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1974 el camino rear end questions

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Post by Sam_snead01 on Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:00 pm

Ok when i bought this car, the guy who sold it to me said he put 373 gears in this thing. It is a 10 bolt Gm coorporate rearend per the dog ears on the bottom. The problem is its "howling" when you drive it. I really haven't had any problems with rear ends throughout my time with cars, and I'm a boat mechanic so the rear end usually stay in good shape on those...lol....my questions are:

1. What generally causes this? Gears? Shims? Bearings?

2. What parts are interchangable throughout the years? Can i take the guts out of one? If so what?

3. Would it be a better idea to but a different rearend per this site or craigslist or junkyard and just put it in there instead of messing with the one i have? If so, what reaends from other cars fit?

4. Should I go posi? Can i go posi with what I have? How can i tell if what i hav is posi?

any help would be great....I really love this site..........thanks in advance

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Post by The Dude on Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:03 pm

I'll try to answer these questions as best as I can.

1. Probably wasn't set in there correctly. Get some gear marker & verify this. Maybe you just have a wheel bearing that needs replaced though?

2. It's the 8.5 rear. All 1973-77 A bodies used this axle & interchange. Some were bolt on & some were C-clip style though so that's the only thing to worry about. Gears can also be found under some 77-96 Caprices, 80's model 442, Monte SS, & Buick GN, most 1/2 ton pickup trucks made from the 70's on up, & I believe that even vans got this rear axle.

3. Complete rear axles from any 73-77 A body or any 77-96 B body will swap in directly. Cop versions sometimes came with 3.42 gears, most others had highway gears. Some early A bodies had 3.31 gears as well & you might get lucky enough to find one with a posi. Whether or not you want to mess with gear swapping or rear axle swapping is your choice, but a rear axle isn't too expensive & is fairly straight forward to swap out. Four bolts, the E brake, & the brake lines.

4. I always recommend posi or some type of limited slip, but that's me. See 2 & 3 for answers to the posi question. Stay away from the Gov-lock posi in trucks as they aren't very reliable. I found this out first hand with a relatively stock truck. You can put limited slip in any 8.5 no matter what it originally had. Best way to tell if you have posi is to pop the cover & look. Not like it harms anything to change the axle grease. An old standby that works most times is to jack the car up & see if both wheels spin the same direction, but sometimes even with posi they will turn opposite from what I'm told.
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Post by JB2wheeler on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:28 pm

There are two differant size carriers. One is for 2.55 gears and lower ((2 series carrier)) and ((3 series carrier)) is for 2.72 gears and up. JB
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Post by The Dude on Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:10 pm

Since the 73-77 cars only ranged from 2.56-3.42 does that mean they all used the same carrier then? I never knew that 8.5's even had two different carriers, I thought it was just the 8.2 10 bolts. Thanks JB.
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Post by JB2wheeler on Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:37 pm

The 2.56 was a smaller carrier than ther other ratios. Hey, I only missed it by one number,lol. JB
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Post by Limey SE on Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:42 pm

Rago wrote:Since the 73-77 cars only ranged from 2.56-3.42 does that mean they all used the same carrier then? I never knew that 8.5's even had two different carriers, I thought it was just the 8.2 10 bolts. Thanks JB.

I actually added that Rago and yes there are two diff carriers

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Post by pila on Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:10 am

You missed the other number by one too JB, it's a 2.73. I have one of those laying around here if anyone needs one. Very Happy

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Post by Limey SE on Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:17 am

Posi and what gears ??

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Post by abajc3 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:19 am

what are the prices on those things over there? I checked ebay once and they were around 1000 bucks which seems a lot to me...

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Post by pila on Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:08 pm

The one I have is an open 2.73, removed from my '75 . Code on the axle housing is
ACC 141 1

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Post by The Dude on Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:03 am

I've actually got three complete rears that would work. Still debating on which one to use.

2.73 open
3.08 posi
3.42 open
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Post by JB2wheeler on Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:49 pm

I wish I had that 3.08 Posi to use as a spare in case I tear out my 3.47 posi. JB
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Post by pila on Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:33 pm

Those 8.5 rears will take a lot of punishment though. Some guys run big blocks with those. Only thing I noticed is that the axle housing wears quite a bit where the OD of the outer axle bearings run, after beating on it for a few years. Then the housing needs the aftermarket C-clip eliminators with the ball bearings, to save the housing.

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Post by JB2wheeler on Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:32 am

I have Moser 31 spline axles twisting 3.42 posi gears (or is it 3.47, always forget that last number) behind a 540 Dart Big M. I have not abused the rear TOO much, but so far it has held up just fine. Maybe this summer I might get a chance to put on my slicks and give it a real test on the strip. Anyone wanna drive it for me? I'm not a good driver. JB
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Post by pila on Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:00 am

Those slicks may do a number on that rear!

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Post by Marshall.Pixley on Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:45 pm

how is an early 90s buick a direct swap? isnt it a leaf spring car?
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Post by The Dude on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:01 pm

Nope. All 77-96 B Bodies were built on a frame design that's nearly identical to the 73-77 A Body. In fact, we share more in common with them than the 64-72 or 78+ A body. I got a 90 Caprice sitting in my driveway & the similarities that I've seen between these cars is downright crazy.
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Post by JB2wheeler on Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:20 pm

That just goes to show how good the chassis was in the 73/77 A bodies. JB
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Post by pila on Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:01 am

The '73 thru '77 A body frames, especially in El Caminos, seem to hold up better than the G body Elcos. Those folks seem to have a lot of frame rust issues to deal with. A couple suppliers have rear frame replacement sections. Kinda tells ya something I believe. Replacing a rear frame section sounds like a project for a professional, and not a back-yard job.

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Post by JB2wheeler on Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:20 pm

I have that common problem on my 78 Elky. It is supposedly sold to a friend of my daughter. she will take possion Monday, if she does not change her mind. She is giving me $500 now and another $1,000 when I can catch her. I will then have enough to pay my property taxes, which has been due since last November. JB
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Post by Sinister on Thu May 03, 2012 8:31 pm

Anyone have a listing of all the available ratios?
Mine is unbelievably high,but the carrier is correct and in good condition.
I would think they'd put a decent gearing for a 2 barrel:(
I have a spare 308 posi...but the spring perches were welded and I'm not sure if they are correct.
I guess removing my carrier and taking correct measurements would solve this problem.
I really need to learn welding.
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Post by 77mali on Thu May 03, 2012 8:51 pm

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Post by G3NUT on Thu May 03, 2012 10:16 pm

Sounds like a bad pinion bearing or worn gears.
70-81 camaro and firebird use the same ring, pinion, and carrier as or chevelles.
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