Axle - rear - re-fitting after rebuild

- by Brian Gray

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Re-fitting the rear axle should be straightforward but in my experience rarely is, mainly due to difficulty replacing the spring pins with their associated cotters and nuts. Having spent a fruitless evening in a recent attempt, a sound night's sleep brought a beautiful dawn on March 1st and after saying 'Rabbits' all immediately became clear:

Support the axle with trolley jack under differential, wheel forward until front mounting of torque tube passes over cross member and loosely secure ball joint with large mounting nut.

Spring pin The problem is that as supplied this has no radius on the outer end so that even if it will enter the bracket on the underside of the axle and the spring bush it is very reluctant to continue through to the end of its travel if the bushes are a good fit, on account of the difficulty of achieving accurate alignment between the spring ends and the axle. The end of the pin is a sharp right angle and if this is bevelled on the grindstone to allow a slight taper fitting is very much easier. (See Fig. 1)

image 1

Fitting the spring pin is helped by using a piece of steel about 4-6" long with a 3/8" hole drilled at one end. Using two 3/8" BSF nuts to secure it this provides a useful lever for rotating the pin and provided the end nut protrudes beyond the end of the pin it can be safely hit with a hammer if necessary. (See Fig. 2).

image 2

C. Cotters
These are a pain. New ones are slightly oversize and need filing to fit. Some metal will need to be removed from all surfaces but very little from the taper or the cotter will pass through too far and all is lost. Filing the back of the pin will allow more clearance on the taper and is safer. Once fitting is achieved with the correct length of tread visible a problem arises because there is often insufficient clearance to fit and rotate a 1/4" BSF nut and washer. Fortunately an M6 nut is slightly smaller and can be easily tapped (no drilling required) 1/4" BSF to fit the thread on the cotter.

Having achieved all this put the kettle on and have a cup of tea - the rest is much more enjoyable. Your Austin will soon be back on 4 wheels again, and Spring is in the air.


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