Then went out to play in the rocks a few weeks ago. Kept hearing a rythmic clicking noise on the way to the rocks and after doing this one V notch the buddy I was with (Whose Rockwell S10 is for sale, BTW) and I had to head in and the clicking was worse. Could see the damaged gears through my inspection/fill hole. After discussion with few guys I decided to have the new gearset cryo treated and am also going to switch to amsoil severe gear 190 oil. The gears showed lots of wear so hoping those help out. Don't think it was a shock load break, but more of a wear/fatigue leading to the failure.
While waiting for the front ring and pinion to get cryo'd by Performance Cryogenics so went ahead and swapped the oil pan. The chassis is designed to fit the factory truck oil pan but it barely clears the skid. I had shimmed the skid down 1/4" to help with some breathing room but has always been a concern. After seeing a few recent guys kill oil pans I decided it is much easier to change now then deal with a broken pan later.
Changing the pan will also allow me to lower the drivetrain in preperation to re-tube the front half this winter for better visibility. I now have a touch over 2" clearance at the oil pan, 2" at the trans pan, and 1.625" at the converter/crossmember. Thinking of lowering it about 1" so keep a little breathing room.
The next step is to try a different exhaust manifold/header to gain clearance to the engine crossmember or re-build the crossmember. Will tackle that next.
The new oil pan is a champ pan made by JR Manufacturing. Same pan that Tilden and Autokraft rebadge. With ebay deals recently I am into the pan $376 shipped. Here are the P/Ns if anyone is interested:
Pan Champ LS1000
Pickup tube Champ 750LS1
Oil Filter adapter Champ LS1001
Here are shots with the new oil pan. One concern was this pan is wider and driveshaft to oil accumulator adapter clearance but the picture at flex shows plenty of room still. The oil pan won't drop out of the engine crossmember so I cut it out and cut 1/2" out of it and made some flanges to make the crossmember removable. Didn't have my rivnut setter with me so will made a hose retainer bracket later to tidy up that hose and wire.