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Rear End FAQ!

This is a discussion on Rear End FAQ! within the Drivetrain forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; ...

  1. #1
    Member keliente's Avatar
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    99 Firebird Formula

    Rear End FAQ!

    1. I have a leak, where is it coming from?

    The two most common places for a rear end to leak are the pinion seal (the front of the housing) and the rear end cover. Pinion seal seepage is very normal for an f-body, as long as you check your fluid and it doesn’t leave drips on the ground, it is usually okay. Many times people take their cars to be fixed at the dealership only to have it leak again. The rear cover will leak because of a bad gasket/poor use of RTV sealant. You will notice a few drips hanging from the very bottom of the housing, and the area around it may be damp as well. Fixing a rear cover leak is very simple – remove the cover, scrape the old gasket/RTV off of the cover & the housing, lay down fresh RTV sealant on the cover, bolt it back on and add the appropriate fluid (75w90 & GM rear end additive). The rear end is full when fluid begins to spill out of the drain plug on side of the housing.

    One should not attempt to fix a pinion seal leak unless they are familiar with the way a rear end goes together, because pinion depth & crush sleeves are vital to correct setup. Fixing a pinion seal includes removing the driveshaft, pinion nut, washer, yoke, and old seal. The housing should be clean from nicks, and the yoke should be cleaned with a scotchbrite pad to get rid of any unsmooth areas before the new seal is installed. When retightening the pinion nut, it is important not to overcrush the crush sleeve. Pinion bearing preload needs 24-32 inch/lbs tq with a new crush sleeve, or 8-12 inch/lbs if reusing your old sleeve.

    Another area that leaks, although somewhat uncommon, is an axle seal. If there is fluid dripping/seeping out of the axle seal, it must be replaced. In order to look at the seal, you will need to remove the brake caliper & rotor. The seal is the piece surrounding the axle itself.

    2. What gears are best for my car?

    To find what gears are best for you, it would be wise to use the search function of this website to look at cars that are similar to yours in modification. In general, most people with 6 speed cars choose 4.10s, and most people with automatic cars choose 3.73s. However once you start adding modifications like a new camshaft or a forced induction system, you should spend time researching before you decide. Automatic LS1 cars come with 3.23s or 2.73s from the factory, and six speed LS1 cars have 3.42 gears.

    3. What is a gear ratio, and how do I know what I have?


    A gear ratio is the number of teeth on one gear compared to another. To find the ratio, you divide the number of teeth on the driven gear by the number of teeth on the driving gear. For instance, the number of teeth on a ring (driven) gear is 41. The number of teeth on a pinion (driving) gear is 10. 41 divided by 10 = 4.10.

    4. What can I expect to pay for a gear upgrade?

    A set of gears themselves will cost $150-$250 depending on what brand you purchase. Most shops will charge $250-$400 in labor, and may add more for supplies. Overall, you will spend $400-$700 on a gear change depending on your location. Don’t skip out and go with the cheapest one – be certain that a trained professional is handling your installation!

    5. Can I set up my own rear end?

    You may or may not be able to, depending on your level experience. If you perform all of your own installations and are patient, it is possible to perform it yourself, but it would really help to have someone who has done it before to help you through your first time. Setting up pinion depth & backlash are vital to a well-working rear end. Gears that are not set up correctly will whine or howl, and fail prematurely.

    If you want to read more about installing gears, visit the site below for a complete how-to.

    www.keliente.com/gears.htm

    6. Is a 10 bolt even worth putting money into?


    Theoretically, a 10 bolt is going to be weaker than a 12 bolt, or Ford 9 inch rear end due to the size, but that doesn’t make it useless. Some people have more luck with 10 bolts than others, obviously. The life of your rear end will depend on how you drive and maintain your car. If you are running slicks at the drag strip and launching from 6,000 rpms, something is bound to break eventually. If you don’t keep up on fluid and let it run low, the bearings will fail prematurely. If your gears are not set up correctly, it’s more bad news. However there ARE people out there who have ridden their 10 bolt right into 10 second passes in the quarter mile. Two of our personal cars, a bolt-on 2000 Z28 M6 with Motive 4.10s and a supercharged 1993 Firebird Formula with Richmond 3.73s are taken to the dragstrip weekly with drag radials, launched from at least 4,000 rpms, and have no issues to speak of thus far…

    Whether you will need a ‘better’ rear end is up to you. If you are replacing parts of your 10 bolt every other week, yes, it’s time for an upgrade. However if it is your daily driver/occasional track car, there’s no sense in upgrading until something breaks. A new 12 bolt runs at least $2,000+, and that is more money that can be put into a nice heads & cam package, or wheels, or whatever your fancy. People do encounter problems with 12 bolts and 9 inches as well; they are not the ultimate solution!

    7. Are some gears noisier than others?


    Yes, some gears (such as Richmond) will be noisier than others. However, the noise should not be overpowering. If it is unbearable, the gears may have been set up incorrectly.

    8. What is backlash?


    Backlash is the play between the ring and the pinion, i.e., how much space there is exactly before the pinion actually contacts the ring. It is measured with a dial indicator gauge (either magnetic or clip on). Too little backlash will make for a bad whine, and too much makes for a sloppy setup. In general, different manufacturers call for .006” - .010” backlash (some may even allow for more).

    9. What is a ‘paddle’, and a paddle kit for that matter?

    A paddle takes the place of an axle pin in a Torsen differential car. Instead of a thin cylinder, it is shaped like a block and is held in with an 8mm bolt. The purpose of a paddle or axle pin is keep the axles pushed outward, and thus retained with the c-clips. Sometimes when installing different gears, a paddle kit may be needed for re-installation. Depending on the brand & gear ratio of the selected gears, the ring gear may be too wide after installation to insert the paddle. SLP’s paddle kit is a two piece paddle that allows it to fit. To decide if you will need one or not, be sure to contact the sponsor from whom you are purchasing the gears.

