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Need advice on Dana 23 condition

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  • Rear Axle: Need advice on Dana 23 condition

    We opened up the rear end of Dad's 50 Champion today for the first time. It drove fine before we took the car apart so I was expecting to just clean it, Put in fresh seals and hang it back on the frame.

    Well, things took an unexpected turn. The very beat up remnants of a bolt head fell out when we took the rear cover off. All of the gear teeth were intact. The most puzzling thing we saw was a lot of slop in the fit between shafts of the spider gears.

    The bolt head was from a broken bolt that holds the ring gear on. The odd thing was the locking plate for the broken bolt and the one next to it was missing.

    The hole in the horizontal shaft for the spider gears was quite a bit larger than the diameter of the vertical spider gear shaft that passes through it. When you turn the axle shafts you can see considerable movement when the "slop" between the vertical shaft and the hole in the horizontal shaft takes up. This looks bad to me but I don't know much about differentials. For all I know this "slop" could be normal.

    What are the recommendations from the group. I am leaning toward either a complete rebuild or possibly trying to find another rear end that is in good shape.

    The car is being built with its original 169 flat six and 3 speed OD transmission, so not a lot of power or torque.
    "Trying to shed my CASO ways"


  • #2
    Not sure it might have been able to get there but you are lucky the bolt head did not wedge itself between the ring gear and the housing - would probably have been like throwing out a boat anchor on a short chain ... It would have broken all kinds of stuff - and depending on how fast the car would have been going - possibly sent it in a spin to end up who knows where.

    With the number of Champions built in and around 1950 - there is still a pretty plentiful quantity of good used rears out there - will allow you to do all the rebuild with the rear out of the car and when you swap it out, you will not have to wonder about trying to fix the old. People going with V8s and brand X drivetrains practically give the original stuff away. Good luck.
    Last edited by 62champ; 11-29-2019, 05:15 PM.


    • #3
      I have driven a Studebaker (not mine) where the differential locked up while driving - no fun.
      I suggest locating a good used differential with the ratio that you want. Service and install that unit.
      Gary L.
      Wappinger, NY

      SDC member since 1968
      Studebaker enthusiast much longer