As a grown man, I can't explain it, but the sound and smell of a burnout makes me smile. It's a phenomenon we're sure you can relate to. With that said, nothing is worse than trying to do a burnout, only to suffer the "one-wheel-peel" shame. Most 1/2-ton trucks leave the assembly plant with an open differential sending power only to the passenger-side rear wheel and tire. If you're lucky, or if you checked off the options box at the dealer, your truck may have a posi or locking differential and your truck benefits from sure-footed traction. If not, don't sweat it because this month's installment of our Project Novakane '04 GMC Sierra buildup is for you.
To get our Sierra to hook up while at the track, dragstrip, and in poor weather conditions, we contacted 4Wheel Parts and ordered a complete rear differential overhaul. Every part we replaced, we did so with an upgrade in performance in mind. These upgrades included: a new Eaton Detroit Truetrac limited slip, 3.73 gears (from the factory 3.42 gears) and master overhaul kit from G2 Axle & Gear, Mag-Hytec aluminum differential cover for our 10-bolt, and high-performance 75-90W gear oil from Royal Purple. Rather than cut any corners on the install, we went to one of SoCal's leading differential companies, Unitrax, in Anaheim, California. These guys have been giving cars and trucks better traction for 25 years, and they know axles inside and out. Whereas the install does require a press for installing the pinion and differential bearings, once that hurdle is overcome, you can do this install in your own driveway. If your truck could use improved traction and performance, this upgrade is a must.