See Figure 1
Axle shafts are the last link in the chain of components working to transmit engine power to the rear wheels. The splined end of each shaft meshes with the internal splines of each differential side gear. As the side gears turn, so do the axle shafts, and, since they are also connected, so do the wheels. Each shaft passes through the side gear and is locked into place by a C-lock. As the name implies, the C-lock is a flat, C-shaped piece of metal that fits into a groove at the inboard end of the shaft. A round pinion shaft is wedged in between the end of the shafts. This pinion shaft prevents the shafts from sliding inward and makes the C-locks functional by pushing them tightly against each side gear. Removing this pinion shaft allows the shafts to slide inward making the C-locks accessible for removal. Once the C-locks are removed, the axle shafts can be pulled from the car. The wheel end of each shaft is flanged and pressed into it are five wheel lug bolts serving to hold on the wheel. Each axle shaft is supported by an axle bearing (wheel bearing) and oil seal located within the axle shaft housing just to the outside of the brake backing plate.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 2 through 17
- Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands, then remove the wheels and brake drums.
- Thoroughly clean the area around the differential carrier cover.
- Place a drain pan under the carrier and then remove the cover.
- Remove the differential pinion shaft lockscrew and the differential pinion shaft.
- 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.
- Remove the axle shaft from the housing, being careful not to damage the oil seal.
- Remove the oil seal by inserting the button end of the axle shaft behind the steel case of the oil seal. Pry the seal loose from the bore.
- 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.
- Pack the cavity between the seal lips with wheel bearing lubricant and lubricate a new wheel bearing with same.
- Use a suitable driver and install the bearing until it bottoms against the tube. Install the oil seal.
- 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.
- 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.
- Position the differential pinion shaft through the case and pinions, aligning the hole in the case with the hold for the lockscrew.
- Use a new gasket and install the differential cover. Be sure that the gasket surfaces are clean before installing the gasket and cover.
- Fill the axle with lubricant to the bottom of the filler hole.
- Install the brake drum and wheels and lower the car. Check for leaks and road test the car.