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1960 Torque Tube R&R


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 Calling all that have dealt with a 1960's torque tube.   It appears my propeller shaft or u-joint has twisted it's last.  At first I thought transmission problem but have concluded the drive shaft is creating the grinding growning issue. It was subtle at first.  The noise would come and go.  Now, in gear or out of gear, noise still present and running the length of the car.    So, anyone with tips for taking apart the housing and reassembly would be great.   I have pulled the torque tube from my 54 for removal of the 3 speed and clutch work. Hopefully this rear end of the 60 will go quietly like the 54. Familiar with that procedure.   And, any part numbers or vendors where the universal joint can be purchased?   

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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At least it's not the one in the tail shaft of the transmission!

 

There seems to be a lot of stigma regarding the torque tube disassembly process outside these forums. I know I had a thread a while back talking about the difficulties of aligning splines in an uneven gravel driveway, but the process itself isn't difficult at all. Was there a reason for the later model U-joint mod? Less stress on the torque ball and Dynaflow universal bearing in regards to pinion angle?

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As a side note, the front u-joint is constantly lubricated by the transmission.  Perhaps helps with longevity?  

 

Also, I think it was Bernie who stated his 60 started with a squeak that developed into a failing u-joint. Mine was squeaking in reverse only. It also appears the rear u-joint failing is a common problem.

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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One really can't describe the sound of destruction a u joint makes when it lets go inside that torque tube while driving 40 MPH! I was there as a passenger...

 

This it what resulted on my now Limited when Dad was bringing my grandmother  home for Christmas 1970.

1137577708_DSCN1989-copy.thumb.jpg.492c7ce108c4c6a70ac66b1f998c5a0b.jpg

 

Fortunately the drive shaft was saved but that is some kinda force to break the metal like that.

247829940_DSCN1990-copy.thumb.jpg.2bf3924d21692bd3ccc00e2c4e1bc8eb.jpg

 

Dad's luck ran out for him knowing it was making noise before this event.

Glad you are doing yours now!

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8 hours ago, 1956322 said:

I know on the 1957 models not only did they add that year u joint not they also put in a rubber plug to grease it.. Does the 1960 have a way to grease it?

There is a access hole to grease the sliding shaft end at the pinion. There are no access holes to grease the u-joint directly. 

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8 hours ago, dei said:

One really can't describe the sound of destruction a u joint makes when it lets go inside that torque tube while driving 40 MPH! I was there as a passenger...

 

This it what resulted on my now Limited when Dad was bringing my grandmother  home for Christmas 1970.

1137577708_DSCN1989-copy.thumb.jpg.492c7ce108c4c6a70ac66b1f998c5a0b.jpg

 

Fortunately the drive shaft was saved but that is some kinda force to break the metal like that.

247829940_DSCN1990-copy.thumb.jpg.2bf3924d21692bd3ccc00e2c4e1bc8eb.jpg

 

Dad's luck ran out for him knowing it was making noise before this event.

Glad you are doing yours now!

The noise must have been horrendous! I knew something was up with my driveline and it took about 50 miles of driving to diagnos the issue. The day I could pinpoint the issue it was howling at every speed. Then started clicking. I nursed it home. About 2 miles. 

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My symptom was a very light squeak at slow speeds. Mostly I heard it driving into cruise nights. One bearing cap had no rollers.

025a.thumb.jpg.b26d111abc8b6cda3525a86045fc408b.jpg

 

At the time someone on the Forum had been writing that he could not separate his torque tube and transmission. I figured if my joint had let go and jammed the shaft it could twist the splines on my tailshaft and do the same.

 The short shaft, joints , and bearing on any car that hasn't been disassembled should be suspect.

0409111515s.jpg.c3c7632b9dfe2ce9b66a1c773162364b.jpg

 

Imron, new brake lines with the spring stone guard makes a nice look only a few see.

0415112143s.jpg.e1cf3bd3ea5b2fab219751241562d67c.jpg

I did have to have a rear brake hose fabricated. I wanted to be sure it was fresh stock. That was a trip into the City plus $35.

