Looking for a diff guru / advice (Dana)

Reprise

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Ok. I'll try and keep this in bullet points, and wait for follow-up questions.

Basically, I've started the work, and after doing some more research (mostly on YT), wondering if I'm getting in over my head.
I thought I could make the repair w/o having to remove the carrier / pinion, but we'll see what your opinions are

'03 Sierra with Dana 60 / 4.10 - Quadrasteer axle
- I want to keep this system intact (a big reason why I bought it), but am willing to make the move to a Corporate 14-bolt, if price for this repair gets excessive (> $1000, let's say).

- Outside of the pinion bearing, the system works perfectly - both electronics & mechanicals

- The internals of the diff are 'standard Dana'

On that pinion bearing...
Truck will make a howling noise from the rear on coast decel, at the right speed. Goes away under re-accel / steady state cruise.

With the driveshaft off, and moving the yoke, I've got roughly an inch or more of backlash, which I think is excessive. I can also hear a bit of a clunk at the end of the free travel. There's no lateral / up & down movement of the yoke, and no leakage from the seal.

At first, I thought I was going to simply remove pinion nut, slinger, replace bearing race.
However, I'm guessing that I may have to replace the bearing - and that's a 2pc affair, requiring removal of the carrier / pinion (axle tubes have to come out, and room is tight in my garage, to be frank).

The other thing that worries me is reassembly, since the carrier / ring / pinion will have been removed. Specifically:

- Mating of the ring / pinion surfaces (hoping this will be minimal as long as I keep any shims in proper places)

- Crush bearing sleeve on the pinion (guessing I need to replace).
Apparently, 'crush bearing eliminator' kits are available?​

- Setting the preload (described as a 2-man job), which looks like it would be required on a complete carrier disassembly.


So...those are my general concerns, along with an apprehension about being able to find a local resource to work on this (and what they'd charge).

Looking for members who've done diff work before, to chat them up. If you have experience with Dana / Spicer, and especially the 60-series, you're my new BFF :biggrin:

(for the uninitiated: While GM stopped using Dana axles some time ago, many Dodge / Jeep products have them (and some Fords))
 

m.mcmillen

Gold Supporter
I don't think I've ever been into a Dana 60 but I'll try and help.

I think the best thing to do would be to just rebuild the whole thing. You're going to wind up taking the whole thing apart anyway. Before you get started, you need to know that you will need a press to press the carrier bearings off and on and also the inside pinion bearing.

I would also recommend buying a dial type torque wrench that will read inch pounds. You will need it to set the preload of the carrier bearing.

For the crush sleeve, you don't really need two people. I use a good stout impact and tighten the pinion nut in small increments and then check the preload after each increment (this is where the inch pound torque wrench comes into play). A click style wrench won't do. You will need to turn the pinion several times while watching the dial on the torque wrench. Make sure you lube the bearings up really good before you put them in so you can get an accurate reading.

For the backlash, you will need a dial indicator to check the backlash of the ring pinion. What I have found is that once you change all of the bearings that most of the specs come back to what they're supposed to be. You need to be sure that you pay special attention to the shims that you take out and that they go back in the same place they came from.
 
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Thanks for responding (I have notifications set on this thread; thus the quick reply).

Sounds like you're saying "don't worry...you can do it" (but, yeah, you have to take the entire thing apart). We'll see...

I did purchase an inch-pound beam wrench, having read that it could be substituted for the dial type. Only about $30 delivered, so I'm not 'out' that much, just yet. And I do have impact / air capability.

Re: pressing bearings. I know I could take them to a shop and have that done; it'll cost a little bit, but it looks to be a straightforward job, and I don't have room for / don't want to incur the expense for a suitable press.

I think I'm going to see what a couple of local places will tell me (knowing that they're probably going to come in about $1000 or so). And talk to the mechanic I've used in the past. There's also a place I can take the truck to to rent a hoist, but that gets pretty expensive, at the speed at which I work. And I'd want to get all of the parts beforehand (inner / outer bearings & races, axle seals ('cos those'll get destroyed taking out the axles), etc., etc.)

