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Opinions re: 8 lug D44 issues

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by la_blazer82, May 2, 2005.

  1. la_blazer82

    la_blazer82 1/2 ton status

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    I bought a 8 lug D44 several months ago with 4.55 gears that came off of a '77 K20. After finally re-gearing my 14bff to match, I was servicing the D44 to finally try it out. I changed out the inner & outer seals and wheel bearings. I also opened up the diff and ALL the gear oil was a mix with mud, and there were several small pieces of metal shavings at the bottom of the diff. I cleaned out the diff as best as I could, and when dry, I noticed that the gear to carrier bolts were all loose. Although I have never touched and gears before, this doesn't seem right to me. I hand tightened them for now, re-filled the diff with new fluid.

    I knew the axle housing had a small crack, but this is something different. Probably my fault for not opening up the diff fill nut to check condition of the gear oil. Anyhow, does it sound like I should have the gears looked at? The bolts holding down the ring to carrier should be torqued to a certain lbs. and not loose, right? I turned the driveshaft by hand and the ring and carrier rotated.

    I engaged the the t-case in 4HI for the first tiem since the axle swap, and it didn't feel right. Almost as if it were in 4LO. I have a 350/TH400R/208, with 4.56 gears F/R, and 35s
     
  2. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    If there are bolts on something, generally they arent supposed to be loose. Find the torque rating and torque them correctly.
    You sure of your gear ratios matching? Make extra sure so you don't tear out your t-case.
     
  3. la_blazer82

    la_blazer82 1/2 ton status

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    The guy I bought the axle ran a 14b with 4.56, and the D44 with 4.55 gears, which are stock. When I was looking at the gears, it had stamped on the edge the info of the ring, including date (4-2__-77), ratio, and manufacturer (Dana).

    I looked at the teeth of the ring, and none appeared damaged. The metal flakes were black.
     
  4. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    Is it the 10 ring gear bolts that are loose or the 4 carrier bearing cap bolts that are loose? Can you see where the black flakes came from? Could they be from the carrier bearings or pinion bearings? Maybe they were rust flakes from the cast housing because there was water in the diff?

    At any rate you will be better able to tell what is wrong when you pull the carrier out to replace the inner axle seals. You could replace the bearings when you do that if they look bad. You also need to take all the bolts out, clean them and the hole they were in with brake cleaner, and use red locktite on them before you torque them to spec. It wouldn't be a bad idea to check the backlash on the gears either (you can borrow my dial indicator if you want).

    Cover Bolt Ft. Lbs. 30-40
    Pinion Brg. Preload In. Lbs 20-40
    Pinion Nut Ft. Lbs. 200-220
    Ring Gear Backlash .005-.008
    Ring Gear Bolt to case Ft. Lbs. 45-60
    Side Brg. Caps Ft. Lbs. 70-90
     
  5. la_blazer82

    la_blazer82 1/2 ton status

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    Not sure if this will post up, but here is a pic of the ring and carrier. If you look closely at the ring gear, you can tell that the first bolt just above the tie rod, looks really loose. So I guess it's these ring bolts that I'm concerned about. 8 out of 10 were loose, and the other 2 were just hand tight.

    http://offroadworld.tenmagazines.com/gallery/LAexpy/134579.jpg

    Here's a pic of the metal found in the bottom of the diff in all the mud

    http://offroadworld.tenmagazines.com/gallery/LAexpy/134580.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2005
  6. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Those broken peices look like the pinion gear..possibly..

    From what I can see...
    That axle needs a rebuild..maybe new gears.

    I'd pull the carrier...check the bearings...replace them if needed.
    I'd also pull the pinion...check those bearings.

    After you have this thing apart...
    I'd look at the housing very carefully...for a crack.

    I wouldn't put a dime into a cracked housing..
    I'd replace that too...if needed.

    Good luck!!! ;)
     
  7. la_blazer82

    la_blazer82 1/2 ton status

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    This is what I was afraid of. :frown1:

    BTW - The housing does have a small crack, at or near where the axle tube meets the housing. I was aware of the small crack when I bought it, but I was told the gears where in good condition and mainly bought it for the ratio and 8 lugs. I haven't yet done so, but I was planning on getting the housing welded.

    I don't know the first thing about gears, so I'd be hesitant to mess with them. If they're trash, is it probably better to find another axle and junk this one since the housing is cracked and the gears might be bad?
     
  8. RustBuket

    RustBuket 1/2 ton status

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    It'd definately be easier to swap in an entire axle than try to swap gears and get the housing welded, etc.
     

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