Rear End Upgrades For Open Rears: Why burn one, when you can burn two?

Tired of your peg leg, one tire frier? Worrying about snapping those puny stock axles? Believe it or not, its not that difficult or expensive to upgrade your stock open rear without touching the ring & pinion. With this walk-through, I’ll take you step by step upgrading to get more power to the road.

The parts:

  • Axle kit (includes new axles, bearings, seals, & studs) $225 – I used Superior brand 28 spline Forged axles
  • Richmond LockRight $370
  • Richmond gear hardened cross pin $40
  • New thrust washers $11 (dealer)
  • New pair of C-Clips (not required) $5
  • Canister of thick wheel bearing grease

This walk-through will be off of a 1970 Chevelle with a 10 bolt rear with drums. Over the years, rear ends have barely changed so its very similar to the F-Body’s 7.5. When doing this upgrade, just ensure to use the correct F-Body parts. The method I’m using to lock both wheels together is a Richmond LockRight. It uses gears and couplers to lock both axles together like a spool when going in a straight line, and un-locks allowing one wheel to turn slower during a turn. It simply fits inside the stock open carrier & replaces the spider gears.

The install:

  1. Start by jacking the rear of the car so you can remove the wheels.
  2. Remove the brakes from both sides down to backing plates. Remove the discs if equipped.
  3. Remove the 10 bolts holding the rear cover on, leaving the very top bolt halfway in so fluid doesn’t run all over the place.
  4. Once the fluid is completely drained, remove the last bolt.
  5. Notice the chrome cross shaft going through the middle of the differential, this is held in place by a small bolt. Turn the differential so that the bolt can be removed.
  6. The cross shaft can now be pushed all the way through. Remove & set aside.
  7. Remove the spider gears inside the carrier.
  8. To remove the axles, simply push them toward the center of the car, and the C-Clips holding them in will fall off. Remove the clips, and slide the axles out.
  9. At the ends of the axle tubes, there is a seal and bearing at each tube. Replace both with the new ones supplied in the kit. Use grease to coat the bearings.
  10. Slide the new axles inside the tubes (not all the way, you still have a locker to install)
  11. Install the LockRight piece by piece as directed in the instruction booklet. It’s not difficult by any means and just takes patience. Instructions also include install of the C-Clips & the new pin.
  12. From there, tighten the cross shaft bolt, replace the rear differential cover and fill with 75w-140 gear oil of your choice.
  13. Replace brakes and wheels.
  14. With the wheels back on, it’s now time to test the LockRight. Have a friend hold one wheel still, while you turn the opposite wheel forward. You’ll be able to turn your wheel freely, as the other side is held in place. (your differential is un-locked)
  15. Burn em’ up! (Be safe!)

Entire install should take around 2-3 hours depending on skill level. At first i familiarized myself with the unit, so it only took me about 20 minutes to install the LockRight. It truly is simple and effective.

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