Assuming I had everything needed from that standpoint (and a shop was available for the press work), would it be possible to get all of this done in a day or two, using a lift?
 

northcreek

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I don't believe that it was mentioned but, you will need a housing spreader to remove/install the carrier assembly. I show how I made one in an earlier post, when I was doing a Dana 44.
 
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Oh, yeah...I know about the case spreader...unique to Dana.

Didn't mention earlier, trying to keep from writing a book... :eek: but I had earlier come across a blog site that a guy w/ same truck posted to. In his case, he stated 'no spreader needed', b/c the carrier 'fell out' after he removed the carrier bolts / shims. It would be fair to say I'm hoping not to have to engage a spreader.

Pretty funny how Dana wants you to use a case spreader, and then says not to exceed 0.015 in. on the spreading (per GM manual). Anywho...

Here's the latest...

I rigged up the inch-pound wrench with a couple of adapters (it's 1/4 drive, as most are, and the socket is 1/2 drive)...
While I couldn't get a 360 degree pull, it seems to take approx 28 in/lb to move the pinion (after the free play has been exhausted). That is consistent, in both directions, turning 120-160 degrees or so (you can round to 180 / half-turn, if you like). But it is consistent.

Because the preload spec is different for...
  • new vs. old bearings,
  • ring & carrier in vs out,
  • GM service manual vs. other sources
  • something else I don't remember or haven't found yet

... I'm not going to say right now that 28 is definitively 'in' or 'out' of spec. But from what I can tell, it's on the smaller end of 'in'.

Although I mentioned that I have no lateral or vertical play on the yoke, sources suggest that doesn't mean the pinion bearing isn't bad. So the lack of play could be 'good', or it could mean nothing at all.


Moving on...I also removed the fill plug, to check the fluid level (spec is right at the fill hole). As soon as the plug came out, fluid was coming out at a good clip (vehicle is pitched forward, so it's not overfull)
Put the plug right back in and cleaned everything off.

What that tells me is that none of the seals (pinion, axle - ?) are leaking. (I had mentioned earlier that the pinion oil seal looked clean).

From what I can tell, this axle is untouched from factory. Oh, and total miles is about 230K.
More background info...while I see no evidence of a 5th wheel / gooseneck hitch or ball ever being mounted, this truck does have the 'helper bags' on the rear axle, and perhaps an added leaf, as well. Couple that with a 4.10 gear, and it's practically a given that this truck was pulling something during its life (it's rated for 10,000 on the bumper, per the 'old' specs, so it makes you wonder just why the supplemental bags were needed (no WDH, perhaps?)

Now...here's something else I've been considering as the source of the noise... wheel or axle bearings.
Supposedly, wheel bearings aren't supposed to 'howl'. But it's easier to check on these (IMO) than to rip apart an entire diff and set it back up correctly. And this truck does have rear hub assemblies, similar to the front steer axle on a 4x4 truck. The howling does kind of have the same pitch as a bad front hub (but it's louder, IMO)

Also, when I've heard this noise, it seems to be coming more from the RH (pass) side, rather than from the 'center' (or left). That's not 'scientific' (especially with my ears / at my age)


So...here's my 'new' plan... I'll start taking apart things at the passenger wheel end, and put in new hubs / bearings, where applicable. Hopefully, I find something 'obvious'. While I'm in there, I suppose new inner / outer tie rods would be good, since I'll be disconnecting them.

After that, I'll get the truck back out on the road and test.
If the noise doesn't go away...then I'll go back to the diff (I'll probably drain the fluid and pull the cover (which is more involved, as the actuator / motor assy is actually molded into the cover (!)

With the cover off, I can inspect the ring / spider gears, and see if anything looks bad there. It'll also allow me to pull the axle clips, b/c that'll need to be done to pull the axles / remove the carrier.

And with that...it's on to the Rock parts catalog for some (different) parts...
 

northcreek

Well-Known Member
If properly shimmed, the carrier should not fall out...that "case squeeze" is the preload on the bearings. There should be no perceivable play side to side when the carrier is in place.
The best way I found to remove the carrier is to put some tension on the spreader and have the carrier facing down with some protection on the ground, boxes,blankets,etc. then whack the case with a dead blow hammer and it should fall out easily, if not spread a little more. It is difficult to just try and lift it out because it's heavy, slippery and you are fighting some close tolerances.
 
