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Humble advice on installing new gears..Very long

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by cbrown, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    I thought I would post my experience in the hopes that someone else doesn't have to travel down the same path. A little background first. I recently purchased an 85 blazer with a bad engine. To put my mechanical ability in perspective I installed the new engine in a day and a half and had it runs great. This is about the 5th engine I have installed or helped install. My dad helps me with most of this and his mechanical ability is way above mine. So I assumed that with some extensive research and a little time it would be no sweat to install new gears. The 3.08s and 35 combo just wasn't ideal to say the least so a switch to 4.56 was the natural thing to do. I spent nearly 3 weeks researching on how to install the gears. Printed numerous post and instruction sheets as well as watched a video that came with my gears 3 times. So I feel that my preperation was more than enough. By the way the full size chevy website has a great writeup on how to install the gears. Now to the mistakes.

    1. Take everyones advice and have someone install them for you. Yea I know saving several hundred dollars is a lot but chances are you will "dealing" with issues in your rear-end for several weeks if not months if not years. I would love to see the stats on the people that installed gears and got it right the first time vs people in my situation. I think this would be very lop sided. I have completely had mine apart twice and had the chunk in and out at least 15 times during the first install. So my point is let the trained mechanic be the one to deal with all of this. I now have to pay to have my stock gears re-installed and am either going to sell the truck or wait until I have the money to have someone install the gears, which by the way the front cost more than the rear (quotes from 100 to 200 more). This is after spending at least 36 hours of my time on it.

    2. If you still have to do it yourself, Buy ALL the right tools the first time. This was probably my downfall. I thought I could get away without some of the spec. tools. Trust me you can't. But in my opinion that still isn't enough because you need to have a good feel for what it should be like. And that can only come from experience in my opinion.

    3. Make sure you have a adequate set-up to do the work. I have seen advice given that you need a truck load of patience to do this. Well from experience if your workspace is inadequate then you need 3 times that much. I had a nice shop to work in. But with no car lift there is only so high a truck can be. Even with 9 inchs of lift it gets real old being hunched over under the truck for several hours trying to get tolerances within thousandths as needed. It also needs to be very clean. Any dirt, trash, etc... will make the job much harder and add to the frustration.

    4. There are two things that I greatly underestimated. The first is that reading a pattern on low gears is very difficult. I spent hours trying to get this right and basicly had to settle. The second is that setting pinion preload is VERY VERY hard and VERY VERY VERY important. Figureing out when you have crushed the crush sleeve and the getting the right inch pound preload is extremely difficult. For the first timer, all the directions I recieved are vaigue at best in describeing how to do this. This is something I think can only be done right the first time if you have had experience. Again just pay someone.

    I know that some people will not agree with me and that is ok. They were able to do it right and saved a ton of money. Which can happen but you need to one have a lot (more than you could dream of) patience and get a little lucky. So if you are thinking about re-gearing maybe this will at the least make you think about it a little more before you dive right in. And you won't spend a ton of extra money. At least a feel better now that I have vented. One last thing. I think the best adive I have seen is if you want to regear find some 3/4 or 1 ton axles that have better gears and swap them. Would have been much much better and cheaper in the long run.
     
  2. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    I just finished installing a Detriot and 5.13's in my D60. I had all the right tools- in-lb torque wrench, dial indicator etc. It was well within my ability to accomplish. It did however test my patience to a great deal. First issue that drove me crazy was getting the original carrier out of the housing. I ended up having to wrap a chain around it, hook the other end of the chain to the tractor and yank it out that way. 4 wheel drive John Deere tractor spinning all 4 tires in reverse on pavement..it took a couple jerks to get it out. Now, I have installed gears before, but it was always on the original carrier were I had a pretty good chance of getting it set-up correctly the 1st or 2nd time. With everything being new in this case, I just had to start from scratch. I musta had that damn thing apart about 20 times trying to get everything just right. The one thing I did that really saved me alot of time, was making a set of "set-up" bearings. I took the old carrier bearings and enlarged the inside with a drum sander on my die grinder till they dropped onto the Detroit with no press. That made setting backlash a snap. If a shim combination didn't work, pull the carrier out, pull the bearings off with my fingers, add/remove shims, put bearings back on, re-install carrier and try again. That was the only thing that went fairly easily. Setting pinion depth/reading the pattern about made me suicidal. Musta smashed my fingers about 574967593 times tearing it apart so many times...a Detriot with ring gear is a heavy bitch. Some of my tools are forever lost in the trees on the other side of the fence from me throwing them in frustration. I learned that I can do this, but I won't ever do it again. If for some reason I need to set up gears in a 60 again, I'll be paying someone to do it.:crazy: I can set up gears in a 14 bolt in under an hour...But the 60 is different animal. All Dana axles actually.
     
  3. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    I did the same thing with the bearings and it did make it much easier. Problem is I didn't know when it was right. Just takes a lot of time and you may not get it right the first or fifth time putting it all together.
     
