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GM Standard SFA Trucks & SUV's All discussion of full sized Solid Front Axle Trucks, SUV's to include Suburban

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-11-2002, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Spring\'s finally here

Well, its finally warmed up enough for the snow to start melting, and I'm getting excited about getting back out wheelin; but once again I need some help from you Gurus.

I've been getting obscene prices for the installation of a locker in my 14FF (like 800 bucks from most of the shops) so I've decided that I'm gonna have to do something about it my self. Whether its a detroit, lock-right, or lincoln, I gotta set the R&P up cause I got the G80. My questions is, apart from a dial indicator and a master install kit, what would I need to change the carrier in my diff? Do I need to get a pinion depth gauge or should I be able to do it by the stampings on the gears and by the contact patch...

I've never set up gears before but I've read lots of articles about doing it, and I think if I take my time I should be able to do it myself and save some serious cash.

I'm thinking I'm gonna stick with 33's this summer cause I tend to do alot of somewhat solo wheeling and I don't wanna be breaking things (too badly) when I'm off with only one truck.. Which leads to the next question... Can I run a welded or locked front D44 with 33's without breaking too much stuff?? Or am I asking for lots of trouble running a locked 1/2 ton front diff.. I don't got alot of power, but I do tend to abuse the truck..

Thanks for any help..

And speaking of insane prices, up north here 14FF seem to be kinda rare for some reason or other, and one boneyard I called said an open carrier with no gears would cost me 300 bucks. hahahaha, yeah right.


Edit: And for those who haved shaved their 14 bolts what tools did you use?
beaterchevy is offline  
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-12-2002, 05:57 AM
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Re: Spring\'s finally here

The 14FF is the easiest axle to set up.
If you are staying the same ratio, then it is even easier.
What I would do is get the open carrier.
mark the adjuster rings and housing.
Check to see what the backlash is. this can vary alot from diff to diff. Mine was at .018, which is alot IMOHO. but the patteren had been estableshed and I put it back to the same.
Back off the rings 2 turns and pull the carrier.
swap the ring gear to the open carrier.
Install the carrier and put the rings back to where they were.
swab on the marking compound and see what it looks like.
On a FF the pinion depth is easily changed by adding or removing shims from the pinion housing.
Adjust the backlash by moving the rings.
If you do have to reset the back lash getting the carrier pre load is kinda tricky but easy to do.
If it is too tight bye bye bearings.
IF after reseting the back lash to where it was in the begining, pull the pinion housing out and spin the carrier.
With a good pull on it it should spin about 8 - 10 seconds.
Personaly a locked front diff is just begging for trouble.
Lock the rear and wheel the crap out of it.
With 33's and my set up, I welded my spiders. I go just about any where I point the front at.
My biggest problem is that big pig in the rear and only 8 3/4 of clearance. But I am gonna shave it as soon as I get the d-ring made. I am just gonna use a sawz all and grind the erst.
If you are gonna shave it get a rock ring or make a d-ring.
The one I am in the process of making is 1" x 1/4".
Even with that big ol lip on it the rocks and stuff have almost peeled the cover off.
I have a bunch of other stuff in the fire at the moment so it will be a bit before I can whip one out.
But I plan on a write up on it so stand by for pics.
Check this out for shavin that pig.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-15-2002, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Diff Bearings..

Ok, thanks alot for the info.

When I get my open carrier I'll want to swap the bearings off the G80 over to the open.. Do I need a puller and a press to perform this?? And if I need a puller, will any old puller work?? I have a smallish puller, and can borrow a larger one, but I don't think I'll have access to a press... will a couple blocks of wood and a BFH do the trick?? Or am I asking for trouble..

For that matter, am I asking for trouble using the bearings that are on the open carrier with my diff??

How can I measure the carrier bearing preload?? Or is it just a feel sorta thing (spin test as above)... and for the pinion preload thats just how much torque it takes to spin the pinion gear right???

And are you implying that with used gears I should set the backlash as it was before, and try and get the pattern as it was before??

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for the help.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2002, 12:51 PM
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Re: Diff Bearings..

If the bearings are in good shape on the open carrier then just reuse them, just keep the races with the same bearings.
I have never gotten a set of bearings off with out destroying them in the process.
I just see how much resistence the carrier has, there prolly is a specific way but that is the way I have always done it.
If you are reusing the gears then whatever the backlash is when you start you have to set it the same, a pattern has been established and if you set it different then it will start to wear different.
Pinion preload is what it takes to turn the pinion with out the carrier in.
But if all you are doung is swapping the carrier then that will have no effect on the carrier preload.
You can drop the pinion housing out of the diff and it will have no effect on the preload.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2002, 06:15 PM
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Re: Diff Bearings..

I agree, Don't try to swap bearings from one carrier to the other. And DON'T weld or lock the front, please! I've seen trucks with 33's destroy front axles under light wheeling conditions.
post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-17-2002, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Diff Bearings..

Ok guys, thanks for the answers.. I'll definitely stay away from locking the front with the 1/2T axle.

So.. I can swap the carrier wihthout messing with either the pinion or the carrier pre-load?? All I need to set is that the backlash is as it was before, and adjust the pinion depth for a suitable pattern??

Thus the parts I would need would be gear compound, pinion depth shims, and a new pinion oil seal?

Thanks for all the help guys, I'm away from my normal source of info and tools, so I can use all the info I can get.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-18-2002, 05:33 AM
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Re: Diff Bearings..

First check the backlash before you do any thing, swab on some marking compound and see what the pattern looks like, If you have a good camera snap a couple of pics.
take a punch and mark the adjusting rings and housing.
remove the lock bolt and lock tabs from the rings.
back the rings off 2 turns, it is also a good idea to mark the caps for left and right,DO NOT MIX THEM UP.
Remove the caps and drop the carrier.
remove the ring gear from the carrir and install it on the open one.
install the carrier and caps and just finger tighten the bolts ,
turn the adjusting rings to where they were(2 turns)
Tighten down the cap bolts and check the back lash and if it is within .001 -.002" then swab on the compound and see what the pattern looks like.
If the pattern is way off then you will need to start messing with it.
If the pinion depth needs to be changed there is no seal to relace, all there is is the shims.
remove the housing bolts and the whole assembly will come out.
I do use High tack spray and spray a coat on the shims.
It is realy not a big job, as I said the 14FF is the easiest axle to work on.
Go to the tech section and look at Potent Rodent's Detroit install.
that will give ya a basic run down on how to pull the carrier out and familierize you with what is in there.
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