I've never had the the eight apart yet. I don't know if they can be flipped. When I looked for parts, A-main had the two ring gears listed as seperate part numbers. I couldn't see the difference until reading you post. It does look like you said as the rear has the teeth on the top of the ring gear. The front has the teeth on the bottom of the ring gear. Without the gears on the top and the bottom of the ring gear it doesn't look like they could be flipped or interchanged.