>Steve Shoyer asks:
>How difficult is the job for an amateur?
Steve, here's a message I saved, thought I'd pass it along to all.
This weekend I replaced the thrust washers in my '74 B's rear (tube) axle
using the instructions on John Twist's web site. A couple of listers had
asked me to report how it went. "Quite well" is my answer. If you can
tolerate my long-windedness, here are some notes from the experience.
(Otherwise, you know which key to hit.)
I usually put my jack stands under the rear axle. Twist says to put them
under the front spring mounts. This lets the axle hang at its lowest.
The axle nut is torqued to 150 ft-lb., and could have been a real bear, but
with a three foot section of pipe as a breaker bar, mine came off easily.
Twist says the hub should then slide right off the axle. Mine did not. I
mounted a junk brake drum to the hub and banged on it to knock the hub off
the axle. When I got the brake backing plate off (with brake line still
attached) I put the hub and junk drum back on the axle and again used my
hammer to get the axle and bearing out of the tube. This worked equally
Art Pfenninger had suggested getting the junkyard drum. Excellent
suggestion, Art. But make sure you have ear protection. Pounding that drum
made a ring like the bells of St. Mary's.
The hard part was pulling the pinion shaft out of the differential. I got
hold of the pin in a pair of vice grips and used a small crowbar through the
jaws to provide twisting while pulling downward with the other hand. Once I
slid off the creeper and lay in the muck, I had the angle to pull the pin
free. I think if you could scrape the film of baked-on oil from the pinion
it might come free quicker, but mine made steady progress and came out
My old thrust washers were very thin, one was even cracked, and one of the
fiber washers had disintegrated completely. I'm a little worried because
the surface where the metal washers ride against (on the differential
housing) was grooved. I decided to go ahead with the job, and keep a note
that when it starts to clunk again, to find a junkyard axle to replace this
Reassembly was without incident except that I don't have a 1/2"-3/4" socket
adapter. So to torque the axle nut, I made a mental mark on my breaker bar
at about 12" from the axle, stepped one foot on it, put a finger on the
fender for balance, lifted the other foot into the air and played human
The temperature went up to 72 deg. on Sunday, so the test drive was very
pleasant. And no more clunk. In fact, the whole thing's quieter than it
used to be. I guess there was some howl I'd become used to. All in all,
I'd say that the project is very doable with the axle in the car. It took
about 8 hours from jacking up the car to the test drive. No snickering
Lawrie, this is my first.