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SCJax2018

Gear Ratio

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I got to replace the ring gear and pinion in my 96 LE two wheel drive. What is the gear ratio to go with? I don't want to be super high geared because I do pull a small trailer, but I down want to be geared low enough to pull a tractor trailer either. Does 5.13 sound about middle of the road?

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What size tires are you running? The LE came with 4.363 gears from the factory. You can confirm this if you look on the VIN placard on the firewall near the windshield wiper motor. You'll see HG43 (or HG46 for 4.636 gears). If you're running up to 31" tires, you can regear to 4.636. Regear to 4.875 for 32" tires. Regearing to 5.13 is better suited to 35" tires or larger. Install a speedometer recalibrator (http://yellr.com) after re-gearing to restore speedometer accuracy.

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I'm running 235 70R15 which is what it came with.  So I should stay with the 4.6 then.  Right now I have ungodly backlash so I'm fairly sure the gears are near shot, so I'm going to go ahead and order a set.

 

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If you've got stock tires and no complaints about the towing performance, then stick with the stock ratio.  Check the axle code per XPLORX4's response.

 

If the backlash is off and the gears are okay, you can adjust the backlash.  The rear diff uses side adjusters to move the carrier to adjust backlash.

 

Since you're 2wd, you have the OE options XPLORX4 mentioned, plus 4.90's from the Xterra.  The rear diff drops out, and is replaceable with units from any 96-04 Pathfinder, 00-04 Xterra, and 01-04 Frontier; no set-up required but the donor should be inspected.  I'd stick with the lower gears, but I've never driven the 3.3L to know how it pulls.  Changing from 4.363 to 4.636 was noticeable, but I probably wouldn't recommend lower gears unless they were paired with larger tires.

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Before you assume the play in the rear axle is ring and pinion backlash and regear, consider that it could be due to worn side or spider gears in the diff. Nevertheless it might be less of a hassle to just swap out the whole third member than replace the gears.


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