This setup, which was our fourth, proved to be the winner, yielding 0.007-inch backlash. According to Galloway, our diff-building talent for the day, there's no substitute for this process if you want to end up with a properly built, durable, and quiet-running rearend.
Once backlash was properly set, Galloway moved on to pinion depth. As we mentioned above, this rearend's original pinion shim was installed on our new pinion, as was a checker bearing, which conveniently slips on and off the pinion. After brushing on the marking compound and rotating the gearset, we got a near-perfect pattern. The contact should occur in the center of each tooth, which is exactly what this pattern shows.
In the home stretch, Galloway disassembled our 10-bolt subject for the last time. The checker bearing was removed from our new pinion, allowing the new pinion to be pressed on with the original 0.028-inch-thick shim. Also note the difference in crush sleeves. Our new pinion uses a smaller sleeve (left), which Terry Burg at Randy's Ring & Pinion told us is just "new technology replacing old."
With that, it's time to put this puppy back together. It took some effort to get the yoke onto the pinion splines (a plastic hammer is good for this). Once there, the pinion bolt gets 12-15 in-lb of torque. The bearing cap bolts, which are being tightened here, get 60 ft-lb each.
Galloway then brought in an extra set of hands to install our new axles, which he'd already fitted with the new studs Randy's included. The axlehousing had been equipped with new bearings and seals (using the proper driver, of course). This part is pretty standard-remove the cross-shaft bolt, pull the shaft, slide in the axles, install the C-clips, replace the cross-shaft, and voila, you're done.
Except, that is, for installing a beefy rearend girdle. These aluminum covers are much thicker than stock and use bolts to preload the bearing caps, guarding against their violent expulsion under duress. All that remained was to spray on a coat of fresh paint and bolt this baby into its new home. Although our subject Nova's owner had doubts about how well the new cover would fit under his ride, everything went into place nicely. With a new posi and gears in place, it quickly became evident that this Deuce hooks better than ever-and will hopefully do so for some time.