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P38 Swivel Hub Adjustment


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Hi All,

In the next few days I will be changing the swivel hub ball joints my P38. Reading the RAVE manual it says the swivel height has to be adjusted. But the procedure says to first fit the upper ball joint nut and tighten, then use the lower adjustment bush to set the height.

How is the height adjusted? it looks like there can be no movement as the upper joint is fixed. It will probably all become apparent when I get it apart, but I would like to understand before I start so I can be sure to have everything I need before starting.

Also how have others set the swivel height? I don't have the LR tool and would expect others wouldn't either given the price!

My plan is to measure gap between the top of the swivel and the bottom of the axle case adjacent to the top ball joint and ensure this is the same after re-assembly.



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Hi Mike, 

I can't answer the first question I'm afraid. I have done this (and apparently successfully!) but I can't remember something that specific. I guess I just followed the manual and it worked. The adjuster collet around the lower ball joint pin is quite a substantial thing, with a fine thread, but how it works I'm afraid I don't know. It must lift the hub carrier, or splay the jaws of the axle a little? ? 

I also agonised a bit about the swivel height (and didn't buy the LR tool!). There was a youtube video I found of a guy who did the same job and bought a length of alu. pipe, sized to fit into the axle, and protrude through the hub carrier. I copied that idea. It's not wonderful, as there's still some movement of the pipe, but if you're careful you can use it to get you close enough to the correct height. 

I say 'close enough' because for a while after doing this job I was paranoid that it wasn't precise enough, and that I'd come back at some point to find an oil leak from one side or the other. It hasn't (yet) so it must have been good enough. 

I can't remember it was that expensive, but I have the length of pipe still. I wouldn't like to give it away in case I ever need to go there again, but I'd be happy to post it to you for a loan. Like I say it was a guide, rather than definitive.


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Hi Northward,

Thanks for the info, had a search on youtube and found the video you mentioned. Thanks for the offer of a loan but I'll be able to come up with something similar with what I have lying around if I need to.

Having got chance to have a go this afternoon as the rain stopped for a few hours, I have got the ball joints out. to say they put up a fight is an understatement!

Now they are out I understand how the adjustment works. The upper ball joint is not a ball joint! It is a parallel sat in a split tapered nylon sleeve, the sleeve is spring loaded to keep it tight around the pin. The pin is free to move up and down when the swivel height is adjusted. I cut the old one open to see how it worked, pictures below.

So I think my idea of measuring the gap between the top of the swivel and the bottom of the axle case adjacent to the top ball joint is valid. They are both flat machined surfaces so I punched the side of the swivel and the axel case so I can measure in the same place when I put it back together. Providing it was correct before disassembly, which I think it was as it all looked original ant the axle seals weren't leaking, it should be OK on re-assembly.








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@MikeAK I knew the top 'ball' joint was spring loaded and wanted to post that, but you beat me to it. Interesting to see the internals!

As for the adjustment, that's just to compensate for manufacturing tolerances when changing the ball joints. If the halfshaft isn't noticeably out of center of the oil seal, all will be fine. Even if it isn't, worse case the seal can start weeping.

Good luck with putting it all back together, usually easier than removal so you're over half way. 😉


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  • 2 weeks later...

On the top ball joint I dismantled it's only the the split tapered nylon sleeve that's spring loaded to keep it snug around the pin. The pin is free to move up and down.

Got it all back together this week. In the end as Escape said, I just adjusted it so that the oil seal flange (or whatever it's called) on the driveshaft was central to the seal recess in the axle case. I think that should be OK, I'll keep an eye on it for the seals leaking.

Took it for MOT and it passed, no advisories. Happy days.


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