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Replacing a series broken halfshaft.


Les Henson
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If you are unlucky enough to break a halfshaft, then this thread is how to remove the broken bits, and replace with a new half shaft. Failure of the shaft is characterised by a loud bang from the axle, accompanied by loss of drive to the rear wheels.

Unless you have specialist tools, you will need to remove the remains of the broken shaft, the halfshaft on the opposite side, and then the differential assembly (Rover axle). Salisbury axles (LWB only) are easier to do, but this example is a Rover axle - fitted to a 1980 SWB S3. It's normally the short side that snaps - due to it's inability to twist and absorb shocks as much as it's opposite number, which is quite abit longer. No need to even remove the wheels to do this either, and you can even do it without raising the vehicle. The differential is quite heavy, so I raise one corner as high as possible.

Park on a level surface and apply 4WD. Drivers side rear - the hub area may well be dirty, and as you are going to expose the wheel bearings - clean as best you can first.

There are 6 x 5/8" (15mm) bolts, slacken them.

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Prise off the hub cap, remove the split pin that retains the castellated centre nut, and slacken it a couple of turns.

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Remove the 6 bolts, and the driveshaft will pull out of the axle.

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The broken shaft end. The remaining 25mm or so is still in the differential.

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Undo the castellated nut and remove it - along with the steel and then the felt washer.

The parts that I will be re-using. The split pin should be replaced if it's broken or damaged, and the felt washer should be replaced as well (I couldn't get one). The drive flange should be a snug fit on the end of the driveshaft, if the splines look damaged, or the fit is loose, then you may consider it worthwhile to replace at the same time. They are anly about £12.

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The other driveshaft has to be removed - to enable the differential to be removed, and also to check that the splined end is ok as well.

Just remove the 6 bolts and remove it from the axle.

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Now raise the vehicle on the drivers side and support with an axle stand or similar - under the spring plate is good.

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The drain plug can either be 1/2 recessed hole, or a brass slotted plug. The former can be undone with a 1/2" drive ratchet with no socket, and the latter with the edge of a 'C' spanner. Place a suitable container under the axle housing, wire brush around the plug, and then remove it and let the axle oil drain out.

Use a propshaft tool or a couple of 9/16" (14mm) spanners to remove the prop bolts.

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Parts you will need - replacement driveshaft (£12 for drivers side), plus two drive flange gsakets and differential housing gasket.

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There are 10x9/16" nuts that hold the differential to the axle casing - remove 10 nuts completely, and then just slacken one at the top and one at the bottom.

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Lever the differential assembly out as far as the two loose nuts will allow - more oil will come out of the gasket joint. Leave it to drain for a few minutes.

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Remove the two remaining nuts and then lift the differential assembly out of the axle case.

This is very heavy, so be careful.

The differential - you can see the broken piece of halfshaft inside it.

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Poke the broken bit through from the opposite side with a straightenend wire coat hanger or similar item - it should come out fairly easily.

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Clean the inside of the axle casing - making sure there are no fragments of metal inside. Clean also the gasket face and sit a new gasket on the studs. Note it has to go on the way shown. The two cut outs are for the crownwheel to fit inside the casing.

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Refit the differential, re-attach the prop, fit the flange to the new driveshaft, and put both driveshafts back in their respective sides - using new gaskets. Re-fit the axle drain plug, then clean around and then remove the filler/level plug. Re-fill the axle with EP80/90 gear oil, and lower the vehicle to the ground.

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The drivehsafts will not just slide in - you will have to fiddle with them a bit to get them to splide into the differential.

The differential is very heavy and awkward - be careful it doesn't fall on you.

This is a very messy job - greatly reduced if you wait for the oil to drain down both from the plug, and by using the method of leaving two nuts on the studs and letting the remainder drain out of the gasket joint.

the 6 drive flage bolts should have spring washers on - make sure they are ok and replace if necessary. These bolts have a habit of coming undone. I also use threadlock.

There's a magnetic tool available from X-Eng that prevents the need for removing the opposite driveshaft and differential assembly. You only need to remove the broken driveshaft side, and then the broken bit that's inside the differential can be removed easily. To do the job by the method I have shown will take a couple of hours. If you have the magnetic tool it will take about 20-minutes.

Les. :)

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