LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » January 10th 2021, 6:22am

2021-01-09 17.17.20.jpg
I picked up this 35 year old drill press on craigslist for $15. After all the metal drilling I did for the poptop project, I was sick of using a hand drill to drill metal. I think I'm going to love this machine.

2021-01-09 17.17.28.jpg
It's first job was to drill the hold in the ebrake bracket. After I bought a 9/16 bit that is.

2021-01-05 21.51.05.jpg
I also got this clamshell bearing puller, and a cheap dial indicator off ebay. This is for the diff rebuild. I could have rented them, but I was worried that the two weeks I'd have wouldn't be enough somehow, and it wasn't that much more to buy them.

Where you can rent - https://eastcoastgearsupply.com/i-13157 ... ogram.html
All Industrial Tool Supply Dial Indicator - https://www.ebay.com/itm/111620619229
Durasolid Clamshell diff bearing puller - https://www.ebay.com/itm/Diffrential-Ca ... 4902.l9144

2021-01-09 16.20.58.jpg
I also got my new muffler in the mail. I was scared when it looked like this - but it was undamaged inside somehow.

2021-01-09 16.24.40.jpg
I wasn't super impressed with the welds though - but maybe this is fine and I was just expecting perfect tig welds when they aren't really necessary.

2021-01-09 18.47.26.jpg
I undid all the exhaust hangers (getting replaced with generic longer ones from Amazon for the lift anyway. And undid the flange bolts. Shockingly, this wasn't too hard.

2021-01-09 18.59.14.jpg
After wrestling the exhaust out

2021-01-09 20.34.15.jpg
After cutting with the autozone loaner tool

2021-01-09 20.42.43.jpg

I was prepared to have to expand the pipe to get the muffler to fit, but then the most fortuitous thing ever to happen to me when working on this van happened - the muffler slid on over the old pipe no problem! Wow! Nothing this easy had ever happened before. I was so stoked.

The new muffler is smaller and lighter. I'm going to try to reuse the heat shield off the old muffler, if I can. I'm excited to see how much quieter it will be, considering the new one should be hole-free! (it better be)
Last edited by SportsBoySportsBoy is online! on January 11th 2021, 3:18am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby dcsleeperdcsleeper is online! » January 10th 2021, 2:50pm

I would like to see a full pic of your replacement muffler please.
Good going on the rest of it!
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » January 21st 2021, 2:26am

Here you go dcsleeper -
2021-01-11 17.02.51.jpg

2021-01-12 17.24.19.jpg
Took the straps off the stock muffler

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2021-01-12 17.24.59.jpg

I was careful removing them because I was hoping to resuse them, but two of them were actually rusted through, so that was out.
2021-01-17 15.21.16.jpg
And used stainless zip ties to re-secure it to the new muffler

2021-01-17 15.21.26.jpg

2021-01-12 18.20.44.jpg
Got a steel bar from home depot to make a brake line drop bracket out of

2021-01-02 21.54.43.jpg
Here is a picture of the brake line drop bracket from the journeys offroad rear lift install video - this is what I was copying

2021-01-12 18.20.55.jpg
Cut and bent and drilled it

2021-01-13 22.21.25.jpg
Used all these tools to get the bushings and sleeves out of the shackles you can see the disintegrated rubber that I'd drilled out sitting on the white styrofoam.

2021-01-13 22.21.40.jpg
Then there are the metal cups inside that need to be punched out, which I did with the help of a vise.

But, with the shackle bushings out, I'm now realizing that I can't find poly bushings like I want. Thread about my issues here - https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 8&t=145184

2021-01-11 16.18.46.jpg

2021-01-11 17.02.37.jpg
Got one of these hopper fed sandblasting guns for $20 on Craigslist

2021-01-11 17.02.30.jpg

Used screened play sand at first with it, then baking soda - both didn't really work because the gun kept clogging from moisture. I got a moisture dryer for the air line and some new media. Medium grit coal slag was super abrasive, but also kept clogging the gun. Finer slag worked well and didn't clog it - but I only have a 6 gallon pancake compressor, so I could only really use it effectively for like 20 seconds at a time. Anyways, spent a lot of time figuring it out and getting real dirty sandblasiting the axle housing and various metal components. A blast cabinet, or a bigger compressor would have been the bees knees for sure. All that sandblasting really sucked bigtime.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » January 21st 2021, 3:36am

