Ken Cates' Hudson Stepdown Restoration Resources


REAR END - 3rd Member

Hudson Axle seals

  • The outer seal - CR 17310 or TCM 17243 TB ( same as Hudson axles)
  • The inner seal - TCM 132282 VB. 

Installation and alignment of the parts of a rear end is a task, which we can do. Avoiding the pitfalls associated with the disassembly and reassembly is a benefit we all can use. One of the street rodder web masters understood the value of his experience and provided a Web site where Instructions for Installation of Gear sets in Ford 8" and 9" Carriers can be found. The information found there is comprehensive and very enlightening.


51 pinion seal Parts NAPA 47897 or National 47331


from, {Park W via email) Step-down Rear end specifics .... Thanks, PARK

1.  On the Stepdown (non Spicer) differentials, the pinion bearing tightness' adjustment is controlled strictly by the 'front' shim pack. These are the smaller diameter shims, located between the bearing spacer and the front bearing.  They're easily accessible when you pull the pinion shaft out of the housing.  There's no 'crush washer' as described in the Ford discussion, and pinion nut torque is always 200 ft pounds as stated in the manual.

2.  Adjustment of the pinion gear in and out relative to the ring gear is controlled by the rear shim pack, which is behind the rear bearing on the pinion shaft.  You'll need a bearing puller (or someone who has one) to pull the bearing off the shaft in order to get at these shims.  Remove shims to move the pinion away from the ring gear; add shims to move it closer (unlike some axles where you move shims from one end of the pinion assembly to the other).


The following Tips for repairing 51 Rear End Axles provided by Aaron Del Monaco (Editor) CHI/MIL Chapter HET Club


--If you cannot eliminate the end play from the rear axle shaft, you must check the following:

1. Is the casting that holds the axle in secure?

2. Did you adjust the end play with shims, which got between the casting and the backing plate?

3. Is the inner rear axle seal or bearing race damaged?

4. Remove the Axle shaft and check if the THRUST BUTTON is worn, if it is you will have to get a new one pressed into the Axle. This appears as though it is a solid piece of the axle shaft, but it is not, it is a pressed in button. It may be removed with a Tap.


If none of the above mentioned things have contributed to the excessive end pay it is likely that you have a worn or destroyed THRUST SPACER BLOCK. This piece is located in the center of the differential and the axles contact it in the differential housing. Driving with excessive end play will result in the axles banging on the Thrust Spacer Block till it's destroyed. The Trust Spacer Block is made of brass and if it comes off in your differential it will get ground up but will probably not destroy your differential gears. Once it has been destroyed, the absence of the Thrust Spacer Block will create excessive end play and you cannot make up the end play in the axle shafts with ANY amount of shims. Unless you can find a new Thrust Spacer Block, you will need a new differential. You must then: 1: Get the car high enough off the ground to work under the car safely and securely 2: Disassemble the axle shafts and rear seals (You will need to buy new inner and outer rear axle seals) 3. Disconnect the Universal joint and drive shaft. Unbolt the Differential and remove it 4. Make a gasket. Make sure the gear ratio is the same on you donor differential. Then bolt up your transplant differential making sure it is sealed.

CAUTION : Differential is heavy! You may want to use a transmission jack to raise it in place. Your Hudson must be high enough off the ground in order to get the differential under the car.

NOTE: If servicing the differential or the Thrust buttons, you may want to have a qualified machine shop do the assembly.


Replacing Rear axle seals Doug Wildrick

Try calling Napa, ask for rear axle seals for a VW rear outer seal. This seal comes as a kit. You can throw away the other pieces in the kit or save them for future use. This seal fits in the outer axle flange only, knock old seal out and PRESS new seal in with seal driving tools in the vise. At the same time you have the axle flange off for seal replacement, pull the axle and clean, inspect and repack the bearing. I have found that a new inner axle seal isn't needed. I  just wipe the old grease out of the axle/bearing area, wipe some new in and slide the clean and repacked axle back in the housing. I have found the best removal tool is an old Hudson flywheel, simply slide it over the axle, with 4 bolt flange removed, put nut for the brake drum, with the washer on it and give it a few hits, like using a slide hammer, comes right out. E-mail me if I can be of further assistance.

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This page was updated January 2018

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