Well, I got all the new button head diff studs installed with red locktite coming through from inside the housing... so no more pulling the studs out when I remove the nuts to drop the third! The new High Pinion third member is now on with a new black RTV "gasket." Check out the beefy HP housing... its about twice as thick at the mating surface as the old third member was.
I had to widen the notches in the axle housing that are there for the ring gear to clear as they were not wide enough for the diff to slide in (the ring gear was hanging up). Just had to open up the notches both top and bottom by about 1/4 inch more to the driver's side with an angle grinder, then clean out all the grinding dust really good and the diff slid right on...
And now I have 2 new optional drain plugs here on the bottom where I used 6mm allen bolts. Just in case I grind over the factory drain plug so much that it won't come out, or in case I ever want to just weld the factory plug on so it can't grind out on the trail like so many have.
This was basically my view for the afternoon while I installed new diff studs. Kinda cramped up under there, and I'm a little stiff this morning. But it sure is nice getting stuff done right!
All bolted back up, sealed, front driveshaft back on, etc.
Oh, I also serviced the knuckle, pounded out the old races and in the new ones, replaced the wheel bearings, trunion bearings, all new seals and gaskets, felts, etc., repacked it all with moly and wheel bearing grease. Had to clean up all the mating surfaces which entailed solvent, gasket scraper, wire wheel, etc to get all the old gunk and gasket material off and get down to clean metal, wipe it down with brake cleaner... you guys know the drill. Got the driver's side done. It takes more time cleaning up all the old parts and mating surfaces than it does to put it all together. Slapped on a new oil filter and got some new motor oil in the beast. Not leaking so far. Still need to go in and do the passenger side knuckle, then it's on to more