Axle woes have returned...need a lifespan estimate.

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Yes, I know... Damn it...
So, on the 3rd of July, around 8:30pm, I was on the interstate and hit a very steep, nearly mile-long grade. Maintaining speed is difficult
so I dropped to 3rd gear. As I peaked the hill I started to hear a funny noise. As soon as I shifted back to OD and lowered engine RPMs (reducing load on the axle) it started whining like crazy.
It sounded like that scene in 'Memphis Belle' where they go into a dive to put out an engine fire.
I made it another 65 miles...yeah, I know, stupid... however I could tell by the noise that nothing I could do was going to rescue the diff at that point.
Anyhow, it couldn't be examined by a shop till the 5th, by which point I needed to be back on the road to get back to Atlanta (200 miles away). I ended up catching a cheap flight home, as I had to work the next day.
The guys at Pep Boys cracked open the diff and said it had blown a pinion seal and run dry. That makes some sense, as going up that steep grade for an extended period of time allowed the remaining fluid to drain away from the pinion and kill the bearing.
So, the K5 is still in Tennessee. I need to get it down here ASAP.
Provided that it stays topped off with fluid (it's been drained and refilled) can anyone guess as to how long it will last? Getting it above 60mph is not really feasible, but if I keep it at or below that speed the noise is managable. I'm not currently in a position to have it repaired up in Tennessee.
If I take it easy and watch the fluid level, do you think I could make it back without total failure of the rear axle?
Worst part is, the axle was rebuilt about 8 or 9 months ago. It's no longer under warranty. It sat for almost 6 of those months after the engine fire and tranny problems. I'm out $750 for the rebuild...
And the K5 saga continues...
~jp
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Might be safer to try to find a rear end around there and have it installed to get it home.

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Well...that option has been explored.
I did locate a used 10-bolt with 3.08 gears for $350 + tax, free delivery in the area, and a shop willing to install it for $225.
Realistically, what's involved in swapping one out if me and someone else were to attempt it? I don't have a lift or access to one obviously... Could I jack it up, remove the wheels, then lower the frame onto jackstands and do it that way? I know it'd be a tight fit, but I'm really on a budget here.
If that option is feasible, what will need to be replaced? I'm assuming the rear u-joint should be while I'm under there, but what about the u-bolts holding the axle to the leaf springs?
Anything else?
~jp
Shades (at dot) wrote:

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I'd take the cover off the used diff and see what it looks like in there, first. May want to swap your backing plates with all the brake stuff, if yours is in better shape.

-
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bring new u bolts, breaker bar, or an impact with some ass, a torch would be nice as well
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I would not do it with good air tools anymore. THey can make a nasty job go pretty quick. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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wrote:

10 bolt axles a basically pretty cheap in bone yards as they are not like 10.5 inch 14 bolts or D60's that are in demand. That axle was used for 73 until 91 in blazers (after that to but different spring pad spacing) so they are not hard to find in just about any bone yard. Just find one that has no been sitting in the dirt for a few years. There was also some 12 bolt axles that were used from 67 till 75 or so and they will bolt in too. It you had it rebuilt 9 months ago, you either got rpped off or it got full of dirt or water and fluid was not changed because they do not wear out that quick unless you are running reaaly big tires and in which case I would not waste time putting another 10 bolt in it/ Look for a 9.5 inch 14 bolt semi floater as they can be had with 6 lug hubs and are about the equal of a D60 in strength. (there is the 10.5 inch 14 bolt full floater which is about the equal of a D70 but it has 8 lug hibs and weighs a lot more too) Also, GMC pickups 67 up thru 72 orso had D44 rear axles in 1/2 tons and this is another option too. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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Running stock tire sizes--31"... I don't know what happened. It was fine and showed no weird symptoms. There was no leakage of fluid onto the driveway, either when I'd park in the carport (flat, level surface) or in the driveway (steep grade). It seems to have happened at once.
In a roundabout way, I can add the axle to the list of things that the engine fire cost me. If that'd never happened, the truck would've been on the road for those 6 months and I probably would've had axle failure much sooner--while it was still under warranty.
I still have access to a free 14 bolt, but that's not a Sunday afternoon project, nor does the free axle make the conversion free, or even cheap. Plus, it's a 1-ton 14 bolt, not the 3/4 ton version. I think they're identical, but don't the 1-ton versions have their spring perches welded onto the tubes in a different location?
~jp
SnoMan wrote:

