I wanted to clean all of that grime out from under the car and pressure washing seemed to be the best solution. Unfortunately, the back wheels were off and the car was on jack stands inside the garage. I would need to pressure wash inside the garage. I bought some painter’s plastic and taped it up all around the car. I placed some 2×4’s along each side of the car and tucked the plastic under them. Now I was able to lift up a section of plastic and pressure wash the underside. All of the gunk was channeled outside from under the front of the car.
Time to formulate a new plan,
- Remove some parts
- Clean them or renew them
- Put the parts back on
- Always keep the car in a drivable state
I figured the best place to start was the rear end. I’ll pull off the rear axle and have it rebuilt. Meanwhile I’ll order up some new leaf springs and have them ready to install when the differential comes back from the shop.
To remove the differential, I needed to unbolt the U-bolts securing it to the leaf springs. I also needed to detach the emergency brake cables which meant I needed to disassemble the rear brake assemblies.
The emergency brake cable looks tricky to remove. There is a strange clip that locks it into place after it’s pushed through the backing plate. I ended up sliding an appropriately sized washer over the end of the cable. I pounded it over the clip to the face of the backing plate using a box wrench, a hammer and any old socket wrench socket. Once the washer had contacted the face of the backing plate, the little fingers on the clip were pressed inward enough for me to pull the cable through the back.
Time to move to the driver’s side. There were only four wheel studs on this side. That has always bugged me. Been like that since the day I got the car.
I disconnected the drive shaft from the differential which was unbelievably simple. I couldn’t believe just four little screws held it together. Finally, I unbolted the U-Bolts and the rear axle was free to move. I set my floor jack up under the center of the differential (some folks call it the “pumpkin”) and jacked it up. Once it was high enough for the backing plates to clear the leaf springs, I wheeled the jack to the side and inched the differential a few feet to one side so that one backing plate cleared its adjacent leaf spring. I then lowered the jack and rested one end of the axle assembly on the floor. From there, I was able to lift the other end over the other leaf spring and lower it down onto the floor.
Blech! Filthy. And look what someone did with that brake line. I guess it needed to get replaced at some point and the mechanic didn’t have one the right length so they used one that was too long and just bent it to fit.
Here is an assortment of small parts that came off.