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I know I'm not supposed to, but what are my chances?

Discussion in 'Differential & Driveline' started by RecklessWOT, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    So I blew the spiders and axle gears in my suburban while a few hundred miles from home. It's a 1/2 ton with a 10 bolt and 3.73s. Limped it to a buddy's house in 4x4 and have a place to work on it. Got new gears and a pin for it, was about to throw them in and call it a day when I noticed the carrier was smashed up where the spiders go. I've got a carrier from another car laying around that I should be able to bolt my ring gear to and toss right in. Only problem is that I don't know the first thing about shimming a rear and from what I read it looks like I don't have a lot of the tools required to do so anyway.

    I'm in a real bind right now, I've been living out of my truck and everything I own is in the back. I need to get back up from CT to NH for a job interview soon and I have less than $100 to my name so buying a whole new rear or paying a shop to fix it is out of the question :whymewhyme:. I'm seriously considering just throwing it together using the same shims that are in there now and hoping for the best. What are the odds that it won't blow up on me if I do that? Has anyone here ever successfully changed a carrier without shimming it? Is it common to be able to do that? I understand that it is not the right way to do it but I'm kind of out of options and running out of time. Am I just screwed or could it work?
     
  2. theblindchicken

    theblindchicken Full Access Member

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    Hey Reckless,

    Haven't personally done this myself beyond only pulling the carrier and gearset out of a 14bff. Always sounds like its more about having the right tools and taking the time to get it correctly spaced.

    Unbolting the ring from the carrier was no big deal, but getting the pinion out was quite difficult. Had the axle up on a set of sawhorses. Ended up using a pair of vise grips to engage the parking brake on either side and a torch to be able to break loose the pinion nut. Had to get the pinion gear pressed off. May be able to use a simple gear puller for that though?

    Hope these links helps you out:

    http://knowhow.napaonline.com/how-to-rebuild-a-gm-8-5-10-bolt-rear-differential/

    http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Gear_Setup/
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  3. bucket

    bucket Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you clean the carrier up enough with a die grinder or dremel to get the new spiders in?
     
  4. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    I had originally thought about just trying to clean up the carrier but when I actually went in there with the dremmel it became obvious the thing was just junk. Smashed real good.

    I ended up just using the other carrier. I didn't have to take the pinion out, just swapped my ring gear to the other carrier and put it back in place using the same shims and bearing races to try my best to keep the spacing the same.

    Honestly it feels pretty good. I've only put 20 miles or so on it as of now, but so far there is nothing noticeable going on. No howling or grinding, no vibration, no clunking. Hell it clunked more than that with the old guts in there. Which means it could possibly be too tight, or it could just mean it was going bad for a while and I just got lucky now.

    We'll see what happens. I only need this to last me a few months, maybe a couple thousand miles if lucky. I won't be treating it like the 3/4 ton I usually do. In a few months this thing won't be my daily anymore and I had plans to put 4.10s in it anyway so if I can just make it till then I'll be fine. Heh, wish me luck
     
  5. mistaake

    mistaake Full Access Member

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    Don't drive like your username :)
     
  6. highdesertrange

    highdesertrange Full Access Member

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    you said "wish me luck". you are going to need it. you have a slim chance of it being ok. highdesertranger
     
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  7. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    Love you too!





    Hah, no in all seriousness though I know it's not gonna last forever. I understand what I have done is not proper and is not a good recipe for a long lived rear end and it will definitely wear out sooner or later. I'm just gonna baby it and pray for later...

    I got about 250 back to NH, then maybe 100 miles round trip to my job interview, then who knows. If I can carefully drive 1,000 I'll be happy with that. Not like it's gonna grenade 50' up the street, I've already been driving around town the last few days and it's been fine.

    Worst case scenario, wouldn't be the first time I've had a front wheel drive full size truck. That'll cause all other sorts of damage, but hey you gotta do what you gotta do. I'll deal with it when I'm not fucking homeless. I got a knack for driving vehicles till there is just no physical way to keep it on the road any longer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
  8. kleedus

    kleedus Full Access Member

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    I was out of town with my mom at a hospital in salt lake city. was driving my 88 suburban and the rear end started grinding and howling real bad. so I limped it into the parking garage. had very little money and had to get it fixed to drive home.