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If properly shimmed, the carrier should not fall out...that "case squeeze" is the preload on the bearings. There should be no perceivable play side to side when the carrier is in place.
Understood...just relaying what he wrote, which can be found HERE if you're interested (about mid-page for the reference - he surmised that he lost the shims via bearing failure, but I doubt they'd disappear w/o a trace.

Ordered some rear hubs from Rock. There aren't any other bearings on the wheel side to replace, per the parts diagram. And since the seals are intact (see my post last night re: fluid level 'ok'), I'll hold off on those for now. Those'll get here on Friday; that gives me a couple of days to get the old ones off and ready for the new.

I also found an entire replacement axle w/ same 4.10 gear on the Bay (junkyard; 184K miles). Listed for $775 plus shipping; seller agreed to waive the fee if I picked it up (in MO; not that far away for me). So that's an option.

Only issue there (besides not knowing condition of the internals) is that it's from an extended cab (6-lug) - but with this axle, I'm pretty sure I could swap the hubs and be in business. They're all Dana 60s, and I see no variance listed for any of the other parts on that axle for HD crew vs. other models, other than the hubs. Width s/b the same, too (all models have the bulging wheelwells & marker lights (DOT requirement for track > 80 in.) And before you ask, there was no DRW option - these were never on 3500s.

I had gone to one garage yesterday, explained the situation, and instead of anything resembling a price estimate, heard "bring it in so we can diagnose it". Will talk to my 'trusted' mech today (yeah, those quotes are in there for a purpose, but he's all I've got besides myself (and sometimes I don't trust me )) :dunce:

More to come...and I've been taking pics, so maybe I'll update this post with appropriate ones, as this progresses. Those overalls I picked up have a handy front pocket where I've been storing my paint pen & phone.
 

littleblazer

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I've only ever seen one 60 blow up ever... and he did it 3 times. Otherwise they're pretty good. Hence I've never really torn one down.
 
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I've only ever seen one 60 blow up ever... and he did it 3 times. Otherwise they're pretty good.
Yeah...supposed to be damn near 'stuff of legend'.

You wouldn't happen to know what the failure point(s) were, would you? Just curious (and I don't know what would be worse...hearing the same thing failed, or that three different things failed...lol)
 

littleblazer

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Yeah...supposed to be damn near 'stuff of legend'.

You wouldn't happen to know what the failure point(s) were, would you? Just curious (and I don't know what would be worse...hearing the same thing failed, or that three different things failed...lol)
Let's see, it went a few thousand miles with leaking seals, then a few thousand with no fluid... they guy that we found to rebuild it never had rebuilt one and got it right enough on the third try. It was mainly negligence running it for a year with no fluid. He said you used to go around turns and watch what was left spray out the rims....
 
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Started another thread in the 'towing' thread b/c I thought I might need a new ring / pinion, and a direct replacement wasn't available (or, at least I thought it wasn't, when I created that thread.)

After cleaning / inspecting the innards, I can see that the gears are fine. Not a tooth chipped or broken, anywhere. Appears to be a bit of pattern wear on some of the teeth (just an outline that you can see when you clean it off to bare metal. Not perfectly 'centered', like you're supposed to try and shoot for, but if it made it 230K with this small amount of wear, I'm not too worried.

The issue is with the carrier bearings (left side sheared off the bearing / cup; I can see & touch the race / cone. All of the shards remained on that side. The RH side looks ok, and still has a shim on that side, as well.

I looked at the Pirate 4x4 site for what's involved in replacing them; personally, I don't think I can do it (31 pages devoted to gear setup for the Dana 60; not that it's substantially more difficult than any other axle, I suppose).

Called up another shop and explained my options (them repairing vs. me replacing the axle); they're going to call me back with an estimate.

I'd love to be able to do the repair, but it might take me six months to 'get it right', and an investment in tools I don't see me using again. May as well let an experienced pro handle it (or replace the axle.) I'll have my garage back and can focus on other things demanding my attention right now. And then I can come back to my intended cam / intake project, after the dust settles.