    10. Besides gears, what do I need for an install?

    It is good practice to replace all of the bearings when installing new gears…if you have the rear apart anyway; it only takes extra minutes to replace the bearings. A good master installation kit will include everything you need, but specifically if you choose to replace everything you will need: carrier bearings (2), front pinion bearing, rear pinion bearing, crush sleeve, pinion nut, axle bearings (2), axle seals (2), pinion seal, a set of shims, gear paint, loctite, RTV gasket maker, 75w90 (2), GM rear end additive (for LSDs). It is also a good idea to replace the ring gear bolts, which may stretch over time. They are left hand thread, fyi.

    11. I can’t get my axles out, they won’t slide in far enough to remove the c-clips!

    Got a car with traction control? The sensor is prohibiting the axle to move in far enough. Remove the sensor from the backing plate and it will allow you more room to slide it inward to drop the c-clips.

    12. What is a series 2 or series 3 carrier, and what do I have?

    A 2 series carrier is a car that came with 3.08s or lower from the factory (i.e. all of your 2.73 cars). A 3 series carrier is a car that came with 3.23s or higher. This is very important when you order new gears, as they will differ from 2 to 3 series carrier!


    Some helpful definitions of common rear-end terms:

    Backlash
    – the play between the ring and pinion gear

    C-clip
    – a c-shaped piece of metal used to retain an axle shaft

    Carrier- the piece that is containing the limited slip clutches, spider gears, and the piece to which the ring gear bolts

    Coast – a load condition in which the vehicle is driving the engine, as during deceleration

    Differential – a gear arrangement that allows the drive wheels to be driven at different speeds

    Drive
    – a load condition where the engine is applying power to the drive wheels

    Heel
    – the outer end of a gear tooth

    Limited slip differential (LSD) – a differential that uses internal clutches to limit the speed difference between the axles.

    Pinion depth – how deep the pinion gear is in the housing, where it contacts the ring gear

    Race – a hardened surface for the bearing rollers/balls to roll on (kind of ‘cups’ the bearing)

    Toe – the inner end of a ring gear tooth

    Ten bolt
    – the rear end under an fbody, characterized by 10 bolts on the ring gear (or rear cover ) http://hotrod.com/techarticles/84121/

  2. #2
    delinquent543
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    very nice

  3. #3
    SUPREME member-oderator oneBADDz's Avatar
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    Oh man I love reading anything technical, it gets me excited in ways we don't want to talk about. . .Even when I know everything that is being said I can't help but read it anyways, I'm a nerd. . .

  4. #4
    We'll be back... GatorSS's Avatar
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    Well done!

  5. #5
    sbbuick
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    Thanks!

    I have the pinion leakage problem with just over 10k miles! Of course, I am past the warranty. I guess I'll just drop it instead of fighting an uphill battle with GM.

  6. #6
    So I put it in her butt.
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    What about pinion gear shims and checking contact patch. Is this neccessary or will the gears wear to fit each other.

  7. #7
    Every day is a gift-enjoy preston1980's Avatar
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    good job

    u r a master of the rear end!!
    ............no really, it was good!!
    must have taken some time, it is people like you that make sites like this wonderful!!!!

    thank you

  8. #8
    your parts guy!!! 1fastcamarosss11's Avatar
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    trans am 00 ws6
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    are all these steps about the same for a moser 12 bolt. i have leaks. thanks jeremy

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    Good stuff. Need something covering diff. fluid!

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    Member JattGunMan's Avatar
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    so to change the fluid i gotta take off all the bolts and the cover?or is there a drain bolt..like one for the engine oil i can just open up?
    Great Post

  11. #11
    Speak the truth jad628's Avatar
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    Great post with lots of helpful info.

    My pinion seal has a minor leak.

    Hey, I'm in Charlotte too

    John

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    great post

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    i have a paddle kit for sell if anyone is interested

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    Quote Originally Posted by keliente View Post

    Ten bolt
    – the rear end under an fbody, characterized by 10 bolts on the ring gear (or rear cover )

    hotrod.com/techarticles/84121/
    That article seems to be gone, I also couldn't find it with the search on that site. Anyone have something similar posted? Thanks!

  15. #15
    your parts guy!!! 1fastcamarosss11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spurkey View Post
    That article seems to be gone, I also couldn't find it with the search on that site. Anyone have something similar posted? Thanks!
    go to www.keliente.com that is her

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    Junior Member 10874477g's Avatar
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    good article dude

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    Junior Member ksulkosky's Avatar
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    awesome post

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    Senior Member clg82's Avatar
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    great write up

  19. #19
    Junior Member Adam_WS6_'s Avatar
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    i got the stock 3.42`s now and am wanting to put the 4.10`s i got a h/c car and i wanted to know what whould the rpms be at with the 4.10 gear @ 70 mph?

    this car is a daily driver... and once and a while on a 1/4 mile track..

    is 4.10s safe? for a dd? not to much stran/stress on the motor?

    with this cam the car needs the gear.. it`s lazy in frist ,
    Last edited by Adam_WS6_; 10-09-2008 at 09:07 PM.
    Patriot Stage 2 heads cam 228.228.581.581. 112 lsa, lts ory Magnaflow cat back, maf,full tune, LS7 Cluch w/ LS2 Flywheel,Pro 5.0,Slotted/Drilled Rotors,Subframe Connectors,Strut Tower Brace,panhard bar,lower control arms, 4.10 gear.

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    Thanks

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