With the axle housing out, I got to doing some mods on it - first was doing the "Lumpy shock mod" of improving ground clearance by cutting the shock mounts shorter. I cut them shorter than I wanted to though....
2021-01-12 19.03.44.jpg

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I had to cut off part of the bump stop mount to fir the nut and bolt for the shock later

2021-01-12 19.15.59.jpg

2021-01-12 19.16.15.jpg

2021-01-17 09.21.17.jpg

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Got about 1/4" of meat holding the bolts on... not ideal, but should be ok for now (I hope)

So I kind of shafted myself there, but I think there is juuuust enough room for the shocks to fit in without hitting the axle. At least according to my measurements Not happy about how little meat is holding the shock on, but I think it will be ok. And if not, it should be easy to reinforce with a quick weld someday later on when I get a welder.

Then was prepping for ubolt conversion. I am making a new thread about that because I think is a way more people should do it.
Deets here - https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 4#p1574894
2021-01-17 15.07.36.jpg


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Opened up the diff

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Magnet looks pretty good honestly - fluid was nasty

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Machining is pretty sloppy here - thankfully it doesn't affect operation in this spot (I think/hope)

2021-01-18 10.02.17.jpg
Had the rear axle stripped down more at this point - took the axles out next

2021-01-18 10.02.25.jpg
First time seeing axle wear - not really sure what to make of it. An almost imperceptible groove in the shiny machined area at the end of the axles

2021-01-18 10.02.36.jpg
There was no play in the axles when they were in

2021-01-18 10.02.55.jpg

2021-01-18 10.02.55-1.jpg

Anyone who has seen a lot of axles have any comments^^ ?
Seems ok to me, but I know nothing about axle wear.

More to come...
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby Astrocurious » January 23rd 2021, 12:43pm

Hi.,

Great work on that axle. It’s one of those jobs that has the potential for a lot of mission creep.

I had a leaky oil seal that ruined the brakes on one side. By the time I had finished I ended up removing the whole axle and replaced brakes, brake lines, axle shafts, bearings, all seals, bushes, wheel studs, spider gears and leaf springs.

Here are a couple of pics, just because we all like pics.

104158

104156

104154

Can you see the wear on the splines in the last picture? That’s what prompted me to change the bulk of the parts. I probably spent more in postage to the UK than the parts cost!

What I’m trying to say is that this is a job you only want to do once so it may be worth replacing as much as you can while your axle is off the van.

Wear on the end of the axle shaft is normal as this is where the bearing will sit. It may be possible to move new bearings along the tube a little to a point where there is no wear(I seem to recall that there is a method for doing this or was it by using undersize bearings?). There should be a minimum shaft diameter in the specs somewhere as well.

Check your splines carefully as well-I’m not sure what cause the wear on mine but it may be a common thing.

The worst job for me was getting the wheel studs into the new shafts. I broke my bench vice trying to squeeze them in. The local army reserve workshops pressed them in for me, still took a lot of effort though.

You have put a lot of work into your van, it’s looking really good.

Good luck
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » January 23rd 2021, 5:53pm

Thanks astrocurious - "mission creep" is a great way to put it haha. For me, it has been de-rusting and painting everything that has added tons of time to the job.

And I totally agree on only wanting to do it once!

They make a special bearing that sits in a different spot on the axle shaft, but I didn't get one of those - I think I'll be fine though.

I did check my splines, and they seem to look good (look like the top one in that pic). That bottom one looks whack.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 8th 2021, 4:07pm

Been kind of a while since my last update - I've spent lots of time on the van but haven't acomplished all that much.

I started a thread about my surprise difficulty finding polurethane shackle bushings that fit - deets here https://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.p ... 6#p1576386

(Spoiler: I found a way to make some work.)

I disassembled the diff, making sure to keep things organized so I know which side they came out of and which direction.

Here are the bearings - looks like I was right in my guess that the front pinion bearing was the issue - it is like a coffee grinder when it turns and feels like it is filled with sand. Plus the obvious wear and pitting on the rollers and race. The others look pretty good (I think) but they are all getting replaced too.
I have only been able to compare the front pinion bearings, but I was pleased to find that the original on there were the same Koyo bearing and part number as the new ones in the kit - that will hopefully make it so using the original shims will give me a nice setup first time when reassembling.
2021-02-07 20.46.05.jpg
rear pinion bearing

2021-02-07 20.48.52.jpg
rear pinion race

2021-02-07 20.49.28.jpg
Front pinion race

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rear pinion bearing

2021-02-07 20.46.11.jpg
Pinion gear - seems ok, I think?