Will use this thread going forward, and ask that the other one be closed, since that question is resolved.
 
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Called the shop back. They had been waiting on GM parts source to supply listing of needed parts, but they were at least able to estimate 8hr labor @ $105/per.

Told them I thought that was the better option, vs. putting in a JY axle of unknown status (I'm sure it works, but for how long?)

Also told them I'd source the parts, if they continued to have trouble, and I'd make sure they were good quality; they agreed on that as an option. So I'm doing that now. A master rebuild kit from Yukon Gear containing Timken bearings, etc., should take care of most of it (sourcing at about $225).

A new diff cover gasket will run about $40, shipped (it's unique, so I can't use a regular 10- or 12-bolt gasket.) Although the old one is reusable, there's a thin rubber gasket liner on the interior edge that separated a bit on removal, so I may as well spring for the new gasket - I don't want the rubber portion from the old one being drawn into the diff (although it would probably be crushed to nothing by the force of the gears, tbh).

Will go over the parts listing with the shop before I bring it in, so that there's agreement that 'everything' is there, and the truck isn't sitting on the rack for days waiting for more parts to be sourced / shipped.

I know there will be those of you who will say... "gee...$1000+... I woulda done it myself or gotten rid of the system" Call me nuts, but I think I could build an engine from freshly machined parts, or rebuild a transmission before I could correctly set up a diff & gears, by myself. That's just the way I feel about it. If this goes south again, maybe my opinion will change - but once this is rebuilt, I expect it to last a long time. Fingers crossed.

Also, as I mentioned...I like the idea of having something 'rare'. The electronics work, and that's the hard part of the system to find anymore. That, plus the benefits that the system delivers, and I say... "what the hell?" Or, if you prefer... "what's the diff?" (pun intended!)
 
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Update (and it ain't pretty):

Shop called me just now, and they indicated that the gearset is now in need of replacement (as I suspected it might be, based on my other post.)

In addition, they're saying the clutch packs for the Trac-Lok carrier (LS) are toast...as are the spider gears inside (so it would really make more sense to just get a new Trac-Lok (or whatever carrier I was going to use). Then they told me the really bad news - about $1500-2000, just as a seat of the pants estimate.

Went back to the Bay, and contacted the guy who had the QS axle (in 4.10, too, but it's a six-lug hub). Thinking about having him ship it directly to the shop, instead of me picking it up.

Got the shop working on an estimate to do the axle swap (I really don't have the room, or feel safe doing it by myself). Watch them come back and tell me some exorbitant price.

Well...you can't say I wasn't warned <sigh> ... but it's not the electronics that are toast...it's the gearset / carrier. :Banghead:
 
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Shop quoted $500 to install the axle. I also remembered I have the option of renting a lift.

Got the axle for $601...the one piece of good news I've had today...guy had it listed for $735, but 'make an offer' activated. I asked him what he'd take...and he came back with $600, if I pick up). I didn't argue any further about that.

To answer @Mooseman's question - probably poor maintenance. GM originally spec'd frequent fluid changes for this axle (the most likely symptom being 'chatter' from the spider gears, if it were left in too long). For reference, the spiders are only active when turning corners.

Funny thing was, I never heard / felt any noise on corners. Just on the coast / decel, originally. Most of the time, that's a pinion bearing, says the conventional wisdom.

I had thought ahead and checked the level before I drained the fluid - it was right at spec. Something tells me that I juuust might've been looking at factory fill. Which surprises me...I know owner #1 in Texas took pretty good care of the truck, put air bags & a really nice spray-in bedliner (there's a tag in the bed from the shop (!) After him, though, there's no telling.

The guy at the shop says that the metal pieces I pulled out weren't shims, but pieces of the clutch pack from the LS case.

The part I get distrustful about is them saying they could see all the bad stuff they did, w/o removing the case (carrier). All they did was take off the cover and looked inside. $107 and change for their efforts so far...and they'll even let me store it on their lot no charge while I go get the replacement axle.