 

I cut the heads off two bolts and made guide pins to ease sliding it back together. That made things go smoothly. I use a hacksaw to cut screwdriver slots where the heads were.

 

It is a big job and opens the whole bottom of the car so I did quite a few more minor jobs; cleaned and renewed undercoating, new exhaust, glass bead and paint wheels, new tires. A lot of the "lipstick" cars haven't had these services done. It is nice to be prodded into them.

Here is the final shot.

130.thumb.jpg.6ee45e688fe0005067363a700d405395.jpg

 

Well, right before I wiped the brake fluid off the tires.

Bernie

 

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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I thought it was you Bernie living the nightmare of the torque tube troubles.    Mine did not quite get to the state yours was upon opening up the can of worn parts.  However, she was well on her way.  I did get 3/8-16 bolts to cut the heads and use as guide pins upon installation.  Funny part, with my 54, pushing the tube to connect with the torque ball was a snap.  No guide pins at all. Harley Earl must have been smiling upon me that day.      I see you painted yours before re-installing, etc.  I just plan on removing the years of road grim and revealing the factory marks, etc.  The hard lines have been replaced, as well as, the rubber brake hose feeding the rear brakes.  I'm all set there. 

 

I did advise my wife she may be pushing an axle under the Buick sometime this week.  I'll be under it guiding the nose of the torque tube to torque ball.    I love a team player!      

 

 

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Bernie, you had a brake hose made locally? Everytime I asked local hose makers they said "No Brake Hoses, No Way!"  They almost didn't make my hydraulic hoses on my GM Hydroboost because I said something about brakes, but then convinced them it was a power steering hose  (it is both, for those not familiar with the system).

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9 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

There is a access hole to grease the sliding shaft end at the pinion. There are no access holes to grease the u-joint directly.

So, anyone with one of these should replace the U-joint if not recently done?  60 year old grease in those things will soon fail.

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18 hours ago, old-tank said:

So, anyone with one of these should replace the U-joint if not recently done?  60 year old grease in those things will soon fail.

 

That is probably an over generalization. I would not have ventured into my job if I had not heard that small squeak. A friend of mine said "That's a big job just because you hear a little squeak". Prior to that job I had a rear axle bearing fail. I replaced both at the time even though the second appeared fine.

Knowing what I do today, I would not take it apart without some indicator, even a slight one.

A lot of owners learn to live with issues that they or their advisors just chalk up to the age of the car. Any car should perform equal to the day it left the showroom. When age comes into the picture it is mostly affected by the history of the years passed. Rearend and transmission fluids are about the least frequently addressed items in recommissioning a long term stored car. Brake fluid is probably third, but nature has a way to putting that forward.

Unheated storage can cause a lot of condensation damage. Cars like the '60 Buick are hard to change the rearend fluids. Mine has been flushed twice. There wasn't a lot of water the first time, but I still lost a bearing.

I would say change all the fluids you can and grease all the joints thoroughly. On a newly purchased car I go through a tube of grease on the first lube. On rubber sealed joints I pump a little extra and usually see a few drops of water pass over the seal lip. I keep pumping until fresh grease comes out and then swivel the joints to circulate the fresh grease. I thoroughly clean the seal and reseat it. Things like a drag link join will be disassembled.

Once all those basic steps have been completed I pay close attention to all the noises and vibrations, unforgiving to any that concern me. When I do find something to fix I usually overdo it.

 

Last year, when the Nationals were in Denver, I wanted to go, but couldn't. If I had I would have thrown my suitcase in the car, filled it with gas at the corner, and left on the 1700 mile drive.

If I had tolerated that little squeak I might have driven part way, had a big vibration develop, and been a very unhappy boy.

 

Practice intolerance, you will be happy.

Bernie

 

Oh, I changed the heat conduction grease on my computer processors when it glitched a couple of times. Fine now at 11 years old.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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13 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

Last year, when the Nationals were in Denver, I wanted to go, but couldn't. If I had I would have thrown my suitcase in the car, filled it with gas at the corner, and left on the 1700 mile drive.

If I had tolerated that little squeak I might have driven part way, had a big vibration develop, and been a very unhappy boy.