  4. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    I assume you didn't have a dial indicator then? That is one thing that is absolutely required to do it right.
     
  5. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    Not the first time. But for the second go at it. I did. Hence what I feel was my downfall. Screwed up too much stuff the first time.
     
  6. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I consider myself to have been successful regearing my front 10-bolt. It could be that everything has been OK because it is the front. Apparently, a rear is more critical. I should mention that it is more difficult to break-in a front, though. The only "special" tools I used were a dial indicator, an in-lb. wrench and a breaker bar with a 4-foot pipe.

    If I was doing it again, I would get one of those Bearing seperators from Harbor Freight. I took the pinion gear to a shop twice to get the stinkin' bearing pulled off. $5 a pop is reasonable, but what if I wasn't so lucky and had to take it apart 15 times?

    I think it's best to do your first try with the same shims that were on the old gears. I think that's the best bet to be in the ballpark.

    What kind of symptoms was your diff showing?
     
  7. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    I had all the right tools for the second try at it.

    The rear end is great until you just barely hold your foot on the gas to maintain speed. If you on the gas or off the gas it is fine. I have to talked to several gear shops and the consenus is that I didn't crush the the crush sleeve. The only torque wrench I had was a 20-80 ich pound click type and that just aint good enough. Shops around here want 60+ for a pendelum type. Which isn't that bad but I would just rather pay 200 and be sure it is right or have someone else on the hook if it is wrong. Plus my patience is long gone. I think I would puke, if I had to open it up again. If I had had all of the righ tools to begin with maybe the result would have been different. But That is a big if. It is a massive undertaking.
     
  8. xtrmjoe

    xtrmjoe 1/2 ton status

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    I am not sure why you did so much research and did not figure out that you need the right tools. The special tools to do this kind of job almost cost what you would pay to have it done. But if you want to know what is going on in there and may do it again or have friends that want help it pays off real quick. No to mention that a shop press is just a good thing to have laying around as is good quality in/lb and ft/lb torque wrench, also a powerful air compressor and impact can come in handy as well. Gear install is one place not to cut corners do it right or have it done right.
     
  9. 85mudblazin

    85mudblazin 1/2 ton status

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    I did both my front 10b and my rear 14bff, the 14bff is so easy, the hardest part of that is just getting to crush sleeve to crush but that was also hard since the axle was out of the truck.
    The front 10b was easy also, the only tihn that I ran into was getting the new ring gear to fit over the carrier but a freezier and a torch fixed that. The 10b is a little trucky in that you use the external shims, the crush sleeve on the 10b was easy I did that with a ratchet and socket, I didnt have a in/lbs wrench so I went by hand and it turned out good. not sure what you had so much trouble with. But all i can say is the most important tool is the dial indicator with out that you are lost.
     
  10. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    That was the exact point of my post. If you are going to do it, buy all the right tools. The first time I set it up I didn't have a dial indicator. BIG mistake. As I said before this was my downfall. I thought I could just set them up a little loose and it would be fine. Then I bought an indicator, stand, etc and still have issues. Probably because I set it up wrong the first time and screwed up something on the pinion. As for the fact that I should have known this by my research. True. I was trying to save money. Like you said, it cost about as much to have them installed as it does to buy the tools. Now that I can't get the rear right I have no faith in being able to do the front. Plus my patience has worn very thin with it. I am by no means a shop rat. I would much rather spend my free time playing golf etc.... This has a lot to do with it. I am just tired of working on it. All I was trying to do is keep someone from making my same mistake I did. In my case I should have 1. budgeted for ALL the tools at first. or 2. budgeted the cost of having someone install them. In my opinion you must do 1 of those two things.
     
  11. mxfireman

    mxfireman 1/2 ton status

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    Well thanks for all the info you just talked me out of doing it myself. I really don't want to spend all that money on those tools. Dealing with the frustration and lack of experience in this department.

    The thing that gets me is if I
    I think I would literally lose it.

    Thanks for the info!!!
     
  12. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Just as a suggestion, if you ever try again, start with a front, not a rear axle.

    The front is not as critical with pattern and you can pay someone to do the rear. Rears cost less to set up anyway.
     
  13. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    That is great advice. I definitely should have started with the front. Then worst case it whines a lottle in 4wd.
     
  14. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    I haven't actually done one yet but if I ever get around to it, I'm going to do my own.

    I think it'll be fun, if it's irritating I'll just walk away for a week or so. I've out-grown the time where I let my truck exceed my available patience, my work quality goes out the window when I do that.
     
  15. K5MONSTERCHEV

    K5MONSTERCHEV 1/2 ton status

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    I skimmed through most of this, however I have a few questions for you. What brand of gear set did you use? Did you clean the housing before starting the install? Did you keep the shims in order where they came off and start off with them when you set up the new gears, then go from there? Did you keep track of the shims when you pulled it out each time? Also, theres setting them up, and setting them up correctly.

