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I live in New England. Regearing quotes have been $1,900, $2,400, $2,500. I cannot justify the labor cost here. I know I can do this myself. I have 20+ years of driveway fixes... Had a 97 6.5 3500 diesel that I did anything myself to that I could without the ease of internet help as it is today.. Haynes manuals? remember those?....

Anyhow I am going to tackle this in the summer. Rear end first, then Front end probably the weekend after (will remove front driveshaft).

Currently I have 3.21's w/6speed and 33's. Ratio sucks for offroad. Ratio sucks for hills (I live in super hilly city). Crawl ratio sucks. 2Hi sucks, 1st is too low, 2nd is too fast to keep from bogging.... I drive 4 miles to work and no highway unless I'm driving to wheel. Eventually plan on 35's. I have a Dana 30 in the front so I know I need to change the carrier.

Tools I plan to have on hand

Case Spreader
20-ton Harbor Freight press
Foot Lbs Torque Wrench
Inch Lbs Torque Wrench
Dial Indicator
Bearing Puller
Long Punch to drive the old bearing races out
Bearing Race/Seal Driver - 36mm Socket?


I want to learn how and have the tools for my Jeep. I have a civic to drive when it's down. I want to know how and do it for my wife's jeep when she gets her tires (probably next year). I'd pay 1500 probably, but not 19-24.... I also don't trust any mechanics anymore. I've worked in garages and know how they roll.... Plus when I work on my own stuff I take time to clean/paint and prevent future issues to the best of my ability. Unfortunately my ability also gets me into trouble alot :censored:. I'm not sure if I'll pull the axles or do it underneath. Opinions are valuable here. I recently replaced springs and control arms so removing the axle isn't much hassle. I also have a garage that my Jeep wont fit in (and allow axles to slide out) so I can take axle out and work in garage for a week an axle if that's what it takes.

Hoping to make a definitively good thread here for anyone looking to regear themselves. Any and all advice is welcomed. Nothing sticky'd on this topic so maybe this can be that.

Thank you all for your invaluable input. All that I do with my Jeep would not be nearly as feasible without this forum.
 

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Setting up gears isn't difficult if you have the correct tools. There are several "cheats" you can use to do them, but it depends on how much money you want to spend on tools and parts you will only use once...

There are certain things you can do to make your process easier. For instance use set up bearings to get everything in place before you press on the new bearings. A set up bearing is just a bearing with the center enlarged so it slips over the pinion and deferential spots so you can make quick set up measurements to get your shims right before having to press on the new bearing permanently.

A lot of it comes with time and experience, knowing what measurement is going to effect what other measurement so you don't have to disassemble the housing so many times. If you have the time and want to purchase the tools, it's just like assembling a motor, everything is there to show you how to do it. I just depends on if you want to go through the hassle for a one time thing. I have the tools and ability to do it, but at this point I would just pay someone to do and save myself the hassle. Good luck on your project.
 

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You need a caliper to measure the thickness of shims. I have this one and it works well: https://www.amazon.com/Neiko-01407A-Electronic-Digital-Stainless/dp/B000GSLKIW/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=micrometer&qid=1554739984&s=gateway&sr=8-3

You also want an inch-pound dial torque wrench. I have this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LLEMFW/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also picked up a 3' pipe wrench at harbor freight to hold the pinion yoke while I tighten the pinion nut.

Make sure your torque wrench goes up to spec. If I remember right, 150 ft-lbs isn't enough. I have one that goes to 250 and that was enough.

A pen and paper is useful because you'll want to record numbers as you go.

You should be close to good with the rest of the tools.

I forget off hand about exact placement of the shims for the JK axle but there is a chance you'll want a setup bearing for the pinion at least. Changing the shim pack on the pinion means installing and removing the bearing multiple times. Rather than press it on and pulling it off, you can modify the old bearing that you're not reusing from the 3.21 pinion. Pull off the bearing and use a dremel tool to grind out the ID of the bearing so it slides on and off easily. That way you can easily swap out shim packs on the new pinion.

