You already read the story of Mary Mac's Head, now comes a story of Donna D's Rear-End. Donna's rear-end wasn't loose, it was just as noisy as hell. Now don't get excited, we are referring to the rear differential of Donna and Alfred's great looking MGB. Between Donnie Peter's, Barc Cunningham and myself, we pretty much know every nut and bolt on T cars, MGAs and MGBs so who better to do the job of changing out the rear-end of this beautiful car then the Three Amigos. This story had it's beginnings at the Center 200 show in Sydney early this summer. Many cars were driven to the show by others then the owners and my task was to take Alfred and Donna's car to the show as they were to busy. Driving along Kings Road at about 60 k I could hear the rear-end growling. Alfred, being a first time B owner, he just thought it was normal, as for me, I was hoping it was just an axel bearing. A few weeks later we did a quick axel bearing replacement and the noise was still there. Oh man, It's either go inside the inner workings of the rear-end and hope we find the problem or swap it out with a "BCCCB PICKERS" spare. The swap out was the easier of the two and this is the story of Donna D's rear-end.
See, I told you it was a great looking car. Here we are in Alfred garage, which by the was was huge and oh how much I enjoy having room to move around while working on these cars. Don and I arrived almost fully equipped with tables stands and tools ready to take on the job ahead of us. Lets get at it shall we. The car was raised and set on stands and it was time to get our hands dirty. First the driveshaft had to be disconnected. Some may say to mark the driveshaft and the pinion flange for exact replacement but when you think of it, the driveshaft is balanced at the factory without the flange so it truly doesn't matter, in this case we are swapping the rear-end so that doesn't apply here.
Next the rebound straps and the brake flex hose, This is a great time to swap that sucker out. My guess is most of us still have that 30 year old hose on our cars. Beware folks, the life span of this hose has long sense past, you may want to consider changing it. Alfred had a new one so we changed it before putting the other rear-end in. I mentioned in the last paragraph that Donnie and I were "almost" fully equipped, well I forgot the gear puller and the socket for the axel nut. Donnie had to skedaddle back to his place to get them. Meanwhile, back at the garage, Barc shows up and wouldn't you know he had a puller big enough to pull off the hub. He didn't have a socket for the axel nut so above you see Barc and Alfred improvising a method to free the axel nut.
A pry bar, a adjustable wrench and a hammer will do wonders to a nut that's torqued 150 lbs. Voila! The hub and backing plates are now off. We are getting close to the extraction so the stands had to be repositioned to support the body. Can you see the aftermarket sway bar? Sway bars were added to the MGBs at the factory in 1977. This car being a 1975, and if you wanted to reduce body roll on corners, one had to fit an aftermarket sway bar like the original owner did to this car. Above you see Alfred inspecting the job.
Above you see me lowering the differential, putting the weight of the car on stands positioned just in front of the rear leaf springs. Some people drop a leaf spring to remove the rear-end but we decided to pull the rear-end towards the passenger side and lowering the drivers side of the rear-end past the spring and exhaust then pulling it towards the drivers side clearing the passenger side leaf spring, making it easy to get the differential away from beneath the car.
The two rear-ends look the same but with a couple of interesting differences. The pumpkins have a little different shaped but the covers are the same. There is an unused brass brake three way T that is bolted very close to the pumpkin but there is a correct T bolted to the differential in the correct spot. The third oddity is what looks like welds in the axel casing halfway up towards the bumpkin on both ends of the differential. Weird. The axels are correct and seeing that there is new axel bearings on the old axels, we swapped out the axels and bearings into the replacement differential.
The brake lines were removed from the old differential and placed on the replacement and this is when we changed out that old brittle flex hose. Time to set the new differential into place. This was done in reverse to the way we removed it. Above you see the rear-end resting in place. Now to bolt this puppy in.
The drivers side U bolts slid right into place and the lock nuts were tightened. There was an issue with the passenger side but I'll get to that in a minute. I was going to fill the pumpkin with gear oil while on the stand but forgot of course, so now is a good time to do it while the rearend is resting on the springs allowing it to hang lower then normal, giving me unrestricted access to the fill hole. I filled it until the gear oil started to leak out of the fill hole. I waited while the excess leaked out and buttoned it up. Meanwhile.... lets see what going on on the passenger side.
The drivers side is almost complete but the center bolt on the leaf spring was broken on the passenger and needed replacement. Now, the lower spring plate won't fit over the nut so some fancy and long drilling time was required as we didn't have the correct size bit. Don and Alfred's persistence paid off and sure enough the lower plate slipped over the nut.
While Don finished up the passenger side I reattached the driveshaft. Once Donnie had the U bolts snugged up, he reattached the steel brake line to the flex hose and the floor jack was once again placed under the rear-end and jacked the car off the body stands. Putting pressure back on the rear-end allowed the rebound straps to slip back on the axel stubs and the brakes were bled. We are getting close to a road test.
Above you see Alfred putting the final bolt on the wheel. Lets go shall we. A quick run down the old number 4 highway I knew straight away that we had the problem licked. Alfred loved the quiet interior, he said that he could now have a conversation in the car. Again he thought that loud growl was normal, now all we could hear was the sound of the exhaust. This is the way it should be, with the roof up that is, one can't hear themselves think with the roof down. Alfred did mention that the brakes were a tad spongy so back to the garage for a brake adjustment and another bleed. A few minutes later, all was perfect.
This isn't one of those "if you weren't there you missed it" kind of stories. This is a story to show how to do something and what to watch for. To tell the truth, this was the perfect opportunity to replace the metal brake lines but we weren't geared up for that. Hindsight is 20/20 but perhaps one day we'll change them out. Just keep in the back of your mind that you have a 30 plus year old car and if it's telling you something, listen, or you could be on the side of the road one day.
I am starting to receive BCCCB "Christmas Car Photos" so our next story for the web will be the Christmas Car Photos on December 1st...... count yourself in. It's easy. Get your Kids or Grand Kids to help... they will enjoy it.... as will everyone else.