2021-02-07 20.46.17.jpg

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Carrier races

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drivers side carrier bearing

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Pass. side carrier bearing

2021-02-07 20.53.10.jpg
Spider gears look fine

2021-02-07 20.53.18.jpg

2021-02-07 20.53.49.jpg
There are some lil shims behind the drivers and passengers side splined spider gears


I got this bearing and seals kit from Summit - https://www.summitracing.com/parts/rmg-831044m
HOWEVER there were issues with it. It is listed as fitting a 1997 GMC Safari for everything included, but the axle seals and bearings were too small. I bought this several months ago and only just got to needing it now. I called Summit and was on the phone for 2 hours trying to sort it out.
Thankfully, eventually they sorted it out and send me bearings and seals that would fit, and a label to send back the old ones - but it was quite the process.
Here are the ones that didn't fit -
2021-02-02 11.37.59.jpg
Old vs new seals

2021-02-02 11.40.02.jpg
Old vs new bearings

2021-02-02 11.40.10.jpg
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 8th 2021, 6:31pm

I spent a long time cleaning things up for when I brought them inside. But it wasn't time for paint yet.

Going out of order here.
More disassembly of the diff...
2021-01-26 18.51.17.jpg
In all it's de-rusted glory

2021-01-26 18.51.23.jpg
Yoke threads

2021-01-26 19.09.27.jpg
remove the nut and washer - using an impact wrench made this easy

2021-01-26 19.09.14.jpg
end of the pinion - I rethreaded the old nut and hit it with a block of wood to pop the pinion out - turns out there is a new pinion nut in my rebuild kit, so I could have just hit the nut with a hammer without worrying

2021-01-26 19.09.51.jpg
yoke splines

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Pinion seal

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looking inside with the pinion out

2021-01-26 19.15.25.jpg

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from the other side

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boinked out the seal and the front pinion bearing fell out

2021-01-26 19.37.00.jpg
you can see the marking on the front pinion race here

2021-01-26 19.41.00.jpg
Punched out the inner and outer pinion races with a brass punch

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With the races out

2021-01-26 19.14.27.jpg
the pinion

2021-01-26 19.14.39.jpg
The whole top end of the pinion had crusty gunk on it. The pinion seal must have let some crud in and then it ruined the front pinion bearing.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 8th 2021, 6:49pm

Then the wheel bearings came out.
I got a slide hammer, bearing driver, axle bearing kit for the slide hammer, ball joint press, and add-on kit for the ball joint press all rented from Autozone.

To get the driver's side bearing out, I had to torch the housing around it for a while - it wasn't going anywhere before that, but came out really easily after.
One thing I will say is to tightened the nut on the axle bearing puller tool as tight as it can go, without removing the axle seal. Then both the bearing and seal came out when the bearing came free and it was pretty easy and fast - no need to pry the seal out separately.

2021-01-26 20.02.19.jpg
The setup

2021-01-26 20.02.28.jpg
Tighten that nut all the way

2021-01-26 20.02.34.jpg
the attachment for the slide hammer

2021-01-26 20.19.50.jpg
Boinked it outta there

2021-01-26 20.20.08.jpg
Where the bearing and seal had sat

2021-01-26 20.20.14.jpg
I cleaned this up a bit with a scotchbrite pad - I actually cleaned up all the bearing and race seats in the diff.



Then I replaced the ujoint in the driveshaft that I had ruined when trying to get the driveshaft separated from the yoke.
I looked up the best ways to do it on youtube and I liked the ball joint press plus light hammer tapping to seat and unseat the caps the best.
ChrisFix has probably the best vid on ujoints anywhere - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gOeBE- ... l=ChrisFix

2021-01-21 17.29.10.jpg
Pulled the yoke out the of the tc and covered the opening

2021-01-26 17.35.08.jpg
Pressing it out with a ball joint press tool

2021-01-26 18.44.34.jpg
New one in there


I tried to do a good job cleaning out the channels where the snap rings sit - then I put a bunch of antiseize all around the new snap rings so they aren't too bad to remove in the future. They weren't too bad to take off, but one of the snap rings almost got stranded in there when the ends broke
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 8th 2021, 7:25pm

Then I tried to make the ujoint ubolts I got fit before going any farther.
I got these off RockAuto, which are listed for our vehicle. https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.ph ... 5340&jsn=8

So I drilled out all the holes to 3/8"
2021-01-31 08.16.08.jpg
And they didn't fit!

