Chevrolet Full-size Cars 1968-1978 Repair Guide

Axle Shaft

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Fig. Fig. 1 Cross-sectional view of the axle shaft bearing

Two types of axles are used on these models the C- and the non-C type. Axle shafts in the C-type are retained by C-shaped locks, which fit grooves at the inner end of the shaft. Axle shafts in the non C-type are retained by the brake backing plate, which is bolted to the axle housing. Bearings in the C-type axle consist of an outer race, bearing rollers, and a roller cage retained by snaprings. The non C-type axle uses a unit roller bearing (inner race, rollers, and outer race), which is pressed onto the shaft up to a shoulder. When servicing C- or non C-type axles, it is imperative to determine the axle type before attempting any service. Before attempting any service to the drive axle or axle shaft, remove the axle carrier cover and visually determine if the axle shafts are retained by C-shaped locks at the inner end, or by the brake backing plate at the outer end. If the shafts are not retained by C-locks, proceed as follows.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION





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Fig. Fig. 2 Remove the differential cover and ...



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Fig. Fig. 3 ... drain the fluid out of the drive axle



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Fig. Fig. 4 Rotate the differential until you gain access to the pinion shaft lockscrew



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Fig. Fig. 5 Remove the pinion shaft lockscrew, then ...



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Fig. Fig. 6 ... remove the pinion shaft from the differential-do not turn the differential while the shaft is out



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Fig. Fig. 7 Push in on the axle and remove the C-lock using a magnet or small screwdriver



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Fig. Fig. 8 Grasp the axle, and slowly pull out to remove-use a rag to catch any dripping oil from the axle



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Fig. Fig. 9 Pull the axle free of the axle housing



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Fig. Fig. 10 To replace an axle seal, pry the seal out of the axle housing, then ...



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Fig. Fig. 11 ... using a seal installer and hammer, seat the new, lubricated seal flush with the housing

CAUTION


CAUTION
Brake shoes may contain asbestos, which has been determined to be a cancer causing agent. Never clean the brake surfaces with compressed air! Avoid inhaling any dust from any brake surface! When cleaning brake surfaces, use a commercially available brake cleaning fluid.

Non C-Type



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Fig. Fig. 12 Removing the axle shaft using a slide hammer

This design allows for a maximum axle shaft end-play of 0.022 in., which can be measured with a dial indicator. If end-play is found to be excessive, the bearing should be replaced. Shimming the bearing is not recommended as this ignores end-play of the bearing itself and could result in improper seating of the bearing.

  1. Raise the vehicle and support it safely. Remove the wheel and brake drum.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nuts holding the retainer plate to the backing plate. Disconnect the brake line.
  4.  
  5. Remove the retainer and install nuts, finger-tight, to prevent the brake backing plate from being dislodged.
  6.  
  7. Pull out the axle shaft and bearing assembly, using a slide hammer.
  8.  
  9. Using a chisel, nick the bearing retainer in three or four places. The retainer does not have to be cut, merely collapsed sufficiently, to allow the bearing retainer to be slid from the shaft.
  10.  
  11. Press off the bearing and install the new one by pressing it into position.
  12.  
  13. Press on the new retainer.
  14.  

Do not attempt to press the bearing and the retainer on at the same time.

  1. Assemble the shaft and bearing in the housing being sure that the bearing is seated properly in the housing.
  2.  
  3. Install the retainer, drum, wheel and tire. Bleed the brakes.
  4.  

C-Type


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Fig. Fig. 13 View of the C-lock type differential

If they are retained by C-shaped locks, proceed as follows:

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely. Remove the wheel and the brake drum.
  2.  
  3. The differential cover has already been removed (see the Caution note). Remove the differential pinion shaft lock-screw and the differential pinion shaft.
  4.  
  5. Push the flanged end of the axle shaft toward the center of the vehicle and remove the C-lock from the end of the shaft.
  6.  
  7. Remove the axle shaft from the housing, being careful not to damage the oil seal.
  8.  
  9. Remove the oil seal by inserting the bottom end of the axle shaft behind the steel case of the oil seal. Pry the seal loose from the bore.
  10.  
  11. Seat the legs of the bearing puller behind the bearing. Seat a washer against the bearing and hold it in place with a nut. Use a slide hammer to pull the bearing.
  12.  
  13. Pack the cavity between the seal lips with wheel bearing lubricant and lubricate a new wheel bearing with same.
  14.  
  15. Use a suitable driver and install the bearing until it bottoms against the tube. Install the oil seal.
  16.  
  17. Slide the axle shaft into place. Be sure that the splines on the shaft do not damage the oil seal. Make sure that the splines engage the differential side gear.
  18.  
  19. Install the axle shaft C-lock on the inner end of the axle shaft and push the shaft outward so that the C-lock seats in the differential side gear counterbore.
  20.  
  21. Position the differential pinion shaft through the case and pinions, aligning the hole in the case with the hole for the lockscrew.
  22.  
  23. Use a new gasket and install the carrier cover. Be sure that the gasket surfaces are clean before installing the gasket and cover.
  24.  
  25. Fill the axle with lubricant to the bottom of the filler hole.
  26.  
  27. Install the brake drum and wheels and lower the vehicle. Check for leaks and road test the vehicle.
  28.  

 
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