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Has anyone ever seen something like this? A friend and I regeared my rubi-44 from 4.10 to 4.88 a bit over a year ago. We spent a solid 8 hours on each axle, shimming and reshimming until the backlash, preload, and contact pattern were dead center in the FSM ranges. I broke the gears in with several short trips around town, never reading more than 150°F on the case after. I stopped halfway through the first 150mi highway trip (a month later) to feel the case, and it was cool enough to leave a hand on for several seconds. Diff oil was changed after that first trip, ~400mi after the swap. Oil had a greyish tint to it, but no visible flakes present, and the drain magnet had a normal amount of fuzz on it.

Roughly 8 months after the regear, my inner pinion gear started whining. When we pulled the old one out, the rollers and inner race looked like new, and the outer race looked like it had a couple impressions in it, maybe .003" deep. Almost like a slightly out of round roller had pressed on the same spot repeatedly. That was weird, but we inspected the rest of the diff and found nothing out of the ordinary, so we replaced it. We re-set preload, backlash, and contact patch to FSM spec at that time.

Roughly 4 months after that (recently) my rear diff started making the same noise again. Thinking i had gotten a cheap bearing last time (used a "master setup kit" from a 3rd party supplier), I ordered boxed component bearings directly from a Timken supplier and made arrangements with the same friend to help change them out. When we pulled them this time, though, they all looked completely spotless. We could not see anything wrong with them, but the noise wasn't as bad this time so I thought maybe we caught them early enough not to be visibly damaged. We put the new ones on and reset preload/backlash. We had good numbers, but the gear mesh was making a worse noise than when the supposedly bad bearings were on. After messing with every variation of carrier/pinion offset, and running just carrier / just pinion tests to confirm that it was definitely the gear mesh making the noise, we tried to get the contact patch dialed in (thinking that if the contact patch was good, it might just need to be run under actual load to wear in).

We didn't have gear paint handy, but heard that thick oil based craft paint would work in a pinch. The first few times we tried to get a pattern on that, we thought it was failing because that paint wasn't working. Turns out the paint was fine, but the drive face of my ring gear was NOT TOUCHING the drive face of the pinion gear... Somehow, the drive face of the pinion (and a bit of the ring) had worn down to the point that the drive face of the pinion was only scraping over the knife edge of the drive face of the ring gear. We also noticed that by running the diff from a drill for 50 revs or so, that the drive side of the pinion picked up paint from the very edge of the ring teeth, and deposited it on the very edge of unpainted teeth, confirming that there was only edge-to-edge contact. The coast side of both gears is fine, so I don't believe that the housing/carrier/pinion shaft could have bent and changed the mesh depth/angle.

Closer inspection suggests a full-face contact patch on the ring at some point, and massive full-face wear on the pinion; it looks like almost .100" missing over most of the pinion drive side, and a clear ridge below the wear pattern. Can anyone offer an explanation for how this is possible?

-The diff never had water or mud in it; the oil was changed 2-3 times/yr and inspected for dirt/shavings.
-I do not tow with the Jeep, and usually draft an 18-wheeler on the highway at 55-65 when I need to make longer trips.
-The diff has never run hot or made strange noises other than the bearing whine mentioned earlier.
-The diff did not exhibit any rolling resistance (would creep on the slightest incline when in neutral at stoplights)
-The rear driveshaft is a double cardan, in good balance, with the back end pointed directly at the pinion shaft.

Pics of the strange wear below:




 

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Discussion Starter #3
They were G2. I left it out of the original post, so if it turns into a vendor bashing thread, MAYBE the mods can just filter the followup posts without killing the thread.
 

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Roughly 8 months after the regear, my inner pinion gear started whining. When we pulled the old one out, the rollers and inner race looked like new, and the outer race looked like it had a couple impressions in it, maybe .003" deep. Almost like a slightly out of round roller had pressed on the same spot repeatedly. That was weird, but we inspected the rest of the diff and found nothing out of the ordinary, so we replaced it. We re-set preload, backlash, and contact patch to FSM spec at that time.
Reading through your entire post, you may have something different going on for sure, BUT, I have been told by several R&P installers that the factory settings for pinion preload will fry your bearings in short order. For example, a D44 should only get about 18-20 in/lbs of preload instead of the factory 20-40 in/lbs. I set my gears at the 18-20 range and haven't had a problem.

Now is that the reason you are having issues? Not sure, (certainly could explain the bearing howling) but I would certainly look into it. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On new bearings, I aimed for ~25 in/lbs. FSM said 20-40 for new, I figured they'd loosen up a bit after the break-in. I did check the temp fairly often during the break-in period, and never detected the high temps associated with straining bearings. Likewise there was no lateral play in the pinion during disassembly to indicate toasted rollers.

Plus, a low pinion rear pushes the pinion away from the ring in forward drive; if the bearings allowed linear travel, it should have walked my contact patch OUT. The wear pattern looks like it got sucked/pushed all the way IN somehow.

I've got a new set of gears and bearings coming; I'll aim for 20 in/lbs on the preload.
 

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I don't see the gear wearing a result of the bearing preload. I've installed many sets of G2 gears and never had this problem with them. I would give them a call and see what they say.

What oil were you using?

All of his is pointing to a bad R&P, BTW.
 

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The gear wear, no, but the bearing howling yes. I was just looking at the pics again in close detail and it is something I've never seen. I know the OP said coast side looked good, but from the very limited view in the pic, I don't think it does.

I do agree though, contact G2 and see what they say or you might post up on JF or Pirate and get some other feedback.
 

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Very good article !
 

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From looking at the pictures. I think you had the pinion not shimmed back enough. Looks like it was not making contact on all the gear and mostly just the rear side of pinion. The ring gear has wear not all across the face of the gear. This is usually caused from pinion not going deep enough into ring. Just from looking at pictures. Hope this helps.
 

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I don't think you'll ever get a good pattern or quiet gears out of that r&p set again due to the fact that the gear shape had been changed slightly through wear.
 
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