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First forgive me, my jeep isn't a true Rubicon, I have a 98 with the Rubicon axles in it. So now to my issue, I am currently regearing to 4.88's. I've set my pinion preload to 15in/lb, when I installed the seal and torqued the nut to 160 ft/lb the pinion is hard to turn and when I checked it it was at 50 in/lb. I'm at a loss. I'd run the t but am afraid of overheating the bearings. Any input is appreciated.
 

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You torqued the pinion nut to 160 when checking rotating torque? If all you did was install a seal then that would only give one inch of resistance.
 

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Did you put some gear oil on yoke/seal before you installed it? Possible the seal is really tight.
 

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When you first checked preload and it said 15 in/lb, was that with the (old) nut torqued to 160 ft/lb? Backlash and pattern were good too? If so, I don't understand either, unless somehow the initial preload torque reading was wrong.

Had to just look up the numbers, but the Billavista Gear Setup Bible says the carrier adds 2-4 in/lb and the seal should add 3 in/lb.

I also looked back at my notes from my gear install... one of my earlier readings said preload was 7 in/lb when nut was torqued to 100 ft/lb, 9 in/lb @ 140 ft/lb, and 11 in/lb @ 190 ft/lb, so preload does increase somewhat linearly with nut torque.
 
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