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1999-2007 General Questions General questions related to 1999-2007 Super Duty trucks. If it doesn't fit the other categories, post it here. Gas engine discussion that pertains to all models is allowed. Specific gas engine questions should use the Gas Engines forum.

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Old 09-28-2010, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Limited slip differential

Was in the process of changing my rear diff. fluid when I noticed it was dark brown and smelled awful. Started cleaning around the carrier and found quite a bit of what I suspect to be clutch material laying in the bottom nooks and crannies.

Truck has 231k on it and the reason for the fluid change is that one of my rear hub seals was leaking so I decided to replace both L&R seals and do a fluid change. My wheels started chirping around turns but I thought that it was just because the wheel seal was leaking and the oil level and friction modifier was low (I put off fixing it for about a month when it started doing this ). Once drained the level was low, about half a quart.

So I figure with the symptoms and high mileage the LS clutches are spent so here is my question. I have researched quite a bit and am getting mixed answers....

Can I replace the clutch packs in the LS without having to realign everything? I have had some say that as soon as the carrier is pulled it needs to be realigned to the pinion EVEN IF you use the original shims. Others have told me as long as you do not remove the ring from the carrier and REUSE the original shims, replacing the clutch packs can be done by anyone with common knowledge and know-how......which is it dieselstoppers?!

Also, tousley has the rebuild kit for $140. Go with OEM or are there better aftermarket kits?

Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Alright, no responses but I always hate it when a thread is started but no conclusion or result is ever posted.

Did more research and found this

Sterling 10.25 Trac lock rebuild

it's for a 10.25 sterling but i've read that other than it being a tad smaller than the 10.5 sterling, everything else is identical. It seems that the carrier doesn't even need to be pulled, so that makes it that much more simpler. My guess is reinstalling the spider gears will be the most difficult. I'm going to try marking everything first in its starting position and hopefully that will take a lot of the guess work out of it.

I also called Randy's Ring and Pinion and the tech guy told me its a fairly simple install. A buddy of mine said the same thing.

Ordered the clutch rebuild kit from Tousley. Gonna stick with OEM stuff for now until I completely rebuild the rear differential. Comes with motorcraft friction modifier as well. $137.00
Seems like I answered my own question! haha. Check back, maybe i'll post a write up with pics!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you reuse your original carrier, you shouldn't have to re-shim it at all. If you are using all the same parts, the position of the ring and pinion relative to each other shouldn't change. If you want the peace of mind, you can measure the backlash and check the gear contact patch to remove all doubt. All you need to check the backlash is a dial indicator and a mount, and contact patch is checked with gear marking compound. The hardest measurement to set is the pinion depth, but if you don't remove it, it's not an issue. I installed ARB Air Lockers in both of my differentials and it was a straight forward installation - the shimming in the rear is super simple and the front is only marginally more difficult since the shims on the front go between the carrier and bearing, which means you have to pull the bearing to change the shims. For the rear, the shims go between the bearings and axle housing, so all you have to do is yank the carrier each time and add/remove shims. The only hangup you might run into is setting bearing preload. In order to do this easily, you need a housing spreader to spread the axle housing around the carrier ever so slightly. You only need a few thousandths of an inch, but the preload is critical for bearing life. My ARBs have been in for several years now and I have not had any problems at all. I have a write-up of the rear installation (with pictures) that has been passed around quite a bit among other members of this forum. If you want it, I can e-mail it to you.

Oh yeah, I made my own housing spreader for under $50. The "professional" version of the tool is somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. If you have a small welder and a way to cut steel, you can make it yourself and save a boatload of money - and it works just as well.

In the event that you need shims, I've got a whole bunch of them leftover from my installation that are free for the taking.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Like Greg said - my experience is the only time you have to re-shim is when you are replacing bearings or gears. Just to let you know - the 10.5 locker isn't as open as the 10.25 you have in your link. I haven't had to replace mine, but I've done the bearings and pinion seal. I don't see any way you could pull the clutches with the carrier in the housing.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well Dray, you were right. There is absolutely no way to pull the clutches without removing the entire carrier. The "eye" shaped holes are 1/4 of the size compared to the ones in the 10.25 link. Plus I forgot that the 10.5 has a 3 spider gear assembly and not 2 like the one in the link so they cannot simply be spun out.

It looks as if I have to pull the entire carrier and then unbolt the two halves to access the clutches. If this is done, is it still alright to just bolt the two halves back together once the clutches are replaced and put the carrier back in without having to adjust or measure anything? This is assuming that all the bearings wont need to be replaced, the pinion wont be touched, and the original shims will be re-used.

Greg, I would really like to have that write up you have done. I feel it would probably help clear up some confusion.