2021-01-31 08.16.37.jpg

2021-01-31 08.17.41.jpg
The holes are ~1.795" center to center

2021-01-31 08.19.49.jpg
The ubolts are ~1.66" center to center

2021-01-31 10.26.40.jpg
The end caps for the u joints are 1-3/16" - a 1350 size is what I saw it commonly referred to


So that sucked. I then spent hours surfing the web looking for a bolt that would work. Seems like there aren't any. I went to 4 parts stores and got very little help besides that I could get custom ones made. The ~1.795" center to center just doesn't really exist with any other yoke it seems like. I wanted something off the shelf, not custom.

I looked at getting a new yoke, but it didn't seem like there was one for our van that was compatible with u bolts.

Soooo, defeated on the u bolt idea, I got some old ujoint straps I had and went to the hardware store to find socket cap screws that would fit.
2021-02-01 16.38.48.jpg
had these from my transmission job

I don't have pics of the hardware at the moment, but though it's not what I had envisioned originally, it's still going to be way better than the straps and threaded bolts.
I got 8 mm grade 10 socket cap screws that will let me either break them with the socket side, or the nut on the pass-through side. And lockwashers.

After that, it was time to paint everything. Everything got cleaned up with a grinder and sandblasting - well, mostly clean. Then primer and a few coats of spray paint for some, and epoxy paint for other stuff. Came out pretty good, but I was doing it in the basement and it stunk up the whole house,even with the bulkhead door wide open and fans pointing outside. Tip: don't paint inside in the winter, even with ventilation.
Also, the basement is probably in the 50's most of the time, so not quite ideally warm for this stuff to dry - but better than below freezing outside (which is why I did it in the basement anyways).
2021-02-06 17.03.29.jpg
All the painted bits

2021-02-06 17.03.21.jpg
Painted axle housing


I also cleaned up and pained several sections under the van that were exposed - like under the leaf shackles and hangers, and under the exhaust.
Some pics -
2021-01-21 20.26.51.jpg

2021-01-21 20.26.55.jpg

2021-01-21 20.27.00.jpg


I had been worried that there wouldn't be enough room for the shocks to clear the axle housing, so I checked the fit.
2021-02-07 20.02.44.jpg
Barely cleared on both sides!
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 8th 2021, 7:37pm

I also had a bad donut gasket on the passenger side of my y-pipe. I decided this was a good time to tackle that.
2021-01-21 18.26.25.jpg
Undid the bolts - which was way easier with my impact - and I think using antiseize last time (during the tranny job) made things way better.

2021-01-21 18.28.24.jpg
messed up gasket

2021-01-21 18.29.03.jpg
New ones ( I did both even though the driver's side was in pretty good shape)

Unfortunately, I found during reinstallation that I couldn't tighten one of the bolts on the passenger side all the way. I somehow didn't notice last time, but during the tranny job the torch must have damaged the stud when trying to loosen the nut. Now the nut tightens and then gets to a point where it just spins. This may have been the reason the donut went bad so fast in the first place. Add that stud to the list of things to fix - later though. I might replace the stud, or maybe just replace it with a bolt - I don't know. It's the lower stud, so I could get a wrench on the back side easily.

Then the new muffler went back in.
2021-01-21 20.49.17.jpg
Cleaned up the flange with a grinder

2021-02-04 16.35.23.jpg
Old hardware was bad, so I got new.

2021-02-04 16.35.27.jpg
The muffler and tailpipe about to go in.

New muffler, new flange gasket, new hardware. put some antiseize where the new muffler and tailpipe overlap, then clamped them together with an exhaust clamp. Got it all back together with extended exhaust hangers.

Started the van to test - and so quiet!!!!!
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby sixsix » February 9th 2021, 12:36am

Lotta' work there Blake - Thanks for the great pics n' Info.

I'm pooped just reading about it all...

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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby markmitch » February 9th 2021, 4:05am

and yet you went back to stock on the exhaust? but why?
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 10th 2021, 11:45pm

Why not?
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby AstroWill » February 11th 2021, 7:27pm

Good work man!

markmitch wrote:and yet you went back to stock on the exhaust? but why?

What is wrong with that?

