How heavy is a 26/27 rearend with the drive shaft. My back is not the best, and I will be hauling in mine to the basement shop, and I am wondering how much help I should get.
Don't know how much it weighs but I was able to move mine around without throwing my back out so I would say 2 guys would be enough and 3 if your back is really bad.
To help you get a feel for the weight, here's a video from Steve Jelf showing the final assembly of his rear axle.
My guess would be in the range of about 150 pounds. If your back is bad, then find two strong guys and get them to do it for you. Taking apart a rear axle is a very dirty job because of all the old oil and grease which seems endless when you start cleaning it out.
I have a 26/27 rear end presently off the car and a bathroom scale in the garage - checked today & it's 140 pounds w/o wheels and brake drums.
Two guys with bad backs got it down. I diffidently felt it the rest of the night. It is stripped down and for most part all cleaned and measured. I still need to clean the axle housings and the inside of the driveshaft tube (that will be most challenging).
Cleaning it so far was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I started with a dirty paper towel to wipe the worst of the grease off. Then with a cleaner paper towel, I sprayed on a little WD-40 on the part, which breaks down the grease quite well, and it just wipes up easily. I repeated this step a few times. Once everything was initially cleaned, I took an old tooth brush and liquid laundry detergent (full strength) and scrubbed the parts. Then rinsed them off with water. Lastly I then dipped them in Evaporust to keep them from rusting. Everything was cleaned and a quick initial inspection was done in one day, except for the above noted items. I should have ordered my parts the other day, but I have not.
The axle assembly has been opened before. Surprisingly I did not find any gasket materials anywhere. I measured everything up good the other day. I would like locate two better axles (they are grooves cut in, from what looks like a bearing failure in the past. The pinion in general is very nice except for three decent size chips. The ring gear appears to have been replaced in the past and is in excellent condition will almost zero wear.
Driveshaft tube and axle tubes clean pretty easily if you use a wire bristle toilet bowl scrubber. I just squeeze the end so it fits in the tube a little better and then go to town.
Seth is on the right track. You can set the axle housing or drive shaft housing in a five gallon pail with old paint thinner or whatever solvent you're using. Wire a toilet brush to a long pole and pretend your in the artillery and cleaning out a cannon barrel. I'd show a picture if I was organized enough to find it.