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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
look at what the postman brought.

Swapping the aluminum front diff for the cast iron one, this one is off a 1998 1.9 diesel.
Some might say that's not really needed with 195 tires, but as i'm planning to fit also electric diff lockers, thought might as well add extra strenght of the 26 spline shafts (stock 1.6 vitara is 22 splines) and sturdier case
Will update..

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Interesting, particularly as it’s always been said that the front diff is somewhat of a weak issue. While it’s not something I will be doing to my own vehicle, I’ll be interested to see how this project goes and what the result is. Nice.
 

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It's a fairly straight forward swap, assuming you have the skill & experience to correctly set the diff gears up - it's something I would do if I could find a cast-iron differential, but none of the models with cast iron diffs were ever officially imported here.
 

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That is awesome! I drug an 03 XL7 home with hopes of doing the steel front diff upgrade, but the particular unit I drug home has an aluminum front diff, so no dice for me there. Good luck with the swap, and I know you had the best of intentions when you just happened to drop that 1.9 diesel nugget for us USDM guys to drool over!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There are very few things that I don't do mechanically, but this might be one. Got all the tools needed but never did it, so that last phase will go to a nearby shop.
Iron diffs are plenty here, took a while to find one at a more reasonable price.
WIP, my manly German Kuroko puller made this peasy
 

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DTI, tube of bearing blue, a spring balance, length of string and patience

Make sure you mark the mesh pattern before removing the pinion nut
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Need to swap the diesel final ratio with the 1:5.125 Vitara gears, so not sure how mesh pattern from another diff helps, also changing the carrier to a locker..... Sounds like it's almost a fresh setup anyway.
Got DTI and magnetic base and all the rest, no problem here. my doubt is about "reading" the marks and the pain to sort the pinion depth which looks by shims... Requires pushing in and out the tight bearings from the shaft for each trial or am I mistaken?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First surprises are in..... When I bought my replacement gearbox last year, guy had also a front diff to sell, for 50 euro, thought it wasn't bad deal to keep as a backup.... Now that I'm doing the swap, it comes real handy for internal parts. Essentially I'll build all the diff and matching axles and when they're ready I can simply do the swap in a day. Well then....So took them both apart and you can see them in all their glory.
And now for a quiz: how thick do you think is the casting in the aluminum housing vs. th thickness of the steel one? Took to them a special thickness measuring tool and results are interesting.
Post your numbers WITHOUT searching on the internet please.....play fair
 

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Are we supposed to give actual numbers? I suspect that the aluminum housing is thicker, but have no idea as to what the actual thickness would be. ???
 

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I’ll have to bow out of this….I’ve never cracked open a diff. Will be interesting to see the answer. Of course, on the other hand…..I could cheat…..;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
well, my post didnt generate quite the enthusiasm i was hoping for.... :)
on the other hand, dont read beyond this point if you have trouble sleeping at night
wall thickness of the steel diff is 6.2mm almost 1/4"
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Hmmm….my logic was that the aluminum would have been thicker due to the higher strength of the steel. The reality appears to be that the steel one is far stronger……
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
now for the bad news.....
aluminum diff that most of us have is..... 3.2mm (1/8") !!!!!!
when you hold the empty housing in your hand its just scary how fragile it feels

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In comparison, it would be interesting to find out how thick the rear diff housing is….????
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
task assigned to you....
its just amazing how well the aluminum one resist actually,
i think that unless you install a front locker like im doing now, its not a must have for light to medium off-roading
 

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Wow, I definitely would not have expected that! What are you using for the locker up front?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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