Saturday, January 28, 2012

That "F"ing Rear Axle...the SEQUEL!

Jack and I were challenging each other to different contests that were quite similiar in fashion to the World's Strongest Man competitions.  I was losing the battle when I came up with "axle curls."  Well, I couldn't do that so I went with a dead lift on the rear axle.  I got it up and realized how much gravity was working against me so I chucked it on the work bench.  It made a perfect landing so I decided to open it up, replace the seals and check the bearings, races and cones (those last three are basically little ball bearing gizmos that help the wheels turn).

Dismounted rear axle about to be opened up.

To be honest, the only reason I took this picture was so I could remember
exactly where to reattach the brake hose (upper left with blue tape).

Axle shafts removed, brakes hubs off and rear cover plate catching old nasty oil.

Close up of the internals.  My first bit of negative suspicions arised when I noticed the markings on the differential bearing caps had been switched.  The bearing caps are the two crescent shaped pieces bolted in by the two massive "F" marked bolts.  Each cap has two bolts that are (FUN FACT) torqued to 38-42 lbs.
Like I mentioned in the above caption, the bearing caps were switched.  There is two lines of stamps on each cap.  "GP 4224" is stamped on the top line.  The second line has a "2" and then a few other marks.  The "2" is stamped sideways on one side and upright on the opposite side.  There is a coordinating stamp on the unpainted surface surface where the cover plate sits.  The sideways "2" should be with the other sideways "2" and likewise with the upright "2's".  Well, these weren't with their partners and the manual is VERY specific about not switching these around.  The differential (the massive gear) and the pinion (smaller gear unseen in the rear) have special shims that keep it placed to within thousandths of an inch and must be precise.  Goofing with the bearing caps can jack this up.  OK, enough of my soapbox preaching.  Lets move on...

I pulled out the differential so I could get a good look at the axle shaft seals.  I was fairly certain that these suckers were about 70 odd years old and had enjoyed a fullfilling life.  Time to pull them out and replace with new.
Differential out and bearing caps positioned so I could recall how to install.

Here is a good look at the pinion gear.

The oil seal for the longer axle (driver's side) shaft sits immediately at the entrance to the tunnel.

I have already "popped" the old seal from the short (passenger side) out of position.  I used a 40" steel tube that was hanging out.  The tube will actually serve a greater purpose later on in the restoration. 
Hopefully I will remember to tell you about it when the time comes!
I installed the 40" tube through the length of each axle tunnel and gently tapped it with a hammer to knock the seal loose.  Prior to installing it, I ground the lip of the tube down to make a smooth curved surface.  I did not want to make any scratches inside the tunnel.  Once the old seals were out, I place the new ones in place.  I used my largest socket (3/4, I think) to tap the new seals in place.  The socket fit well inside the lip of the seal while I tapped it evenly into the entrance to the tunnels.

Next, I needed to remove the pinion flange and install one more oil seal.  This seal will sit behind the pinion.  Luckily, the pinion and its shims did not need to be removed in order to set the new seal in place.
Fancy little "F" mark on the flange to the pinion drive. 
To get the old seal out, I had to get a bit inventive.  I drilled a hole through the seal and installed a screw.  Then using the leverage that I learned from Curious George cartoons, I used a crowbar perched on the top of the pinion to pull the old seal out.  Yes, I was careful not to use brute force.  Despite the tools used, it was quite the finesse job.
Tools of the trade:  old seal on the ground, new seal just sitting in place and the crow bar is just hanging out.

This is the back end of the oil slinger that sits behind the seal and it, too, has a very prominant "F".  I effing love the F's.
Me being me and thinking the process was coming along too easily, I opted to wait to install the new seal "just in case I needed to adjust the pinion depth."  So, I moved onto the brakes.  They were pretty straight forward to install.  Everything was being replaced with new parts.  The major part to insure done correctly is to have the larger brake pad positioned to the front and then the smaller pad sits in the rear of the drum.  And yes, I did NOT eff that up.
Just a reminder of what it looked like when I opened it up two weeks ago.

Clean and new.  Longer brake pad on the left, which would be towards the front of the jeep.
Both sides done!  Well, at least the brakes are in place.

Close up of the passenger side.  Both sides still need to be fine tuned and adjusted,
but that cannot occur until the brake drum has been installed.
With the new brake shoes in place, I now needed to get the drums back on.  However, I needed to pack the bearings full of grease and install two more oil seals.  Oh, and for what its worth, if you remember that cool "F" marked seal...I was able to save it.  It came out in one piece.  Come on over and I'll show it off to you.  Seriously, I love that crap.
Inner bearing packed with grease and the new seal waiting to be put in place on top of it.

Outer bearing packed.  Time to put the drum on.

Both drums installed.
Once I got the drums on, decided to go ahead and put the pinion seal in place.  I checked, re-checked and triple checked the backlash of the differential and pinion.  The marks the pinion makes on the differential gears looked like they should...I hope.  I sprayed paint on a few of the teeth of the differential and then spun the pinion.  The pinion's teeth would remove some of the paint on the differential's teeth.  The pattern looked fairly centered and seemed deep enough, so I did not mess with it.  I also forgot to take pictures of the paint marks.  And of for what it's worth, I placed the bearing caps back into the original positions according to the technical manual.  Tomorrow, I will put some gasket sealer (permatex #2, if you are wondering) on the backing plate and slide a new gasket in place.  Then, it will be time to bolt the cover on and fill'er up...with oil.

And if you were still wondering about the World's Strongest Man competition between Jack and myself, well, Jack ended up winning.  He claimed he could pick up the rear end of a jeep frame.  I decided to call him on a bluff.  He squated down, placed his five year old fingers around the rear crossmember and then stood up...with jeep frame in hand!  I couldn't duplicate the feat.  Now, how the heck am I gonna get that rear axle off of my work bench??!
The winning lift.

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