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Half-shaft disassembly


mdbrandy

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OK, so I'm deep into the rear end rebuild right now, and I'm trying to take the half-shafts apart to give them their "30,000 mile repack" that no one ever actually does. I already have all the U-joints out and I'm replacing those, and I've bought new half-shaft boots (They're actually still available from Nissan, and not very expensive). To use the boots, I have to take the shafts apart anyway, so a good cleanout and regrease would be good too.

But. I can't get them apart. I have the boot slid back, I have the circlip and "yoke stopper" removed (essentially a big washer). I can now slide the shaft out far enough that I can get the first layer of plastic cylinders out (I can see the first layer of metal balls after that), but then the shaft stops and won't move further.

The factory manual just says to remove the circlip and stopper, and then to draw the shaft out. But it appears as though there is a 2nd circlip on the end of the shaft, but I have no idea how to get to it. There is a plug in the end of the yoke, but no obvious way to remove it to get to the circlip. Has anyone actually ever disassembled and regreased their halfshafts? What am I missing here? I thought about hammering the shaft back toward the plug to try to knock the plug out, but the manuals don't say anything about this, and I don't want to hammer on things I don't understand...

Thanks.

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Pull harder. It's probably the balls getting hung up on the groove for the first circlip. I pulled apart 2 of them and had the same issue. I just stuck it in a vise and slid it in then pulled hard, kind of a slide hammer effect. Came right out and didn't do any damage to the balls either.

FWIW the grease in mine looked BRAND spanking new, much better than I can say for the CV's I bought to replace the shafts. That grease looked like milkshake, I'm sure the PO drove through a puddle at some point.

I didn't reassemble mine because I decided to go with the CV's and just left the job undone, but I understand it can be a PITA to get the balls and spacers back in.

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OK, so I'm deep into the rear end rebuild right now, and I'm trying to take the half-shafts apart to give them their "30,000 mile repack" that no one ever actually does. I already have all the U-joints out and I'm replacing those, and I've bought new half-shaft boots (They're actually still available from Nissan, and not very expensive). To use the boots, I have to take the shafts apart anyway, so a good cleanout and regrease would be good too.

But. I can't get them apart. I have the boot slid back, I have the circlip and "yoke stopper" removed (essentially a big washer). I can now slide the shaft out far enough that I can get the first layer of plastic cylinders out (I can see the first layer of metal balls after that), but then the shaft stops and won't move further.

The factory manual just says to remove the circlip and stopper, and then to draw the shaft out. But it appears as though there is a 2nd circlip on the end of the shaft, but I have no idea how to get to it. There is a plug in the end of the yoke, but no obvious way to remove it to get to the circlip. Has anyone actually ever disassembled and regreased their halfshafts? What am I missing here? I thought about hammering the shaft back toward the plug to try to knock the plug out, but the manuals don't say anything about this, and I don't want to hammer on things I don't understand...

Thanks.

Mark:

I did this, but it was a long time ago.

I don't remember a second circlip. I think that I just had to pull (somewhat hard) and wiggle the parts in a circlular motion while pulling to get them to slide apart.

Good Luck & let us know how it goes.

PS Don't loose any balls or spacers!

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Well, I guess I'm weak or something. No joy. The weird thing is that there is a very audible clunk when I pull the shaft out, like there is still something attached that shouldn't be. So, I have attached two drawings for your "amusement". The first is from my '70 240Z factory manual, since I think it's a better drawing. Note the circlip and stopper on the end of the shaft that I have not removed, versus the circlip and washer that I have removed. Have I removed the correct thing?

The 280Z drawing (note that I am working on 280Z shafts) shows similar parts, although the circlip outside the yoke plug is not there in the drawing or on my shafts. The haynes manual and the 240Z factory manual say to remove the plug snap ring and the plug, and then remove the circlip and stopper from the shaft. The 280Z factory manual doesn't mention removing the plug, and it is not obvious how to do so (I guess I said that before...). Which circlip did you guys remove?

post-4028-14150795366615_thumb.jpg

post-4028-14150795367082_thumb.jpg

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I'm just going to answer your questions.

