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Discussion Starter #1
The spider gears in the rear of my '80 are dying.

*klunk* *klunk* as it changes from park to reverse, and reverse to drive.

I'm pretty sure it's not the tranny - new oil and filter, the old stuff looked good anyways. No slippage, smooth gear changes, works great.

And it's not a loose driveshaft. I've crawled under and wranged on it.

It's the pumpkin. When I jack up the rear end ... it has at least 15 degrees play (maybe even 20) between left and right wheels. That is, if you hold one wheel and turn the other... you get 15 degrees or more rotation before it locks -- while holding the driveshaft still.

It seems the driveshaft and tranny get to turn a bit and crack down on something in the pumpkin before locking on the resistance of the rear wheels under the weight of the car. The *klunk* *klunk* I was referring to.

So I guess there's a few options:

1) replace the spider gears/rebuild the rear end
2) swap it with the '79 malibu wagon parts car rear end
3) get a locker
4) weld it

I just bought a MIG welder, and I so want to make those little spiders stand still. :lol:

Does anyone have any thoughts/comments on this?

Mostly, the car will be used for fun, and as a daily drive when the 'other' car fails.

I live in a hot climate... (4 core rad, 160F thermo, and a large tranny cooler!) ... and the roads are quite slippery when wet. Consider it much like driving in snow.

The roads here are slippery even when dry compared to the pavement in the US or Canada - it's quite smooth, so tire slippage when turning is quite possible. Tire slippage is inevitable if the pedal is put more than 1/2 to the floor :) [350, holley 750cfm 4bbl, dual exhaust, no cats]

I know a locker or welded rear will be a "low side finder" when it's slippery, but how bad is it really?

Also, the lightweight rear of the El Camino makes me wonder...
 

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How about starting with the basics, like changing the gear lube. Quited down my rear end's klunk.
 

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Sounds like the pinion bearing has "play" in it. Allowing it to move back & forth. You can just replace the pinion bushing but if you are going to do that you might as well install better gears. Or install your other rear.
 

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I would not suggest you weld those, not unless you like buying tires and oversteer. Locker will pretty much be the same. Those type of things are pretty specific for Straight line driving not turning daily driving.

But that is just my advise concerning that. Rebuild the rear end or swap it for a 4th generation maybe. The 10 Bolt in the 4th gens which are bigger than the little 7.5" the 5th gens had in them. The 4th generation Elkys had the 10 bolt 8.5". You will need to cut the tubes by about 1" maybe 2" either side if you use the 4th generation rear end relocate the bracketing. Or go with a Station Wagon 10 if its better then the 7.5".
 

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Whatever you do DON'T weld it! This is a cheap way to make a dirt track car only! It is a totally unsafe situation on the street. If your welds don't break leaving you stranded, your axles, gears or driveshaft will. I know this from experience!!!
 

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Hey Moe your a victim of circumstance yuck yuck yuck. Chuck the chunk it's junk...swap in the one out of the parts car and hope for the best. Maybe best to do a total rebuild of the rear in the meantime, parts availability can't be all that great in the Antilles, (where in the world is the Antilles?) not like you can make a quick trip to a boneyard and find another GM G-body rear. Do it right the first time, order an Eaton posi unit and complete rearend rebuild kit (axle bearings included) not Auburn. Reason why the roads are slippery (and I'm sure you know this) is because they're probably using crushed coral mixed into the asphalt there instead of rock, gets slippery almost as bad as ice when wet. Welding shouldn't even be a consideration...your asking for trouble!

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Clunk clunk

The first thing I would do is pull the cover off and take a look, not hard to do. It is unlikely the spider gears are a problem but in any case don't weld em. I tried to run a spool in my '55 Chevy with a big block and 4.56 gears---tried 2 days and was convinced it wasn't practical. I only tried it because I had an '57 Olds differential and the posi went out and there are no replacement parts availible. Fix it correctly or get a replacement--you'll be much happier.
 
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