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Unread 03-19-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
Gordon-0
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HELP!!! Front Axle Gears Backlash

Just finished installing a Spartan Locker in the front (D30) of my TJ.
Before I took the bearing caps off to remove the carrier, I never thought to get a feel for how much movement there was in the Ring and Pinion gears.

After finishing installation, I've got the bearing caps torqued down as tight as I feel comfortable, and the locker itself is working as expected, but I am nervous about the amount of backlash I can feel in the gears.

I will go get a feeler gauge tomorrow to check exactly how much there is.

1) I never removed the ring gear, since I have 3.07 gears, it wasn't necessary.
2) I marked the bearing caps when they were still in the axle
3) To back up my feelings that the bearing caps are correctly positioned, there are corresponding marks on the axle housing which match the marks on the bearing caps. The Passenger side is a " < " and points the same way on the axle and the bearing cap. the Driver side is an " ^ " and also points the same way on the axle and the bearing cap. as you can see, there is no way to get this wrong.
4) I am 99.999% sure that the bearing race and the actual bearing are installed in the same place they were before. The bearing body never came off the carrier, and the race was left on that side of the axle. I am only a little bit uncertain because I was upside down at the time of re-installation, but I cannot believe I would have gotten that wrong.
5) I have never even TOUCHED the inside of an axle before, so what I am feeling as far as backlash may be completely normal, and I am blowing it out of proportion.

Can anybody read this and make some sense of it?
I really don't want to trash my gears/bearings/axle.

Thank you in advance

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Unread 03-19-2013, 07:27 PM   #2
rchase559
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You need a dial indicator to measure backlash, not feeler gauges.

Other than that, if you didn't mix anything up during reassembly then the backlash of the gears can't change. It may have been loose to start with, I know the factory setup on my rear D44 was.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
Gordon-0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rchase559
You need a dial indicator to measure backlash, not feeler gauges.

Other than that, if you didn't mix anything up during reassembly then the backlash of the gears can't change. It may have been loose to start with, I know the factory setup on my rear D44 was.
How do I set up a dial indicator?
I was going to measure the gap between gears...

Should I not worry then?
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Unread 03-19-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
freeskier93
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I would stop worrying, you didn't do anything that could change backlash. If you happen to have a dial indicator it wouldn't hurt to see what it is.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
Gordon-0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeskier93
I would stop worrying, you didn't do anything that could change backlash. If you happen to have a dial indicator it wouldn't hurt to see what it is.
This is what I was hoping to hear. The movement isn't enough to see, but I can hear it and feel it.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 08:36 PM   #6
freeskier93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon-0

This is what I was hoping to hear. The movement isn't enough to see, but I can hear it and feel it.
As someone who has set up gears I can tell you that .006" of backlash actually feels like a lot, and the clicking sound is very amplified by an "empty" housing.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 09:19 PM   #7
chevy2169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeskier93 View Post
As someone who has set up gears I can tell you that .006" of backlash actually feels like a lot, and the clicking sound is very amplified by an "empty" housing.
^ this. Normal. Put it together and put some fluid in it man.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 10:11 PM   #8
Gordon-0
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Thanks everyone.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 10:25 PM   #9
rchase559
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon-0

How do I set up a dial indicator?
I was going to measure the gap between gears...

Should I not worry then?
I would put it back together and not worry.

In case you're curious or just want to learn something new there are a few tutorials on the net that show how to position the indicator and measure the backlash. You need a magnetic base to go along with the dial indicator.
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Unread 03-20-2013, 07:30 AM   #10
tators
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And for future reference ... when you torque bearing caps... that means you use a TORQUE wrench and tighten to specified torque setting...
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Unread 03-20-2013, 07:33 AM   #11
Gordon-0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tators
And for future reference ... when you torque bearing caps... that means you use a TORQUE wrench and tighten to specified torque setting...
I have an inch pound wrench but still need to go get a foot pound one for stuff like this.

I wasn't expecting to remove the carrier but I couldn't get the roll pin out otherwise, so out it came.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
Gordon-0
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Well everything works great.

I finished everything up, put new pads, calipers, and hoses on (I was having intermittent brake drag on one side) and filled her up.

At first I was doubting the thing was even working, I got no clicking or anything. Put it in 4-low and did some figure 8s in a field and it locked up just as expected.
I do get a slight bind when reversing with the wheel turned in 2wd but that's not a real concern I guess.

Thanks to everyone who helped ease my nerves

Mark me down a happy Spartan Locker customer
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Unread 03-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
FarmerinVA
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Sounds like you're good. If you are curious about backlash, see the install thread in my sig. I was a novice when I did it so I explained at a level that a novice (as to backlash ... not to imply that you're a novice otherwise) would understand. I agree with those who say you don't need to think about it. You didn't change yours.
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