Rear and Pinion Bearings

Friends,
Amazing coincidence with Ignoramus16919?
I just had my 1996 Ram 1500 4x4 5.9L in for inspection. I too had a whining noise that was coming from, what I determined, to be the rear
differential area but no grinding. The sound actually reminded me of the sound a Tie Fighter from Star Wars makes (I realize how geeky that sounds). The Dealer's diagnosis was "Needs Rear Side And Pinion Bearings".
I'm not 100% sure what there saying is wrong as I can't find a mention of Pinion Bearings in the Haynes manual and not sure what they mean by "Rear Side". Do I have the same problem Ignoramus16919 has? Is it possible to fix yourself with limited experience? I've done basic maintenance with you guys's help (brakes, rotors, hub bearing, fuel pump, water pump, etc) The Dealer suggested it be fixed of course but he said it could last a week or a year.
Thanks, Steve
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In article
snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

There are six bearings in your rear axle; Two pinion bearings (they support the pinion gear) Two carrier side bearings (they support the differential carrier) Two axle bearings (they provide support for the outboard ends of the drive axles.
I have no idea what they are referring to by "rear side", probably the carrier bearings.
If you want to do the job yourself, first you need to ascertain whether you have the necessary tools and equipment or can find a shop willing to do the bearing R & R. You'll need; Basic sockets, wrenches, pry bars. Inch-pound torque wrench (beam or dial style) Dial indicator Side bearing adjuster tool Bearing splitter Shop press Pinion yoke holding tool 1/2 inch drive torque wrench Proper service instructions (if your Haines manual can't ID a pinion bearing, I'd guess it won't be much help here)
Whether or not it's a job for you, all I can suggest is to locate and read thru all the bearing replacement procedure and decide whether you think you can do it. Naturally, if you do the job with the axle housing in place, you'll wish you were born with three arms/hands.
Lastly, the longer you drive on failing bearings, the more contaminated the usable parts (ring and pinion) will become. IOWs, you risk totally trashing that which may now be re-usable, adding to the repair costs and possibly taking the job to a level where you will have to farm it out to a professional.
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I think he ment an inch/ounce torgue wrench. This is used to set the pinion bearing preload.

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