That is, unless the shims go between the differential housing and the bearing race. Then you take the 3.21 race and grind down the OD of it so it slides in and out easily, making swapping the shim packs a breeze.

There's a number of how-to videos on the internet that will show you all the steps you need to follow in depth but it's pretty straightforward. There's a lot of "put it together, measure, take it apart, adjust shim packs, put it back together, measure..."

Absolutely use gear marking compound and keep adjusting until you get a good pattern. Patience is the key to getting it right. And when you get it right, the gears will last a very long time.

Oh, and one other thing I just remembered. Get Locktite 243 thread locking compound for the ring gear bolts. Be sure to get the 243 and not the 242. The 243 is blue locktite but unlike 242 it's designed to be submerged in gear oil. Keeping your bolts tight is vital to long life in a differential. Using the right Locktite is, in my book, essential insurance.
 

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Look around. My local mechanic in Connecticut does a lot of Jeep builds and quoted me $600 in labor to regear both axles.
 

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I don't want to discourage you, but: I'm a serious DIY'er and the only things I pay for are gear installs. I used to pay for welding, but I have that covered now.

It's not just the tools, but the know-how and experience you need to pick up doing the job. To me it only makes sense to do it if you plan to do several others down the road. I'd be worried about actually loosing money after you have to cut off several $60 bearings trying to get it all right, etc. Time is money too.
 

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For gears, you get one chance to do it wrong.
 

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Where in CT? I'm fairly close to the border (Mass) but CT is fairly long state!
Fairfield county, so extreme southwest of the state.
 

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Go to pirate 4 x 4 and look at some of the articles authored by billavista. It is a very good primer on how to do gears. I printed it and had it available. Don't see a lot of other things you need. depending on your pinion flanges, you'll need a tool to hold them while you loosen and tighten the pinion nut. I made my own out of a 3' pc of 1" square tube, I forget the gauge. Everything I read said the ones you can purchase don't hold up. It takes a LOT of torque to compress the crush sleeves. Actually do yourself a favor and pick up a crush sleeve eliminator kit for the D44 in back. It'll make things simpler. At the time I did mine there was no crush sleeve eliminator for the d30, but might shop around and see if there is now. Each end of that sleeve has a different diameter which makes it more of a challenge.

Here's a pic of my "pinion holder" It has to be offset enough to clear the nut and socket. I had to recess the tube for the edges of the flange as well...although I think that was only on the back if memory serves.

Also if you can pull the axles and do all the setup work on the bench it really helps. Took me 3 evenings for the front, but I managed to (luckily) hit the setup in the rear on the 2nd try. You'll most likely have to put the axles back in the jeep to do the final assembly as the torque required to put everything back together will have everything sliding all over, unless you have specialized fixturing.
 

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Go to pirate 4 x 4 and look at some of the articles authored by billavista. It is a very good primer on how to do gears. I printed it and had it available. Don't see a lot of other things you need. depending on your pinion flanges, you'll need a tool to hold them while you loosen and tighten the pinion nut. I made my own out of a 3' pc of 1" square tube, I forget the gauge. Everything I read said the ones you can purchase don't hold up. It takes a LOT of torque to compress the crush sleeves. Actually do yourself a favor and pick up a crush sleeve eliminator kit for the D44 in back. It'll make things simpler. At the time I did mine there was no crush sleeve eliminator for the d30, but might shop around and see if there is now. Each end of that sleeve has a different diameter which makes it more of a challenge.

Here's a pic of my "pinion holder" It has to be offset enough to clear the nut and socket. I had to recess the tube for the edges of the flange as well...although I think that was only on the back if memory serves.

