Rebuilding rear end

Rebuilding rear end

Postby rn1358 [OP] » March 19th 2011, 2:33am

:confused: Well I think it's time to bite the bullet and have the rear end rebuilt in my 99 Astro, it has 236k miles on it, and the rear end is getting louder and louder, I was quoated a price of $1850 to completely rebuild it, with new axles, gears, bearings and seals. That seams pretty expensive to me. Is that a reasonable quote?
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby WoodButcherWoodButcher is online! » March 19th 2011, 3:06am

That's almost what I paid to the local Aamco to rebuild mine 5 years ago. ($2200!!) When I went to pick it up after more than two weeks I pulled in their back lot to turn around and found a gutted JY rear on the ground w/ the tag. ******* led me to believe they were using new parts and the delay was their parts supplier sent the wrong part. They just couldn't find one used! :screaming:
I paid for two reasons, this is my work truck needed daily and after jacking the owner in his own shop in front of customers the best way to keep him from calling the cops was to stuff his mouth, that much cash in fifties makes a roll to choke a horse!
Two years ago it died again so I brought it to a guy I know, although not a tranny / rear end specialty shop someone I trust. I asked him to fix it and he said he had a guy that would give it a shot. He called me every other day with bad news for finding reliable used parts as new are pretty expensive I was expecting a huge bill. One day he calls telling me to come pick it up and bring $800. :D

You can pay up to $1100 around here for a "guaranteed" used rear end around here so new installed $1800 is fair.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby RECox286 » March 19th 2011, 3:16am

Depends on what they are going to do. REPLACE EVERYTHING ? Replace the carrier bearings only ? What ??? If I were you I would pop out and inspect the axles, and replace the axle bearings and seals, take a look at the gear wear pattern on the ring gear, see if there is any slop in the carrier bearings and/or the pinon/ring gear. That first, rather than just take it into the shop with out knowing what exactly the problem is.

Of course, that is what I would do...first. You might get away for a LOT less, especially if you haven't used your truck to play in the dirt. (HO, HO)

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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby rn1358 [OP] » March 19th 2011, 4:03am

It started whining over 100k miles ago, now it's pretty loud, I would think it will need all new bearings, ring & pinion and axles. I do most of my own repairs, but haven't ever rebuilt a rear end.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Mr_Bowtie » March 19th 2011, 5:17am

I would just get a junkyard rear end & have it swapped or swap it yourself. You should be able to find one with low miles. 238K miles on your Van last thing I would want to do is spend that much on a rear end rebuild and then a couple months later need more money for more repairs.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Gary » March 19th 2011, 5:43am

WoodButcher wrote:That's almost what I paid to the local Aamco to rebuild mine 5 years ago. ($2200!!) When I went to pick it up after more than two weeks I pulled in their back lot to turn around and found a gutted JY rear on the ground w/ the tag. ******* led me to believe they were using new parts and the delay was their parts supplier sent the wrong part. They just couldn't find one used! :screaming:
I paid for two reasons, this is my work truck needed daily and after jacking the owner in his own shop in front of customers the best way to keep him from calling the cops was to stuff his mouth, that much cash in fifties makes a roll to choke a horse!
Two years ago it died again so I brought it to a guy I know, although not a tranny / rear end specialty shop someone I trust. I asked him to fix it and he said he had a guy that would give it a shot. He called me every other day with bad news for finding reliable used parts as new are pretty expensive I was expecting a huge bill. One day he calls telling me to come pick it up and bring $800. :D

You can pay up to $1100 around here for a "guaranteed" used rear end around here so new installed $1800 is fair.


Damm Bro.Not boasting.For that kind of money or nearly close to it,I can have a Ford 9" built and ready to bolt on.I didn't know you guys are spending that kind of money for a stock rebuild. :eek:
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby RECox286 » March 19th 2011, 4:57pm

Why not ask at a JY if they have any sort of guarantee program ? There is one here that for a small fee not only guarantee the part, but the flat rate labor as well.

