Recently, while visiting the shops of Jim Cook Racing Gears and Transmissions, owner and gear specialist Jim Cook showed us the center section from a Ford nine-inch rear that a racer had sent in to be checked out after it had been damaged on the racetrack. During a wreck, the panhard bar had apparently broken loose from its mount and struck the pinion cover. There is obvious damage to both the cover and the seal, and rather than risk further damage, the racer wanted the entire works checked out. Cook said it wasn't a bad idea since it was nearly time for a gear rebuild anyway, and the racer could get a little peace of mind while saving himself some money.

Of course, even if you don't damage your rear gears on the track, the entire center section should be torn down and inspected periodically as part of a regular maintenance schedule. Exactly how often depends on several factors including the length of the races generally run, the traction available at the tires, engine power and even vehicle weight. Most lowerlevel racing classes can get by with an off-season teardown if there are no problems during the season, but for touring classes with longer main events and higher-horsepower engines you may require a midseason inspection.

So, follow along with Jim as he gives this rearend the once over.