They could be telling the truth (I'll be first to admit I don't know what to look for, wear-wise); reviews of the garage suggested these guys were honest (they're religious - something I normally don't cater to / make extra allowance for).

Next step is to figure out if I can fit the axle in the back of a 6.5 bed with the tailgate closed, or if I should rent a cargo van to go down to St. Louis to pick up the axle. And the guy there said 'no problem' to taking off the cover and examining the innards -- but, then, we go back to 'what the hell is Reprise looking for / at', anyway. Wish I could 'rent an expert' to look at the thing, b/c once I load it into the truck, it's mine. Still cheap, vs the alternative - $325 for the r&p, $400 for the Trac-Lok, another $100 or so for the spider gears (estimated), and then I still have to pay someone to put everything in.

Irony of the situation is that I had just re-added the Craigs ad for the 'old' Sierra last night, and gotten a couple of responses already. Now I need to tell all of them to wait. ::laughing wryly::
 
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northcreek

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Man! you went from a job to an adventure, keep us informed, suddenly my life seems so boring......
 
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Man! you went from a job to an adventure, keep us informed, suddenly my life seems so boring......
Heh...I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Writing about it is a sort of...therapy (?), if you will. And I'm always open to suggestions. Like... 'screw the cargo van...rent a trailer!' (sorry...came up w/ that one on my own, not from anyone here). $15/day (vs like $90/day...yay me)

Also (just) realized that I can drive the Voy down to STL with the trailer, which will make for a much nicer ride, there / back (I-55 from CHI <> STL ain't known for being the smoothest slab o' road; I used to drive the northern half of it to Bloomington a lot, a few years back).

As I think about 'how' to get it installed (me @ the rented lift, vs the shop), I now think that $500 for them to install it (and inspect it / advise) would prolly be the better way to go, considering. And I'll get the truck back quicker, which is good -- right now, I need its hauling capability, and the sooner it's on the road, the sooner that I can dump its 'uglier' twin.

Sometimes I can be 'penny smart' and 'dollar foolish', as I used to hear ppl say.

Ordered up another 3 qts of the 'magic juice' (Dexron LS 75w-90), as it'll need to go into the new axle; it'll (hopefully) be here by EOW.

The entrepreneurial side of me says "take the old actuator motor you'll have and sell it on eBay for $2500" (as 'if', but that's what people are asking for them).

The hoarder / logistician part of me says "hold on to it, in case the one you have goes out" (cause they're not available anymore...not even from Dorman...lol)

B/c the existing diff is in such bad shape, I'll likely cannibalize the cover / rack assy w/ the tie rods, and the axle shafts (which have the integrated CV joints) Maybe the ball joints (which connect the axle housing "outer C's" to the knuckle) The rest of it probably goes to the recycling as scrap (unless someone can think of a market for an empty Dana 60 axle housing)

Someday, this thing will force my hand.
For now, I cheerfully continue down the rabbit hole... 🕳🐇
 

northcreek

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Tempting but, I would hang on to the actuator...:twocents:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
:iagree:
Given its rarity and your "luck", you'll probably need it. And if you don't use it when you eventually get rid of the truck, it will be worth even more as it will be even rarer.
 
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:iagree:
Given its rarity and your "luck", you'll probably need it. And if you don't use it when you eventually get rid of the truck, it will be worth even more as it will be even rarer.
Something tells me it'll be an item in my will, left to my heirs (who will go through my various car-related items, say to each other "what's this? Meh..." and toss it over their shoulder into the dumpster.)

I'm such a fatalist sometimes, eh? :laugh:
 

northcreek

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Something tells me it'll be an item in my will, left to my heirs (who will go through my various car-related items, say to each other "what's this? Meh..." and toss it over their shoulder into the dumpster.)

I'm such a fatalist sometimes, eh? :laugh:
Yeah but, you'll probably be in the dumpster too....so you will have it for eternity... :woohoo:
 
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Today's update - found out that the knuckles will need to be swapped out (the 6-lug trucks / hubs have 4-bolt attachment to the knuckle, as like the front hubs on a 4WD; mine has a 6-bolt arrangement in the rear. There is an upper / lower ball joint on each side, but they're not a pressed-in type, like we're used to seeing on our front suspensions. BTW, this particular axle qualifies as a 'kingpin' type, and the knuckles are called 'flat tops'.

