Truck Time in the Rockies — Part two: Silverado Gets a Diff Cover

Post by blogger | June 29, 2007      

Okay, Silverado winch is buttoned up, time for the beefy differential cover I’d been wanting to install for a while.

Silverado diff cover.
Bluetorch Fabworks diff cover installed on our Silverado 10 bolt rear axle.

For even moderate wheeling such as reaching trailheads for backcountry skiing, a diff guard or heavy-duty cover is one of the best upgrades you can make. It’s not uncommon to “bash your pumpkin” when you’re backing up or maneuvering over rocks. When damaged, a stock diff cover can peel back and dump your diff lube on the trail. Not only is a peeled diff cover difficult to field repair, but the resulting hazmat spill is an insult to the backcountry.

Silverado diff cover.
First step is getting the cover off and dumping the fluid. I prefer to have this job done in a fully equipped shop, rather than doing it myself and making a big mess with toxic old gearlube. For this project Brian at CODE4x4 spins the wrenches and yanks the prybar — along with excellent running commentary

Silverado diff cover.
Everything at must be modified, so before the install I drilled and tapped an optional drain plug in the cover. The Silverado pumpkin has a drain on the bottom, but who knows when that’ll get fused together by a rock bash. A blast with grey hammer texture rattle-can paint gave it that custom look we all strive for and admire at stoplights.

Silverado diff cover.
With the diff open, we could inspect the ring gear and Gov-lock limited slip. It all looked fine, though Brian told me to expect the Gov-lock to wear out fairly soon as they don’t have a huge life expectancy. When that’s gone I’ll put in a selectable locker such as an ARB. Gov-locks are good for things like boat ramps, but they have to sense wheel spin before locking up, and thus are not as effective as a full locker that gives you traction from both wheels before a tire digs a hole in sand or snow.

Silverado diff cover.
Time to button up. Bluetorch differential cover is constructed entirely of 1/4 inch steel, it’s as strong as the axle tubes and can take a direct rock hit while backing up. One less worry while on the trails — or while backing up at the shopping court and dodging those pesky parking rocks.


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One Response to “Truck Time in the Rockies — Part two: Silverado Gets a Diff Cover”

  1. Carl July 4th, 2007 7:54 am

    Look into the “Torsen” design of differential. Eaton markets a version called the Tru-Trac. I’ve had one in my CJ-5 since the late ’70’s. It works great.

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