I'm about to replace the thrust washers in my differential and was wondering if I can just remove the left side housing or is it less complicated to remove the complete rear end from the car? It runs very quiet now so I was hoping to not have to make any other adjustments other than the washer change.Thanks : Bruce
On later T rear ends with the open bolt spool, it can be done. I have done it. I actually do sometimes recommend it, with a caution. While it can be done in a couple hours, and you can ascertain the material and condition of you car's thrust washers, and somewhat relative conditions and safety? You usually are better off to pull the rear end out and properly inspect all the bearings, axles, and gears.
Even cars that have been restored for awhile sometimes have reproduction pinion bearings that did not hold up well, and cannot be seen without tearing in a little farther than just pulling the left housing under the car. John Regan's replacements for the pinion bearings are the best way to go now.
It also can be done with the earlier enclosed bolt spool, but is a little trickier to do (the left housing does not just slip off the side of the spool).
So, the answer to your question is "yes, it can be done that way". But should you?
However, you do it. BE VERY CAREFUL with blocking, support, and making sure the car is stable. NEVER use cement cinder blocks!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I wish it was as simple as just changing the washers but you will find that the whole diff will need to be checked and reset to achieve a good job.
I agree with Frank. That fact that the rear end runs quietly doesn't necessarily mean that everything is in good shape. Pulling the rear end out and apart is not a big deal. While you're in there, go ahead and check everything out. It might save your having to go back into it later.
Hi Bruce, Frank and Mike are right, take every thing out and inspect it. I thought I could do the the same thing to check if I had a babitt thrust washer, but the more I looked, the more I found wrong, 5 of the 6 pins that hole the steel thrust washers were sheared off. The outer axle bearing sleeves were worn, and the inner seals were missing. I am glad I took it apart. Ed S.
Depending on the year of car, inner axle seals weren't factory installed. The felt seals were and afterthought to cure lube leaking out the outer seals before the 26/27 cars. That could be why you didn't find any.