If your Ford had a Matthew McConaughey, it would be a Lincoln

What it cost me to own a $500 car, part 28

With the uprights assembled I needed to buy some tools to do things right. A 250ft-lb torque wrench was in my future along with a hub holder. Also while I was at it I figured I would buy the tools needed to do the same to the front pinion of my differential.

Hub holder


Flange holder

250lb torque wrench


So I assembled my hybrid differential. The front pinion was an absolute pain. The manual had a value for the starting torque in in/lb for a 27mm nut. I had to go out and acquire both an in/lb torque wrench and a series of adapters to step up to 27mm. I finally got the starting torque desired at either 185 or 210lbs.


Impacted on the ring gear bolts with blue loc-tite. Then slid in the center and put in the spacers as they came out of the differential. The race clamps went on last, followed by the cover.

A slight bit of panic set in when I went to spin the side input shaft and heard a clicking when changing direction. The internet assured me that adding fluid would solve this as it was just the slack in the differential as the pinion engaged the ring gear.


I even managed to get the diff in all by myself to boot with just a floor jack.

Started off with getting the mustache bar in...the right way this time.

Slipped the differential in the mustache bar via a careful balancing act.

After tightening the bolts in the rear mount it was just a matter of sliding it forward to line it up with the front mount.


The front mount in my car is an RT style mount. I believe Ron Tyler is the guy’s name that came up with it, he found that given on acceleration nose of the differential moves up, so having a rubber mount fight a pulling was much less prefered to a poly mount resisting a pushing motion. So, I bolted the Energy suspension bushing onto the nose of differential and loosely placed it into the mount once I lined up the holes for the chassis I tightened down the top bolt to pull the differential up.

I filled the diff with redline MT90, 1.5 quarts with an oil pump.

Then feeling awfully productive I moved onto the axle.

Now the axle in question is the driver side axle, not my hodge podge axle on the passenger side. This was more or less supposed to be a straight slip in axle. I even had amazing foresight which led me to try and fit the axle earlier while the center section was out. I noticed that it had stuggle fitting with retaining ring. Upon inspection the groove wasn’t quite as deep on my new axle as the old input stub. So I went ahead and got a micrometer, measured, and ground down the groove until it was the same as the input. In theory then this axle should slip in. However the problem was the retaining spring clip. It would not sit in the groove. Most likely when I installed it onto the shaft it stretched out. Without the spring clip the axle would slip in with minor persausion. With it it wouldn’t even budge. The theory is that while there is room for the spring to compress and miss the spline, the end of the circle spring clip was getting caught on the edge and not going into the splines. Probably a combination of a lack of gradual chamfering on the differential.


After hitting it for about another hour with a variety of different tools, I gave up.

Options I came up with are:

Remove spring clip slip in axle, figure it out later (this spring clip only retains the axle, it does not prevent it from bottoming out, the other end has a spring in the axle so the axle is unlikely to pop out, even if it was jacked up given the coilovers on the car the struts wouldn’t lengthen more then an inch or so so it wouldn’t pull the axle out of the differential)


Buy a new spring clip, hope that this one just lost it’s elasticity or original shape.

Install the old input axle, I don’t think this would solve anything, in fact then I would have to build another axle so I’m quite opposed to this.


Force it in, get a ratchet strap around the diff and crank it down. Either the retaining spring slips into its groove, or it snaps and I would have to fish it out. This is also going to be an exercise in patience as trying to line up an axle with a pivot point to go into a hole is going to be difficult.

I spent the next day looking for replacement parts and asking stores. I had thought a spring clip would be easy to find, but either the clerk was not very willing to help or it really isn’t sold without the axle.


With no luck, I decided to try and shrink the existing clip. As was bound to happen it flew out of the vice grip under tension and flung across the floor. A futile search of half an hour turned up nothing. As I was giving up and cleaning up I found it sitting on top of a pair of gloves.

With new found relief I squeezed it back on and still had no success with getting it into the differential.


I decided to go for broke, acquired a ratchet strap and made sure to route it correctly so that it wouldn’t slip.


And started cranking away, hearing the metal of the ratcheting mechanism creasing I halted.


At the very limit, I smacked it with a hammer. A few blows and I started to see the strap tearing at the hit point. I relived tension and decided to pull it apart. I took my setup apart and went to pull the axle out so it was no longer dangling in the air...and it wouldn’t budge. I tried to spin it back and forth and it was engaged. I found a socket and my mini sledge and gave it a good few wacks, and it moved! A few more smacks and I felt it slip into the viscous coupling cavity. Little episode survived it was time to move onto something else.

Lessons learned:

Where there is a will and some intelligence there can sometimes be a way.

If you are working with anything and I mean anything with spring tension that has the possibility of being flung somewhere confine yourself to a very small area with no cracks or places it can be flung and lost to.


Money spent:

20 - flange holder

30 - hub holder

30 - in/lb torque wrench

8 - adapter set on sale

80 - 250lb torque wrench

10 - ratchet strap

35 - redline MT90

10 - Oil transfer pump

Subtotal: 223

Total spent: 21768


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