Diff conundrums
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Thread: Diff conundrums

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default Diff conundrums

    Hi all. I am in the middle of fixing up my 404 ute and the first thing on the list is to swap the 4.89 gear set for a more highway friendly unit out of a 504 wagon. I drove the wagon home and it drove great, no whines or other disturbing noises that I could discern. When I pulled the diff out and took the axles out, there was a suprising amount of metal shavings in the bottom of the axle housings. I was really hoping this had come from a previous axle bearing problem and started to clean the diff up. Everything looked good and the bearings that I can see are all there, but when I took the drain plug out, the magnet was full of shavings as well.

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    The question I have is, do I pull the diff apart even though it seemed fine when driving the wagon. I am always pulling stuff apart just to make sure and it comes back to bite me as it opens a 4 litre can of worms. I'm just now finishing my house after almost two years of rebuilding and adding on that started with ripping down a wall after we moved in to see if there was any rot; I just can't help myself. Back to the diff, if I do take it apart, can I just take the rear part of the housing off to inspect it without having to buy a rebuild kit? ASre there gaskets involved? Do I need new gaskets for the axles shafts or can I use silicon? Has anyone else done this swap before? BTW, if anyone is interested in the old ute diff for a rally car, let me know. Cheers!
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

  2. #2
    Member Pugknut's Avatar
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    Default To be or not to be....

    You see, this is a really tough questoin, but I think you have already answered it. No-one is going to tell you that this diff is perfectly fine even though it is full of metal shavings, even though this may be the case. And if you are like me you won't be comfortable until you have taken it to bits to try and find the cause of the problem anyway.

    You may kick yourself for pulling apart a perfectly fine diff, but not as much as you will kick yourself if you don't and it leaves you stranded at the side of the road.

    As the bard said "to thine own self be true". Time to start stripping.....

    Hoges

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Fordman's Avatar
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    Default

    In my opinion, it is normal wear&tear for a high km diff to have "metal-flake" oil. That is, the oil is full of minute filings, which shine in the light like metal-flake paint. I believe these come from the "scraping" action of the gear teeth sliding on each other under load.

    However, you call them "shavings" which sounds more like strips of metal which may have peeled off a disintegrating bearing or something.

    If it was just minute metallic filings, especially as you have driven it, I would check it for obvious damage, check the backlash is within limits, check that it turns smoothly in the bearings, and put fresh oil in it. The worst that can happen is that it gets noisier until you have to overhaul it anyway.

    If you are going to drive it around Australia next month, then I would be inclined to have a closer look. I'm a bit like you, once you touch it there's no end to the job!

    Cheers
    Fordman.

  4. #4
    Fellow Frogger! downunderyank's Avatar
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    Default 404 ute diff

    Thanks guys, I think you're both right, but I'm going to go against my instinct and for once go with the "if it aint broke, don't fix it" school of thought. It turns very nicely, no problem with the backlash and after all, I'm in Tassie and if it breaks, I'll just call a friend to tow me the entire 20K's back home. Thanks again.
    Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you judge them, you're a mile away and you've got thier shoes!

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