    Having the right tools is great, I can do a rear end pretty quick at work with all the right tools, shims, and everyhitng. However, sometimes theres that one rearend that will kick your ass, and that gets frustrating. All in all id say its pretty easy, but I have been doing if for a few years. Without the correct tools, its a PITA, like the oneswho post here on how to get the carrier out or whatever, dont have problems like that with the right tools.

    Good luck next time
     
  16. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    84_chevy I wish I could have took more time but I needed to get them done fairly quick. I didn't have time to leave it for a week. If you do then you will probably be fine. My workmanship went to crap after the about 10 staight hour. Well turthfully maybe the 4 hour. I don't have bear as much patience as I thought I had with stuff like this.

    k5mosnster Yukon gears. Housing looked clean before I started. I did wipe it out. But some trash ended up in there due to an unclean environment. One of the points in the previous post. Couldn't use the stock shims. Way to wide. I tried to use them but couldn't get the chunk in at all. I did make sure to measure the width and use the same total width with the shim kit that came with my installation kit. Kept the shims in order but set the backlash up loose the first time and went back and corrected it after I got a dial indicator. Yea I know this affects pinion depth and my pattern but I thought it would be fine. WRONG. I would say I set them up. Definitely not correctly. There is no good enough to work. It HAS to be right. If I would have just purchased all thr right tools the first time and had more time to devote to it, maybe the outcome would have been different.
     
  17. xtrmjoe

    xtrmjoe 1/2 ton status

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    I still dont understand how you spent "3 weeks researching" and did not figure out you needed the time to do it right.

    "Printed numerous post and instruction sheets as well as watched a video that came with my gears 3 times. So I feel that my preperation was more than enough. By the way the full size chevy website has a great writeup on how to install the gears"

    From http://www.fullsizechevy.com/fscu/axletech/ and also directly quoted below from there page which you refer to in the previous quote.



    What can I expect?

    Rebuilding an axle is easy, but time consuming. You will need at least 8 full hours of time and first timers may need more. The time will fly by. First timers can also expect to become frustrated. This is from not being sure of their skills.



    What will I need?
    Here is the toughest part. Getting the tools and hoping I didnt forget to list anything else. I am pretty sure I will list everything, but you never know.

    How are you going to say you saw the video 3 times and refer to the full size chevy web page and then completly ignore what they stated. I am sure the video showed setting backlash with a dial indicator as don the web page.

    Just dont get it wtf
     
  18. wasted wages

    wasted wages 3/4 ton status

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    Rant about this post,,,

    Just another example of today's socitity taking the easy way out,,,just run down and pay someone to do something you can learn yourself,,,

    Sorry,, but I grew up in a place and time that if "I" didn't fix my own vehicles,"I" walked,,now I don't much like walkin' so I learned the skills to repair/ rebuild anything on my trucks,and I never stop learning or trying,,and these skills have earned me a very good living.
    Hell I could even pay to have my rig built by someone else,, but it's the pride of knowing "hey I did this myself " that keeps me hungry for knowledge on how something works and learn to fix it,,I wish I had things like the internet and sites like CK5 that I could have gone to when I was growing up,,There is such a wealth on knowledge out there I can't believe someone that enjoy's working on their own rig would even think of paying someone to do work for them.

    I live by the motto "If there's a will ,,There's a way"

    BTW,,,once you learn a skill,,that's something no one can ever take away.

    OK,,Rant off.
     
  19. cbrown

    cbrown Registered Member

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    xtrmjoe I guess you don't have to get it. I thought I could get away without buying all the special tools. Yes I went against all the advice and the full size chevy website. Notice I stated that if you decide to do it buy ALL the right tools the first time. Don't think you can get away without them. But in my opinion it is better just to pay someone else. I knew it would take some time but by most estimates I figured a day at most. Boy was I wrong. That is if everything went right. In my case it didn't. I have never had any plans to rebuild anymore axles after this truck. And we will have to agree to disagree. Rebuilding an axle is far from easy. Anyway the whole point of my post was to keep someone else from doing the same thing. But thanks for pointing out my oversights that I already knew I made.

    Wasted Wages You say easy way out. I say I choose to spend my time other ways. I work longs hours and days and want to enjoy the free time I get. I enjoy working on my vehicle but everyone has a limit. There is probably a little confusion. This vehicle was meant to be my sometimes daily driver/snow and ice rig/hunting rig. I don't wheel for fun or anything of that nature. The only wheeling I do is during hunting season. So I do agree with you that if wheeling is your pastime then the knowledge is worth the trails and tribulations. But not everyone is the same.
     
  20. readymix

    readymix 3/4 ton status

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    I personally have done it many times and never had all of the special tools. I am sure life would be easier if i were to pony up the case and get all of that stuff.

    Spoken from a voice of experience i can tell you that without a doubt you will get pissed off and want to smash something the first time you try to set up gears. The anger will be caused by one of two things.

    • The crush Sleeve and pinoin preload procedure
    • Reading the gear pattern.
     

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