How to Remove Rear Axlesby Russell Wood
The rear axle on a vehicle is responsible for transmitting the power produced by the engine to the wheels and has various different gear ratios to do this. Depending on the ratio, your vehicle can get better gas mileage or be able to pull more weight. If you want to remove a rear axle to swap it for another, this can be done at home with the right tools. In this case, the project vehicle is a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado, but the process is similar for other vehicles as well.
Lift up the vehicle using the jack and place it on jack stands. Make sure the vehicle is secure before you crawl underneath it. Also make sure there are stands underneath both the rear axle and the frame. Remove the rear tires using a tire iron and place them to the side.
Unbolt the driveline from the axle using an open-end wrench. Pull the driveshaft out of the end of the axle then set it down so that it won't be in the way when taking out the assembly.
Unbolt the leaf spring U-bolts from the axle using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket, then unbolt the rear leaf spring hangers from the leaf springs using the ratchet and an open-end wrench. This will drop the leaf springs down from the rear, so slowly lower them down as you remove the rear leaf spring hanger bolt.
Place the jack underneath the center of the axle and lift it up so that it is off of the jack stands. Remove the stands then lower the jack so that the axle is on the jack itself and not lifted in the air. Slowly roll it back out from under the vehicle until it's free.
Things You'll Need
- Jack stands
- Tire iron
- Open-end wrench set
- 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set
Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.