High-Performance Differentials, Axles and Drivelines
Ford 8.8" Pinion Gear Head
This photo comes from Chapter 3: Rebuilding the Rear Axle.
Once you get this far, you're almost past the point of no return, so you'd better be sure you want to deal with setting up a ring and pinion gear set. If you haven't lost track of where the differential side shims go, your rear end gears will still be properly set up. Once the pinion is out, though, you have to reset the pinion bearing preload — which can be a royal pain in the butt if it doesn't go well. In order to do that, you're going to need a stack of new crush sleeves on hand to make sure you can make several attempts at it — which is also something you'll need to do once you get the new gears in.
Once piece of advice: make certain the crush sleeves you buy are high quality. When I was setting a pinion up for my old 1987 Ford Mustang LX, the 347, I discovered that not all crush sleeves are equal. I started with a Ford Racing crush sleeve, then had to find a replacement when the first attempt didn't go as planned. I discovered that the Dorman Help crush sleeves aren't nearly as robust as the Ford Racing parts (they collapse with much less effort). As mentioned in the book, crush sleeves have an inherent problem to begin with in high-performance applications: they can deform from use and abuse, thus reducing the pinion bearing preload, which can cause a number of operating issues, and ultimately lead to premature bearing failure. If the crush sleeve is weaker, well, it will deform with less abuse. Just some food for thought. Photo: Joseph Palazzolo.
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