how to learn to install gears and diffs. - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Jeep-Short Wheelbase All discussion of short wheelbase Jeeps: CJ, TJ, YJ and JK

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 09:37 AM
Posts: n/a
how to learn to install gears and diffs.

I just called the local off-road place and they told me they want $450 JUST to install a locker. and then the cost of the locker and any other parts on top of that.

i am sorry but that is insane.

so i have decieded i am going to teach myself how to install gears and diffs.

talking to people on here in the past i understand it isnt all that hard, and is a valuable skill to have.

I need your help tho, who do i learn this?
like will the directions that come packaged with a locker be all i need? or is there a book or a website i should read up on? or is this something i should like go and take a class on, or find someone locally who knows and have them teach me.

I want to do this on my own jeep, and not screw it up. but i also have friends who want diff work done, and i would feel especially aweful if i screwed up one of their rigs.

so guide me oh great jeep masters. tell me where i can obtain such knowledge and learn this new jeep skills.
Sponsored Links
post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 09:54 AM
Grapehead's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 681
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

i wouldnt. its a PITA, lotsa work, then all your friends want you to do theirs too.

unless you only work on 14bolt rears, they are cake.

i hate shims.
Grapehead is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 10:37 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

well i happen to have a 14bolt under my jeep now... but thinking about replacing it with a rockwell 2.5.

but as far as friends wanting me to do theirs...

that is a big part of this all.

i know alot of people want it done.

and i dont do work like this for free.

If i knew how to do it i could do it for my firneds and make some cash.

charge much less than the shops charge, but enuf to make it worth my while.

at very least i would like to try with my own once. if it is miserable then i will never do it again.
Sponsored Links
post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 10:45 AM
Keyboard Implanted
Rio_Grande's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Southeastern Indiana
Posts: 4,767
Thanks: 3
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

Richmond gear has a video out that makes the ford drop outs and dana's look like cake,, but I have never done the deed so I do not know if it is as easy as it appears in the vid.

Randy's ring and pinion has it for like 20.00 including shipping.
Rio_Grande is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 10:56 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

$450 for a install is steep. Is that with the center section out of the vehicle? or is that drive-in and they do all the work? I know that if I drive a vehicle somewhere and tell them to do the locker, it will be costly. There is labor involved in disassembly and other BS> However, I was told if I just brought in the center section, it would be like $125. I hate to give money away on something I know I could do given time, but my time is more valuable so I will pay someone to do it once and that's it. Check around and ask about just bringing in the center section, not the entire vehicle.
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 11:41 AM
Old Hand
Hooch's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: East Grinstead, Great Britain
Posts: 729
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.


I gathered some basic instructions long time ago and put it on my website which is now hosted on a different address.

Go to: and click on "Jeep Tech", then "General" and finally on "Setting up a differential ring & pinion".

I must admit that I haven't done it myself before but will need to do it as well and don't feel like paying somebody else to do it for me.

Hope it helps.
Hooch is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 11:55 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

I have done the AMC 20.....twice. The second time was because I got it wrong the first time. Let me stress that pinion depth is VERY important.

I agree with the others...$450 is very steep.

My personal opinion is that it is not worth the trouble. Depending on the type of diff, you will need a lot of specialized a bearing press for example. And, if you get it can kiss those gears goodby.

Shop around. A more accurate price should be in the $150-200 range. Also, make sure you have everything you need. This is also a good time to look at gears. If your running anything over 31" tires and your gears are lower than 3.73....then this is a good time to get the gears you want. The added cost is small in the grans scheme of things. Changing gears does not add to the cost of labor.

post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 12:03 PM
Posts: n/a
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

First Time posting but I have been reading the Forums for awhile now, and

I have installed
gears dana 44, dana 30

It may look and sound easy and at certian points it is, but as long as you take your time with it and get very picky with the location of things it turns out great and you save yourself lots of money,

I bought a book at a local bookstore on installation do's and dont's and from that i was able to get it down.. if you would like i can scann in send you the main pages that i found helpfull too me

post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 153
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

I put gears and lockers in my Dana 30 and AMC 20. I first gathered all the information I could find. Randy's, among others, has a very good write-up and I had the instructions that came with the gears. There are some specialized tools that are needed. A micrometer and dial indicator being the most important. My wife is a machinist so I used her tools. Actually her old ones, but still accurate. She won't let me use her good stuff.
I think it is important get the differential on a workbench to work on . I have heard of people doing a gear job while lying under a vehicle, but I sure wouldn't want to.
Another thing to remember is that close isn't close enough. It's either in specs or it isn't.
The pinion bearing gave me the most problem. I finally ground down the inside of the old pinion bearing race so I could take it off pretty easy when adding shims. At first I didn't completely understand setting the pinion preload, so I stopped work for over a week while I asked questions and read until I did understand what I was doing. Remember, close isn't close enough.
I couldn't make up my mind which lockers I wanted to install, so I put both differentials together without lockers because I was tired of the jeep sitting on blocks, which was a big mistake. I finally decided to install Detroit's and got to do most of the work again.
MuddyCJ is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2003, 09:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 524
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Re: how to learn to install gears and diffs.

I have to second that... I paid a hundred something for new 4.88's and a master install kit for my 20. I had access to the needed tools, and did a little reading (not enough) and managed to get my 4.88's in, and driving. No more than a week later, I smoked the pinion and a few teeth on the ring. It cost me ANOTHER hundred something in parts and install kit, AND $400 in shop time to take it to the gear shop, say "I was a complete idiot" and "please fix it right!" So, while I too think that 400 bucks is way steep for an install, its what I payed here, and if I had payed it up front it would have been a couple hundred extra I would now have in other parts on my jeep. If I had more time to sit back and take one small step at a time and someone to ask needed questions of, I would try it again, and hope for better results though.

Just food for though.
irjpr is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome