A couple of days ago I went out to R&W to see how things are going (Robert had called me and said he had things he needed to talk to me about) on the JeepMonster. On the way, I stopped by Tucson Differential to find out whether there was any progress on the axles, as I had dropped them off three weeks ago and Bill had said 2 to 2 1/2 weeks before he could do anything and that he’d call me when he started and he hadn’t called me.
So I walked into Tucson Differential and found the axles all apart. Bill had just started on them, so he’s right on schedule (sorta kinda more-or-less, but not far enough off to make a stink about). Here’s the back axle housing:
Since all that had to be done to this was to take off the high-pinion center section and put on the low-pinion one, that was done yesterday. The middle axle is a bit more complicated because there are several other things that have to happen, too. First, the transfer box has to be redrilled with a new set of boltholes so that it’ll be clocked over more horizontally than before (its original angle was about 45 degrees up from horizontal; now it’ll be closer to 20 or 25 degrees). Second, the pinion bearing support flange for the high-pinion center section has to be machined to accept the transfer box. [The original plan was to simply swap the supports, but the high-pinion one has baffles and troughs to get oil to the pinion bearings, and the low-pinion one doesn’t. So the flange has to stay with the gearset in order for everything to work right.]
It turns out that the transfer box itself is a very simple, elegant piece of work. The case is billet aluminum. There are three gears. Each gear rides on its own shaft (duh), and each shaft is supported by ball-bearing assemblies. And that’s it. No shims; no adjustments; no needle bearings. Here are some pics I took while I was there.
So now we wait for the differential’s pinion-support flange to be machined to accept the transfer box, and for the box itself to be drilled for its new (more horizontal) orientation, after which it can all be reassembled and put back under the JeepMonster.
On another note, I answered several design/style questions of Robert’s while I was there. He’s ready to get the body going, even though there is still some finishing-up to do on the frame. YAY!