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MalibuHacon

Greasemonkey
Oct 19, 2015
122
6
18
Norway
I have a 1980 malibu with a 350 transmission and open diff rear end. My car makes loud clicking noises when i change from park to reverse/drive or reverse to drive etc. also makes click when i accelerate hard. there is about 3-4mm of up and down slack where the driveshaft meets the differential. Would it be a good idea to tighten up the pinion bolt and drive on the axle for a few more years, or is it too far gone? other options?
 

Wageslave

Royal Smart Person
Jan 25, 2017
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I am assuming that it is a 7.5 rear end in it. I believe those use a crush sleeve to tension the pinion. You can run it down more to take up the tension, but it won't last very long. The best thing to do would be to replace it. I believe you can release the axles and pull the pumpkin out without too much drama (just keep your shims together and in the same place), and pull the pinion nut off and slide the pinion assembly out.

It is not a terrible job, but it may be easier to swap a different 7.5 in instead. They are not terribly hard to find, and probably a lot faster to swap out.

If you do want to stick with this axle, it would also be a good time to consider a gear swap if you have it open anyways.
 
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MalibuHacon

Greasemonkey
Oct 19, 2015
122
6
18
Norway
Yeah thats what i figured. but as a temporary fix while i'm looking for a replacement, does anyone have experience with tightening it up, im thinking about how long (miles) and how safe.

thanks for the input
 

Wageslave

Royal Smart Person
Jan 25, 2017
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Yeah thats what i figured. but as a temporary fix while i'm looking for a replacement, does anyone have experience with tightening it up, im thinking about how long (miles) and how safe.

thanks for the input
ZJ grand cherokees have chronic problems with their Dana 35's that do this. Most of the people that try to tighten them up after the initial crush on the crush sleeve will get a few thousand miles out of them, but end up with a much bigger mess afterwards as one of the pinion bearings failing is what causes the slop in the first place.

Generally, if you tighten it up with a failed bearing, you will end up with a differential full of silver oil and the bits of bearing will pit up every other bearing and contact surface in there. If you get to that point, you will definitely be looking for another rear axle to put in.

For now, I would just make sure to keep gear oil in it and drive it easy until it can be repaired or replaced.
 
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pontiacgp

blank
Mar 31, 2006
29,270
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Kitchener, Ontario
Are you talking about the driveshaft moving on the U Joint or the yoke moving. If it is the yoke moving it would be leaking oil since any slop in the pinion that would ruin the seal. If the pinion is moving it could be the bearing is failing. You cannot collapse the crush sleeve more without ruining the meshing between the pinion and crown. If you remove the pinion nut to see what condition the bearing is in make sure you count and record the number of turns to remove it so you can put it back on with the same number of turns. The pinion has 2 bearings but if it was the bearing on the other side of the crush sleeve there would be alot more noise and damage. Once one part fails in the rear end it should be disassembled and rebuilt
 
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DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
8,115
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I wouldn't tighten it. Order an install kit (bearings and crush sleeve) and replace the worn parts. Pay close attention to pinion preload when you reassemble. Not sure how easy these rearends are to find in Norway but it might not be a bad idea to look for a spare if downtime is an issue.
 
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MalibuHacon

Greasemonkey
Oct 19, 2015
122
6
18
Norway
It is leaking quite from the seal and there definitely slop at the far end of the driveshaft. it does make sounds, kinda like how an old car sounds like, but its not very loud and you can only hear it when letting of the throttle, not when accelerating.
 
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