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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everybody. I bought a 78 Power Wagon from a friend who bought it from a guy in Los Alamos. 53,000 on the clock but the speedo doesn't work so that's questionable. So, my friend was driving it back to his place when the rear end starting making a lot of noise and the truck became nearly impossible to drive. That's all he really knew about the truck. He didn't have time to fix it and I do so, lucky me. Here it is:
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I trailered it to my place and was able to drive it into the shop. There is a rhythmic grinding sound from the rear diff. The driver's side rear wheel did drag and skip in both HI and HI LOC. Engine sounds amazing, by the way, even though it has about 1/2" of oily crud protecting its finish. I pulled the diff plug out and, I'm no SAE mechanic but, isn't there supposed to be fluid in the diff?
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'Cuz there wasn't any. At all. Finger dry as a bone when I reached in. I guess the diff fluid was busy holding all of the mud on the pumpkin cover?

I opened up the diff and am not sure what I'm looking at. There are definitely metal shavings but is that brown crud sawdust?
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It's not rust and it's not hard. I can squeeze oil out of it.

That mud at the bottom is the only fluid in the diff.
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Here's what I can see of the pinion:
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I'm going to finish disassembling the diff. Something is toast in there.

Mainly though, I'm curious if y'all think that brown stuff is actually sawdust. If not, what is it?
 

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You need new gears, That pinion is shot. Take eveything apart and see what else is history. Did you happen to look at the front one?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You need new gears, That pinion is shot. Take eveything apart and see what else is history. Did you happen to look at the front one?
Yep, the pinion is shot. I have the diff out now and there are chunks missing out of the ends of several of the teeth.

I'll check the front end tomorrow. Wouldn't be surprised if it was in similar shape.
 

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There was a fair amount of play in the pinion, both laterally and longitudinally. I've already ordered a replacement ring and pinion. I started to remove the preload springs from the carrier and judging by how difficult they are to get out, I am wondering if this type of differential was meant to be rebuilt. I can't see any way to inspect the spider gears without removing the preload spring pack.
 
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