Also, here is a photo inside my axle tube...could that all be clutch material or also rust? How serious? Thanks
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Its kind of low tech, but I used my magnetic pick up tool and ran it up and down the axle shafts until I picked up everything that would stick. Then I got a rag, soaked it with solvent, and pushed it through the axle with a broom handle. By the time I was done, you could eat off of it.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah I figured that if I end up pulling the carrier I will just squirt some solvent down the tube from inside the diff. case. Probably use a rag on a long stick as well to get the remaining material. My mechanic told me that one of the previous owners probably towed a boat and when he backed it in and out of the boat launch, water got into the diff. and thats how the rust started. Hopefully it will clean up real well. Still lookin for some info on pullin the carrier though, so any additional info would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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After you get the axles out, you have remove the four large bolts on the bearing hold downs. Mark them before you pull them off as far as left/right and up/down. Put a piece of plywood or something to catch the carrier if you accidentally drop it. While holding the carrier in place, pull the four bolts out, pop the hold downs off, and the carrier literally pulls straight out. I'd guess it weighs about 75 pounds so be in a position to get it down safely. If you drop it - get your fingers out of the way. There will be shims on either side between the bearing race and the axle housing. Make sure you keep left and right separate. After that - you're on your own. I've never had to rebuild my clutches.
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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so I am not going to need a case spreader? It literally slides in and out just like that?
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Old 10-01-2010, 06:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yep. The case spreader is used when you install it with new bearings to pre-load the bearings. After the bearings have run in, you should be able to get it back together without the spreader. I've never had any problems.
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I e-mailed the write-up and some additional information to you last night. If you didn't get it, let me know & I'll send it again.

You probably will be able to get the carrier out without a case spreader. If it sticks a little, you can probably work out it gently with a prybar. If it's really difficult, use a case spreader. I used a spreader on mine & it only took a slight pull with one hand to get it out. I used new bearings when I installed my air locker, so I needed a spreader in order to get the bearing preload correct. The write-up I sent has instructions on how to build your own case spreader for about $50. All you need is some flat steel, some threaded rod, a coupling nut, and some short pieces of steel pipe - you'll need a welder, too. I think you could still build it without a welder if you don't have one - it will just take some slight modifications.

I agree that if you have rust, the most likely place that water came from was dunking the differential on a boat ramp. There is a vent line from the case that should be routed up near the bed somewhere to keep the vent line above water in a situation like that, so you might want to check your vent line to make sure that it was not the source of water.

I have the differential book (Differentials - Identification, Restoration, & Repair) that is written by Randy that owns Randy's Ring & Pinion. If you need info from it, let me know. I sent you some info from the book that you might need (torque specs, backlash specs, preload specs, etc.).

If you reuse all your original parts, you probably won't have to reshim, but I would still check the backlash and the gear contact patch just to make sure that nothing shifted. As long as you don't pull the pinion, you most likely won't have to worry about pinion depth since the centerline of the carrier won't change even if you put in new bearings and shims.

When I removed my carrier, the shims were one piece (not a pack of multiple thinner shims all together), and the left & right shims were the same thickness (I'm assuming this was a coincidence). To reiterate what has already been said, make sure you mark your bearing caps! You have to put them back exactly the same way they came out (left, right, and correct side up) - used a set of steel letter punches to mark mine so that the marks would be permanent.
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Old 10-03-2010, 02:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks Greg. I got your write up. It has built my confidence in pulling the carrier, but now I am worried about splitting the two halves to access the spider gears and clutches. I am not sure of a few things...

First off my guess is that since the two halves butt up tight against each other, unbolting them then putting them back together shouldn't have any effect on the backlash or gear contact patch, correct?

Secondly, Do I have to remove the preload spring plate and springs? If so, how will that affect things?

Thanks
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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bump. Still waiting to hear from all you differential experts out there....doesn't seem to be too many!!
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Taking the two halves of the carrier apart should not effect the backlash and preload. I have never had my SD carrier apart, but I have built many for my Broncos. You probably have to take the ring gear apart then seperate the carrier. Really straight forward process. Put it back together, locktite and torque the ring gear bolts and reinstall. Never hurts to check backlash.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I agree that separating the differential halves and putting them back together should not affect the backlash or gear contact at all - it's a big hunk of steel, so it's position isn't going to change when everything is back together. I have not torn apart a differential before, so I'm afraid I won't be of much help as far as that goes. From the pictures that I've seen in the differential book I have, it looks like replacing the clutches and putting everything together would be fairly straightforward. It says that you should replace the preload springs, shims, and thrust washers, but every overhaul book I have ever read for anything always tells you to replace those kind of things.
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