Since drilling / tapping the 6-bolt pattern isn't really an option, that leaves swapping out the knuckle. The axle housing (with the 'outer C' / kingpin that the steerable knuckle attaches to) should have the same hole / bolt attachment between the two trucks.

If it doesn't, I'm mega-screwed (and I already told my shop contact that if I screw the pooch on this new axle, I know when I'm licked - I'll get a corporate 14-bolt for $300 and say bye-bye to Quadrasteer.)

There are other things about the new truck that I still like better than the old one, so while I'd be bummed for sure, I still wouldn't see it as a 'total waste' to have bought this truck.

There was one other QS axle on the Bay, when I had looked earlier, and it had 8-bolt hubs. But it was a GT4 / 3.73 gear. It was also on the east coast, IIRC, and it was 30% more expensive, with similar mileage on the axle.

In retrospect, maybe I should've gotten it, instead. We'll see...

Speaking with the shop contact, he said they found that the carrier ('case', in Dana-speak) not only moved side-to-side (somewhat expected, as I understand it), but also backward / forward. That was the first thing that told them there was big trouble. Then they looked at the twisted metal pieces I gave them for review, and matched that up with remnants of the shims in the posi ('Trac-Lok'). Finally, they saw that the pinion was chipped & the ring was galled.

When I removed the bearing caps, I really didn't try to move the case forward / back. But I must have put it off-axis, somehow. Makes perfect (?) sense, when you think about how the noise got so much worse after I put everything back together.

Still, the posi clutch packs were toast before I even removed the cover, so I didn't trash the entire diff myself. But I 'contributed', I'm sure. :dunce:


In other news, looks like it's going to be snowing up here through the day tomorrow. Decided to reserve a cargo van from Enterprise, as a result (it doesn't appear that U-Haul's small utility trailers have brakes, and for what it'll cost to get a larger (enclosed) trailer with brakes, I can just get the cargo van and have no worries. I'm not driving 1500 lb of trailer / payload on the interstate, with no brakes, through snow.)
 
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So... got back from STL with axle in tow. Like, literally. :laugh:

Actually, maybe I should say "1/2 axle"...

I get to the place. A hole in the wall, in a neighborhood with chemical plants & run down houses (kinda par for where you'd find a junkyard, I suppose). Not far off the interstate (another sure sign of 'location'.)

I walk in...and there are four counter positions, each with a person manning no less than four (!) large flat-screen monitors, on articulated arms. Such is the auto recycling business now.

After announcing my presence, I'm directed toward Internet Sales Girl (ISG), in the back. Across from her, I see...a cube (cubicle) farm. Must be eight desks or so, with the ubiquitous divider panels in between each. ISG handles e-commerce (but she's not been there too long, I can tell...and when I inquire, she tells me some bullsh!t story about being from San Francisco, building up a "multi-million dollar e-comm business there, and selling it"... it was all I could do to respond to that with "then what the f#ck are you doing... here" But I nodded & played along, as I had a plan, and I needed her in a complacent mood.)

You see, when she e-mailed me the address / phone #, she used her company's name. Sure enough, they had a website. And on that website, my axle was listed... for $435. Without the steering gear (just the 'axle', w/o the cover / rack & pinion / tie rods / actuator / motor). Well, seeing that, I wasn't about to pay them $601 for the same thing, even though the guy had told me via e-mail "$600 was firm". I reviewed the eBay ad, and sure enough, it did say (at the bottom) "less steering gear". So I knew they would have it separated out. But ISG didn't know this... it's just stock #s and dollars per part, to her.

So I get there, and she brings me out to the part.
"Where's the rest of it?", I ask. She looks at me quizzically.
I explain to her that this is only "half the part", and "useless" without the rest of it.
Now she has to go talk to the One Above All. Twice.
She comes back and shows me the ad, with a weaksauce explanation about how that part is considered a "steering / chassis" piece. But they'll let me have it, 'for an extra $400'. So... $1000 for the (complete) axle / steering assy, plus pay my mech to install it? Ain't happening.