Also if you can pull the axles and do all the setup work on the bench it really helps. Took me 3 evenings for the front, but I managed to (luckily) hit the setup in the rear on the 2nd try. You'll most likely have to put the axles back in the jeep to do the final assembly as the torque required to put everything back together will have everything sliding all over, unless you have specialized fixturing.
X2. The rear pinion is an absolute bear- no matter what length of pipe or leverage or cursing or praying- we could not get the crush sleeve to go. We found out later that we should've put the axle back in the Jeep to gain leverage. Duh. But as it were we wound up throwing the entire axle in my truck and taking it to a local Jeep shop to get the sleeve crushed. They told us it's not an uncommon problem and usually it's the 6'5" 280 lb. shop tech that does the rear.. At the time (back in 2013) the crush sleeve eliminators didn't get a total thumbs up- maybe that's changed. The front went on like butter.
Someone mentioned it but get a digital caliper for sure. You can make your own diff. spreader to save money. All that said- this is not an at home project I'd recommend. My husband has re-rebuilt engines, trannys, suspensions, electrical etc- you name it he's done it. I'd give this a good 8 out of 10 on the difficulty scale. It's not that it's overly complicated but getting everything in there and spaced properly, taking it out when it's not, putting it back in with a smaller shim only to put it back in the wrong order and do it again.....:atomic:
On a side note- replace both your carriers with ones that include a magnetic dipstick or level at the top. Trust me- you'll thank me. YOu'll be incredibly paranoid and you'll want to be able to check fluid quickly and easily. (And just in case your locker blows up someday all those metal shavings will stick to the plug.)
 

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I went back and found my old gear install thread after we did it:
Specialty Tool List That You MAY NEED.
This is apart from the regular garage tools:
Diff Spreader. Used to spread the diff. housing so you can remove the carrier (and add shims if needed). Alternative- crow bar and hammer. My husband made one for around $70. Cost on Amazon or Ebay: $170-$300. Try getting in a .0098 shim in (without bending it )with the use of a crow bar or screw driver and hammer. It can be done- but no way I'd do it.
Bearing press. Remember the rear axle? It had to be removed and placed on a bearing press to get the pinion shaft out. And get the seized bearing off. Alternative: if you've hammered on the rear pinion for hours- not much. We bought a 12 ton shop press from Harbor Freight for $80. Look for coupons in any car magazine.
Micrometer. To measure the shims. (Ours were not marked. )$30.
A dial indicator to measure backlash with magnetic base ( base a must). $20-$40.
Feeler gauge. We didn't need it- but chances are you will. $20
Bearing puller (clam shell style). $150-$200. Highly recommend. If you mess up the bearings the old fashioned way- replacement bearings are $100 plus per axle.
1 5/16" socket & 1 1/8" sockets (1/2" or 3/4" drive). With big ass breaker bar or impact wrench.
Slide hammer. Useful but not necessary. Had one- don't know cost.
Dead blow hammer.
Digital caliper up to 6". $10.
Bench vice up to 6" will simplify the process a lot,
Hub tool. CRITICAL. $20. Locks the drive shaft input flange in place while you crank on the pinion nut with above referenced bad a** breaker bar or impact wrench.
Your local shop- for anything you weren't expecting. The rear pinion crush sleeve is notoriously difficult to crush. We've used a 1/2" impact wrench with a 600 ft. lb. compressor, the breaker bar and a pipe, our combined weights etc. And its a no-go. Taking the rear axle assembly to Jeep Perfomance so they can use bigger tools.
 

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We did the crush sleeve on both axles in my JK. 3/4" drive ratchet with a 6' long cheater bar to turn the nut. Even then it was a workout to get the thing to crush.

I get why they did it at the factory. With the fancy tools they have access to, it speeds up assembly. But it makes it a bear to get done when it's just you at your home shop.
 

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I live in New England. Regearing quotes have been $1,900, $2,400, $2,500. I cannot justify the labor cost here. I know I can do this myself. I have 20+ years of driveway fixes... Had a 97 6.5 3500 diesel that I did anything myself to that I could without the ease of internet help as it is today.. Haynes manuals? remember those?....

Anyhow I am going to tackle this in the summer. Rear end first, then Front end probably the weekend after (will remove front driveshaft).