I never saw the plug, so I don't know.

My halfshafts didn't need U-joints, so I didn't get into the small parts on the end.

The snap ring and washer are the parts that hold the balls and spacers in place.

The stopper and the snap ring on the back hold the balls on the channels, and have nothing to do with taking the shaft apart.

You're right, those parts are in the wrong order in the second pic.

You might see if you can get one ball or spacer out at a time. The whole thing doesn't have to come out at once. I still think either the balls or the spacers are getting hung up in the groove that holds the brass washer and the snap ring at the top of the shaft.

Good luck.

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The stopper and the snap ring on the back hold the balls on the channels, and have nothing to do with taking the shaft apart.

You're right, those parts are in the wrong order in the second pic.

You might see if you can get one ball or spacer out at a time. The whole thing doesn't have to come out at once. I still think either the balls or the spacers are getting hung up in the groove that holds the brass washer and the snap ring at the top of the shaft.

Good luck.

OK. Just making sure I didn't have the wrong things off. I've already taken out the first row of spacers. I'll try to finagle things out one row at a time instead of brute-forcing it and see what happens. Thanks for indulging me here! :laugh:

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You say you have new boots on hand....right. I'm looking in my 75 FSM and another image I have of the half-shaft and it appears there is a "Big" clip and a "Little" clip. I'd say cut the boot(s) off and see what's holding it up. I'd venture to say it's probably hanging up on the big clip...

webdawg1

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Disassembly procedure from FSM

1. Remove universal joint spider from the differential side.

2. Remove snap ring from sleeve yoke plug with snap ring pliers. Depress drive shaft and remove snap ring from stopper. Remove stopper. Disconnect boot and separate drive shaft carefully so as not to lose balls and spacers.

Only problem is that you say you don't have a "sleeve yoke plug" ?

webdawg1

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Ok, got 'em. I initially gave up on the first one and moved on to the 2nd to make sure it would give me the same trouble. Well, it didn't. Just as directed, I slid the boot back took off the big circlip and washer, and pulled the shaft out. It wasn't easy, but neither was it a big problem. Came out balls, spacers, and all.

So, back to the first one. Still wouldn't budge by hand (yoke in vice, pulling up on shaft by hand, wiggling, rocking, etc. So I remembered what jmortensen had said "kind of a slide hammer effect". I then put my jack handle through the U-joint yoke holes on the shaft end, locked the yoke end in the vice, and used a 9 lb slide hammer to yank the sucker out. Now, it STILL took me probably 15 pulls on the hammer, with the shaft inching out little by little all the way until the last ball was exposed (I removed balls and spacers as they showed up). Then finally, the last pull got it out. Now all I have to do is examine it all for damage and try to figure out why it was so locked up to begin with.

Thanks for the advice all.

Mark

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Disassembly procedure from FSM

1. Remove universal joint spider from the differential side.

2. Remove snap ring from sleeve yoke plug with snap ring pliers. Depress drive shaft and remove snap ring from stopper. Remove stopper. Disconnect boot and separate drive shaft carefully so as not to lose balls and spacers.

Only problem is that you say you don't have a "sleeve yoke plug" ?

webdawg1

There IS a sleeve yoke plug, but not a snap ring to go with it on the 280Z half shaft. Interestingly, I just went out and looked at the half-shafts from my 240Z, and they DO have a snap ring at the plug end, and the plug is apparently flat-faced toward the diff. On the 280 shafts, the plugs are dome-shaped with a lip that apparently compresses as they are driven in, obviating the need for the circlip.

Anyway, as noted in my last post, as jmortensen and bambi had told me, after removing the main circlip, you just pull the shafts out. However hard you might have to work to do that! ROFL

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Glad you go them out Mark. If your hands aren't too greasy, please snap a few pictures & post for our future references.

Your pics of the Rear Wheel Bearings were great and will be a big help to people doing that job in the future.

The problem I remember most from doing this job is getting the new boots onto the outer part of the half shafts without splitting them. If you find a good method, share it with us.

