Now that the axles were out I could see daylight through the tube.
It was time to pull the "pumpkin" (a.k.a. the differential housing)
The good news, it's the rock solid 9
inch Ford variety
(one of the few Ford parts a Chevy guy will actually endorse);
the bad news, the previous owner had set it up with 2.50 ratio
ring and pinion gears. 2.50 gears are pretty extreme highway
gears, and I'm not looking to do 180 mph in the mile;
I'd rather do 100 mph in the quarter mile, so I had to add a
new ring and pinion set to my shopping list.
In addition to the new ring and pinion
(3.50 ratio, good for
street & strip: $200), I opted for posi-traction; for the 9 inch
Ford, the de facto standard for posi is the Detroit Locker
third member ($500). Of course, I also had to get all new
bearings ($150) and pay the guy to put it all together
and set up the gear lash ($150). After all was said and done,
I was the proud owner of a $1000 pumpkin. Ouch.
While I was at it, I also had the outer axle bearings replaced.
This meant that my rear end was ready to roll; however,
in physics it is stated that for every action there is an
equal and opposite reaction. With this in mind, I moved on
to my next punch list item: the rear brakes.
Mmmm... brake dust and road grime. Yummy.
After much elbow grease, paint, and parts hunting:
My rear end was not only ready to roll,
it was ready to stop
(thereby completing the circle of yin and yang... for my rear end).
While all this was going on,
the prodigal son had returned from the machine shop...