Okay, Silverado winch is buttoned up, time for the beefy differential cover I’d been wanting to install for a while.
|Bluetorch Fabworks diff cover installed on our Silverado 10 bolt rear axle.|
For even moderate wheeling such as reaching trailheads for backcountry skiing, a diff guard or heavy-duty cover is one of the best upgrades you can make. It’s not uncommon to “bash your pumpkin” when you’re backing up or maneuvering over rocks. When damaged, a stock diff cover can peel back and dump your diff lube on the trail. Not only is a peeled diff cover difficult to field repair, but the resulting hazmat spill is an insult to the backcountry.
|First step is getting the cover off and dumping the fluid. I prefer to have this job done in a fully equipped shop, rather than doing it myself and making a big mess with toxic old gearlube. For this project Brian at CODE4x4 spins the wrenches and yanks the prybar — along with excellent running commentary|
|Everything at WildSnow.com must be modified, so before the install I drilled and tapped an optional drain plug in the cover. The Silverado pumpkin has a drain on the bottom, but who knows when that’ll get fused together by a rock bash. A blast with grey hammer texture rattle-can paint gave it that custom look we all strive for and admire at stoplights.|
|With the diff open, we could inspect the ring gear and Gov-lock limited slip. It all looked fine, though Brian told me to expect the Gov-lock to wear out fairly soon as they don’t have a huge life expectancy. When that’s gone I’ll put in a selectable locker such as an ARB. Gov-locks are good for things like boat ramps, but they have to sense wheel spin before locking up, and thus are not as effective as a full locker that gives you traction from both wheels before a tire digs a hole in sand or snow.|
|Time to button up. Bluetorch differential cover is constructed entirely of 1/4 inch steel, it’s as strong as the axle tubes and can take a direct rock hit while backing up. One less worry while on the trails — or while backing up at the shopping court and dodging those pesky parking rocks.|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.