New Plan -- Replacing rear bearings on a Dodge pickup?

OK guys... My plan for now is as follows.
0. The noises that I have are of two distinct kinds, a whining noise that appears when I ease the gas pedal, and grinding noise that I hear
at low speeds.
1. I received the adjuster lock tab replacement from the dealer.
2. I will take off the diff cover again, and will try to adjust the adjuster lock to reduce backlash to spec, using a dial indicator to measure backlash. I hope (and would like you to confirm) that I can do it using a screwdriver through the access hole.
3. If I cannot get a screwdriver through the hole, I could pull the axle, and make a tool that goes through the axle hole and turns the adjuster. I would make it out of some materials, I have a welder. What I will need to know is dimensions of the tool (ie where to place the pins etc).
4. After I do that, I will drive around to verify that the whining noise is gone. If not, I will take the truck to a dealer. I realize that the grinding noise at low speeds may remain, could be due to trashed bearings.
5. If the whining noise is gone, I will take the diff apart and replace the bearings that may have caused the grinding noise. I am not, yet, sure whether it is easy or not to put it back together correctly.
Does this plan make sense?
i
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On Wed, 27 Sep 2006 15:41:59 GMT, Ignoramus15447

The tool is called C-4164, Adjuster Rotator.
i

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I suspect that if the bearings are bad, you'll never be sure the backlash adjustment is right or that it will stay that way. I'd go for the bearings first.
LLoyd
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wrote:

OK, I did not think about it. The reason for my decision to do it this way is to not throw good money after bad, that is, if the truck will need to be taken to a dealer, to not pay for bearings twice.
i
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I have decided to buy that tool, it is not that expensive and I can always sell it after I am done with this truck, at a modest loss. Paid $45 or so including shipping.
It is called differential preload wrench C-4164.
i
On Wed, 27 Sep 2006 15:55:40 GMT, Ignoramus15447

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Jeez, Iggy- instead of fixing the thing on the installment plan, why not find an axle at a wrecking yard and replace the whole thing? It's an easy job.
If the gear mesh has been wrong since Day One, then you will wind up replacing the ring and pinion ($$$).
-Carl
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You know, that is definitely a possibility. I did spend some time on some site like car-parts.com or some such, trying to find a rear axle, and did not find any, and did not pursue this further.
I think that if my attempt at alignment does not work, I will definitely look in this direction.
i
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On Wed, 27 Sep 2006 16:43:33 GMT, Ignoramus15447

I picked up a complete set of near new rear end guts on ebay for $25. They were changed out when different size wheels were put on the vehicle. You can get some real bargains there.
beekeep
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Ignoramus15447 wrote:

You know, for all the internet can help you locate stuff, there's still places that don't do any business there. Junkyards are one type of business that doesn't. Some of the high-end joints will do that, but you get what you get that way, you don't get to pick and chose what vehicle your part comes off of, they typically will have everything disassembled and racked, you pay big for that. The U-Pullits around here don't even know what they've got out in the yard. Charge you a buck to get in and what you see is what they've got. Rotate stock every week or so, stuff gets crushed whether it's stripped or not. Rear ends are typically $17-20 around here, hardly worth messing with bearings, shims, backlash, etc. If the vehicle is popular in the area, they've got lots of wrecks. Sometimes you just have to get out from in front of the computer and go track stuff down in person. I usually get my buck's worth by picking up discarded trim fasteners even if there's nothing on the lot I can use.
Stan
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On Wed, 27 Sep 2006 15:41:59 GMT, Ignoramus15447

Don't do this.

No pins! A hex fits into the hole of the adjuster.

If you suspect the carrier bearings why not just go ahead and replace them while you have it open?
beekeep
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Yes, I ordered a real tool, it was not that expensive.

Because I am not sure what the issue it. It is easy enough to open the diff and pull the axles the second time.
i
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Ignoramus15447 wrote:

Looking at the mess of metal chips in there when you first opened it up, I have been thinking all along that EVERY bearing in the axle has got to be damaged. That GRINDING noise really sounds like confirmation. If the carrier bearings are bad, the pinion bearings have got to be, too. They spin several times faster, too. This damage may be too subtle to be visibly obvious until the bearings are pulled out and the lube totally cleaned off, but the pressure applied at the contact points of these roller bearings are huge, and any crud getting between roller and race will leave dents.
Jon
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wrote:

I seriously doubt that adjusting the backlash is going to be anything but a waste of time. If the rear end needs work the only logical procedure is to disassemble it and have a good look at all of the bearings and gears. Then either get another rear end or replace the damaged parts and adjust it correctly.
The only possible exception would be if the non-functional lock resulted in the loss of correct adjustment but no damage to gears or bearings. This seems very unlikely, especially since metal particles were found. In light of all that has been discovered and done, I believe you have damaged pinion bearings. The carrier bearings, gears and remaining axle bearing would all be suspect and are best examined after disassembly.
If you feel adventurous, go for a rebuild. You will certainly learn from it. It is not difficult but requires patience, decent mechanical skills, and a willingness to follow directions carefully. I would definitely disassemble it, even if I decided to replace it.
Don Young
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The sellers refunded me the money, as they were "out of stock". I am out high and dry, without the wrench, will look some more.
i

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Another option is to replace the whole rear end with one from the auto wreckers. Might be cheaper than having the dealer fix the old one.
Of all the clunkers I have driven, I have never had a rear end fail, so I suspect the odds of getting a good one from the wrecker on the first try are pretty high, and swapping out the rear end seems to be an easy DIY task.
--
Roger Shoaf

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