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FWIW the grease in mine looked BRAND spanking new, much better than I can say for the CV's I bought to replace the shafts. That grease looked like milkshake, I'm sure the PO drove through a puddle at some point.

The grease in mine looks like it started out as the kind of translucent yellow grease that Nissan seems to have preferred. Up in the grooves, it was pretty black, though. The stuff at the bottom of the yoke behind the shaft was still fairly clear and yellowish. There was still a lot of grease in there, and it probably didn't actually need to be redone, but now I'll have new, synthetic grease in the sliding portion, new U-joints, new boots, and a nice paint-job on the outside. Hopefully I won't have to touch the half-shafts for a LONG time!

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Glad you go them out Mark. If your hands aren't too greasy, please snap a few pictures & post for our future references.

Your pics of the Rear Wheel Bearings were great and will be a big help to people doing that job in the future.

The problem I remember most from doing this job is getting the new boots onto the outer part of the half shafts without splitting them. If you find a good method, share it with us.

Will do. I photo document just about everything I'm doing. That way I can remember how to put it all back together! Also, when I do essentially the same thing to the parts from the '70 240Z, I will at least have a fighting chance of it all going smoothly!

I'll let you know if I have any trouble with the boots :). The new boots I put on the steering rack were a major pain to get on, but they stretched quite a bit...it at least looks like sliding them onto the shaft here shouldn't be as hard as the steering rack...

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I recently took my 240 ones apart to replace the boots. I took them to "drive shaft king" here in Dallas. Those guys had never seen a half-shaft like this before. With my help we got them all apart, repacked and replaced the boots. Really a nightmare getting those little spacers back in right and sliding it back together. I hope to never have to do that again. Are you working on a 280Z or do you just have 280Z shafts for some reason? Anyway, I'd like to see the pics too when your'e finished. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures of mine.

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If you chipped a ball or anything let me know and I'll mail you a couple.

I "think" I'm OK. I just wiped down all the small parts and did a quick inspection, and all the balls look OK. A couple of the plastic spacers are a bit rough,but it looks like they probably came that way. The concave ends where the spacers cup each ball look fine. If I come across anything as I look closer, I'll let you know. Thanks for the offer!

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I recently took my 240 ones apart to replace the boots. I took them to "drive shaft king" here in Dallas. Those guys had never seen a half-shaft like this before. With my help we got them all apart, repacked and replaced the boots. Really a nightmare getting those little spacers back in right and sliding it back together. I hope to never have to do that again. Are you working on a 280Z or do you just have 280Z shafts for some reason? Anyway, I'd like to see the pics too when your'e finished. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take any pictures of mine.

What makes it so hard to get back together (he says...anticipating having to do it soon...)? It looks like you should just be able to slide the shaft in a little bit, add a layer of balls, in a little more, add a layer of spacers, in a little more....etc. until you get them all in. Is it a matter of keeping the shaft straight in the yoke bore or something?

I just took some pics of the pre-cleaned up parts. As I clean everything up and then get ready to put it back together I'll take more and post some.

Edit: Oh, and I am rebuilding the rear on my 1978 280Z, so I am working on a 280. The 240Z rebuild is coming along a lot slower since I'm trying to get the weld work done before tearing into too much of the mechanicals.

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I don't remember any problems getting them back together, but then again, I didin't have any problem getting them apart either. Guess I was lucky on both ends of the J.O.B.

Since I have a spare set, maybe I should rebuild them one of these days before I have an immediate need for them. It's not like it costs much at all to do them.

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What makes it so hard to get back together (he says...anticipating having to do it soon...)? It looks like you should just be able to slide the shaft in a little bit, add a layer of balls, in a little more, add a layer of spacers, in a little more....etc. until you get them all in. Is it a matter of keeping the shaft straight in the yoke bore or something?

When I reassembled mine I did just that one layer at a time. As you add a layer try and push the shaft into the bore a little to move the balls down. I had trouble getting the last layer of balls to fit. It was a pain. Pushing, pulling, trying to get it all together. But once it was assembled it worked just like it was supposed to.

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  • 6 years later...

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