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Discussion Starter #1
Hay, zuki guys,

I need a small advice from a pro with my Samurai. There is a large amount of play in the front drive shaft, when I try to rotate it with my hand while stationary. Last night I removed the rear drive shaft to drive Front wheel drive. The front drive is extremely rough and noisy, with so many clanking noises, and when I push the acceleration hard I hear a nasty noise as if the ring and pinion are slipping. I checked to make sure there is diff oil up front, and it was full with no problem. What do you think the problem is?

I reckon it is an alignment problem between the front ring and pinion. Do you think so? If so, I'll have to take it to a mechanic to re-balance it, and that means opening up the front diff. Ack, Bill John, Baratacus, all you experts, help me.
 

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is the play actually in the differential or is the play in the universal joints? It sounds like the u-joints are giving out on you. Check to make sure that the play in the shaft is happening after the u-joint to the front diff. If the u-joint is firm and doesn't rattle then it's going to probably be in the front dif.

If it is the U-joint,
The stock suzuki joints didn't have zirc fittings for grease and if you run them at a hard angle they tend to wear out. (how long they last depends on how you drive it and the angle that it's at) It's really easy to press the old fittings out of the joint housing using a bench vise and a couple appropriately sized sockets. New fittings are about 15 bucks if I remember right. Get the ones with grease fittings and a cheap grease gun with some bearing grease. that way you can keep them lubed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
is the play actually in the differential or is the play in the universal joints? It sounds like the u-joints are giving out on you. Check to make sure that the play in the shaft is happening after the u-joint to the front diff. If the u-joint is firm and doesn't rattle then it's going to probably be in the front dif.

If it is the U-joint,
The stock suzuki joints didn't have zirc fittings for grease and if you run them at a hard angle they tend to wear out. (how long they last depends on how you drive it and the angle that it's at) It's really easy to press the old fittings out of the joint housing using a bench vise and a couple appropriately sized sockets. New fittings are about 15 bucks if I remember right. Get the ones with grease fittings and a cheap grease gun with some bearing grease. that way you can keep them lubed.

Oh I'm quite sure they're not the U-Joints ... I already replaced one and the other one is in sound condition. The play is from beyond the pinion flange.
 

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dfferential play

Most often, differential slop equates to worn bearings which have caused the ring gear assembly or pinion to "loosen up".

The only real way to find out what is going on is to pull the differential.

Whatever the problem, you might as well rebuild - or have someone - rebuild it.

You can save time and money (well, mostly money :) ) by removing the differential yourself and taking it in a shop to have it rebuilt.

Here is a page that I created that can help make the task of removing the front "third member" a pretty easy task:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

For more information on rebuilding a differential, do a search for differential at Ack's FAQ (the link is in my signature for those reading this whose name is not alternator. :D ) Those links will be able to give you an idea of what the process is and whether you and your friends are up to the task. I did it with the assistance of someone who has done it before and had the harder to find tools like a bearing press and a micrometer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Most often, differential slop equates to worn bearings which have caused the ring gear assembly or pinion to "loosen up".

The only real way to find out what is going on is to pull the differential.

Whatever the problem, you might as well rebuild - or have someone - rebuild it.

You can save time and money (well, mostly money :) ) by removing the differential yourself and taking it in a shop to have it rebuilt.

Here is a page that I created that can help make the task of removing the front "third member" a pretty easy task:

Ack's FAQ: Your 4X4 Portal To All Things Suzuki/Geo

For more information on rebuilding a differential, do a search for differential at Ack's FAQ (the link is in my signature for those reading this whose name is not alternator. :D ) Those links will be able to give you an idea of what the process is and whether you and your friends are up to the task. I did it with the assistance of someone who has done it before and had the harder to find tools like a bearing press and a micrometer.

Thanks Ack. Darn! Do I have to go through that! I seriously suspect the problem is with the diff. carrier bearings. I'm thinking, while I'm at it, to get a Vitara (tracker) front R/P with 5+:1 ratio and install it, but then I'll have to do front and rear. The rear has to be done eventually to install my lockright locker, which is sitting on my bench waiting to be installed ... so one thing leads to the other (Yikes!)
 

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Thanks Ack. Darn! Do I have to go through that! I seriously suspect the problem is with the diff. carrier bearings. I'm thinking, while I'm at it, to get a Vitara (tracker) front R/P with 5+:1 ratio and install it, but then I'll have to do front and rear. The rear has to be done eventually to install my lockright locker, which is sitting on my bench waiting to be installed ... so one thing leads to the other (Yikes!)
A piece of advice if you plan on installing TracKicVit dif gearing:

Transplant the gears into the SJ-413 dif instead of using the weaker aluminum housing and spider gears.

I don't know if you have salvage yards loaded with SJ413s but if you do, it might be a good idea to buy a set of complete '87 or '88 SJ third members (or the year equal to what you already have). The axle shaft spline count on later models of SJs are different, so it's best to go with a third member for your year truck. Peek at the VIN plate on the donor to see if it's the same year as yours. If you don't get the right year match, you may discover that your axles will not fit into the newly-rebuilt thirds' sidegears! The solution to that is another trip to the yard for a set of axle shafts that do match - so be careful and make sure that everything matches.


Used SJ-413 thirds are cheap. You can build them at your leisure. When they are ready, it's a quick swap of BOTH differentials. Bonus, you can sell your old thirds to the next guy who wants to regear and recoup some of your costs!

Don't forget these items for that re-gear:

Ack's FAQ: The Illustrated Low-Down on Samurai Differential "Cans"

Finally, messing with the differentials can be a PITA. While you are at it, you should get a complete rebuild kit for those difs so they will last another 150,000 miles before you have to dig into them again. A lot of redneck USAens tend to slap 'em together only to tear into them again in another two or three years... :lol:

I hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A piece of advice if you plan on installing TracKicVit dif gearing:

Transplant the gears into the SJ-413 dif instead of using the weaker aluminum housing and spider gears.

I don't know if you have salvage yards loaded with SJ413s but if you do, it might be a good idea to buy a set of complete '87 or '88 SJ third members (or the year equal to what you already have). The axle shaft spline count on later models of SJs are different, so it's best to go with a third member for your year truck. Peek at the VIN plate on the donor to see if it's the same year as yours. If you don't get the right year match, you may discover that your axles will not fit into the newly-rebuilt thirds' sidegears! The solution to that is another trip to the yard for a set of axle shafts that do match - so be careful and make sure that everything matches.


Used SJ-413 thirds are cheap. You can build them at your leisure. When they are ready, it's a quick swap of BOTH differentials. Bonus, you can sell your old thirds to the next guy who wants to regear and recoup some of your costs!

Don't forget these items for that re-gear:

Ack's FAQ: The Illustrated Low-Down on Samurai Differential "Cans"

Finally, messing with the differentials can be a PITA. While you are at it, you should get a complete rebuild kit for those difs so they will last another 150,000 miles before you have to dig into them again. A lot of redneck USAens tend to slap 'em together only to tear into them again in another two or three years... :lol:

I hope that this helps!
You're t alking about SJ413 third members, but I want to get the ring and pinion of a Vitara/sidekick. I didn't get your point.

The link is great. Argh! It is such a hectic job, I couldn't find anyone who knows how to adjust the preload and backlash of a differential around here! Skilled technicians are rear here.
 

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You're t alking about SJ413 third members, but I want to get the ring and pinion of a Vitara/sidekick. I didn't get your point...
SJ-413 cases are steel. Sidekick/Vitara cases are aluminum. For some crazy reason people in this neck of the woods think it would be easier to simply install the Sidekick/Vitara aluminum thirds on the SJ-413 axles (yes, it CAN be done!). It's quick and there is no tear-down involved. Unfortunately, they are not as strong - the spider gears use only one pin and the aluminum casing easily breaks under severe stress. Plus, you have to do your homework and get one with the right spline count on the sidegears!

Easy is not always best... It sounds like you have already figured that out.

Hopefully someone besides you will read this thread and learn from it.

It looks like you have a do-it-yourself project ahead of you.

Go out and find a 413 third at the salvage yard and dig into it using this link:

Samurai to Sidekick gear swap. - Zukikrawlers

You may become the owner of the biggest offroad shop near you!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SJ-413 cases are steel. Sidekick/Vitara cases are aluminum. For some crazy reason people in this neck of the woods think it would be easier to simply install the Sidekick/Vitara aluminum thirds on the SJ-413 axles (yes, it CAN be done!). It's quick and there is no tear-down involved. Unfortunately, they are not as strong - the spider gears use only one pin and the aluminum casing easily breaks under severe stress. Plus, you have to do your homework and get one with the right spline count on the sidegears!

Easy is not always best... It sounds like you have already figured that out.

Hopefully someone besides you will read this thread and learn from it.

It looks like you have a do-it-yourself project ahead of you.

Go out and find a 413 third at the salvage yard and dig into it using this link:

Samurai to Sidekick gear swap. - Zukikrawlers

You may become the owner of the biggest offroad shop near you!
I don't understand, what's the problem with using my own third member, I don't think it's damaged?

All I want to use is the ring and pinion from the Vitara/Sidekick. Does the pinion gear from the Vitara/sidekick fit the SJ413 third member?

That brings up another question: Do I have to change the pinion gear to the Vitara one? Isn't it possible that the pinion gear is identical, but the ring gear is the one that has more teeth?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ah, I get your point, the rear Vitara 3rd member is larger than the Samurai's. I'm not planning to use a rear Vitara ring and pinion, I'm planning to pull out two front Vitara R/P from two different donor vehicles of the same model. Is there a problem with that?

Also, my front diff carrier also has one spider gear pin, not three (i.e. only two spider gears). Mine is a newer model Samurai, 91.
 
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