UPDATE - Sooo...It looks like I will need new gears. They put the old ring back in but there was substantial flaking on the main gears that made them interface really rough. technically they could still work, but its an extra $200 for brand new gears an a *sigh* $1200 axle rebuild. Bummer is that I have to take it really easy on the gears and then change the fluid on my trip. It wont be so bad because the break in period is 500 miles and I will cover that my 1st 2 days, and then I’ll just dump my old gear oil at an autoshop enroute (bigwater)
UPDATE - Just heard back from the shop, looks like the problem part was the pinion bearing and it was the rear axle pinion bearing they installed in the front. This messed all the things up including carrier bearings.
UPDATE - So the word from the shop is “this was put together ALL wrong. These doesn’t even look like the right parts...whoever put this together was an idiot.” The good news is that the gears are in good shape, no need to replace and Im getting completely new bearings, seals, etc. They also said that one side of the carrier had strange “skipping” patterns on the bearing...which likely explain my bad tire wear. So...hooray for getting stuff fixed.
UPDATE - Just talked to my mechanic - Bad carrier bearing. The other shop set the preload too high and roasted the carrier bearings. New install kit is enroute and they are calling it a worst case scenario of having it back together Thursday afternoon. WOO!
So stoked that I might not even need new gears, let alone a new housing.
So...my front diff is in a bad way; looking at a complete rebuild with new gears (potentially new axle housing) coming this week [hopefully] just in time for my trip Friday. Hooray for crappy shops doing crappy work! Probably won’t even have time to install my light bar now...nerts. also $$$