Sometimes taking it apart actually isn’t easy. Last winter, when my dad called me to tell me the rear end was so locked up that the truck had to be dragged onto the flatbed, I got off the phone and looked up what the assembly looked like. Torque tube rear ends have a bunch of extra bearings, some complicated assemblies, and lots of tapered splines etc. I wasn’t looking forward to the day when I got to work on it, but today the day came and it really wasn’t that bad.
I showed up at my dads place about 11 and found him with a 6 foot pipe on the end of my 2 foot breaker bar trying to get the bolts that clamp the pre-load section of axles to the housing. The four bolts pointing out at the camera.
The center carrier with the ring gear attached to it has two gears that the axle splines go into. A ‘C’ clip goes into a groove on the end of the axle and then the axle gets pushed outward toward the brakes to seat the ‘C’ clip in a cutout in the bevel gear. After this, a spacer block is installed between the two bevel gears. That spacer block is held in place by a large pin. The large pin is held in place by a small flat head machine screw with the end machined off to be a pin. If you look carefully at this picture and the next, you can see all these parts.
To get access to the screw that holds the pin that holds the block that locates the axles and keeps the ‘C’ clips seated I had to remove the torque tube from the differential and hope the ring gear would turn so I could get a screw driver on the screw. Heavy lifting, prying and cursing ensued, but the torque tube came away and the ring gear moved. The screw, the pin, the block, the clips and the rest all sort of jumped out into the parts pan and I went to work on the torque tube.
The way a torque tube works is the drive shaft lives inside of it -effectively making it a housing. It is supported by several bearings on either end and has some splines to allow for fore and aft travel. Here it is after the shaft has been removed via multiple blows on a BIG drift with a sledge hammer. Don’t forget to remove the three locating bolts.
That’s a big pinion. Note the genuine Hurricane Katrina flood damage. I wonder if I can get FEMA to pitch in? That rusted section is a spline and is supposed to come right apart.
Here’s the other end of it -more rust. This thing is about 6 feet long and weighs! Redline assembly lube and loc-tite thread locker -try not to confuse the two.
The hard part of the afternoon ended with a phone call to a machine shop I’ve used in Vallejo who agreed to clean, press apart and assemble all these with new bearings, seals, studs and whatever else needs doing. Yay -I don’t have to do it!
A long discussion over a glass or two of local Petite Syrah while sitting down followed some brisk hand washing and as always we came to what may turn out to be the most difficult job -painting the truck. Not much can be done about the rust on the hood here and the top of the cab, the front and rear fenders and bed are stripped, but the doors are in good shape and have the original signs from the blacksmith shop who owned it. I’d really like to have the rest of the truck match the patina of the doors.
We’d be crazy to paint over this. Suggestions are welcome.
So it wasn’t such a hard job after all. Next time I go visit we have to pull the wheel bearings and seals out of the axle tubes, and some other fun before it goes back together, but it is getting closer.