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Differential and driveline » 8 1/4 Rear axle » Adjustments
Side gear clearance

When measuring side gear clearance, check each gear independently. If it necessary to replace a side gear, replace both gears as a matched set.

(1) Install the axle shafts and C-locks and pinion mate shaft.

(2) Measure each side gear clearance. Insert a matched pair of feeler gauge blades between the gear and differential housing on opposite sides of the hub (Fig. 60).

(3) If side gear clearances is no more than 0.005 inch. Determine if the axle shaft is contacting the pinion mate shaft. Do not remove the feeler gauges, inspect the axle shaft with the feeler gauge inserted behind the side gear. If the end of the axle shaft is not contacting the pinion mate shaft, the side gear clearance is acceptable.

(4) If clearance is more than 0.005 inch (axle shaft not contacting mate shaft), record the side gear clearance.

Remove the thrust washer and measure its thickness with a micrometer. Add the washer thickness to the recorded side gear clearance. The sum of gear clearance and washer thickness will determine required thickness of replacement thrust washer (Fig. 61).

In some cases, the end of the axle shaft will move and contact the mate shaft when the feeler gauge is inserted. The C-lock is preventing the side gear from sliding on the axle shaft.

(5) If there is no side gear clearance, remove the C-lock from the axle shaft. Use a micrometer to measure the thrust washer thickness. Record the thickness and re-install the thrust washer. Assemble the differential case without the C-lock installed and remeasure the side gear clearance.

(6) Compare both clearance measurements. If the difference is less than 0.012 inch (0.305 mm), add clearance recorded when the C-lock was installed to thrust washer thickness measured. The sum will determine the required thickness of the replacement thrust washer.

Fig. 59 Gear Tooth Contact Patterns
Fig. 59 Gear Tooth Contact Patterns

Fig. 60 Side Gear Clearance Measurement
Fig. 60 Side Gear Clearance Measurement

1 - FEELER GAUGE BLADES
2 - SIDE GEAR

Fig. 61 Side Gear Calculations
Fig. 61 Side Gear Calculations

(7) If clearance is 0.012 inch (0.305 mm) or greater, both side gears must be replaced (matched set) and the clearance measurements repeated.

(8) If clearance (above) continues to be 0.012 inch (0.305 mm) or greater, the case must be replaced.

    More about «Adjustments»:

    1/4 Axle pinion gear depth

    Differential bearing preload and gear backlash

    Gear contact pattern analysis

    Side gear clearance

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