Rebuilding the entire unit with new bearings and everything? Did that include the parts, or just labor. Removing the case, swapping gears and doing a proper setup would take a good half a day. I could see how a book would say 7.9 hours.
Setting up gears is simple, but it can certainly be time consuming. If you're at all inclined, I recommend picking up the few specialized tools that you'll need and learning how to do so yourself. Feel free to ask any specific questions.
I could see several hours if it's one person, it's done properly and inspected thoroughly from the axles to bushings then replacing gears, verifying clearances/shimming/contact and so on. But then again not something I do on the daily and it's been years
I wouldn’t touch a ring and pinion unless someone who absolutely knows what they are doing was right there. Taking pictures of grease patterns, etc is ok, but if something isn’t right, you can easily ruin the diff. I would absolutely form over the money to a pro which something to stand behind.
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