See Figures 1 through 5
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 located inside the differential cover. As the name implies, the C-lock is a flat, C-shaped piece of metal that fits into a groove at the 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
- Raise vehicle and support it safely. Remove the tire and wheel assembly. Remove the brake drum.
- Drain the fluid. Clean all dirt from the rear carrier cover and remove. Discard the gasket.
- Remove the pinion shaft lock bolt and the pinion gear shaft.
- Push flanged end of axle shaft toward center of the vehicle and remove C-lock from button end of shaft.
- Remove axle shaft from housing, being careful not to damage oil seal.
- Remove seal from housing with a prybar behind steel case of seal, being careful not to damage housing.
- Insert tool J-23689 or equivalent, into bore and position it behind bearing so tangs on tool engage bearing outer race. Remove bearing, using slide hammer.
- Lubricate the new bearing with gear lubricant and install bearing so tool bottoms against shoulder in housing, using tool J-23690 or equivalent.
- Lubricate seal lips with gear lubricant. Position seal on tool J-21128 or equivalent, and position seal into housing bore. Tap seal into place so it is flush with axle tube.
- Insert the axle into the place while engaging the splines on the end of the shaft with the splines of the rear axle side gear. Be careful not to damage the seal.
The 30-spline 81/2in. ring gear axle shaft is not interchangeable with any pre-1989 axle shaft.
- Install the C-lock on the bottom of the axle shaft and push the shaft outward so the lock seats in the counterbore of the rear axle side gear.
- Install the rear axle pinion gear shaft through the differential case, thrust washers and pinions, align the hole in the shaft with the lock bolt hole. Install the lock bolt and tighten to 24 ft. lbs. (31 Nm) for 7 1 / 2 inch ring gears or 20 ft. lbs. (27 Nm) for 8 1 / 2 inch ring gears.
- Install the carrier cover and bolts using a new gasket.
- Fill the rear assembly with the proper grade and type gear oil.
- Install the brake drum and wheel and lower the vehicle.