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Replacing rear axle bearing

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by scavenger, Jan 9, 2001.

  1. scavenger

    scavenger 1/2 ton status

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    Need advice on how to replace the rear outer axle bearing. I have a 85 K5 with a 10 bolt rear end. According to the RPO codes in the glove box the axle code is 1GU4 and it has a 3.08 ratio. A while back I had noticed a slight grinding that was intermittent and would occur between 15 and 35 mph. Then about a month ago when we started getting all this snow I put six 70 pound sand bags in the rear for traction, and to counter the weight of the plow when it is in the raised position. Shortly after adding the weight the grinding/growling became louder but still occurred between 15-35 mph. The grinding stops for a split second then starts, stops, etc. Last night when I was heading home from work the grinding was a little louder, and just before I came to a stop at a stop sign the rear passenger side wheel locked up for a split second. I then continued home without any other problems except the grinding. This morning I jacked the rear up and removed the passenger side rear wheel. There is about 3/16ths play moving the axle up, down, and side to side. This seems like excessive play but I can't believe the seal was not leaking and the rear end is full. Questions: Can a bad bearing make the wheel momentarily freeze up or might I have other problems. 2. Is 3/16ths considered excessive play, and wouldn't that much play cause the seal to leak. 3. How do I check, and replace the bearing if this is the culprit, and what tools woould I need besides ordinary hand tools. 4. If it (God forbid) turns out to be the rear end is shot and needs replacing what are my options as far as getting one from the bone yard, and could I get a 12 or 14 bolt with the same ratio that would bolt right in. Sorry for the long post and thanks for any info.
     
  2. Executioner

    Executioner 1/2 ton status

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    Let's keep it simple
    1. where and how are you measuring 3/16" ?, or are you just guessing ?
    2.Let's try to find the root cause of the problem, and not look at any repair or upgrade till the problem is well
    indentified, unless you have a 14 bolt and all the items needed for the upgrade sitting in front of you.(LOL)
    3. your doing good so far, now pull the other tire wheel combo, saftley put the trans in 1st gear(make sure the front end will not work), make a listening tool from some hose, listen to both sides, put both tire/wheel combos back on
    repeat, now apply a small load to the rear end, use the parking/emergency brake to lightly load the raer end
    report you findings.
    Good luck
     
  3. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I have done this, but as Executioner says, make sure thats the problem first. It is not a fun job, thats for sure. At best it could be something else entirely, at worse it would be likely if it IS the bearing that is that bad, you will have to replace the axle. Repair bearings are available. However, determine the cause to be certain before throwing money at an undetermined problem.

    Dorian
    My K5 and Chev/Olds links: <A target="_blank" HREF=http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html>http://yeagerd.home.mindspring.com/index2.html</A>
     
  4. scavenger

    scavenger 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the info Executioner and Dyeager535. I Removed the axle and found 8 of the roller bearings still in the race and 3 in the axle tube. Fragments from the bearing retainer were scattered all over. I drained all of the old rear end fluid and cleaned everything up, then installed a new repair bearing on the axle. Goes down the road smoother than it ever has.....thanks again.
     

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