1998 GMC Sonoma with rear axle whine

I have 110,000 miles on this truck and think I need to replace the pinion bearings inside the axle. Is it safe to leave the existing shims and drop the new bearings in there or do I have to start from scratch
and calibrate everything? I really don't want to have to measure everything and start with new shims if I don't have to. Any input?
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You shouldn't have to change anything from stock, just mark the location of the preload/backlash shims for reinsatllation, you will need a new pinion bearing preload crush collar, an inch lb torque wrecnch, and a shop manual of some type if you are unfamiliar with this repair.

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Shep wrote:

I disagree, whenever you replace bearings, start from scrath. Do record ring gear backlash before you tear it down and reset it to the same amount for a starting point.
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What do you disagree about, I gave him very general; instructions here, not knowing his level of expertise , I suggested he follow a shop manual procedure. I am not going to walk him thru the use of a dial indicator, gear marking compound and the possibility of having to reset the ring gear position to achieve proper backlash and tooth contact.

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When you change bearing, you always do a new setup because new bearings can have a different depth. (a few thousandths can make a big difference) I depth gauge is not needed here though and you can get by without one if you can "read" the gear patterns.
Shep wrote:

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Agreed, but unless he's done a few we both know this is over the head of even some working techs, thats where the shop manual suggestion came in.

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There is some merit to what you say but if he is over his head to do it properly, he should not be changing the pinion bearings because if you change gear tooth contact pattern because of depth changes he could wind up with even more noise or a different nature too.
Shep wrote:

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If I were giving the advice, I'd say keep the old shim, change the bearings and use a new crush sleeve and nut. If he is not equipped to set the pinion depth, he's in for a worse time if he tries to set it.
But, I'm not giving that advice because we have no idea what is wrong. It may have a bad gear set and good bearings. And, he has to pull the carrier and put it back in. My real advice would be to take it to a professional and pay the price. Or, swap in a different axle. If it's not a 4X4 it would also give him the opportunity to analyze the ratio he has and change it if it he could find a better choice for his use of the truck.
Al
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Big Al wrote:

Rear axle are not that hard if you can be logical in working on them. If you can used tools and understand how to read gear patterns and how to adjust it (ie folllow a good service manual), they are not that hard to do. But if you lack the proper tools and patience to do it correctly it is best not to do it at all and farm it out. Usually too when pinion bearings do go bad, you are likely to have other problems too.
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and dont forget the old sayin......a little wine goes a long way to tippararry!...hic!.....
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Im anxious to see your feedback too. For years, we would not have accepted anything but a total setup.
Maybe not anymore, or ???
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