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How much play should there be in rear diff gears?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by OhioJimmy, Jan 22, 2001.

  1. OhioJimmy

    OhioJimmy Registered Member

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    I just opened up my rear 10 bolt for the first time and I have some questions because I don't know jack about diffs. Ok where you have the 4 gears opposite one another with a shaft connecting 2 of them and the others riding against the same shaft if that makes sense ok the gears on the shaft have alot of play in them I can move them with my finger, and when I move the wheels back and forth the gears slosh and clunk some and thats where I figure the clunk comes from when I put it in gear, also the big side mounted gear has a pretty good chip out of one of the teeth. I am towing a trailer to Kansas in a month and need to know what I need to do if anything at all. Thanks ...Chris

    tree? what tree?
     
  2. Stoopalini

    Stoopalini 1/2 ton status

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    I don't know the answer to your question, but if you want a reference pic, go http://Stoopalini.coloradok5.com
     
  3. northgate

    northgate Registered Member

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    You should have very little play in the internal gears (the four opposing each other) and I would under no circumstances tow anything with them that worn, especially with a chip in the ring gear. You need some replacement parts immediately.
     
  4. baby blue

    baby blue Registered Member

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    sounds good

    babey blue
     
  5. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Check out www.ring-pinion.com They have a write up on worn/broken ring/pinion gears. It explains what and how to fix chipped teeth, and whether or not it is feasible in your case. As to the pinion gears (also known as spider gears) there should be NO movement, except circular around the pin that retains them. If they are sliding, that means they have already worn the teeth down, and the washer underneath them is worn. At worst, you will have to replace all the gears and the washers. Be prepared, the only kits I can find that do that are over $80. Get a posi and do away with the open carrier, as it is the cause of the failure.

    Dorian
    My K5 and Chev/Olds tech/links page: <A target="_blank" HREF=http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html>http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html</A>
     
  6. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    dyeager535,

    pinion gears are not the same thing as spider gears. The pinion gear is the input from the driveshaft that meshs with and turns the ring gear, hence the phrase "ring and pinion". The 4 spider gears are what make the axleshafts able to turn at different speeds.

    Back to the original question. It is normal for 10 bolts to have worn spider gears and go "clunk". As to how worn is acceptable, That can't really be answered by description alone. A new set from GM is $250. I have heard of aftermarket sets that are more like $100. Another option is to take the spiders out of a FRONT 10-bolt that has not seen much use, from not being in 4WD very much. Just make sure to match the spline count (probably 28).

    The chipped ring gear, however, sounds like bad news, unless the chip is very minor. You probably need to get a new ring and pinion (maybe $500 with labor) or swap in a different axle. 10-bolts are plentiful and cheap in junkyards. OR go for the gusto and swap in a bigger axle, which is probably a good move anyway if you plan to do a lot of towing.

    <font color=blue>"As of tomorrow, employees need security cards for building access. Pictures will be taken Wednesday and cards received in 2 weeks."</font color=blue>
     
  7. OhioJimmy

    OhioJimmy Registered Member

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    Thanks guys I appreciate the feedback, I will start looking for a 14 bolt tomorrow but if I can't afford it I am going to have to take my chances on the Kansas trip as it is a have to do thing but hopefully I'll find my new diff. Thanks again

    tree? what tree?
     
  8. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Actually, if you check any GM service manual, at LEAST all the way back until 1967, (and including my 1982 truck service manual) you will see that "spider gears" are a misnomer. there is no mention whatsoever. They are in actuality called pinion gears, and the shaft that retains them is called the pinion shaft. I have to assume that the pinion term comes from the fact that they are what transfer the rotation of the case to the axles...hence pinion gear, just like the large one that drives the ring gear. "Side Gears" is another way I have seen them mentioned. But this is a little like posi/limited slip and stub/sub frames. Nothing more than technical terms that people sometimes assume are correct when in actuality, they are incorrect commonly used terms.

    Dorian
    My K5 and Chev/Olds tech/links page: <A target="_blank" HREF=http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html>http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html</A>
     
  9. northgate

    northgate Registered Member

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    Internal gears are the ones that go around the pinion shaft and side gears are the ones that the axles engage.
     
  10. gokartergo

    gokartergo 3/4 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    If I wasn't cofused before...............I sure am now.............LOL

    Become one with naature............Then marinate it...
     

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