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Help needed on servicing rear axle--is this kit a good buy?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by gothamist, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. gothamist

    gothamist Registered Member

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    I'm just wondering if you guys can chime in with some advice. I purchased this 1975 K10 Longbed in December and have been slowly going through it to see what kind of condition it's in. The front driveshaft had been pulled long ago (like 10 years ago.) I've purchased one off of ebay for it and am waiting to reinstall it. Before I do that (which I anticipate will require me to rebuild the front axle) I want to make sure the rear axle is up to par.

    :1zhelp:
    What parts would you guys replace in a rear axle you don't know the history of? (The brakes were serviced recently by the PO.)

    I'm thinking about this kit off of ebay:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/GM-1...731QQitemZ270102263109QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW

    Does it seem like a good deal? Should I just go to AutoZone and buy the Timken bearings and seals?

    Lastly, do I need a press to do this job? (Don't have one...have a big vise though.)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Sorry, can't view the auction, but what is the ultimate goal of this truck?

    I see "12" in the URL listed, I'm assuming you've got a 12 bolt.

    If the axle works and doesn't make noise, I wouldn't mess with it, even a rebuild. If they are taken care of, they will go for a LONG time. Pop the cover, check the gears (all, pinion gearS, side gears) make sure you don't have other parts that are already bad. Also check the axleshafts for wear from the axle bearings. Replace the cover, fill with fluid, leave alone for a few more years. :)

    To pull the carrier bearings you need a puller, and the axle bearings are easiest first attempted with a slide hammer. Also not one I'd replace unless you find an actual issue with them. If the axles are worn down, only two options are repair bearings, or replacement of the axles.

    If you plan on beating on the truck, don't waste money on a 12 bolt, go find a 14 bolt of either style. Other problems to go along with that change, but it's cheap-ish insurance. You can beat on the 10/12 bolt sure, but a 14 is so unlikely to break in comparison, it's not funny.
     
  3. gothamist

    gothamist Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info...The goal of the truck is more of a camping/skiing vehicle that will someday tow a BUILT offroad something (Jeep? Suzuki? Chopped up K5?) I can't cut up this one too much, it's my only truck and I have a lot of work to do on my house!

    The truck seems to be in pretty good shape but it was a work truck for a garage door installer the past eight years...reviewing the maintenance records he showed me, apart from oil changes it only got serviced when it stopped running. (The number of times "tow-in" appears on his mechanic's invoices isn't even funny.) So I'm just trying to make sure I've covered all the bases when I go to take it 500 miles from home into the mountains.

    I know on my old trucks I never messed with the rear axle, but this thing is older than anything else I've owned (truthfully it's the first vehicle I've ever owned with a carb!)
     
  4. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Axles changed a bit in physical dimensions over the years, but not in the way they operate. If they aren't making noise, and look good internally, run them until they give you problems.

    Of course these are my opinions, but they are tempered with my own experience, along with years of watching folks on here go through the same stuff.

    If it works, don't mess with it. If it breaks, upgrade to a bigger axle. Sounds like in your case you won't have any problems with the 12 bolt for a long time. GM did a good job setting axles up from the factory, which is one of the reasons I don't like messing with them unless it's absolutely necessary. Again, good physical inspection of the components will tell you if there are issues that need taken care of. Fortunately or unfortunately, if there are internal components that are bad, most of the time you can replace the whole axle with another (perhaps better, based on strength) used one for the same price as repairing the original.

    There are guys on here that are pretty rough on their rigs, and still run 10 or 12 bolts.
     
  5. MA87K5

    MA87K5 1/2 ton status

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    I bought the same kit you are looking at. I started with an empty housing though. No need to buy the kit if you don't hear any noise from the rear though like everyone else said. 12 bolts are tougher then people think. I seen a 4x4 hillclimb where at least one guy was running a 12 bolt. He had at least 700hp. He told me that he has been racing the rear for a long time. The only problem was he was using stock axles, and one broke. You could install better axles and at least a good limited slip carrier and you would be all set for whatever you throw at it. Daily drivers don't need to have a 14 bolt. But it is all up to you on the amount of money you want to spend.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  6. gothamist

    gothamist Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info

    I guess I'll stop worrying about the rear axle and concentrate on the front one!

    :laugh:
     

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