A thought.

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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby WoodButcherWoodButcher is online! » March 19th 2011, 7:04pm

Gary wrote:Damm Bro.Not boasting.For that kind of money or nearly close to it,I can have a Ford 9" built and ready to bolt on.I didn't know you guys are spending that kind of money for a stock rebuild. :eek:


Exactly.... Many shops in this area are thieves. When your stuck like I was the first time they jack you to the wall. The JY's are not pick n' pull around here, they won't let you in the back most places so your at their mercy.
If I had time or advance warning I have some contacts in the local hot rod community that would be willing to help me do the job but unfortunately no one told me 8 weeks in advance I'd be needing this. The $800 dollar job was strictly t&m from a privately owned shop in town I trust.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby cowboydan » March 20th 2011, 1:06am

Mr_Bowtie wrote:I would just get a junkyard rear end & have it swapped or swap it yourself. You should be able to find one with low miles. 238K miles on your Van last thing I would want to do is spend that much on a rear end rebuild and then a couple months later need more money for more repairs.

exactly! swapping the diff saves time and money. plus, it's in the scope of the average gearhead. to set up a diff takes the right tools and you have to be precise.... not just accurate. setting up a diff is not normally for the diyer. if you find it a pain to work on cars and stuff, you may want to seek out a reputable pro.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby justsomeguy » March 31st 2011, 4:48am

Gary wrote:
WoodButcher wrote:That's almost what I paid to the local Aamco to rebuild mine 5 years ago. ($2200!!) When I went to pick it up after more than two weeks I pulled in their back lot to turn around and found a gutted JY rear on the ground w/ the tag. ******* led me to believe they were using new parts and the delay was their parts supplier sent the wrong part. They just couldn't find one used! :screaming:
I paid for two reasons, this is my work truck needed daily and after jacking the owner in his own shop in front of customers the best way to keep him from calling the cops was to stuff his mouth, that much cash in fifties makes a roll to choke a horse!
Two years ago it died again so I brought it to a guy I know, although not a tranny / rear end specialty shop someone I trust. I asked him to fix it and he said he had a guy that would give it a shot. He called me every other day with bad news for finding reliable used parts as new are pretty expensive I was expecting a huge bill. One day he calls telling me to come pick it up and bring $800. :D

You can pay up to $1100 around here for a "guaranteed" used rear end around here so new installed $1800 is fair.


Damm Bro.Not boasting.For that kind of money or nearly close to it,I can have a Ford 9" built and ready to bolt on.I didn't know you guys are spending that kind of money for a stock rebuild. :eek:


Hmmm... makes me think... (and sorry for hijacking this thread, but it's sort of related). I have the beginnings of a weird scraping noise when coasting (not when accelerating though). I posted this in a thread a few weeks ago. There were many theories on what it could be, but one of the more probable causes was the rear end. So, if it takes 100K miles to eventually break, I've got plenty of time to prepare for the inevitable repair or replacement. So that has me thinking - maybe I should keep my eyes open for a good rear end swap candidate. This would be a good opportunity for an upgrade. Might as well make the most of it.

I'm not mechanically inclined, so I would get someone else to rebuild and install a new rear end. Might as well get it rebuilt to make sure it doesn't have to come out again any time soon. Is a Ford 9" rear end the best choice? I've heard about them for years. Any other good candidates? Having a limited slip differential would be nice so I don't have to deal with that 1 wheel drive that leaves one wheel spinning helplessly in snow. Anything else I could look for? Hopefully not anything that will seriously hurt fuel economy too much. But then again, when you drive an Astro, fuel economy is not a priority - space and style is! :mrgreen:

I've got a 2005 Astro RWD passenger van with ABS and 6 bolt wheels. Thanks! :D
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Gary » March 31st 2011, 8:31am

The Ford 9" is a custom built.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby justsomeguy » March 31st 2011, 3:35pm

Custom built would be fine for me, as I have the time to save up and locate a good unit (or have a mechanic look for me).

