The differential is a major driveline assembly which doesn't get much attention until it gives trouble. Fortunately the Rambler differentials are heavy duty and very reliable.
They seldom give major problems - however, six years ago when I bought my first hobby Rambler (I had Ramblers 15 years ago but they were my transport) it had a terrible oscillating drive line noise. It sounded just like the differential gears/bearings were worn. The noise was the right frequency for differential problems.
So I was recommended to a mechanical workshop that had experience with Ramblers and on a test drive he confirmed that it was the differential. So the cost was $1,150 to remove and overhaul the differential. Well the car was no good to drive as it was so I gave him the go ahead. Four weeks later the job is completed with new differential bearings, matched crown and pinion and rear wheel bearings. The shop that overhauled the differential ran the diff up to speed to ensure it was quiet.
So I pick up the car and go for a test drive and to my disappointment it is still fundamentally the same. A little quieter but all the same!!
So in the end I found it was the torque tube drive shaft that was source of the noise not the differential. The shop that did the work never even checked the drive shaft even though they would have had it in their hands and it is easy to inspect. But things didn't improve. Three months later I accelerated hard on take off and heard a sharp wrenching sound from the differential. I later found this to be the rear axle slipping and shearing the hub splines. The repair shop had not torqued the axle hub nut enough! The story gets worse as this differential later got driven without any oil (my screw up). So this differential seemed to be doomed.
What work is required on the differential?
Important items for reassembly is setting up the axle end play with shims on the left had side. Flange sealer also needs to be used between the brake backing plate, the housing and outer oil seal to prevent diff oil leaks.
There is an inner seal that should be checked and replaced if necessary. The axle needs to be removed to be able to drive the seal home square. This seal prevents differential oil getting to the wheel bearing area.
Contributed by Rohan Borrell Technical Officer