This how-to instructional video covers steps for removing and installing the differential assembly, replacing all bearings and installing a new ring-and-pinion gear set. Steps focus on successful adjustment of bearing preloads, the pinion depth and the ring-and-pinion backlash. You will learn about tool alternatives like trial fit “dummy bearings” that save both time and the cost of specialty tools.
The prototype vehicle in this video is a 2005 Dodge Ram 3500 4×4 SRW truck undergoing a gear ratio change. Primary work steps apply to Dodge, Ram and those GM trucks with AAM 9.25″ Salisbury and 11.5″ (Salisbury) axles. Many of the general steps also apply to the 10.5″ AAM and similar Salisbury axles.
Detailed, clearly narrated steps begin with the 11.5″ AAM Salisbury axle. The second (“bonus”) segment shares a faster paced overview of the 9.25″ (Salisbury) AAM front axle gear change that includes the removal of Ram hub unit bearings and axle shafts plus insights into the 9.25″ AAM specifications, parts distinctions plus the gear and bearing replacement steps. Play through both the 11.5″ and 9.25″ AAM axle video segments before performing 11.5″ or 9.25″ AAM axle work.
The 11.5″ and 9.25″ segments of this video complement each other and clarify the work steps, safety concerns and professional tools and skills required for this kind of work. Additional bonus sections include details on how to fabricate a spanner for the carrier bearing preload adjuster rings. This spanner or the factory tool rotates the “adjuster nuts” (carrier bearing preload rings) on the 9.25″, 10.5″ and 11.5″ AAM axles found in Dodge/Ram and Chevrolet/GMC trucks.
Note: AAM makes two types of 9.25″ axles—Salisbury and Clamshell. The Dodge/Ram and some GM trucks use the Salisbury type beam front axle. The axles shown in this video are a Ram 11.5″ (rear Salisbury) and Ram 9.25″ (front Salisbury beam type). Chevrolet/GMC use a similar 11.5″ AAM Salisbury rear axle in HD pickups. GM uses both Clamshell and Salisbury style IFS front axles. If you are unsure of your front axle type, see this official AAM website application chart:
Important Note: Beginning in 2013, Ram trucks with the AAM 9.25″ front axle have an axle disconnect system. The right side axle shaft is two pieces with an “actuator” disconnect mechanism. The differential on these models cannot be removed without first removing the right side axle shaft seal to allow the inner axle shaft piece to slide outward and clear the differential flange. Details about this procedure have been added to the video. An official 2013 or later Mopar Ram Truck Service Manual (FSM) outlines the step-by-step removal and installation of the right side axle shaft and seal. See examples of installation tools for 2013 and later Ram 9.25″ front axle shaft seals at:
Aftermarket differential covers have become popular and manufacturers claim substantial gains in axle lubrication and cooling. Others see these covers as merely cosmetic and unnecessary. Some even suggest that these covers can reduce lubricating ability by creating aeration and poor lube quality. The final bonus feature within this video covers the installation of an aftermarket differential cover on a Ram AAM 11.5″ rear axle.
This AAM 11.5″ and 9.25″ how-to video has been periodically updated to address design changes and is valid through this launch date (4-1-2022). These updates have covered Salisbury axles from the earliest Ram and GM trucks with AAM 11.5″ and 9.25″ axles through the latest trucks. This latest update is a 75-minute version that includes the bonus features.