 

18 hours ago, old-tank said:

So, anyone with one of these should replace the U-joint if not recently done?  60 year old grease in those things will soon fail.

You made my point Bernie :D.  Leave it alone if just tooling around locally within limping distance of home; fix it now if you drive far away.  Much cheaper and less stressful to fix at home than pay someone far away or pay to have it shipped back home.  This is a foreseeable problem unlike a broken axle and fuel starvation problems that interrupted two of my cross country trips (water pump and generator failures were just a nuisance since spares are carried). 

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Your point is deeper. There are guys driving around who gently use their brakes for fear of blowing a line or locking up a wheel or two with a little extra touch. Some don't need a speedometer because of the variations of sounds and vibrations at different speeds. Some have antique matchbooks or folded cardboard under the edge of the dash to stop annoying sounds.

 

Once I got a Buick with a very elaborate array of old, yellowed, vibration wedges at the edge of the padded dash. Intolerant, as I am, of such displays I threw them all away and replaced them with a short piece of rubber hose between the transmission modulator line and the intake manifold.

 

Never accept less than what came off the showroom floor.

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9 minutes ago, old-tank said:

 

You made my point Bernie :D.  Leave it alone if just tooling around locally within limping distance of home; fix it now if you drive far away.  Much cheaper and less stressful to fix at home than pay someone far away or pay to have it shipped back home.  This is a foreseeable problem unlike a broken axle and fuel starvation problems that interrupted two of my cross country trips (water pump and generator failures were just a nuisance since spares are carried). 

 

It is forums such as this that help make decisions in some instances.  Bernies post of the squeak at his u-joint that eventually failed I kept in my memory bank.  This summer, backing out of the garage there was a rotational squeak , but only in reverse.  In my mind, the u-joint could be going bad as noted from Bernies experience with a squeaking u-joint. I kept tabs on it.   Mine  recently however, started as a low growl only from 0-40 mph.  I'm thinking low front pump pressure per the manual trouble shooting.  Sometimes the noise was not present from 0-40. It was a bit elusive but the u-joint was forefront of my mind as the culprit.   Then growling started from 0-50 and beyond.  Then she started squeaking in forward drive.  Then it started clicking.  All of this in just driving 15 miles!  I nursed her home.  Pulled the rear.   The forums and people posting their failures of parts and successes in repairs are invaluable.       

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6 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

I was looking at your last picture. It looks like you figured out rolling the rearend on bare rims too. Great minds.

Bernie

 

I have the drums on.  The drums are cradled on my casters I used to move the cars around in the garage.   I did it this way because I have to push the rear back under the 60 to make room for my 54 when I finish working on the 60 and park the 54 in the garage for the night.   

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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My entire differential housing was orange, even on the inside. I'm guessing they painted them after machining to differentiate which ones were done and set and which ones weren't. Kind of like how bolts and other pieces like axles are marked with a paint pen when finalized.

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Excuse my ignorance, but why does the later torque tube have a rear u-joint?  Is the tube itself angled to clear the floor?  I've looked at Bernie's picture of a disassembled torque tube, but I think I'm still missing the point...My '53 only has one at the front.

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2 minutes ago, Aaron65 said:

Excuse my ignorance, but why does the later torque tube have a rear u-joint?  Is the tube itself angled to clear the floor?  I've looked at Bernie's picture of a disassembled torque tube, but I think I'm still missing the point...My '53 only has one at the front.

 

At the pinion end there is angle in the tube where the u-joint is housed.  The angle I believe allows the axle to be horizontal to the ground while in motion.   It may also help translate  or handle the torque better with the additional u-joint.   Only conjecture.    

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1 hour ago, Aaron65 said:

Excuse my ignorance, but why does the later torque tube have a rear u-joint?  Is the tube itself angled to clear the floor?  I've looked at Bernie's picture of a disassembled torque tube, but I think I'm still missing the point...My '53 only has one at the front.

 

 I have always thought it had to do with maintaining the angle while keeping the differential level, as Chris said.  As bodies were lowered.

 

  Ben

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