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Occational use and front diffs

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Steve88, Apr 10, 2000.

  1. Steve88

    Steve88 1/2 ton status

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    A few guys at work were talking about one guys new Amigo. He had a 4x4 prior to this one but opted for a 4x2 because "he didn't take it 4x4ing more than a mile a month and that's what Isuzu recommends for keeping things working right up front".

    Well, not that I'm buying into what this guy was talking about with his toy....but it did worry me a bit. Since my rig isn't trail ready, and won't be for some time, is there something that I should be doing once a month or so to keep the front diff, axels, joints, in good working order? Someone else told me you're supposed to drive it in 4wd for at least 5 miles a month. Now, I do know enough not to throw it into 4wd and drive it on the street, but since I now have my manual hubs in, would it hurt to throw it into 4wd, not lock the hubs, and drive to work like that maybe once a month or so?


    (ya I know, get my butt up on some trails and not worry about it!!! I'm getting there.....)

    <font color=red>Steve88</font color=red>[​IMG]
    88K5 Silverado
    thunderdog@metallica.com
     
  2. shaggyk5

    shaggyk5 1/2 ton status

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    you are ok. As far as i've always been told, you can do just that and run in 4wd with out locking the hubs. It just serves to splash and circulate the fluid throughout the diff case and axle. (to remain lubed) You should have no probs.

    shaggyk5

    aint nuthin in the world like a heavy chevy!!
     
  3. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    Yeah, I've always heard that you need to put it in 4x4 about once a month to keep everything lubed. Now I've got a different problem, mine has been on haydite blocks in the backyard for 6 months, will I be allright when I get everything swapped in?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Durant, Ok
    '79 Blazer in progress
     
  4. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    The way I was told to exercise the frontend (obviously manual hubs!) is to lock hubs in, but leave the case in 2wd. As I was told, if you use 4wd but don't lock the hubs, the diff (assuming open...) will most likely spin one axle much more than the other, probably the short axle. This creates uneven wear of the bearings, etc.
    Anybody got other opinions? I'm sure this is useful info for almost all of us.

    [​IMG] Semper Maintenance!
    [​IMG] So many ideas, so little money...
     
  5. Steve88

    Steve88 1/2 ton status

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    Geeze, hadn't even thought of that. So make the wheels spin the axel instead. Hmmm. I guess that serves the same purpose huh?

    <font color=red>Steve88</font color=red>[​IMG]
    88K5 Silverado
    thunderdog@metallica.com
     
  6. Kodiak

    Kodiak 1/2 ton status

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    I don't know about problems with having it in 4wd and the hubs unlocked. The only bearings are the needle bearing inside the spindle that supports the axle shaft. Don't know why that would wear it out faster than normal 4wheel use. I use my 4wd so often that I don't unlock my hubs. I try to unlock them for a bit in the summer but I know I have gone 18 months without unlocking them before without any problems. I really don't think its a problem anyway. The gear oil gets sloshed around in the diff from normal driving. What else needs lubricant that doesn't always have it? I also think its best to repack wheel bearings and regrease hubs yearly, specially if you do water crossings often. I know people that have gone years(5-10) without ever putting it in 4wd and the 4wd worked fine when finally used.
     
  7. Goose

    Goose 1/2 ton status

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    I think driving in 4x4 once a month is good for the front diff more than anything. Even with it sealed except for the vent tube, daily heating/cooling combined with natural humidity will introduce some condensation to the system. Maybe I'm paranoid, but driving in 4x4 will heat up the oil, put fresh lubricant everywhere and force out moisture. The spindle bearing could probably use the workout to distribute the grease around. During hot weather I could see this tending to move towards the bottom. As to where to drive, I usually cruise around on some sand roads for a while using the sand as slippage. I aim for any loose sand every so often. When I'm done I stop, unlock the hubs and back up about 15 feet turning the steering wheel back and forth. I've never had any problems w/the t-case coming out of gear. I started doing the backing thing after driving on Interstate on snowpack which ended and left me on wet pavement. I got off as soon as I could and had some trouble getting out of 4x4 until I did the backing thing.

    '73K5,SM465,NP205,33"BFG,4"TuffCountry,3.73:1diffs
    350.4bolt+mods,Warn8000#,Factory skidplates
     

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