Currently I have 3.21's w/6speed and 33's. Ratio sucks for offroad. Ratio sucks for hills (I live in super hilly city). Crawl ratio sucks. 2Hi sucks, 1st is too low, 2nd is too fast to keep from bogging.... I drive 4 miles to work and no highway unless I'm driving to wheel. Eventually plan on 35's. I have a Dana 30 in the front so I know I need to change the carrier.

Tools I plan to have on hand

Case Spreader
20-ton Harbor Freight press
Foot Lbs Torque Wrench
Inch Lbs Torque Wrench
Dial Indicator
Bearing Puller
Long Punch to drive the old bearing races out
Bearing Race/Seal Driver - 36mm Socket?


I want to learn how and have the tools for my Jeep. I have a civic to drive when it's down. I want to know how and do it for my wife's jeep when she gets her tires (probably next year). I'd pay 1500 probably, but not 19-24.... I also don't trust any mechanics anymore. I've worked in garages and know how they roll.... Plus when I work on my own stuff I take time to clean/paint and prevent future issues to the best of my ability. Unfortunately my ability also gets me into trouble alot :censored:. I'm not sure if I'll pull the axles or do it underneath. Opinions are valuable here. I recently replaced springs and control arms so removing the axle isn't much hassle. I also have a garage that my Jeep wont fit in (and allow axles to slide out) so I can take axle out and work in garage for a week an axle if that's what it takes.

Hoping to make a definitively good thread here for anyone looking to regear themselves. Any and all advice is welcomed. Nothing sticky'd on this topic so maybe this can be that.

Thank you all for your invaluable input. All that I do with my Jeep would not be nearly as feasible without this forum.

Like you, I'm a complete DIYer and don't trust any mechanics, and won't ever allow them to touch my Jeep. With that said, I successfully rebuilt my diffs and got it right the first time (as in didn't blow up once completely re-assembled.) I simply followed the directions that came with my Yukon gears. I took my time, used set-up bearings, and understood what happened as I changed shims on the pinion and carriers (looking at paint on coast and drive side of ring gear.) Went too far and not far enough in every direction to understand, and wrote it all down. Do yourself a favor and buy extra shims for the carriers. The small flimsy ones will get damaged as you take it apart and put it back together over and over. I did the take apart / put together at least 20 times. You'll definitely want to make set up bearings with the ones you remove, so BE CAREFUL removing them. Oh and make sure you have the correct bearing separator! Removal of the carrier bearings is not easy if you don't have the right one. In my instructions, there was a way to check the pinion pre-load without the crush sleeve. I removed the axle (makes it WAY easier to do the remove / install of gears as you'll have to do this several times.) To hold the gears while I torqued the pinion nut, I just drilled holes in a piece of flat bar and bolted it to the yoke leaving enough room to get to the pinion nut.
 

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Like you, I'm a complete DIYer and don't trust any mechanics, and won't ever allow them to touch my Jeep. With that said, I successfully rebuilt my diffs and got it right the first time (as in didn't blow up once completely re-assembled.) I simply followed the directions that came with my Yukon gears. I took my time, used set-up bearings, and understood what happened as I changed shims on the pinion and carriers (looking at paint on coast and drive side of ring gear.) Went too far and not far enough in every direction to understand, and wrote it all down. Do yourself a favor and buy extra shims for the carriers. The small flimsy ones will get damaged as you take it apart and put it back together over and over. I did the take apart / put together at least 20 times. You'll definitely want to make set up bearings with the ones you remove, so BE CAREFUL removing them. Oh and make sure you have the correct bearing separator! Removal of the carrier bearings is not easy if you don't have the right one. In my instructions, there was a way to check the pinion pre-load without the crush sleeve. I removed the axle (makes it WAY easier to do the remove / install of gears as you'll have to do this several times.) To hold the gears while I torqued the pinion nut, I just drilled holes in a piece of flat bar and bolted it to the yoke leaving enough room to get to the pinion nut.
:pullinghair:
Right? We got the front done in something like 3 times. Went back together simple and easy. Got to the back; hit it right after about 5 times. But we had to do something else... I forget why now but pulled everything back out. FORGOT TO WRITE the numbers down and when we went back in; couldn't get it right again. :atomic:
I am pretty sure we were going to blow up the Jeep. Took another gazzillion tries and then we couldn't get the sleeve crushed. Bitter...angry...must kill someone. This is not a job I remember fondly. There is a guy here that does gears for less than $1000. I tell EVERYONE- take it there for gears. We've built my entire Jeep ourselves- if we did it over gears are one thing I might just pay for. (but not for $1500-$2000)
 

