The Right Tool
The right tool for the right job makes that job a hundred times easier. When you start working on your rig you want to be sure that whatever tool you're using won't accidentally break something. For that purpose alone we have scoured the industry to find the proper tools you will need whether you're pulling a bearing, repairing the housing, or installing a new differential entirely.
Many mechanics think of specialty differential tools as "nice to have" but not a necessity. If you value your time and money then you need to have the right tools for the job. If you're planning on doing the work yourself you might not understand why you'll benefit from having these specialty tools until you experience the frustration of working without them or damage new parts and have to spend additional money to be back to square one. Below we've tried to highlight the advantages for a few of the more important types of differential tools.
Bearing pullers save time and money by allowing the bearings to be quickly removed. Most bearings can be pulled without damage so they can be reused when they’re in good condition. Without a bearing puller the bearings may need to be cut off, destroying the bearing and increasing the risk of damage to the other components, or pressed apart, which takes time and significantly increases the chances of damaging or destroying the bearing in the process.
Set-up bearings reduce installation time and eliminate damage to bearings when adjusting shims located underneath the bearing. Set-up bearings, unlike traditional differential bearings, are machined to have a slip fit instead of an interference fit. This makes them possible to be installed and removed quickly by hand during setup, rather than multiple time consuming trips to the press that may damage the bearing. Once the correct shim thickness or setup pattern is achieved the setup bearing can be replaced with new bearings for the final installation.
Shim & Race Drivers
Shim and race drivers make installation quick and easy; nearly eliminating any chance of damage to the shims or races during installation. The shim driver allows factory cast shims, or aftermarket super shims, to be driven into the housing with the proper preload without damage to the shims.
The race drivers are manufactured to the specific dimension for each bearing race. They align the race while driving it into the housing and prevent damage to the race or housing that can occur when using a punch for installation.
Without a Spanner wrench you are forced to use a hammer and chisel, flathead screwdriver, or other crude method to slowly and painfully set carrier bearing preload and backlash with side adjusters. With a spanner wrench you can avoid damaging the adjusters or threads in the housing to quickly and accurately set the backlash and bearing preload.
A Universal spanner wrench will work on a variety of different applications but having the correct spanner wrench for your set up is even better. They reduce the chance of slipping off and damaging the adjuster or getting hurt in the process. Great spanner wrenches also make life even easier by connecting to a 1/2" breaker or torque bar for maximum leverage and accuracy.