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Diff covers, aluminum vs. steel

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by DukeBoy88, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. DukeBoy88

    DukeBoy88 1/2 ton status

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    Just read an article in fourwheeler about a diff-cover abuse test. The aluminum cover held up for a while but eventually cracked open. The abuse they put these covers through I'll probably not see, however the SSteel and cast iron covers survived, even the stock cover. I know the aluminum cover will keep it cooler, some claim 45deg or so (Mag-Hytec). But is that just from the aluminum? or also from increased capacity, and increased surface area (fins)? could a steel cover with increased capacity and cooling fins come close? If so I may fab one up. I just want to protect my investment, I will see highway speeds and some towing with my 14ff. thanks in advance.
     
  2. KRAZIE87K5

    KRAZIE87K5 1/2 ton status

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    If you don't plan on abusing the cover, I would just go buy an aluminum cover. They will work good for you in both increased fluid capacity, and cooling effectiveness.

    -Dan
     
  3. Sidepipes

    Sidepipes 1/2 ton status

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    ALuminum transfers heat mroe easily than steel thats why your diff will run cooler.

    It's the same concept as aluminum heads..... they dissipate heat better which causes a loss in HP....The exact same engine with the exact same heads(one with aluminum heads the other with cast iron).... the one with iron heads will make slightly more HP. You have to boost the Comp ratio of the aluminum head engine to make the same power.
     
  4. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Well, since the stock cover is sheet metal, it will bend, cast anything (such as an AL diff cover) will certainly not take kindly to flexing of any sort, whether from the housing or from hitting rocks.

    I can't imagine that a 14FF will stress an AL cover from load, but I could certainly see it in wheeling conditions. Whether or not it's necessary to protect your investment...GM used stamped steel covers for how long, and how many 14FF's are still on the road without rebuilds after 20-30 years?
     
  5. Poohbair

    Poohbair 1/2 ton status

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    In either the new issue of 4Wheeler or 4wheel and off road, one of them has a test of about 5 or 6 different covers..including a stock one, aluminum one, the clear lexan one, a stainless one, and 1 or 2 others. I can look when I get home and let you know which mag it is in. I remember the toughest cover was the stainless steel 1 from Molten Image Design. Ugly cover, but tough.
     
  6. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    If you are looking for cooling stainless steel transfers much less heat than steel. It is about the same as the difference between steel and aluminum. Chrome has the same problem.

    I don't see that a "normal" truck would ever overheat the fluid. If you tow a huge 5th wheel with it than by all means get the big aluminum one with the fins on it. If not just stick with the stock steel one.
     

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