Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

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Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:10 pm

I have hit a solid wall concerning rebuilding my 1910 rear axle and I need some help. In prepping for the rebuild, I have purchased a new ring and pinion set (standard 40 & 11 tooth), new drive shaft, new steel and bronze thrust washers, and the Fun Projects adjustable no-bump pinion bearing kit. I have rebuilt three previous rear axle's using Chaffin's front and rear axle rebuilding guide, and have followed it to the letter. Because I'm using the modern pinion replacement kit, I haven't fully assembled the drive shaft yet; that comes after you set the ring/pinion mesh using shims. To do this, you temporarily assemble the spool to the housing using three studs and nuts. After inserting the bearing cone into the spool, you decide which size shim to place between the bearing cone and the pinion to achieve the desired mesh; thicker shims to move the pinion closer, thinner shims to move it back. Once you get a good fit, you then assemble the spool, bearing cone, shim stack and pinion onto the drive shaft and torque the nut down to permanently set the pinion, then go on to assemble the drive shaft into the tube with the u-joint. Here's where I'm getting stuck; before completely assembling the drive shaft into the tube, I test fit the drive shaft with the spool attached onto the housing and I get zero clearance. I've tried using thicker shim stacks as well as thinner shim stacks. I've even tried using no shims at all, which gave me a little clearance but the teeth were seriously misaligned. It just seems like the differential housing is sitting too high but I've checked and re-checked the washers to make sure they haven't come off the pins. And looking at the left differential as it sits inside the housing, it appears correct. What am I missing??? What can I do to increase the clearance to the acceptable .008 - .012; can I machine down the left bronze thrust washer??? I need some serious advice.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:29 pm

The answer to your question is: "yes"

personally, I would assemble the axle without the drive shaft and I'll bet you're going to find the clam-shell will not close up, indicating that some needs to come off of the bronze thrust washer(s). Assuming that happy finding, you now know where to start removing some material to move the differential over some.

Pretty sure all this is described in the MTFCA rear axle book.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:10 pm

Ditto of what Scott stated.

All the Best,

Hank

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:19 pm

Thanks, fella's, that will be tomorrow's task as I'm done for today! But here's a question; does it matter that I'm re-using a later style differential housing inside a six rivet clam shell housing? It seems to me the reason I cannot get any clearance is that the ring gear is sitting too high inside the housing, which means that the left differential housing is sitting too high, which is why I need to adjust the thickness of the left bronze washer. Were the early differential housings that much different???

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:45 pm

DSC06394.JPG
DSC06394.JPG (29.52 KiB) Viewed 4802 times
DSC06393.JPG
DSC06393.JPG (26.48 KiB) Viewed 4802 times
Here are some pictures of the ring gear inside the housing. Does it appear that it's sitting a tad too high, or am I just seeing things? Does it look like it's sitting in the housing correctly?
DSC06395.JPG
DSC06395.JPG (24.54 KiB) Viewed 4802 times

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:38 pm

It might be high but just go back and reinspect those spacers. You wil win the battle. I have always after everything is assembled, install the other housing, bolt down to verify there is no binding or other issue before setting the lash.

All The Best,

Hank


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Allan » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:01 am

Bill, When I build a rear axle I try to select steel thrusts with as much variation in thickness as possible. They can typically vary as much as .004" I assemble the diff centre and axles, fit the steel and thrust washers and assemble the two housings, with just three bolts. I then measure the gap between the housings to find out how much to machine off the bronze thrusts. If the gap is .025 you need to take that much off the thrusts. The gasket will give you back the running clearance. I machine the bronze thrusts so that the .025" reduction leaves the two thrusts some .010" different in thickness.
The different thicknesses of the steel and bronze thrusts allows the assembly to be shifted left and right in the housings, so the optimal mesh setting can be achieved. It's not just a matter of setting the backlash, but it will also do this if that is all that concerns you.

Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:42 pm

So, I did the suggested process of assembling the entire axle with the complete differential, which included the new steel and bronze thrust washers on both housings. I then bolted the housings together as far as it would go without wrenching, and the ring gear would not budge. I do not have any accurate shims, so I used four washers at the bolts that measured roughly .o62, and tightened the housings snugly. The ring gear moved with a little drag but not binding, so I assume this is roughly what I need. However, when I measured the gap between the housings at the spool opening, I came up with .073. I then dug thru my old parts stash and found a bronze thrust washer I ground down to .170. I put this on the left housing with standard steel washers and tried the backlash test and viola, I achieved the desired .010 ring and pinion clearance! Now I have two questions; first, where do I buy some machined, washer type shims to get a more accurate measurement and secondly, how best to mill down the bronze washers? I've used a belt sander in the past, but I couldn't get an even, flat surface all around. Any suggestions?


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Joe Bell » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:05 pm

I used a surface grinder with something on each side to hold in place.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:40 pm

Double sticky tape works well, too.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by tdumas » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:43 pm

Nothing wrong with using the washer you have that’s the right thickness.

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:03 pm

The problem with that washer is I used a belt sander to get it thinner, and it's not the same thickness all the way around. I'd rather have one that's more accurate.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:55 pm

I would assemble without thrust washer, with a paper gasket between clamshell halves. Borrow a drop indicator and find out how much endshake you have. That is the thickness of thrust washer you want...let a machine shop alter one for you. They will appreciate it if you spec it to .xxx +/- .002".

If you must adjust it thinner when you get home, sand paper with double sticky tape on plate glass will take it down a few thou. If you or they overshoot then you have the gasket you can remove and that will close up the gap.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Trentb » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:54 pm

One thing to keep in mind when fitting the ring and pinion clearance is that when you take off material from one side of the differential shims and washers you need to add material to the other side.

Assuming that you have zero ring and pinion clearance to begin with, when you use thinner washers (bronze or steel) on one side it simply allows the differential to move away from the pinion, but it is still possible for the differential to float back to the zero clearance point. You can hear this if it occurs while your driving. To make the clearance permanent, the washers on the other side need to be made thicker so the differential cannot slide back to the zero clearance position.

.004 clearance may be too tight. Many left side differential cases are no longer perfectly true where the ring gear is bolted to it. This creates a slight oscillating effect when the differential rotates, which in turn cause the ring and pinion clearance to change as the differential rotates. This can also result in some noise coming out of the rear axle when driving down the road. I try so set the clearance on my rear axle builds closer to .006”.

Finally, there was a good reason why the 6 rivet rear axle design was abandoned. Press steel moves as pressure is applied on one side then the other. Cast iron housings are much more rigid. The internal dimensions of your pressed steel housings may not be the same now as when they first left the factory.

Your techniques and results may vary.

Respectfully submitted,

Trent Boggess


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Allan » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:31 pm

Right on Trent. That is why I like to select different thickness steel washer and machine the bronze thrusts to different thicknesses. It allows all of them to be swapped from side to side when setting up the gear mesh. The total thickness of the stack stays the same. The component parts are just shuffled around to suit.

I am at variance with the published work on setting up the gear mesh. The first setting I use is to get the two gears set at the correct depth of engagement fore and aft. This is where shims etc in the tailshaft are used so that the teeth of the gears have full contact for their length. It is not good practice to set the backlash by withdrawing the gears from full engagement. Once that engagement is set, the backlash can be set by shifting the carrier within the housing, and the best rolling fit is not dependent on a particular backlash measurement.

I know this is not how the time pressures on the production line would allow fitment. Probably as long as things went round,it was good to go. With all new parts and a set of tolerances to follow, things pretty well went together. We have the time to do it better.

Allan fro down under.

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Ruxstel24 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:48 pm

First I have little experience with T axles.
Lots with modern axles.