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wrote:

No there are the same if it is the same body style and a SRW axle (actually axles are the same here though depending on year it might be a D70 or a 10.5) Perhaps when your rear axle was rebuilt, they set the pinion preload too high which would toast the pinion bearings and seal with time due to excessive heat that it would cause. If you could trade for a 9.5 inch 14 bolt it is a sanday project to install it as it is basically a bolt in and it is a very sturdy axle that you will never tear up easily in your blazer. A plus with it is that it even supports a ARB and other lockers than 10.5 does not and even the GM GovLoc is a lot sturdier in it than in the 10 bolt. ----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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Is your truck a 3/4 ton? If so, the 10 bolt is a waste of money! As I recall, the 3/4 and 1 ton are 8 bolt wheels and 1/2 ton are 6 bolt.

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1/2 ton... to my knowledge all K5 Blazers came with 1/2 ton suspension and axles.
The bad news is, I'm getting a car... :-(
The good news is, I'm getting a smaller, more fuel efficient, nicer car to drive daily :-)
This means the K5 is going off the road for a while. And since I won't have to depend on it for transportation, I'm going to go ahead and start building it the way I wanted to--with a 14 bolt rear, 8 lug wheels (converting the front axle to 8-lug hubs), 4-6" of lift, bigger tires, etc...
And I'm going to do the cam swap myself. I'll take my time.
~jp
Mike Dobony wrote:

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It better be complete and 100% good for that price!
free

Not bad..

Only if you are swapping between a 10bolt and a 12bolt and/or if its bad...your on a budget remember...

It would be a good idea. Check if they were replaced durring the rearend rebuild...your on a budget remember...

TOOLS!!! Torch for the u-bolts(if replacing), breaker bar and 6pt. deep well impact socket to tighten(loosen?) the u-bolts, line wrench for the break line, combo wrench for the u-joint retainer, GOOD floor jack(2.5T), 4 wheel chocks for the front and rear of both front tires, with the lack of a lift, use a stack of foundation blocks...2 side-by-side style stacking(holes verticle), NOT single stacking. Use a piece of 2x10 or so between the frame and blocks. Grease gun, 80W-90, brake fluid, etc, tools, etc, etc...

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Shades (at dot) wrote:

Well, I don't have the ability to go junkyard hunting right now, and if I did, I wouldn't have a way to haul the axle home. Luckily, I have a friend up in TN that actually has a trailer and can go pick it up.

Noted...
Noted...
A torch might affect the budget. What about hacksawing or using a grinder to remove them (if the nuts are stuck on there)??
~jp
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wrote:
Try the link below, it has worked for me more than once
http://www.car-part.com /

----------------- The SnoMan www.thesnoman.com
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They are hard steel and would require a supply of HIGH quality blades and ALLOT of elbow grease! A cut-off wheel on an electric grinder would be MUCH faster with good wheels and a great grinder. Check your local pawn shops for a small portable Oxy-Acetylene torch. You also might consider a rent=all place in the area of your stranded K5...
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Well, I'll try a breaker bar first... if that doesn't work, we'll do what we need to do.
Since they were removed back when the axle was rebuilt, it's possibly that they might be able to be removed without too much hassle...but only if my luck changes...
~jp
Shades (at dot) wrote:

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I wish you good luck my Friend...

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Put it on a trailer and tow it home. PEP Boys, that makes me shudder. Whitelightning.
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PEP Boys...? Who said anything about PEP Boys?

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I did in the original post... That was at the time the closest and most available shop.
~jp
Shades (at dot) wrote:

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