Rebuilding Or Regearing The Differential In Your Truck Or SUV
All rear wheel drive cars, trucks, and SUVs have one thing in common; they have a rear differential that transfers the power from the transmission to the rear tires. While they may be a little different in design, they all have the same basic components that work the same way. Understanding how the differential works is essential to doing any work on it.
How It Works
Essentially, the rear differential is a gearbox that contains a ring gear, a pinion gear, two to four side gears, and a carrier that connect all the parts. Power from the transmission is transferred to the drive shaft, then to the pinion gear in the rear end housing. The pinion then turns the ring gear and carrier, causing the side gears to transfer all the power to the axles and rear tires. It sounds complicated, but in truth, it is one of the simplest systems in the truck and dates back to the early vehicles that were first manufactured in this country. It hasn't changed because there is no reason to change it. It works and is durable enough to last for years with proper care.
What Can Go Wrong
There is very little that can go wrong with basic rear end design, but there are a couple of things to watch for. The oil that lubricates the gears needs to be changed occasionally. Refer to your owners manual for the interval for your truck. If it is not changed, it will eventually break down, and the gears and bearing in the rear end can get hot. The heat will cause damage to the bearings and the gears over time, eventually leading to rear-end failure and a very large repair bill.
Replacing the Gears and Bearings
If you have a damaged rear end, the gears and bearings can be replaced but it involves disassembly of the rear end, and if you do not know what you are doing, it is best left to a professional. One wrong move and the new gears and bearings can be damaged as well. Besides replacing the stock gears in the truck, you can decide to change the gear set to place a lower gear set in the rear end for more power. Keep in mind that can make the truck slower on the highway or make push the engine rpm's up, making it work harder to maintain road speed.
For trucks pulling loads or running very large tires, regearing the rear end can help them get the power they need to get the truck rolling. It important to know how low to go, so talk to a professional at the auto parts store, the gear manufacturer, or a specialty parts store so you can be sure you have the right parts for your needs.
For more information on ring and pinion parts, contact your local auto shop today.