Okay, what is this "checking distance"? I've done several diffs, and at the WBPP I had the opportunity to have expert guidance (turns out I was doing it right already, but was reassured that Mike did it the same way I did). Mike and I completely rebuilt my diff with new bearings.
(1) adjusted pinion bearing preload with shims by measuring torque
(2) adjusted carrier bearing position and preload by measuring lash and by checkng pattern (which also verified proper pinion depth)
This was with FSM, which we consulted for numbers.
I have about 8k miles on this rear diff since then, no problems whatsoever.