(note: this was the same gimmick that other eBay sellers were using, but they were pricing at $800 & up...and the closest of them was in Kentucky, with the best option being in North Carolina. For like $1200. Ugh)

Now I spring the trap, and show her the company's webpage, with the axle for $435.
"I still want to inspect it", I said... "and for that price, I'll swap my old parts over to it" (which were all fine, but she didn't know that). "Or, you can refund me the $601, and I'll buy it retail for your offered price." She immediately offered to refund me the difference, which I accepted, pending inspection (they had the pumpkin all wrapped up, so the gears wouldn't rust)

Off comes the wrapper, and I see it looks 'ok'. Of course, I thought the old one looked 'ok', too. But it did look good, from what my non-expert eye could see. So I decided to roll dice & take it. While I didn't get the QSteer parts, it came rotor to rotor, which really didn't do squat for me...perhaps I can reuse the calipers (-?) And it did have the kingpin parts (e.g.; ball joints).

15min later, they had the pumpkin wrapped up again, and I had a credit in my hand for $166.
A forklift gets it onto the trailer, and off I go. Unfortunately, I knew I'd never make it back 'home' in time before the mech closed, so I'd have to rent the trailer another day. At $18.95, I was prepared to handle that.

I get the axle to the shop today, and I have two guys inspect it. A little galling on the spider gears, but they're happy, otherwise. They advised "late in the week" next week before they can get to it - so hopefully, by this time next week...this saga will end...with me having a little more knowledge about differentials...and emptier pockets for the privilege. 💳
 
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Got the truck back today; it's in the driveway.

Shop mgr called me up to explain what they did. Besides swapping out the knuckles so that I could use the 8-lug pieces, they also had to swap the axle shafts -- it turns out that the 1/2 ton versions are about 1.5 in shorter than the HD versions, and as a result, the knuckle didn't line up with the kingpin / outer 'C'. So they swapped the shafts out, as well. Same diameter, same spline count - just shorter in length. Go figure.

Sadly, though, that meant that I couldn't cannibalize the extra set of CV axles. Thankfully, they're still available (and I'm sure someone will have one on eBay for a couple of grand, should I ever need one (they run about $150 or so at Rock, IIRC)

The other thing he told me is that the mech who worked on this 'thought' he 'might' have heard what would be a noise from one of the carrier bearings, so they wanted me to drive it and get my opinion.

Get to the shop, and I tell them to not tell me the noise they 'thought' they heard; we'd compare notes when I got back. Took the truck on a good 20min run to evaluate.

Now, what makes this a bit difficult is the fact that (some) previous owner installed a Flowmaster muffler on the truck. It's not obnoxiously loud, but it does make it harder to hear what's going on in the back (and since I'd rather not hear the drone for hours on end between campsites, I'm probably going to take it out at some point.)

About the only thing I heard that didn't sound like it should was what sounded like a hub squeaking, intermittently (remember, these have rear hubs). But not a 'grinding' noise at / above 20mph, as research told me a bad carrier bearing would sound like.

A couple of times, I did hear what might be classified as a 'grind' as I was braking to a stop, and the truck slowed from 20mph to a full stop. But my big braking concern was a stiff pedal at initial application (as if there were no 'vacuum' in the pedal (technically, there's not). Something tells me I'm going to need a Hydroboost unit - ?

Get back to the shop, and I tell them their mechanic has a better developed ear than me. I ask them what noise I should hear, if it indeed is a carrier bearing, and they confirm a 'grinding'. They also say if it is present, it'll get louder over time. Not vary with speed, but just be 'louder', as more wear occurs. I figure I can listen for that, and this type of failure won't be catastrophic. They agree, and propose I drive the truck for 1000mi or so, then bring it in; they'll drain the fluid and evaluate. That sounds good to me.

They also reset the QS system, and found out that the alignment was perfect - so I don't need to worry about a rear wheel alignment. Good to know, since I just put $800 worth of tires on it (and still (!) need a spare.)

