GM Firebird 1967-1981 Repair Guide

Axle Shaft

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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 shafts, 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. Most 1970 and later Firebirds are equipped with the C-type axle.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION Non C-type Rear Axle



  1. Remove the wheel, tire, and brake drum.
  2.  
  3. Remove the nuts which hold the retainer plate to the backing plate. Disconnect the brake line.
  4.  
  5. Remove the retainer and install the 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. Install the axle shaft into the housing. Turn it until the grooves mesh.
  10.  
  11. Install the retainer nuts.
  12.  
  13. Connect the brake line.
  14.  
  15. Install the brake drum, wheel, and tire.
  16.  
  17. Bleed the brakes.
  18.  

C-Type Rear Axle

  1. Raise and support the car, and remove the wheels and brake drums.
  2.  
  3. Thoroughly clean the area around the differential carrier cover.
  4.  
  5. Place a drain pan underneath the carrier, then remove the cover.
  6.  
  7. Remove the differential pinion shaft lockscrew and the differential pinion shaft.
  8.  
  9. 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.
  10.  
  11. Remove the axle shaft from the housing, being careful not to damage the oil seal.
  12.  
  13. Install the axle into the housing.
  14.  
  15. Install the C-lock to the shaft.
  16.  
  17. Install the differential pinion lockscrew.
  18.  
  19. Install the differential cover.
  20.  
  21. Install the wheels and lower the car to the ground.
  22.  

See Figures 1 through 17

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Fig. Fig. 1: To remove the rear axle shaft, position a jack under the axle assembly and raise the vehicle ...



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Fig. Fig. 2: ... then position jackstands under the axle tubes



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Fig. Fig. 3: To drain the rear differential, remove all cover retaining bolts, except for the top one (arrow) ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then loosen the top bolt slightly and pry the cover away from the housing to drain the fluid



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Fig. Fig. 5: Remove the cover (after most of the fluid drains)



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Fig. Fig. 6: Loosen the pinion shaft lockscrew ...



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Fig. Fig. 7: ... then remove it from the differential case and pinion shaft



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Fig. Fig. 8: Slide the pinion shaft out of the differential carrier



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Fig. Fig. 9: Remove the rear wheels ...



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Fig. Fig. 10: ... pull the brake drum off of the axle, then push the axle shaft in toward the differential unit



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Fig. Fig. 11: Remove the C-clip retainers from the axle shafts ...



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Fig. Fig. 12: ... then pull the axle out of the differential and housing tube



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Fig. Fig. 13: Once the axle is removed, the outer seal (arrow) can be accessed



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Fig. Fig. 14: Using a seal remover, pry the old seal out of the housing tube ...



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Fig. Fig. 15: ... then drive the new seal in until it is flush with the housing tube lip



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Fig. Fig. 16: Cover the gears with a clean rag and remove the old gasket from the housing ...



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Fig. Fig. 17: ... install the cover with a new gasket, then add fluid through the filler hole

 
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