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Hi guys,

I'm rebuilding my whole suspension and replacing all bushings, ball joints and u-joints. So while I was working on my half shafts I figured I would take them apart and clean and re-grease everything.

Boy do I regret that decision because I've spent hours trying trying to slide them back together with all the ball bearings and plastic spacers in place. Whatever I do they always get stuck and they won't slide in further like some ball bearings are a bit oversized or tolerances are a bit off. I've tried everything. Slow, fast, adding the bearings afterwards from the other side. Nothing works ;(

The closest I came was when I tried holding the bearings in place with one hand and with the other pushed it in as hard as I could. That way only half of the last spacers would stick out too much but I could not press them in that last half inch...

Is there a trick or am I doing something wrong?

Please help 🙂

Thnx!

Reinier

Instagram @jdmreinier

DatsunPartZ.com - Little project of mine. A price comparison website for Datsun parts.

 

2019-07-03 15.02.33.jpg

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It seems to me that a piston sleeve / clamp ring gadget would be ideal for this.  Thanks for the link.

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Once I had the inside of the shafts cleaned, I put a small amount of grease on the balls and spacers so they would stick to the shaft, and they slid easily back into the clean tube. I held the top pressure ring against them as I completely pushed them in and I had no problems.

 

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If you read in the FSM, you DO NOT put grease in the shaft receiving end first!

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I will clean everything and try it again with minimal grease. I think I will also put a lot of tape on the shaft so they can't slide up when I press the shaft down. But still I have a feeling something is wrong. It should not be this difficult.

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Grease is the last thing you add before the shaft is assembled. It will bind up your shaft as it slides back in and push the balls and spacers out. Go slow, as the first half of the assembly will slide in easily, then you will need to keep even pressure on the spacers etc. Add the remaining grease as per the thread I quoted above and you can close up the assembly with the top plate and snap ring.

I also placed the open shaft in a vice, vertically so I could lower the ball/spacer shaft assembly down vertically as well. This made it easy to use two hands on the shaft and control the balls and spacers.

 

Yeah, I know.... siteunseen is gonna have a field day with that last statement.

 

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Haha! Okay thanks for your tips. I will give them a try when I get home from work.

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I also added most of the grease for the shaft in the top of the grooves. Minimal in the ball track until the last 30g at the top of each ball run. The grease will get to all the necessary places as the shafts turn and move. As I said earlier, the balls and spacers had a coating of grease on them first to get them to adhere to the shaft.

 

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You might try adding balls and spacers with everything grease free, until things bind up.  Might make something clear.  Try it with none, and add a few at at a time until it sticks.

Also consider a pneumatic lock.  The air bubble at the bottom gets compressed because all of the grease is creating a seal.

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25 minutes ago, Zed Head said:

You might try adding balls and spacers with everything grease free, until things bind up.  Might make something clear.  Try it with none, and add a few at at a time until it sticks.

Also consider a pneumatic lock.  The air bubble at the bottom gets compressed because all of the grease is creating a seal.

This is why I didn't add grease to the open channels during assembly, only at the end when I topped up the grease.

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Gave it a try last night but with minimal grease and without grease and the same thing happens. They bind and they get stuck. I'm 100% certain something is not right. Taking them apart also took extreme force now that I think about it. I pressed out the u-joints and put two breakers bars through the holes, put my feet on one breaker bar and pushed/pulled them like 10 times as hard as I could to get them to separate.

It's also not a vacuum issue because I opened both ends of the rube with the grooves.

I'm going to find a new used pair. Put new u-joints in them, paint them, put them on the car and never look back at this epic fail hehe.

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I suppose it’s possible that the shafts are somehow bent.... but I would have a hard time understanding how that happened!
Try another set and hopefully the problem is gone. I took apart and and reassembled three with no issues at all...

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8 hours ago, Reinier said:

 I'm 100% certain something is not right. Taking them apart also took extreme force now that I think about it.

 

I'm going to find a new used pair. Put new u-joints in them, paint them, put them on the car and never look back at this epic fail hehe.

I had one that would bind.  The car had been in an accident and I guess that the races got damaged.  I rebuilt it because it was sticking in its travel, but it didn't help.

Use Nissan u-joints are probably tighter than new aftermarket u-joints.  Don't assume that new is better.  I replaced four of them, put the shafts in the car and drove it, then took them back apart and returned them to OReilly auto.  They were brand new but sloppier than the ones I took out.  Precision brand.  Only one of the four Nissan joints was bad but I thought that replacing all four was the thing to do.  Wasted three good Nissan joints.  Nissan sells precision made circlips to get the cap tolerance as tight as possible.