The truck steers straight (front suspension), but the wheel is off-center, so I may spring for an alignment, later on (more on front suspension plans in another post (NO, I'm not raising it! It's a TOW vehicle!) :nono:

I reiterate with them what I intend to use the truck for, which is to have about 7K on a bumper pull most of the time (it's rated for 10K on the bumper with a 4.10, and about 12.5K if I ever get stupid crazy and decide I want to get a 5'er - but at that point, I think I might go for a newer truck - like maybe an '08-'11...LMAO).

They recommend 30K fluid changes, if I want to be safe, but no need to raise from 75w-90, or put Amsoil or some other 'boutique' fluid...the GM Dexron LS is synthetic, according to them, and better than the OEM factory fill back in '03. The shop mgr is an old GM shop mechanic, and he mentioned that he might have seen two QS trucks in all the time he worked for GM.

So...with all of that, it's time to pay their bill. About $650, including the hour they spent with the old axle. They worked on it 'in between' jobs, and that was just fine with me - it's not my only whip, as some of you know. So now I'm back to 4 vehicles & the in / out 'shuffle'...LOL

One nice thing was, since they didn't use it, was that I was able to send back the rebuild kit... so that was $225 back in my pocket, less return shipping. Got that out tonight via UPS...every little bit helps, and today was the last day I could send it back. 🍀🍀🍀 (sorry...no 'horseshoe' icon!)

Adding up all the costs...
Axle: $435
Trailer: $50
Labor: $650
Fluid: $90 (2 x 3qts...& a spare)
Gasket: $50
Tow: $60 (net, after reimbursement by insurance)

Total: $1335 😱
(not counting whatever my time / effort was worth, or two tanks of gas to get to STL & back)

But, hey... I own a Quadrasteer truck... (whoop-de-doo!) :dielaugh:
That, and $2.25 will get me a cup of Dunkin' coffee...

Another nice thing...all the 'maintenance' parts I bought for the tan one, but never installed...will work just fine with this truck. Why, that's 'money saved'! :laugh:

Told myself that I'm not ordering the cam / springs / lifters until I get the tan one sold. I've got a $3000 tax bill staring me in the face, too, so I'm trying to stop the short-term money hemorrhaging (good luck, there)

Even with all of the work I'm now looking at having to do with this truck...it's gonna be a labor of love...I really enjoy driving it. Starting to wonder if it doesn't already have a tune.

Figured out I'm probably going to need a driver door module (DDM); I find that a lot of the buttons I push take a 'second' application before they actually work (locks, mostly). And I actually broke the bottom small ('wide angle') mirror on my D/S towing mirror today, adjusting it by hand) Shattered it (thankfully, I didn't cut my thumb, at least)
 
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Mooseman

Moderator
Sure looks like you had a competent shop working on it. Always good to have it done right even if you're not doing it yourself. 👍
 
OP
OP
Reprise

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Yeah...they're a little bit farther of a drive, and they do have one of those little 'fish' symbols on their business sign (it's a NAPA repair shop) - but they didn't gouge me on the pricing, and they were willing to work with me on part procurement, etc. (or maybe I should say I did half the work, there?)

I'd be OK with using them again, if I had to. I guess that's the surest sign that I felt I got value for money.

Earlier in the day, I had to take the Accord to the dealer for a battery R&R (warranty, so cost me nothing but time). But to hear them do the maintenance upsell to literally every customer in the waiting room (except me!) was just...obscene, especially with a marque that does use good quality parts to begin with (vs. someone like...cough...FCA...cough). And before anyone says 'but...battery'...the car sat all winter outdoors w/o being started, and it'll be gone in June. So...shuddup...LOL

Like I said...there's a chance I could've installed it, if I'd rented a lift & had the truck towed to it. But having a couple of 'old skool' mechs on this particular repair was worth it, I think. And I'd probably have spent close to the same amount doing it myself, between the towing and the lift rental charges.

Fingers crossed that the bearing(s) hold up. 🤞
Of course, my super-hearing will always be attuned to that axle, even if it'd been totally rebuilt. :sadcry:
Relax, Reprise, relax... :chillpill:
 
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