<VV> clutch job: remove the drivetrain the conventional way or engine only?

Dave Thompson dave.thompson at verizon.net
Fri Sep 11 21:12:14 EDT 2009

Several months ago I was asked by an elderly gentleman in our chapter to
help him out with his Loadside. He thought his trans had failed. He wanted
me to replace it for him. I had never removed a drive train before. But I
dove into it. 

Starting at 8:00am one Saturday, I jacked the truck up and slid under. By
11:00 the entire drive train was on the floor using only one standard floor
jack. A custom bracket or fixture on the jack would have been nice but I
used what I had. 

Once the drive train was on the floor, we realized that it was a 3-speed and
he had a replacement 4-speed. We made a parts list and I left at about noon.

The following weekend, I returned with a new input shaft and trans
crossmember at 8:00am. He had gotten the other parts on the list. I
separated the 3-speed from the diff only to find that the input shaft had
sheared. I then removed the diff from the engine and found that the input
shaft had sheered at the point of the clutch splines. It looked like it had
twisted apart. I re-assembled the engine, diff and "new" trans together on
some blocks. I then put the floor jack under them jacked them of the blocks
and pulled the drive train under the Loadside. After a bunch of pulling,
wiggling, blood letting and some fowl words, I was able to get the drive
train into place, all by my self. After that I simply bolted everything back
together and ended up with no extra hardware that was not accounted for (we
replaced a few bolts). 

When the wheels of the Loadside were lowered to the ground, I looked at my
watch and it was 2:00pm. Another hour or two of top of engine and fuel work
and we drove it around the block. All was well except a minor clutch

After doing this job, I recommend the following. Remember, this was my first

1. Have some help
2. Pull the entire drive train. I would not want to try to align the clutch
"system" while the trans/diff was in the vehicle and the engine was on a
floor jack.
3. Closely inspect the clutch "system" for wear. It is apart, might as well
replace things now. 
4. Replace the pilot bushing.
5. Replace the axle seals
6. Inspect and or replace the rubber trans crossmember mounts.
7. Study the correct manual first. I only had a 61 car manual to refer to.

This is the advice of a first timer, on a Loadside. It was a big job but I
was able to do it in about 1-1/2 days, alone. Others may have different
advice for a LM and with more experience. 

Good luck, let us know how it went.

Dave Thompson
Westminster, CA

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