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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 15th 2021, 4:19am

Here are some pics of the exhaust, and a preview of what's to come in the last pic
2021-02-14 12.12.28.jpg

2021-02-14 12.12.45.jpg

2021-02-14 12.12.56.jpg
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 15th 2021, 4:33am

2021-02-09 10.14.59.jpg
Measured things as I went - this measurement came in handy later when pressing the new inner pinion bearing on.

2021-02-09 12.09.38.jpg
I measured the old and new races and bearings - all seemed to be identical, or within 1/100 of a milimeter of each other (which could have been user error). This confirmed for me that reusing the same shim setup would probably give me a perfect gear setup - which it did.

2021-02-09 12.12.05.jpg

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Setting up the bearing puller

2021-02-09 10.34.09.jpg
36mm socket and an impact wrench on top, and this contraption pulls bearings off easily - undamaged! It's awesome, saved me many hours for sure.

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Pinion sans bearing

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Carrier sans bearings

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I ground down the inside of the old pinion bearings to make setup bearings that I could put on or off by hand.

2021-02-12 14.06.21.jpg
Carrier with new bearings not pressed on, but punched on actually. Nothing to fit right to press them on with, same with the pinion

2021-02-12 14.06.07.jpg
New wheel bearings in

2021-02-12 14.24.05.jpg
New axle seals
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 15th 2021, 5:04am

For the diff setup, I relied heavily on this video and the follow-up from Ericthecarguy -

Not really going step by step here, since there are so many better resources on the web for that.
2021-02-12 15.41.07.jpg
I put the setup pinion in with no seal, impacted the nut on the yoke, and put the carrier in with the original shims (two thick shims on the side of the carrier and one thin one under the inner pinion bearing were reused, and the ones under the spider gears)

2021-02-12 15.41.48.jpg
Setup the magnetic dial indicator I bought, and found I had about .006" backlash, in spec of .005-.009. Checked three spots around the ring gear, as I did later with gear pattern.

2021-02-12 15.41.50.jpg

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Gear paint

2021-02-12 16.09.05.jpg
Applied force to the gear and turned it a bunch in both directions - got a great looking pattern both ways

2021-02-12 16.12.27.jpg

2021-02-13 08.56.20.jpg
So then it all came apart and the real bearing went on the pinoin, and then it was quite the annoyance getting the outer bearing on the pinion. I was trying to hold the pinion from below with my foot and hammering on the top of it with a socket to try to seat the front bearing at the same time. It didn't work and I got my wife to help me - much easier.

2021-02-13 08.56.33.jpg
The top bearing has to be pounded on while you hold the pinon against it - a pain

2021-02-13 08.56.41.jpg
I used a 36mm socket to pound the front pinion bearing on with. This would be a good time to make sure you put the new crush sleeve on (I had forgotten)

2021-02-13 09.15.29.jpg
Once it was on a bit and the pinion was held on, I put the seal on, which was also kind of a pain since I couldn't just use a seal driver since the pinion was in the way. I had to be really careful and tap all around with a hammer.

2021-02-13 09.44.07.jpg
Slid the yoke on, tightened down the new axle nut

2021-02-13 09.44.30.jpg
So I saw people saying to not use an impact to tighten the nut down. But in the interest of saving myself 2 hours and not seeing the difference between arriving at 25-35 inch pounds via breaker bar or impact, I chose impact. I went really slowly once I had the threads poking out the top of the nut, and the play started disappearing. It really suddenly lost all play and got tight, and then I checked every 1/16th of a turn or so. It went from 5 inch pounds to 15 to 24 to 27 where I left it. Be careful if you use this method - but it can really pay off in time and grunt savings.

2021-02-13 09.51.26.jpg
Got the carrier in with the shims on the correct sides

2021-02-13 09.51.40.jpg
shims are chamfered on the outer edges

2021-02-13 09.53.26.jpg
Hit them in with a brass punch

2021-02-13 08.41.37.jpg
I replaced the pinion shaft lock bolt - I slightly rounded the original on the way out, and no way I want to round or break this if this ever gets opened up again.

2021-02-13 09.55.38.jpg
Endcaps going on

2021-02-13 09.55.49.jpg
I had marked them each with a little doink from the punch so I couldn't mess the up later

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Tighten to 55 ft lbs

2021-02-13 10.05.38.jpg
Re-check backlash - .006 - good! Recheck tooth pattern - looks super! Time to close it up!