    I always carry a good tool kit when I travel.
    so in the hospital parking lot I jacked it up to see what was bad ended up being a bad bearing on the carrier that chewed the carrier up to bad to just put a bearing on it. it had a 10 bolt front and rear.

    I pulled apart the front axle and got the carrier out of it and put it in the rear with the rear shims and ring on it. it worked did not howl or vibrate. I drove that suburban for 3 more years after that swap.
    it was not perfect but it worked in a pinch to get me home. and I drove it as my work ride 80 mile round trips daily. when I parted the suburban out the rear axle was still running fine no noises.

    it was a challenge to tear apart both axles on the same truck in a busy crowded parking garage. and holy shit did I get some weird looks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
    85 CA SIERRA 1500 likes this.
  9. kleedus

    kleedus Full Access Member

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    I would not try to do it with new parts and expect it to last forever. but for a short term fix to get you by it should work.

    if its running with no major noises or vibrations it should last for awhile.
     
  10. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    So far I've put about 350 miles on it, some of that was on the highway at 80+ mph, some on pretty beat up backwoods roads. Still no signs of trouble in the least bit. Like I said I'm gonna be easy on it, but yeah so far so good.

    Hah and that's a crazy story taking both of your axles apart in a parking garage, I bet you were getting some funny looks. That's some good quick thinking though. I carry a pretty good set of tools with me too so that was certainly no issue, I was just worried it wouldn't last. But from the sounds of things, I guess it could be alright after all. Thanks for giving me some hope lol.
     
  11. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    Just an update for anyone who stumbles across this thread with a similar question

    I've got almost 10k on this rear since the change. Still working great.

    I'm not dailying it anymore after after some lady hit me head on and messed up my alignment. Truck is fine, just needs a bumper (which I have and will put in when there's not snow on the ground) and a quarter window (the leaf blower I had in the back wasn't secured good enough to take that kind of impact) I'm gonna see how close they can get the alignment before I put the new tires on it. But before the crash I was driving it back and forth for work out of state putting about 1k miles a week on it with no issue. Since I started driving my other car daily I only bring out the burb when I need to haul stuff around, even towed a with it a few months ago. The rear is holding up just fine like nothing even happened.

    Not a recommended solution, but it seems that you can in fact get lucky.
     
  12. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    3 year update-

    So the truck is still running strong. I'm nowhere near dailying the truck anymore, probably not even weekly at this point, but I have put a few thousand more miles on it since then. I put the 33s on it shortly after that last post. A few big highway trips (I drive fast), towed a few heavy trailers, even got it real stuck in the mud at my camp and was able to aggressively rock it out. Still no real issues, no clunks or howls. The pinion seal let go a couple years ago so I replaced that, but nothing involving the gears.

    I plan to re-gear the truck soon, I already wasn't digging the 3.73s and now with the 33s I definitely want to go shorter, thinking about 4.56s. I'll see what the rear looks like when I get it all apart, but I bet it'll still look decent (maybe with a little extra wear but I highly doubt it's all chewed to shit, I'd hear/feel that).

    So yeah I guess that's a good final answer. Not recommended, not the proper way to do it, but it's not like it just blows up right away. For a yard truck it would probably last forever. Even for a street truck or a work truck, it'll get you by for quite a while. Cool.
     
  13. bucket

    bucket Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Good update!
     
  14. shiftpro

    shiftpro Full Access Member

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    I take it you have found life improvements...?
     
  15. RecklessWOT

    RecklessWOT Full Access Member

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    Oh yeah, life is good man. I was in a rough spot at that point in time, but things are great now. I've never been the type to let stuff keep me down for too long, I'm too damn stubborn and determined. The whole ordeal lasted less than a year, was okay before and am okay now, just the perfect storm of shit-tastic events all at once. A lot has changed. Since then I've bought another house, got married almost 2 years ago, landed a great job, and I even have a beautiful 15 month old daughter now. AND the Burb is still on the road too lol. I'm slowly starting on my resto after all this time. It'll take a while, but something else to look forward to nonetheless
     

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