Allen, I was wondering if someone would mention what you have. Modern axles, it is called pinion depth. That is normally set first and then the backlash. With a helical modern gear, if the depth is off, it will howl like an old hound dog. I would only assume a straight gear would be similar, you want the pinion gear centered in the ring gear.

All a good learning experience so far.

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:02 am

Trent, I'm not sure I'm following your suggestion. My clearance, with all stock thrust washer assemblies, was zero no matter the shims added or subtracted from the pinion. When I substituted a thinner bronze washer on the left housing, measuring approximately .170", along with stock steel washers I was able to achieve the desired ring and pinion backlash of .008". I then assembled the entire axle to adjust the differential assembly clearance, with standard size thrust washers on the right housing. When I finger tightened the two housings together, the ring gear would not budge at all, which would indicate that the right bronze thrust washer needs to be milled to whatever gap in the housings suggest, which in turn would allow the housings to fully mate and the ring gear to move with some drag. If I added thickness to the right side bronze washer, as you suggest, instead of removing material the housings would be even further apart and the ring gear would still be stuck. Am I missing something here?


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Trentb » Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:23 pm

Bill,

I suspect that the internal dimensions of you 6 rivet housing have changed over the years. The reason I suspect this is because the differential does not turn freely until after you have shaved down one of the thrust washers to .170 from it original thickness of about .205”.

Also keep in mind that 6-rivet housing were not designed to be used with gaskets. That does not occur for several years later. So putting a gasket betweenthe two housings actually increases the clearance for the differential within the housings.

When I am fitting a ring and pinion I pretty much stick to the methodology described in the MTFCA’s rear axle booklet. I begin by putting the assembled differential into the housings and bolting them up tight. Then I check to make sure the differential spins freely, with about .005” to .010” side to side clearance.

Next, I mount the differential into the left housing with the housing in the verticle position. Then I fit the driveshaft to the left housing, which allows me to check the mesh between the ring gear and pinion. If the depth is about right, then I check the clearance between the ring and pinion with a “Last Word” dial indicator. As mentioned previously, I try to keep between .006” - .010 clearance between the ring and pinion. Once that is achieved, checked and rechechecked, I lubricate the differential, washers and roller bearings with gear oil and assemble the complete rear axle/ driveshaft assembly. The last thing is to check that the axle moves freely when turning the U-Joint. If it does not, then the assembly comes apart again until I figure out what the problem is.

While we are on the subject of 6-rivet rear axle housings, this seems like a good time to let you know the results of some research I have done at the Benson Ford Research Center. It turns out that there were 4 (four) different versions of 6-rivet rear axle housings. The first version simply bolted the two housings together, pressed steel to pressed steel. The second version used flat washers around the housing bolt holes to provide some support to the pressed steel. The third iteration used 5 or 6 steel crescent shaped segments to provide reinforcement where the two housings joined. The 4th version used longer “C” shaped steel reinforcements between the the two axle housing halves. This last version was introduced for 1911. I can usually recognize them at a glance because the overlap where the two housings meet is much thicker, almost as thick a a later housing. The 1911 version housings are also 1/8” longer than the previous versions. Mixing versions can lead to problems later on in the assembly process.

Keep in mind that I do not have my notes in front of me as I write, so I could be off on some of the details.

Respectfully submitted,

Trent Boggess


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:33 pm

Bill

if you are using standard repro washers, you are going to find they are well thicker than original. It sounds like you are quite close to getting the job done, now that you have correct pinion lash. Now just figure out your necessary thickness for the other washer like I suggested using a dial drop gage and you're golden.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:30 pm

Thanks for all the input - I really do appreciate the help! Trent, I suspect my housings may have warped a bit due to the fact that the inside of both clam shells have been heavily brazed around the perimeter where the rivets are. With all that heat, maybe the inside tubes moved inward eliminating any clearance. Both tubes had to be straightened as well, but the left side more so. Scott, I would like to know more about your method of determining the thickness needed for the right side bronze washer but I'm not sure what you mean. Can you please go over, step-by-step, your method again? I know I don't own a drop indicator and I'm not exactly sure what one is; is it like a dial indicator?

