The paint on the ring gear looks WAY better but it's a moot point considering it was torn up when the locker grenaded. Checking things before taking them out, the pinion depth was actually only 0.002" deeper than nominal for the 8.8 so if I was off from what the gearset and housing tolerance was meant for, I wasn't off by much and the backlash was right at 0.008".You just always have to bring new stuff to the table, dont you? LOL.
Your paint marks are scary. I have no idea of how many diffs I have set up over the years. Some for sure are of the shortcut methods but many are of the very correct methods. Like using diff spreaders to really set carrier preload etc. very accurately and with no pounding, banging and guessing. I have looked at tons of gear patterns but admittedly pay most of my attention to the ring gear, not the pinion gear. I do not paint the pinion gear so how could I ever know what its pattern looks like. Right? I am reasonably sure that your pattern is not ideal. LOL. Glad you ordered the gearset.
It is bizarre to me that Jeep guys preferred brands of things and drag racing guys preferred brands of things do not always line up. Moser stuff, spools, 8.8, 9", D44s, 12 bolt GMs and other half ton options that are built do not seem to have any traction within the Jeep world. The Jeep world ideal is to put the heaviest, bulkiest and not necessarily any stronger in meaninful places diff into our Jeeps with tons of work and mods to fit it.
Yeah, even telling some of my wheeling buddies my plan, I had to deny no less than four FB marketplace links to 14B axles being sold locally.
That said, I weighed everything on my axle...
Housing with truss and all my 1/4" crap all over it - 122 lbs
D44 front brake rotors and calipers - 43 lbs (stock 8.8 brakes are 7-8lbs lighter)
Ox locker, diff cover, and ring gear - 55 lbs (I suspect a spool will weigh a lot less)
Both chromoly axle shafts with bearings - 35 lbs
Total weight of what I was running = 255 lbs
I don't see any problems with the 8.8 considering I was on 38.5x14.5 TSL's for a year and then another year on 39 stickies with a V8. However, I broke the D30 gearset when I was on 35's. Granted I did bounce and they were fairly cheap Dana SVL gears. That said, I wouldn't upgrade the D30 until you have to.That sucks you have to do the gear set too but at least it will give you piece of mind knowing its all new. Very interested to see how this turns out as my wife wants to run 37-38s on her 2door xj with a super D30 and a super 8.8 currently on 35s. Its bare bones and weighs well under 4k