Your best option would be four new Nissan u-joints, but that will cost you about $320.

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The FSM shows that Nissan's desired accuracy was down to 0.03 mm, edit actually 0.02 mm, by their own description.  The range shows that the yokes must have a very wide range of manufacturing tolerance if this wide range is needed to cover all of the yoke possibilities.  The aftermarket u-joints have one size to fit inside that range.

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Edited by Zed Head

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@Reinier

If you want to try one more thing with your shafts, try cleaning off all grease and spray everything with wd40 and put them together. Do they still bind?

I had a difficult halfshaft set and ended up spraying everything lightly (but completely) with wd40 and adding grease at the end by using a needle attachment on my grease gun. End result was shafts that moved freely and have worked great. Will see whether there are any long term problems but....

Edit:

I just found my notes on how I rebuilt my last set of shafts. For terminology, refer to the 1973 FSM page RA-10 figure RA-26 showing the shaft components. I capitalized part names from figure RA-26.

1) Clean everything...remove all grease.

2) Spray everything with WD40.

3) Install large washer and snap ring (neither are labeled in figure RA-26) that get installed on the Drive Shaft side of the Sleeve Yoke. This ends up in the middle of the assembly. With these two pieces installed, the Drive Shaft will still slide into the yoke. The purpose of the washer is to limit the spacers / balls from sliding out.

4) Install dust boot onto driveshaft. There are lots of ways to do this but I used wd40 and a socket clamped to a vice to get the boot started. Then, push the boot all the way in and inside out if you can so it is out of the way.

5) Slide the driveshaft into the yoke doing your best to keep the bearing slots aligned...making sure to orient the assembly in the right direction...see figure RA-26.

6) Here is the weird part. Start installing Ball Spacers and Drive Shaft Balls from the YOKE end. This seemed counter intuitive to me but others may think otherwise. Use liberal amount of WD40 (different from what I wrote earlier). Don't let the Drive Shaft move too far into the Yoke. You don't want it to move past the position where the assembly would be the shortest. If you do...Drive Shaft Balls and Ball Spacers fall out. Ask me how I know. I probably did this 10 times before I figured out that I needed to limit how far the Drive Shaft can insert into the Yoke. As I kept adding Drive Shaft Balls and Ball Spacers, I would periodically insert the Drive Shaft Stopper from the Yoke end to push the balls and spacers down farther into the Drive Shaft / Yoke assembly so that I could keep inserting additional Drive Shaft Balls and Ball Spacers.

7) Once all Drive Shaft Balls and Ball Spacers are installed, install the Drive Shaft Stopper (orient correctly) and Snap Ring (this one isn't labeled in figure RA-26).

8- Let WD40 drain.

9) Use the smallest needle attachment for your grease gun you can find and begin injecting grease into the bearing grooves that don't have balls. Move Drive Shaft in and out of the Yoke to distribute grease. Keep doing this until you think the assembly is nicely packed.

10) Pack center and boot with grease and fasten boot.

11) Install Sleeve Yoke Plug and Snap Ring.

Hope this helps.

 

Edited by jonathanrussell
Add instructions from my notes.
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Thanks for the info guys. Maybe I will give your WD40 a try later on Jonathan but right now I'm working with a new set of half shafts I got for 50 euros 🙂  I've already taken them apart (went smooth), cleaned them and painted them yesterday so I will put them together tonight or tomorrow.

I did notice one thing when taking this second set apart. When you try to pull them apart with the x-shaped bearing locking ring at the end of the shaft in place the ball bearings will bind at the top. Probably because they are pushed outwards as the locking ring at the end is picking up grease. With the first set I just used brute force to pull them out this way anyway. Maybe I damaged them myself that way although it is hard to imagen that I'm strong enough to damage these heave duty steel parts.

When you remove the locking ring from the other side the shaft slides out smooth. Maybe another mistake I made was sliding the shaft back in with the x-shapes bearing locking plate in place...

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Agree about sliding the balls out using the x shaped piece.

And, what I have seen get damaged are the plastic spacers. They get cut just a bit and then don't slide so well anymore unless you dress them up by trimming away the cut, sanding a bit, etc.

Best of luck. Let us know how it goes with the new set.

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