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Rebuilding the sterling rear axle


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With over 250,000 miles on the original axle, it was time for a complete rebuild. Our wheels did not have any center caps so we first removed the axle shafts from the axle housing by removing the eight axle bolts at the end of each hub. Then the axles slid out with very little effort. After a good deal of axle fluid drained out, we set the axle up on a set of jack stands and removed the wheels and tires. Now we removed the differential cover after placing a large oil drain pan underneath the differential. With the oil drained, the axle assembly was loaded into the back of another ford truck and transported to James Schiele & Sons in Afton, MO, the same shop where the Dana 60 was rebuilt.

We also took with us, the Detroit Trak-Loc limited slip differential that was provided by Unitrax for Jim to install. It was a good thing we had the new unit available. When we went back a couple of weeks later, Jim told us that the factory spider gears and the ring gear were all worn over 50% of the way through. Needless to say, we were quite surprised.

After Jim completely striped down the axle housing, we took it from his shop out to Liberty Sandblasting to have it cleaned and painted as we had done with the front axle. Frank out at Liberty once again took good care of us. The axle was sandblasted and painted with a high quality primer. From there, we took it back to Jim who then completed the reassembly with the Trac-Loc. Back again to Liberty for the final coat of Super-thane paint and a few days later it was back in our own shop.

While Liberty was working on the axle housing, we took the hubs over to Biers Automotive to have the old bearings removed and replaced. We then took the hubs back with us to sandblast in our shop and get them ready for the axle when it arrived.

Once we had the axle back home, we purchased new brake shoes along with new springs and retainers as well as new wheel cylinders.

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