Rear Axle Detailing
by George Nenadovich
Here is an 8.5" housing from a 72 Skylark.....already
removed the axle assemblies, brake backing plates, carrier, pinion and bushings/bump
This is a good degreaser and works well in a spray bottle.
Some basic hand tools to remove the heavy grime/grease/tar
Here is the housing cleaned......use a putty knife/chisels/scrapers
to remove heavy grime. Next, use degreaser and steel brushes to degrease
unit. I use a 1500 psi pressure washer for the final cleaning...this allows
you to access all areas and does an excellent job of also removing loose
Here is the factory axle code stamped on the pass side axle
tube about 4-6" from where the axle tube enters the center section
.... LK B157 2
This means LK, gear code for 2.56 gear w/no posi. B is for
Buick and 157 is the 157th day of the year. 2 indicates 1972
Axle center housing cleaned and clearly shows factory paint
mark...in center....a light pink color.
A is cast into the center section for A-body models. Also
note axle code is about 4" from the center section. On some rear axles...the
axle code can be hard to read due to corrosion or light stamping from the
factory. Center section still has a lil undercoating on it and this is easily
removed with lacquer thinner. Notice the center section was not painted
but a bare cast metal....some discussions on forums have been about the
center setion being painted all black like the axle tubes or left cast iron
gray......I have done over 20 of the 8.5" rears and 10 Chevy and Olds
12 bolt rears...none of them had the center section painted black.
Nice picture showing the 2 plugs welds for each axle tube
indication of the 8.5" rear axle. The 8.2" rear axles only have
1 plug weld on each side.
Here are some local paints you can purchase to paint the
Rear drum brake parts bead blasted and painted black.
Rear axle shaft with bearing, seal and crush sleeve removed....this
axle is going to the axle rebuilder for all new bearings, seals, crush sleeves,
installation of 3.42 gears with a posi unit.
Good idea to use a 7/16-20 die to clean all wheel studs before
bead blasting and painting.
Make a cardboard mask......use a 4" diameter circle
template to make your cut-out...just happens the empty roll of MIG welding
wire is 4" diameter.
Here is the rear hanging from an oak tree with the center
section painted cast iron gray and clear coated. Axle tubes primed with
dark gray primer.
If you don't have a large tree to use, you can hang the rear
from some sawhorses.
Center section edge masked off with 1" masking tape.
Cardboard mask in place in order to paint axle tubes. Notice
hole in axle tube...this is for the plastic axle tube vent which will be
replaced by a new one.
Completed axle housing ready for the rebuilder.
All new brake hardware installed....the kits are cheap and
a good idea to replace 37+ year old brake hardware. Also, good time to install
new brake shoes, wheel cylinders, bushings, brake lines and rubber hose.
Completed rear installed in the car......just need to add
a new cover gasket and rear gear oil.