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:16 pm

Also, it appears that my housings are the second version, with washers over the bolt hole openings.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Allan » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:39 pm

George, Trent's post on the differences in the 6 rivet housings woke me up to a point I had missed. With the overlapping seam on the pressed steel housings, my method of checking the gap between them will not work. I presume you used washers between the halves as spacers to get your measurement. Sorry for the bum steer.
Scott's post on the replacement bronze thrust washers is correct. They are well too thick, so there is room to custom turn them to fit to suit the application at hand. I do them in my lathe, just because I can.
Trent's rebuild method largely runs as mine does. When he mentions setting the backlash, he does not go into details about what might have to be done to alter/reset the components to achieve the desired result. This is why I make up my steel washer and bronze thrust stack with components having as much variation in thickness as possible. The total stack thickness stays the same, but individual parts can be transferred from side to side to adjust the assembly within the housing. If the assembly rotates with adequate clearance when setting up the stack, it will still do the same when the component parts are shuffled around.
Keep up the good work.
Allan from down under.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:54 pm

Bill

now that you have pinion/ring gear clearance to where you can set the pinion with your kit, you can set the assembly up with 2 thrust washers and the "correct" thickness bronze washer and the differential installed in the housing, with the other end "up". Schmeer a thin bit of white grease on a steel washer and squish it onto the differential and squeeze out excess. Do the same on the other steel washer and set on the 2nd housing, squeezing out all extra...you just want it to stick in place over the dowel pins. Now invert the housing over the axle shaft WITHOUT THE BRASS THRUST WASHER and screw the clamshells together. Using magnetic base and a dial indicator, indicate on the end of the axle, and lift from the bottom (other axle end) and the measured "rise" of the axle assembly within the housings is the distance you need to shim with a modified bronze washer. Subtract the "rise" from the total thickness of the washer and this is the amount you must remove from the thickness of the washer. Nothing is perfect in Ts or in life, so go slowly and sneak up on that dimension when you are thinning up the washer and keep trying it in your assembly. It may need to be slightly thicker or thinner than your calculated thickness, but it should be close.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:57 pm

Scott, now I'm seeing the light! Just one question; I'm assuming the magnetic dial indicator base will set on the axle housing backing plate, with the indicator touching the tip of the threaded end of the axle shaft?


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:59 pm

yup
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Jack Putnam, in Ohio » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:21 pm

This may be a bit late to help in the current situation, but the information may help in the future.
In the past I have rebuild many T rear ends and always found it a problem to have washers of the desired thickness. To solve that problem I gathered the collection of used steel axle washers that I had on hand and had them surface ground at the local machine shop to nominal thickness of minus .005, .010, and .015. Having many choices makes the rebuild go with fewer headaches.


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Allan » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:56 pm

Excellent, suggestion Jack.That would save me having to measure 30 or so discs just to get .004" difference in the ones I select.

Allan from down under.

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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Belliott3 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:01 am

Scott, when doing this test do I leave a roller bearing inside the left housing?


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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:54 pm

Bill, if you did that, you would have the most accurate reading, as the axle will not be trying to wander all over the place under the indicator gauge's probe.

remember to lift the inner assembly via the axle that is pointed toward the floor...if you mistakenly lift by the axle pointed "up", you will also be measuring whatever slack there is inside the differential (there should be a fiber or maybe metal shim between the axle ends), and you don't want that amount of measurement to mistakenly be taken as movement of the differential which is what is being shimmed.
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Re: Zero Ring and Pinion clearance - HELP!

Post by rgould1910 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:48 pm

The two quietist rear ends I have put together averaged .015" ring and pinion lash. I was told the lash from the factory was .025". One of the problems is you never get an uniform reading when checking gear lash in varying positions. The usual variation is about 5 thou. Minimum clearance in any position should never been less than 6 thou. For me, even that is too close. With rear ends, looser is better than tighter.

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