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Might be the stupid E-locker sensor. I forgot to put mine back in on the rear and for a minute thought I had something wrong because it wouldn't show engaged. Looked and didn't have the sensor in. No way to get it back in, without having to pull it all back apart. Lesson learned and something to note if you run a sensor for E-lockers.



:pullinghair:
Right? We got the front done in something like 3 times. Went back together simple and easy. Got to the back; hit it right after about 5 times. But we had to do something else... I forget why now but pulled everything back out. FORGOT TO WRITE the numbers down and when we went back in; couldn't get it right again. :atomic:
I am pretty sure we were going to blow up the Jeep. Took another gazzillion tries and then we couldn't get the sleeve crushed. Bitter...angry...must kill someone. This is not a job I remember fondly. There is a guy here that does gears for less than $1000. I tell EVERYONE- take it there for gears. We've built my entire Jeep ourselves- if we did it over gears are one thing I might just pay for. (but not for $1500-$2000)
 

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I used a 3' 3/4" breaker and a 6' cheater and had to jump up and down on it. I went just a tad far on torque and did the no no of backing it off just a tad till i got the right rotational torque value. Its been fine. I did talk to a guy that has been doing gears for years and he said it wasnt uncommon to do that. With the crush sleeve eliminator you only have to go to 250 foot lbs and shim till u get the correct rotational torque. Id bet it takes 600 foot lbs to start the crush sleeve.

Sent from my LG-LS998 using Tapatalk
 

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Says the OU fan! LMAO... Roll Tide! I do remember it taking more than my torque wrench would read but I just opened a can of whoop @$$ on it. I also had it on a jig I custom built for doing diffs so plenty of room to move around and get some leverage on it.

I used a 3' 3/4" breaker and a 6' cheater and had to jump up and down on it. I went just a tad far on torque and did the no no of backing it off just a tad till i got the right rotational torque value. Its been fine. I did talk to a guy that has been doing gears for years and he said it wasnt uncommon to do that. With the crush sleeve eliminator you only have to go to 250 foot lbs and shim till u get the correct rotational torque. Id bet it takes 600 foot lbs to start the crush sleeve.

Sent from my LG-LS998 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I used a 3' 3/4" breaker and a 6' cheater and had to jump up and down on it. I went just a tad far on torque and did the no no of backing it off just a tad till i got the right rotational torque value. Its been fine. I did talk to a guy that has been doing gears for years and he said it wasnt uncommon to do that. With the crush sleeve eliminator you only have to go to 250 foot lbs and shim till u get the correct rotational torque. Id bet it takes 600 foot lbs to start the crush sleeve.

Sent from my LG-LS998 using Tapatalk
So fair to say the crush sleeve eliminators have proven themselves over time to be just as stout and reliable as the crush sleeves? The D44 in the rear and the D30 up front both will need a 'crush sleeve eliminator kit' or these come with the complete axle R&P kits?
 

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So fair to say the crush sleeve eliminators have proven themselves over time to be just as stout and reliable as the crush sleeves? The D44 in the rear and the D30 up front both will need a 'crush sleeve eliminator kit' or these come with the complete axle R&P kits?
They don't come with any R & P kits that I am aware of. I'd say not necessary on the D30- I haven't seen many issues on the front. It's difficult to find many reviews on them- that's why I didn't use it. But I am having my front axle seals done right now at the gear shop- I'll ask him when I pick it up this evening.
 
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