But I just thought... could I still keep the same rotors and such? I have 4 wheel disc brakes and the 6 bolt lug set up on my 2005 RWD Astro.

What do you think a fair price would be for someone to build a Ford 9" rear end, if it will work on my van?

Thanks! :)
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Gary » March 31st 2011, 4:58pm

The company I will use is in Schenectady,NY.The quote I got was around $1250 for a housing with the correct offset,(Astro's have a one of a kind offset drive train to make more foot room for the driver's side),I bring him a Astro housing and he would make the exact same mounting points,Alloy axles with what ever bolt pattern I want,what ever flanges I want for what ever rear braking,nodular center section and I provide the center chunk and gears.28 or 31 spline axles.That is a outstanding price when you consider what I am getting and the fact most after market places wouldn't do a one off build.He has been building rear ends for circle track racing for many,many yrs.One of the keys with Ford 9" rear ends that I like is you can somewhat change ratio's by swapping the center section.This deal without any calling in favors I would expect to bolt on my van for about $300 to $500 more.In my mind it is atleast 10 times stronger than any Astro van rear ends.

For your side of the pond,I wouldn't know who short of talking to Peter who built a 502 BBC Safari and had a Ford built for it.I do know he over spent for it because he wanted everything custom.I would suggest you shop it for shops that have a history of building that kind of thing.If you want to come state side, I will call the shop I am going to use to get you a quote and then you would have to have a spare Astro end rear for him to copy the mounting points and cash in hand when you are ready.Then come back once it is built.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby paintdrying » April 1st 2011, 12:09am

I agree with mr bowtie. Just get a jy rear and swap them, can be done in a day. The thing is that these rear ends can make noise for a very long time, they can clunk for a very long time as well. If you have an all wheel drive things are tricky, but rear wheel. You have so many chioces.
I am sorry to say, I just would not trust anyone to rebuild a rear end. The rear end guy I would trust is 2000 miles away and always to busy to bother. He said something to me about checking the backlash with newspaper. No idea, but is not an easy thing to do. I would go and buy a different van before I would put 1500 dollars into a van. Work van is a different story because it can cost you a lot of money not to have your van.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Philly758 » April 1st 2011, 3:17am

Last summer my rear end started making some terrible noise. I brought it into a local Firestone and told them I thought that my passenger side rear wheel bearing was shot and it was howling, they agreed that was it and replaced it. Well, it turned out that wasn't the issue, it was my differential. They didn't charge me for the wheel bearing and quoted me $1600 or $1800 for a new rear diff/axle. They were honest and told me it would be a junkyard rear end, but they thought definitely thought I was a sucker. So I talked to a couple of my friends who work on their own trucks, consulted Astrosafari.com, and decided doing the swap myself was the way to go. I ended up buying a junkyard rear axle complete with about the same mileage as my van at the time for $300. Probably paid about $100 extra for lower mileage (85k), but it was worth it to me.

I swapped the rear axle in one day with help from a friend to drop the old and lift the new axle. I did most of the work alone. Before this I had little to no auto mechanic knowledge. Its basically a bunch of bolts, a heavy axle, and bleeding your brakes after. I guess the most intimidating/dangerous part is working under a van on stands and no rear axle. Just get some good 3 ton stands (taller ones are great), 3 ton floor jack, gear oil, 12 pack of beer, wrenches/sockets, a buddy, brake fluid, and a Saturday.

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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby justsomeguy » April 1st 2011, 8:49am

Since my van is as new as an Astro can be (a 2005 model) and is in otherwise pristine condition (it really is, and it better be considering how much I paid for it), I would definitely put the money into getting a rear end swap or mod done. That is, if the scraping noise is the rear end. After narrowing it down quite a bit, this seems like the only logical solution.

