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Old 02-09-2010, 07:19 PM
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S10 Jimmy front diff help

Just got a 1989 S10 Jimmy for $150. No engine, but in good shape. The former owner never could get the 4 wheel drive to work but he never replaced the vacuum switch either. When the engine blew he removed it and the front clip then left a 1000 miles away on a job prospect. After finding the cable that operates the front diff, I found it wouldn`t move more than a 1/4 inch either way. Next we took the cable off and pulled the selector out with pliers while turning the driveshaft yolk, we found the selector would pop back and forth as if it were trying to engauge but it still wouldn`t. I did a search and read what others said, I only found 1 other person that had the diff break internally. The 4 wheel drive was never used by the original owner, so were curious if it maybe just stuck. I really don`t want to have to yank the front diff out but will if it`s broken. I`m trying to find out what breaks in these diffs? If it helps any, the diff is a independant and not a straight axle.
What kind of power level are these diffs capable of handling? I plan to install a 4.3 V6 with around 300 horsepower. If the diff is broke would it be cheaper to repair it or get another one from a donor vehicle? Any help`s greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:31 PM
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all I can say if you plan on 4x4ing it get rid of that diff all tegether my blazer has 4.3 and 33 inch tires and blew the diff in like 10 mins of wheeling and it wasn't even all that hardcore either the first diff I blew shot spider gears out the side of the case and the second I dunno what broke yet but I can move the diff with a pray bar and you shouldn't be able to so I'm just waiting to do a solid axle
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:08 AM
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Hey DV, get rid of it. Unless you plan on heavy mod's, the factory 4-by is weak as plastic. 2 people I know that have owned one (my son & a buddy I car pooled with) had nothing but problems with the 4-by system. Neither one could get the 4x4 to work for very long and my buddy puked the drive chain in the transfer just driving on the street in 2wd. I personally wouldn't give a hundred bucks for one. JMHO.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:31 AM
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Are you turning the wheels when you pull on the cable? The teeth must line up before it will engage, so you have to slowly turn the wheels while you pull the cable.

The 7.2 IFS is strong enough for stock size tires. Any time you increase the tire size you put more stress on the differential and axles. If you plan on increasing the tire size then you might break it. The only option is to install a solid axle Dana 44 from a Ford truck. This will require a lot of fabrication. If you had a ZR2 frame then you could use the 8.2 IFS from the full size truck.

This is not an off road application, so it isn't apples to apples, but I build 2 of these 7.2 IFS for some guys in Poland who drag race. They have a Typhoon and a Corvette that have 1200 and 1300 HP. There are no drag strips in Ploand so they race on airport runways. Traction isn't very good so all wheel drive works a lot better. They installed a 4X4 S10 front frame stub in the Vette to make it all wheel drive. I built the 7.2 IFS differentials for both of these, along with 12 bolt rear ends. As far as I know they have not broke any differential parts in either one of these. In 2005 and 2006 they were the King Of Europe, which means that they were the quickest cars in Europe. In a drag race situation most of the pressure is on the rear end becasue of weight transfer, but these 7.2 differentials have held up better than I expected with the amount of power that they are using.

Last edited by big gear head; 02-10-2010 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:39 AM
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you can also run jeep axle are toyota axle I'd go with a narrowed dana 60 myself
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:51 AM
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Yea, I forgot about the Jeep Dana 44. It would be closer to the right width.
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Old 02-10-2010, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for the info. Once built it will be mostly a off road application only.
The reason I got it was for a farm truck and a mud play thing on the weekends at one of the two mud parks we have around here.
The only street time it`ll see will be driving to one of the parks.
I plan to use 31 inch tires so it should survive.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:16 PM
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well all I can say is goodluck I'm sure you'll find yourself wanting to get rid of it soon anough lol but whos know maybe it'll work out for yeah if you get it to work
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:45 PM
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I think the biggest issue is tire size, it`s really not made to handle anything over 31 inches. a 33 inch tire weights over 50 lbs each. Add that to the rigors it has to handle such as terrian and mud thickness, etc. and it`s asking for it to break. The gear ratio plays a role also, as most had a 3.42 ratio, the taller the tire the more it strains the gears. I`ll likely just rebuild the unit, slap some royal purple synthetic in it and run it. I have aluminum wheels on it so that helps keep it somewhat lighter. After I finish with it, it`ll be used as a farm truck and a mud park play thing, so the engaugement of the front diff will only be used as a last resort as the kit I`m installing allows the use of 2 wheel low. I`m installing a posi traction rear diff as well not only to increase traction but also the fun factor.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:03 AM
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Lower gears will help take the strain off when wheelin! I have a stock 350 internally with bolt on's and can go just about anywhere under 2000 rpm.
You don't need 500 hp and 6000 rpm to go through a mud hole with good tires. If I floor my truck with 4:10's off road I will hurt myself as I don't have a harness but just lap belt to keep my butt in the seat and my head off the roof of the cab. The first time I took it off road I found out the hard way! Scared me so bad I got a roll bar before I went back out.
I'm running Maxxis bighorns all the way around and they GRAB. Awesome tires for the money!
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:17 PM
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you need to learn how to drive then

if you are breakin the front diff you shouldn't be 4wheeling lol i have a 93 base modle blazer no tahoe edition has the 4.3 vortec with electric trans i'm running 31's super swammper boggers on 15x12 rims and have been for over a year now owned the truck 2 years and i've had no 4x4 problems at all and i have abused the hell outta the truck she has just over 220K miles and everything with the 4x4 works like it's suppose to i had the spider gears welded right after i bought it and it's running the stock 3.73 gears in the front and rear end with the original half shafts from factory still in the truck i've had it in mud over 3feet deep i've jumped it over 5feet off the ground it goes threw pasture lands on a weekly basis at 45mph in 4hi when the snow is on the ground or when it's wet out and i have no problems i even pulled a tractor and my uncles semi in 4hi with no problems to any of the drivetrain and everything is still factory stock so if you broke the front diff you did something wrong your self cause everyone knows my truck goes threw hell and still works like new ive done circles around Z71's and big ford trucks in the mud well thats just my 2cents about the front diff and how they are and the state of kansas owned the truck from new and used it for fossil recovery and i have every single repair ticket ever done on the truck from tires being bought to exhaust being replaced never had anything major replaced ever and the suspension was shot when i bought it and i stuck Z71 suspension under it helps it ride alot nicer
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