Rear Drive Shaft Removal / Fuel Tank Replacement

Discuss any maintenance you've done to your Vibe & Matrix and ask how to perform maintenance on your vehicle
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Rear Drive Shaft Removal / Fuel Tank Replacement

Post by powderhound » Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:47 am

Hello and thanks for all the great info on this community. Much appreciated! I'm in the rust belt and I'm in the process of restoring (no exaggeration) a vibe we pulled out of northern New Hampshire for short money. My wife drove it for several months before we noticed the rear subframe had shifted...haha. Damn thing just rotted away, literally!

In any case, we've been going slow on the replacement and repair....kind of doing too good of a job, but pandemic means the wife isn't driving much and has allowed us to work on it together. She's much smarter then me, so it's been fun!!

At this point, we are ready to drop the stock fuel tank and replace it with one that doesn't have a gaping hole in the top of the tank where the road salt sat and drilled through the container. haha, we were wondering where the fuel odor/vapors were coming from and assumed it was the filler neck, NOPE!

I might be using incorrect nomenclature (Feel free to correct me) , but i am trying to remove what I call the "rear drive shaft". In other words, the section of shaft aft of the "carrier bearing bracket". I've removed the 6mm inset hex bolts from the "rear drive shaft" thinking she'd popped right off, but she's hanging tough no matter what I do. To be clear, this is the section of drive shaft that is saddled by the fuel tank. Yeah, it was fun getting those 6 mm bolts off....everything is a battle in the perpetual war on rust!!! HOLY HELL!!!

I'm wondering if the entire drive shaft has to drop from the transmission/gear box? If so, what do I need to be cautious off? Also, what I'm I looking to repair/replace/service in the drive train once I drop the shaft? Carrier? U-joints? hard to access fluid in torque converter(s)? I really have know idea what I'm talking about...

Thank in advance!

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Re: Rear Drive Shaft Removal / Fuel Tank Replacement

Post by zbyers » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:36 am

As I noted in my PM, you should be able to just remove the four 14mm bolts that hold the drive shaft to the rear diff. We usually mark the orientation of the driveshaft to the diff with a sharpie so you know what two sides need bolted back up...for balance purposes and whatnot.

Throw the car in neutral, and you can rotate the rear wheels to adjust the diff/drive shaft to get to the other bolts. Below image for reference of the bolts i am referring to. ... sp=sharing
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Re: Rear Drive Shaft Removal / Fuel Tank Replacement

Post by powderhound » Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:57 pm

Thanks for the quick reply! Just so you know where I'm at, the 4 bolts connecting the drive shaft to the differential/viscous coupler are out, the stock frame is gone and I'm waiting on seals and a few other parts for the rear differential servicing. The shaft is being support by a jack stand and I'm thinking it would just be easier to get the entire shaft out of the way. Does it have to come out of the the front end/transmission or can I remove the portion of shaft between the center carrier bearing (middle of the cars centerline? There are six 6mm inset hex bolts I've removed from the Shaft just aft of the carrier bearing, which I thought would allow me to drop the last section of drive shaft to get it out of the way.

I hope I'm making myself clear. Thanks everyone.

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Re: Rear Drive Shaft Removal / Fuel Tank Replacement

Post by joatmon » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:57 am

I've never worked on one, so I can't say what's easy/feasible/practical

I believe the shaft you reference is the "propeller" shaft.

Attached is a relevant PDF from the matrix service manual on propeller shaft removal/overhaul

Also attached the section from that manual for fuel tank removal/install for 4wd
4wd fuel tank
(243.4 KiB) Downloaded 2 times
4wd propeller shaft
(188.51 KiB) Downloaded 2 times

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