Then I cleaned and lubed the axles, slid those in, then put together the spider gears and slid in the pinion lock shaft and tightened the bolt. Then the cover bolts and it was good! At least, I thought and very much hoped it was.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby SportsBoySportsBoy is online! [OP] » February 15th 2021, 5:43am

Then it went outside to go in the van!
2021-02-13 14.53.00.jpg
Maneuvering the axle by yourself without much in the way of helpful tools for the job may result in it getting dropped accidentally several times and ruining the new pain job on your yoke and dust covers. Sigh.

2021-02-13 15.28.33.jpg
Situated

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Before the brakes

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Ebrake cable mounting tab that goes on the shock bolt on the passenger side had this nub that was in the way with the new shock location.

2021-02-13 18.42.17.jpg
So I cut it off

2021-02-14 12.11.53.jpg
I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I had to get longer bolts for the shocks. Those and five 7/16 washers on each side filled the gap perfectly on each side of the shock mount. Plus you can see the ebrake cable mount on there too since it fits without that tab.

2021-02-14 12.10.48.jpg
Here's the other one for fun

2021-02-14 12.11.31.jpg
Brake line reconnected with drop bracket, diff breather tube moved over to the next bolt hole which gives it enough slack.

2021-02-14 12.10.27.jpg
Poly leaf spring bushings

2021-02-14 12.10.37.jpg
Painted hangers

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Newly cleaned up shackles with custom poly bushings - also see my other thread for the lowdown on that story

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New ujoint strap setup implemented

2021-02-14 21.55.58.jpg
I used socket cap screws through the straps and holes I drilled out to nuts on the other side. Should be less prone to getting hopelessly rounded since I have two, better, points to attack per bolt.

2021-02-14 21.56.38.jpg

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New ubolt setup on the leafs - more info and pics on this in my ubolt thread

2021-02-14 12.08.23.jpg
Brakes setup. If you look closely at the pic, you'll see the two hold-down springs holding the brake shoes against the backing plate. These are the ones with the pins through them that connect them to the backing plate. One of mine is yellow, the other is rusty. That is because I had everything I needed in the delco brake hardware kit I got (including two random "E" clips I have no idea the need for) but two hold down springs - so each side got an old rusty one.

I relied heavily on this brake video -
I had the customary frustration of trying to get those springs on for a long time, but not the worst thing I've had to deal with. I got a couple things wrong but fixed them. Biggest of which had to do with the brake shoe adjuster, or star wheel as it seems to be commonly called.

I mixed up all the brake stuff that had to be reused, and I didn't even know the starwheels were side specific. Turns out, the drivers side one is left hand threaded, and the passenger side is normal right hand threaded (meaning righty tighty).
So, I put them on the wrong side, which would have meant that they would loosen over time by the auto adjuster, rather than tighten as the brakes wear. So, I switched them to be on the right side. You can kind of tell if they are wrong by looking at how the adjustment lever would turn the "star" and making sure that that direction expands the threads, rather than screwing them in tighter.
I also put both of the springs above the starwheel on upside down. They needed to be rotated 180 degrees so the hook on the end didn't contact the starwheel as it turns.
2021-02-14 12.08.50.jpg
This white spring was the one I had to rotate - it was touching the starwheel before which would have been an issue.

2021-02-14 12.09.37.jpg
Another view of the white spring (starwheel adjuster is below it unfocused). I think it's actually called the adjuster spring perhaps.


It took a long time to realize what I had done wrong regarding the starwheel and adjuster spring, but it was very easy to fix without having to undo everything thankfully!

Bled the rear brakes, put in dot 3 that was older than I'd liked, and the rear passenger bleeder screw is rounded. I should replace that and do a bleed with newer fluid sometime - but for now it feels totally fine braking on the road.

2021-02-14 16.00.34.jpg
And now the rake is real

2021-02-14 16.00.24.jpg
It sits juuuuuuuuuuust a bit higher in the back now. But actually, the headlights are so terribly aimed now - the highbeams are pretty much in the right place where the normal driving headlights would be lol.

Took it for a nervous testdrive - and it was quiet and smooth! I noticed all the noises from the poptop, but none from the rear now! Put about 50 miles on it and it is all good - looking like this might have been a success!!!!!
Last edited by SportsBoySportsBoy is online! on February 15th 2021, 4:45pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LeSafari - 1997 AWD Build

Postby sixsix » February 15th 2021, 1:33pm

Great Work, looks good, but now you have to work on the front and wheels and tires and... and...

LOL, thanks for the great Pic set, too!!
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