I called a place that specializes in rear ends, especially Ford 9" rear ends. But he said since I have ABS he couldn't help me with a Ford 9" rear end. He said if I don't need it for high performance (which I don't), then I would be better off getting mine rebuilt. I could upgrade to a posi at that time, which would be great. I guess I'll still have a weaker rear end, but at least it would be all rebuilt and upgraded. Sounds like due to ABS (and maybe the 6 lug wheel set up), a Ford 9" rear end won't work for me. The guy also said that although I may be able to drive for a long time before it totally breaks, it could cause more damage, and it would be better to fix it now. And he had nothing to gain from it because he knew he wouldn't get the job as he's too far away (Nevada) and shipping would be too expensive and too much of a hassle. I don't have a V8 or do any hot rodding, so as nice as a 9" Ford rear end would be, it's not essential.

But if I can't find a trustworthy mechanic around here, I would consider going to Schenectady, NY. It's a few hours away but I've been there before. It's not that far. I'm really not mechanically inclined and don't wish to even try or be a helper with a job like changing a rear end. I've been a helper before doing big automotive jobs like this before and I don't enjoy it at all. I enjoy driving though. I also don't want to swap in a used rear end from the junk yard because I'm not likely to find one with as low mileage as mine (70k miles), so I'd probably be putting in a rear end in worse condition. The last thing I want is to have to pay someone to take it out again, or worse yet, be stranded at the side of the road. I'd rather pay a bit more and get a decent rebuilt rearend, or get mine rebuilt and made into a posi. What do you think, does that sound like a good plan?
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Compustar Alarm/Starter, XM Sat. Bluetooth, TransCooler, blackout grille, orange turn signals, pop-open barn door windows, 4 note Cadillac horn. Otherwise stock.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby chevymaher » April 1st 2011, 11:53am

sounds like a good plan.10 bolts may not be the strongest but properly rebuilt they plenty for the van.Guys been using them with slicks running 10s at the strip in camaros for years.again the peanut gallery will have something to say negative about that.but they have been.point is if it will take that it good enough for normal driving.They last hundreds of thousands of miles in stock form so rebuilt with upgraded bearing and such they are pretty strong.If you plan on keeping the vehicle the money not a big issue.Look what you pay for a new SUV.they alot cheaper than that.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby justsomeguy » April 1st 2011, 12:49pm

Yes, definitely cheaper than buying a new SUV. I've had the van for 3 months now, and this is really the only repair I can see that it needs. Usually when I buy a used vehicle, there's always something to fix, and usually quite soon. At least with this I have a bit of time to prepare for it, and in the end, I'll have an upgrade. If I'm going to spend that kind of money, it would be nice if I ended up with something better than stock. And I'm usually pretty easy going with my cars and trucks. So, with just normal use, a rebuilt rear end should last a long time. I really like my Astro and plan on keeping for quite a while. I may hold off on the remote starter and new stereo and put that money into the rear end first.
2005 Astro RWD, Base model passenger, ex-cop van, rust free, cadet blue, X Code, Front A/C

Compustar Alarm/Starter, XM Sat. Bluetooth, TransCooler, blackout grille, orange turn signals, pop-open barn door windows, 4 note Cadillac horn. Otherwise stock.
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby Gary » April 1st 2011, 1:23pm

Well the topic of a 9" came about because of pricing of your stock rear end rebuild and Peter's van with one is a 97 without any ABS issues.

For normal driving the stock rear ends will provide good service.Guess this brings this thread full circle. :lol:

As for the comment about 10 second Camero's and the "peanut gallery",for the O/P-that poster has a private agenda to be ignored.Seems he is involved in a turf war about this forum that only exists in his own mind.The more complete story about those 10 bolt's goes well beyond the topic of this thread.Briefly what looks stock in racing from the outside isn't and is very,very expensive to build. :doh: :lol:
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Re: Rebuilding rear end

Postby chevymaher » April 1st 2011, 6:14pm

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