Differential Back In (Post #198) 8/31/2010

The Sunday after we drove to Clayton to meet up with Shaun and Deb to sell them my Discovery II rims, I decided, “This day would not go to waste.” While Mrs. OkieRover slept off the road trip I put my mind to getting the differential back in the Range Rover.

I went to Lowe’s to see if they had the Grade 8 nyloc nuts I needed to reassemble the differential and drive shaft ends. My local Ace Hardware where I always went to get such bits went under. This is an American term meaning out of business, defunct, belly up, etc… I guess they could no longer compete with the big box stores.

My first experience getting my automotive supplies with Lowe’s didn’t impress me. They had only a hand full of nuts in the size I needed. The drawer was left in a terrible state from previous shoppers. When I asked the gal if there were anymore in the back, she wandered off to check the computer and came back with an unceremonious no. On hand stock only for such a common item? Seriously? Good grief. After her acknowledgement, she then proceeded to look through the bins for more nuts the size I needed. This wasn’t my first rodeo, I had already done that. In any event she was unlikely to find six (6) more packages. I stood there for a couple of minutes and when I realized she was just organizing the tray and no longer helping me I walked off.

So I bought all they had (four packages of two). I also picked up a Porter Cable 6 inch bench grinder for a little over 44$(US). I wanted to buy one made in America, so I skipped going to Harbor Freight. What I learned was Porter Cable bench grinders are also made in China. I also wanted to get a bigger one, but it seemed impractical. I bought a course wire wheel to knock rust off stuff. Thinking I was ready to leave I headed for the register. I learned later after I got home that sadly the wire wheel did not fill the entire shaft.

So with all this in hand, I headed to the Lowe’s in nearby Moore, Oklahoma. I bought all the nuts they had in that size as well. A sidenote: on Monday I returned to the Lowe’s in Moore and bought 2 fine wire wheels with the plan to put them side to side and a few collars and washers to fill the shaft as necessary. For future reference, I am going to find another store to get these types of nuts and bolts.

So I got back to the garage in time to task the boys out on the yard mowing and to task me out getting the differential back. As you know or perhaps have read, differentials are heavy. At least as far as I’m concerned they are heavy. I wrangled the diff under the Rover and got it up on the floor jack.

I originally planned to have some help for this project. But I had such a hectic schedule I didn’t call the Titanium Hitch over to help. He said he’d be able to assist if I would call him. Instead I did the job alone and harassed him via text message on Monday for not being there to help me. I’m evil that way.

Now for the embarrassing part, I got the differential up on the jack, got it lined up and pressed in. I started one of the nuts and then realized…oh crap, I don’t have any gasket material on there. I called JagGuy to confirm the need for gasket material. I told him I didn’t remember any being on there when I disassembled. He told me of the amazing ability of the factory to put just the exact amount on the seal and it was so minute that you probably didn’t see it unless you were looking for it.

I thanked him for making my Sunday and hung up. I then proceeded to cuss and piss and moan. Back under I went and pulled the differential out AGAIN. As it rested once again on the jack I applied gray Permatex. The factory used black. I had gray and blue. I went with the bottle on the top of the basket.

I got what I thought was a proper amount of gasket goo on and then proceeded to put the differential back in. My muscles were starting to fatigue at this point and the task was very difficult. I got her lined up and started the nuts.

If you read the last installment you know I was rounding off the nuts that were on the drive shaft when trying to get them off. I needed to replace all of them. For future reference they use the same size as on the differential. So you need a spare to make it back to the trail head, perhaps you can us one of the upper nuts on the differential to get you home.

I got both ends of the drive shaft tightened up. Every time I use wrenches and sockets it reminds me of the size variances between tools. In my experience you can have two 14mm wrenches of different manufacturers and one may be tight on the nut the other slightly off. So I’ve learned to have more than one “flavor” of wrench when working on a project.

I didn’t take pictures but I also pulled the splash guards from the rear axle. They were dirty and had rust forming. I used the angle grinder and wire wheeled the rust and bad paint off. I gave them a nice coat of, you guessed it, Rustoleum primer gray. I’ll snap a pic when I’m putting them back on.

I tried to grease the drive shaft and put some Hypoy C into the differential. It is 85w140 oil and has worked well for me up to now and was what I had on hand. I put in 1.5 quarts and will need to get some more to top her off. I only had marginal success with grease gun. I’ll try again when I can move the truck for better access to the zerks.

I’m ready now to put the axle half shafts back in and get the rear axle to a state I can call finished. I’m really wishing I’d put an oil pit in the floor just for these jobs. It could double as a storm shelter. Maybe some day I will.

I think I will at this point replace the aging break parts. I have a new reservoir to put in. The old one is old and cracking badly. Its only a matter of time it cracks and needs to be replaced. I’ll pack the spare bearings in my vacuum sealer as it was suggested on one of the boards. You can pack the grease in to the unit with just the suction of the sealer. So I’m going to try it.

Well that’s all for now. I’ve got another post going but I don’t have the details yet so it will come later in the week. Tonight is Longfellow Lion football. My nephew is playing his first organized sports this year. Wish him luck, he’s gonna need it.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.