How to Measure Pinion Depth Without Tool

In the world of automotive tinkering, resourcefulness often takes the driver’s seat. When it comes to adjusting the pinion depth in your vehicle’s differential, not everyone may have access to specialized tools.

Enter the realm of DIY ingenuity with our guide on “How to Measure Pinion Depth Without a Tool.” Whether you’re faced with a sudden need for adjustment or prefer the hands-on approach, this brief tutorial will unveil alternative methods for determining pinion depth.

How to Measure Pinion Depth Without Tool

Join us as we explore clever techniques that allow you to gauge and fine-tune your pinion depth without relying on conventional tools, putting you in control of your vehicle’s drivetrain performance. Let’s delve into the art of measuring pinion depth with resourceful precision.

  • Step 1: Remove the rear wheel and axle shaft from the car. This will make it easier to access the differential pinion gear
  • Step 2: Locate the pinion gear at the center of the differential assembly, which is usually located near where you removed your rear wheel and axle shaft
  • Step 3: Measure from one end of the pinion gear to its center with a ruler or measuring tape, this measurement should be in millimeters (mm). This is referred as Pinion Depth
  • Step 4: Calculate half of that measurement for an accurate result; since differentials are symmetrical, halving your measured depth will give you an exact figure for both sides of your pinion depth.
How to Measure Pinion Depth Without Tool


How Do You Check Pinion Depth?

Pinion depth is an important measurement to check when inspecting a vehicle’s differential. It involves measuring the distance between the ring gear and pinion gear teeth.

To accurately measure this, you will need:

* A micrometer * Feeler gauges * Thread-pitch gauge

What Would Happen If the Pinion Depth is Not Measured Properly?

If the pinion depth is not measured properly, it could cause serious problems in the drivetrain.

This could lead to excessive wear on other components, such as:

• Uneven torque distribution and resulting vibrations

• Premature bearing failure due to incorrect pre-load settings

• Poor gear meshing and increased noise from gears grinding against each other.

• Increased fuel consumption or reduced power output if the ring and pinion are mismatched.

What Should Pinion Depth Be?

Pinion depth is the distance from the front surface of a ring gear to the back face of pinion. It’s an important element in setting up a differential correctly, as it helps ensure that all teeth on both components contact each other properly.

To get an accurate measurement, it should be measured with a dial indicator:

• Place the indicator at 90° angle against one side of a tooth and zero out its reading

• Rotate the pinion`s yoke until its tip contacts next tooth flank

• Record difference between two readings

• Repeat process for all teeth

Does Pinion Depth Require Adjustment?

Yes, pinion depth requires adjustment. This adjustment ensures that the teeth on the ring and pinion gears mesh correctly.

Pinion depth should be adjusted in the following order:

• Measure backlash to determine if an adjustment is needed.

• Loosen the bearing cap bolts and loosen or tighten shims as necessary to achieve desired backlash setting.

• Tighten down bearing cap bolts after making adjustments.

• Check for proper rotation of pinion gear by rotating it several times before reassembling components.

71 camaro ss part 6 establishing pinion depth

How to Set Pinion Depth on Gm 10 Bolt

Pinion depth is an important factor when it comes to ensuring the proper working order of a GM 10 Bolt axle. To ensure that your pinion depth is set correctly, you will need to measure the distance between the face of the drive pinion and bearing retainer.

This can be done by using feeler gauges and should give you a reading in thousandths of an inch from 0-25.

Once this measurement has been taken, any necessary adjustments should be made with shims until you are satisfied with the accuracy of your pinion depth setting.


Measuring pinion depth without a tool is an easy and cost-effective way to determine the condition of your differential. With just a few simple steps, you can accurately measure the pinion depth using only a straight edge or feeler gauge. This technique will save you time and money, as well as provide assurance that your differential is running properly and efficiently.

Now that you know how to quickly and easily measure pinion depth without any special tools, you have one more tool in your automotive maintenance arsenal!