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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If you have ever built a 9" Ford third member, the hardest part is getting the crush sleeve crushed to allow the proper pre-load on the pinion bearings. You need a really hard hitting impact wrench with a really big compressor to get it done, and most of us don't have that luxury at home. This is my solution:

I built a simple fixture that would hold the pinion,bearings, crush sleeve, bearing retainer and yoke together as an assembly so that I could tighten the pinion nut and crush the sleeve for proper pre-load.

The fixture is a simple piece of heavy 3/8" thick angle iron that is drilled to allow the yoke to bolt to it, there is also a hole bored in it that will allow a socket to tighten the pinion nut. Mine is bolted to an "I" beam that I use to straighten out rearend housings. The "I" beam is bolted to the side of my old Bradford lathe. Whatever you bolt it to, it has to be very sturdy as it has to take some abuse.




A trip to a local swap meet turned up a heavy duty 1 1/16" 3/4" drive socket and a socket adapter. The heavy duty socket is needed as 1/2" drive sockets and breaker bars will usually shatter, ask me how I know. The socket adapter had a 7/8" hole in it. A trip to a boneyard turned up a 7/8" torsion bar which I cut to 36" in length. The torsion bar will be the lever that turns the socket, it is hardened, and it will not break or bend.




The whole pinion assembly is bolted to the fixture, and the pinion nut it tightened until the proper pre-load is acheived. I use my body weight to slowly push the torsion bar and the sleeve is crushed with ease. The 36" length easily allows the sleeve to crush. No more broken sockets, breaker bars or bench mounted vices!!
 

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That works!

I usually pre-crush them a little before assembly, but thats even better, because once you get them moving you can keep going

Good idea
 

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With the spacer (aka "crush sleeve eliminator") you still need to crush an actual sleeve first, using the standard procedure. Then you remove it, measure it with a micrometer (very carefully!) and reinstall the eliminator along with the correct, precision, shim(s). The eliminator just keeps the sleeve from crushing any more under severe operation.
 

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With the spacer (aka "crush sleeve eliminator") you still need to crush an actual sleeve first, using the standard procedure. Then you remove it, measure it with a micrometer (very carefully!) and reinstall the eliminator along with the correct, precision, shim(s). The eliminator just keeps the sleeve from crushing any more under severe operation.
No not really. There is a very clear selection process described in the Ford procedure. You start with a reference spacer and torque. Once torqued, you measure play and select the correct thickness spacer and you're done.

A Ford pro told me that Ford eliminated solids on the assy line years ago in favor of the crush sleeve so that's all I use now.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've always used the crush bearings, and I have never had them loosen up, even on my circle track car after several hundred laps. As a matter of fact, I have bought several complete third members from Nascar teams, and they have all had crush bearings in them.
 

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I prefer the spacer too, but also have never had a crush tube fail.

I like the spacer mostly because if the seal leaks, you can just zonk it back down with an impact, without pulling the pinion housing out.

Other than that, never a failure with a crush tube, even launching a 399 FE with a Predator carb on nitrous with my truck on a truck pull in the old days
 

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A great idea. But one would have to have a super workbench to hold the toruqing of the nut. An idea I had was to make a device that would slide into a 2" Reece hitch reciever to hold the pinion. There's a lot of hitches sitting around out there in driveways.lol.
 

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As several of you have noted, once the crush sleeve starts to compress it is much easier to compress. On new crush sleeves, I use my hydraulic press to "start" the crush process. I do so by putting in my hydraulic bearing press in a "loaded" manner like the OP's pictures. The ram is placed on the pinion stub and pressure is applied until a "slight" amount of play in felt. At that point I release pressure and tighten the nut with a conventional impact gun air/electric/battery until the proper "drag" is felt by rotating the retainer back and forth. Bearing preload is crirical for diff life. Loose feels like you are saving power but the deflection caused by the lack of proper preload will damage pinion and ring gears quickly.
Solid spacers shouild be used whenever possible. They DO make a difference in durability , especially on 8.8's in the late models.
Randy
 

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I ended up going with a Mark Williams NASCAR pinion carrier years back.

Working on a 8.8 right now for my 87 Grand Marquis. Wish it was a 9". Its pissed me off enough started thinking about installing Truck Arm suspension and a 9".
Anyone that tells me a 8.8 is better than a 9 has been brain washed.
 
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