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sprinkles08, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep master tech
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 21432
Experience:  ASE Master and Advanced Certified, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep Master Certified, Trans and Hybrid Specialist
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I have a 2006 dodge ram 3500 diesel. I recently replaced the

Customer Question

I have a 2006 dodge ram 3500 diesel. I recently replaced the upper and lower ball joints, and in the process I noticed that the passenger side axle seal was damaged. I ended up replacing both axle seals with out an issue. Now that I have the seals replaced I'm trying to set the backlash on the diff, but I can't get the backlash adjusted correctly. Need help.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Justanswer!

You don't mention what problems you're having with setting backlash but the first thing you need to do is start with the ring and pinion gears clean and dry.

With the carrier in place and the bearing cap bolts slightly tigther than hand tight you'll turn the threaded adjusters to move the carrier left and right to change backlash. Start by turning the ring gear side adjuster to nearly seat the ring gear to the pinion gear, bring the other adjuster in until it touches. Check backlash just by hand at first and make basic adjustments. If you need to move one direction or the other then first turn the adjuster on the side you need to move toward, 1-2 holes, then turn the opposite adjuster until there is again pressure on the bearing race. When you believe backlash is close then you can start using your dial indicator and you're looking for .005-.007". When you have backlash in this area and both adjusters are snug then turn each adjuster in about another two holes for bearing preload. The service information calls for four holes but I've found this to be hard to obtain and it will usually break the spanner wrench.

Once backlash is set then tighten the bearing cap bolts to 63 foot pounds and make sure you still have at least .003" backlash. If you have .003-.010 then you're within spec.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks for your reply. This morning I tried to set the backlash per your instructions. I backed both the left (ring gear side) and right adjustment rings off, put the carrier assembly in, and installed the bearing caps to just a little more than hand tight. After which I slid the carrier over to the right, until it engaged the pinion, and I could feel little to no backlash (or play within the gears). After I adjusted the left adjustment ring until it came into contact with the carrier assembly, and then adjusted the right one until it came into contact with the carrier assembly. With the two rings holding the carrier assembly, I then checked the ring gear to see how much play (backlash) there was, and loosened up the left side one hole, and tightened up the right side one hole, until I was about .005 - .007. After which I tightened down the bearing cups to 63 ft lbs and measured the backlash at around .003. However now it is extremely hard to turn the drive line, or the ring gear. I think I did something wrong in my adjustment.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

How are you determining that it's hard to turn?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Trying to turn the front driveline by hand. It feels like it's locked up.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

If differential turning torque is in question you would need to have the axle shafts removed, the front driveshaft removed, the differential dry and use a dial torque wrench to check turning torque at the pinion nut.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Could I have adjusted the backlash incorrectly, judging by how I described it? Also about how much pressure should the adjustment rings be placing on the bearings?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I feel like the adjustment collars should be really tight against the bearing race, but not sure.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

If you measured .003" with everything torqued then backlash is correct, albeit at the minimum.

As I described earlier the service information calls for turning the adjusters four holes each for preload but I've found that's tight enough to break a spanner wrench and I usually end up around two holes.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok so when I'm done there should be a fair amount of pressure. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't putting too much side to side pressure on the bearings.
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

Yes, there will be some amount of drag due the bearing preloads.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok I was able to adjust the backlash, and it looks like it is in spec at .003. I filled it, installed everything else, and took it for a road test. 4wd works just fine. However now I hear a little bit of a clicking noise coming from the front diff. It's not a constant clicking, but it happens ever 3 turns of the wheels. Any ideas?
Expert:  sprinkles08 replied 3 months ago.

I'm not sure if it's actually from the differential if it's every three revolutions, a damaged ring or pinion gear should click at least once per revolution, the pinion gear should click roughly three turns ever revolution. It's more likely that there is something going on with a U joint, wheel bearing, possibly a backing plate rubbing.

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