Both integral and removable carrier type axles are used. The axle type and ratio are stamped on a plate attached to a rear housing cover bolt. Axle types also indicate whether the axle shafts are retained by C-locks. To properly identify a C-lock axle, drain the lubricant, remove the rear cover and look for the C-lock on the end of the axle shaft in the differential side gear bore. If the axle has no cover (solid housing) it is not a C-lock. Always refer to the axle tag code and ratio when ordering parts.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
Bearings must be pressed on and off the shaft with an arbor press. Unless you have access to one, it is inadvisable to attempt any repair work on the axle shaft bearing assemblies.Flange Type
- Remove the wheel, tire, and brake drum. With disc brakes, remove the caliper, retainer, nuts and rotor. New anchor plate bolts will be needed for reassembly.
- Remove the nuts securing the retainer plate in the backing plate, or axle shaft retainer bolts from the housing. Disconnect the brake line with drum brakes.
- Remove the retainer and install nuts, finger-tight, to prevent the brake backing plate from being dislodged.
- Pull out the axle shaft and bearing assembly, using a slide hammer. On models with a tapered roller bearing, the tapered cup will normally remain in the axle housing when the shaft is removed. The cup must be removed from the housing to prevent seal damage when the shaft is reinstalled. The cup can be removed with a slide hammer and an expanding puller.
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 bearing seating.
- Using a chisel, nick the bearing retainer in 3 or 4 places. The retainer does not have to be cut, but merely collapsed sufficiently to allow the bearing retainer to be slid from the shaft.
- Press off the bearing and install the new one by pressing it into position. With tapered bearings, place the lubricated seal and bearing on the axle shaft (cup rib ring facing the flange). Make sure that the seal is the correct length. Disc brake seal rims are black, drum brake seal rims are grey. Press the bearing and seal onto the shaft.
- Press on the new retainer.
Do not attempt to press the bearing and the retainer on at the same time.
- To replace the seal on ball bearing models, remove the seal from the housing with an expanding cone type puller and a slide hammer. The seal must be replaced whenever the shaft is removed. Wipe a small amount of sealer onto the outer edge of the new seal before installation. Press the seal into the housing with a seal installation tool.
- Assemble the shaft and bearing in the housing, being sure that the bearing is seated properly in the housing. On ball bearing models, be careful not to damage the seal with the shaft. With tapered bearings, first install the tapered cup on the bearing, and lubricate the outer diameter of the cup and the seal with axle lube. Then install the shaft and bearing assembly into the housing.
- Install the retainer, drum or rotor/caliper and wheel. Bleed the brakes.
- Lift and safely support the rear of the car on jackstands.
- Remove the wheels from the brake drums.
- Place a drain pan under the housing and drain the lubricant by loosening the housing cover.
- Remove the locks securing the brake drums to the axle shaft flanges and remove the drums.
- Remove the housing cover and gasket, if used.
- Position jackstands under the rear frame member and lower the axle housing. This is done to give easy access to the inside of the differential.
- Working through the opening in the differential case, remove the side gear pinion shaft lockbolt and the side gear pinion shaft.
- Push the axle shafts inward and remove the C-locks from the inner end of the axle shafts. Temporarily replace the shaft and lockbolt to retain the differential gears in position.
- Remove the axle shafts with a slide hammer. Be sure the seal is not damaged by the splines on the axle shaft.
- Remove the bearing and oil seal from the housing. Both the seal and bearing can be removed with a slide hammer. Two types of bearings are used on some axles, one requiring a press fit and the other a loose fit. A loose fitting bearing does not necessarily indicate excessive wear.
- Inspect the axle shaft housing and axle shafts for burrs or other irregularities. Replace any worn or damaged parts. A light yellow color on the bearing journal of the axle shaft is normal, and does not require replacement of the axle shaft. Slight pitting and wear is also normal.
- Lightly coat the wheel bearing rollers with axle lubricant. Install the bearings in the axle housing until the bearing seats firmly against the shoulder.
- Wipe all lubricant from the oil seal bore, before installing the seal.
- Inspect the original seals for wear. If necessary, these may be replace with new seals, which are prepacked with lubricant and do not require soaking.
- Install the oil seal.
- Remove the lockbolt and pinion shaft. Carefully slide the axle shafts into place. Be careful that you do not damage the seal with the splined end of the axle shaft. Engage the splined end of the shaft with the differential side gears.
- Install the axle shaft C-locks on the inner end of the axle shafts and seat the C-locks in the counterbore of the differential side gears.
- Rotate the differential pinion gears until the differential pinion shaft can be installed. Install the differential pinion shaft lockbolt. Tighten to 15-22 ft. lbs. (19-29 Nm).
- Install the brake drum on the axle shaft flange.
- Install the wheels on the brake drum and tighten the attaching nuts.
- Clean the gasket surface of the rear housing and install a new cover gasket and the housing cover. Some models do not use a paper gasket. On these models, apply a bead of silicone sealer on the gasket surface. The bead should run inside the bolt holes.
- Raise the rear axle so that it is in the running (normal operating) position. Add the amount of specified lubricant to bring the lubricant level to 1 / 2 in. (13mm) below the filler hole.
AXLE SHAFT SEAL REPLACEMENT
See Figures 10 and 11
- Remove the axle shaft from the rear axle assembly, following the procedures previously outlined.
- Using a puller or prytool, remove the seal from the axle housing.
- Thoroughly clean the recess in the rear axle housing from which the seal was removed.
- Position a new seal on the housing and drive it into place with a seal installation tool. If this tool is not available, a wood block may be substituted.
Although the right and left end seals are usually identical, there are many different types of seals which have been used on rear axle assembles. It is advisable to have one of the old seals with you when you are purchasing new ones.
- When the seal is properly installed, install the axle shaft assembly.