i'm just wondering if i need to worry about preload and backlash if i just pull the carrier out and replace only the carrier bearings. would simply replacing the shims in there original side keep the specs where they should be with new bearings or would i have to completly dismantle the housing and start from scratch. i only ask because you can move the entire carrier by hand and see the slack in the bearings but i don't seem to have any noises or viberations coming from the rearend so i don't know if it's worth tearing into
YOu need to determine if that is excessvie backlash due to the pinion bearing wear. or if you have "slop" in the carrier bearings itself. Assuming you do you carrier problems, you can remove the cap and pry out the carrier and inspect the bearings and gears. I did this just 2 months ago. Plan was to just change bearings and reinstall with original shims. You would think the bearings could only be a thousandth or so different. I put one big shim on one side and the other side would not fit. About 8 thousands too tight. I pushed a couple screw drivers behind the outer race to hold it tight and then measured the backlash would be all right if i took .008 off the correct shim. The shims are soft and easily cut on any lathe. Worked great. I did replace the pinion bearing first since i wanted to inspect it also. I was having a whinning sound on the road, but no slop. Saw spall marks on the races.