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Discussion Starter #1
Well I finally got the car, (70 Malibu) & have started the task of getting it road worthy. I am working on the rear brakes & find that the axle seals are leaking a bit. I took the right rear apart & replaced the shoes, springs, axle seal, wheel cylinder & brake line. Start on the left rear & have trouble getting the C clamp out. Get it out & find that the bearing appears to have "walked" out. The seal is all but destroyed. Looks like a front wheel seal. The bearing appears to be ok. Looks like perhaps at one time, someone replaced the bearing & did not take out the old race. Is this possible? I have not removed the bearing from the housing yet. I will do this in the next few days. If it has indeed just "walked" away from it's proper position, what would cause this?? If part of the old race is still there, is it possible that there is damage to the axle or gears? It's been quite a long time since I have worked on cars & have forgot alot. (old age!) Any tips greatfuly accepted!

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Gramps.
 

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gramps,
I have read posts on this forum that say when one of these bearings spin in the housing that it is common to put a sleeve in there to support the new bearing.Maybe this is what you are seeing.It sounds like you are doing a thourogh job.
have fun!
 

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you may indeed have a bearing tha has moved out a bit or you may have an "axle saver" bearing that is not pushed in all the way. These are longer than stock and do not fit flush with the end of the axle tube. The stock ones fit flush. It may be necessary to re-install the bearing with Loctite to get a good fit. I would suggest that you examine the shafts for wear on the bearing surface and replace them with axle savers while you have this rear end apart. This will give your axles a new lease on life and will hold the axle on-center better so that the seals do not leak. A big factor in seal leakage is the bearing/axle fit; if it is loose and the seal cannot stay tight against the shaft.
 

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I'm with J. It sounds like you probably do have an axle saver bearing on that one side (the correct term at the parts store is "repair bearing", but everyone and their dog calls them axle savers). Here is how to tell immediately. The original bearing and seal are 2 seperate parts. The axle saver bearing/seal are made as a single part. And it's true, the axle saver bearing does stick out a little (1/8-1/4in). The axle saver has the bearing spaced out a little to allow it to ride on a fresh surface of the axle, because the original axle surface is damaged. Examine your axle and if this is what you have then someone has replaced the bearing already. Now, when the axle saver bearing and the new surface of the axle goes bad, then you get to replace the axle and bearing with the original style bearing and seal and start all over. If you have a 12bolt rear in this car, I would recommend that you start right now looking for 1 or 2 spare axles, grease the bearing surface and put them away for 20yrs down the road when you will need them. If you should find a 12bolt axle that is already pitted on the original bearing surface, get it, but buy it cheap ($10-20), because you can only use it one time with an axle saver.

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Tom Parsons
 

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Thanks for the help. It is a axle saver bearing. I have replaced it with another bearing, but my concern is that it may snap under a load. What are the chances of this happening? I am a looooonnnnnng way from completing this job, but if I should be concerned about this, I will begin looking for replacements.

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You can get brand new axles from moser engineering, last time I checked they were around $175 a pair.

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