Vette(s): 1981 - 59 Beige over Cinnebar leather. Edlebrock top end, 2200 stall w/shift kit, 3:55s, Mufflex maniback exhaust, nice stereo, 16 in AREs w/BFGs
Its a total pita. If your gonna do a gear change, its even a bigger pita. Keep in mind as long as your down, do the u-joints, leaf etc... I did this 3 years ago and its the 1 item that I literally thru my wrenchs down in disgust and called in the cavalry..
Vette(s): 70 LT1 coupe, 69 350 HP coupe, 69 390HP 427 coupe, 71 LS5 convert, 85 coupe, 93 coupe
Getting the rear end out isn't too bad. It is getting to it that is the challenge. You need to remove the exhaust, the rear spring, the strut rods, the half shafts and drive shaft. Then just unbolt the rear end assembly and take it out. Any service in your area that has experience with 10 and 12 bolt chev rear ends should be able to do yours. If not, we have a local service that is excellent.
Were can I find out what gears I have? Who sells a rebuild That I can just install. The side yokes are worn out so bad I cant set my camber on the rear tires. I got some good news KLJ will fix the speedometer gears for free.
Pulling the rear end is a bit tedious, but not impossible.. takes about 3 hours or so, depending on how many soda breaks you take... basically just as Larry said, remove the road spring from the trailing arms, then from the rear chunk, then the half shafts, then the strut rods from the rear chunk, the drive shaft(if you have one, use a 2 foot extension on a ratchet and come through the front side of the crossmember IN FRONT of the chunk to remove the u-joint caps on the rear...makes life much easier), then the one's on the tranny... and possibly the exhaust, depending on what you have(i've got small glass packs, so all i had to do was disconnect the hangers and push them aside, larger mufflers may require a different approach).. oh and the spare tire carrier(that will have to go first).... then, the two bolts holding the rear end crossmember to the frame, once those are out, might take a little persuasion, but out it comes... there are two more bolts that hold the crossmember to the chunk, actually, the rear cover of the chunk... then, 8 bolts to take the cover off the chunk.. once you are there, you can count the teeth on the ring gear, and count the teeth on the pinion, divide the number of ring gear teeth, by the number of pinion teeth, and you get your ratio.... or, possibly just look on the ring gear, it might be stamped into it, usually just the tooth count like " 37:10 "or something of the like...(that ratio would be a 3.70 ) .... not sure where to get one, you could just get a couple new side yokes and new snap rings, and replace them... but as Larry did mention anyone that services a gm rear end could do one of these, as they are "basically" a 10 inch rear, with the exception of a differently shaped pinion shaft, which would be irrelavant as they set up the same... :) hth, and good luck!!! stingrayjim2010-06-02 20:31:25
StingrayJim NCM Lifetime Member #1936
Stingray's '76 StingrayJr's '78 Lil Red '94 (click each one to see a bigger version)
Vette(s): 1981 dark metallic blue, dark doeskin leather interior, mirrored glass T Tops, 330hp/350ci GMPP crate engine, billeted aluminum serpentine system, Dewitts with dual spalls
The chunk is where the tranny drive shaft, from the front,and the half shalfts going to the wheels connects everything.
You probably have 2.87 axle ratio. There were only two options, I believe, in '81. Changing that ratio would totally change your vehicle, but it is not an easy adventure. I looked into it, and it involved changing out alot of other components that added up QUICK, so I just had mine rebuilt, locally. I did pull everything which saved me alot of money.
I changed my motor, radiator, fan, A/C, swapped from Turbo 350 to manual, rear chunk rebuild, trailing arms, etc.
The trailing arms were by far the worst to do. If you are not tooled up and don't have some friends to assist you, I would recommend a reputable shop in your area.
However, if you do pull it, I used a company out of Michigan to rebuild my trailing arms, installed new adjustable strut rods from them, and I was very pleased with their work, turn around and price. They also rebuild chunks.
If you PM me, I will gladly tell you who I used. There are many fine vendors on this site I don't want to offend by offering a non supporting vendor plus I will say I have purchased many components from our and was happy! The guy in Michigan could turn everything around in 5 days, which he did, and I needed to get the car back under lock and key, so I needed quick turnaround.
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