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Triumph TR3 - Differential help

I have a 59 TR3A and have been driving it daily for the last 10 years. There is considerable play in the rear wheels and I suspect I'll have to rebuild the differential. Is this something I should attempt while it is on the car or should I take it all off and do it on the bench? Or should I try to get a used one and simply replace nd not try messing with shims spacing etc? Any advice would be appreciated because I've never done this before.
H Singh

Put the car in gear. Then jack up one rear wheel, leaving the other one on the floor. Release the hand-brake. Rotate the lifted wheel back and forth by hand. Has the play gotten worse than it was 5 or 10 years ago ? It may be a normal amount. You may have play inside the diff. Get a good look at the driveshaft where it enters the diff. and rotate the wheel back and forth. Is the play really inside ? Check the universal joints in the driveshaft.

I ran with low oil in my diff for a few 100 miles and it sounded like I was running snow tires on the car. Topping up the diff corrected it.

I had to change the crown and pinion gear in mine about 6 years ago and had it done by a shop that deals primarily in differentials. I took the rear axle out the car becuause I couldn't drive it. I took the axle to the shop and they did it in a few days. Ask the experts in the diff shop what their opinion is about the play and if they can do it while it is still in the car. It should be possible, providing you can drive it to the diff. shop.

Don Elliott, Original Owner, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

Thank you very much.

There is no noise and no significant play (as far as I can tell) in the shaft. After jacking up, the wheel rotates about an inch before engaging anything so I suspect that it is the crown and pinion gears. I am not sure what is the normal amount or play. It has not got significantly worse in the last 5 years or so. I still drive it every day -- but I'm slowly trying to refurbish different parts of it every year (Have rebuilt engine and front end) and am wondering if this is something I should attempt. I will take it to a differential shop and have them check it out.
H Singh

I suspect if you don't have leaks or noises you should just leave it alone. Now watch his wheels fall off tomorrow...just my 2 centavos.

A trip to the shop couldn't hurt, tho, could it?

This thread was discussed between 15/07/2004 and 18/07/2004

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