just drove around in 4WD for a couple weeks after I put in my new front gearset. I think it did cost me some tire wear, though.
     
  12. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, when i did mine I just found a big loose-gravel parking lot and put it in 4wd, locked the hubs and drove for a while. on occassion, I'd get out and feel the diff cover. When it got warm, I'd take a 15 min break and listen to the radio and then start again. After about an hour and 30 mins of that, I figured it was good and the very next time I locked em in, I was wheelin'. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    j
     

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