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Land Rover Rear Axle - Removal and Repairs

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Hello All,

It was requested of me that I do a Pic n Words for the work carried out below.

In simple terms the rear axle on the 90 was "Worn Out". The main reasons were :

HUGE "CLUNK" as pulling away from stationary - Many will say this is the A Frame ball joint - often the case - but not so on this problem, I had recently replaced the Ball joint and it went away for a while - then returned again, just as bad.

When this happens its the actual taper in the casing that has worn away forming an oval, once this haoppens it wears the ball joint V fast, I also had trouble getting the ball joint tight, as the wear meant the taper dropped furter down and I ran out of "threads" to tighten onto, even a big VERY thick washer only gave me 2 days use at the recent MWWCE, then on leaving the site to go home "CLUNK" again :(

Also the shock absorber holes had gone oval on the axle, plus the Mounting for the spring plates had rusted and started to collapse, all in all a new casing was required, this post shows both how to remove the axle, strip to main components, and reassemble and replace axle.

The axle being replaced is a "EFI" Axle, sort of "Mid Range" age wise, the "Earlier" casing have shocks facing alternate ways - 1 forwards and 1 backwards, with other minor changes, My current one from around 1986 onwards -often known as a "Imperial casing" as opposed to "early" casing, or as it was being replaced with - a much later "metric Casing".

Some of the differences will become apparent later on :( well they did for me.

Before we start, some notes to bear in mind re my Rea Axle, as it is not "As Standard", there are some modifications which once you know about will make the artcle make more sense even if yours is a standard axle.

The axle has :

Ashcroft Halfshaft Drive Flanges, Ashcroft HD Rear Half Shafts 24 spline type, (a casing as is on the 90 at the moment would have 10 spline shafts) ARB 24 Spline Diff in "Metric Casings" with Pegged CW&P (in simple terms a diff is a diff and this is only being removed and refitted - it just "loks" a tad different to a normal standard diff.

The suspension has raised home made top shock mounts, and procomp +5 shock absorbers, longer rear brake hose, homemade axle breather (Green line) and then the ARB Air line to the diff (Blue). I also throw away the mud shields traps fitted by LR on axles that are the sheild behind the disc, these are not on the old axle coming off nor the new one going on !

My springs are "Fixed" on the chassis turret, and "Dislocate" on the axle - as such I have relocation triangles on the axle, where a std on will have the springs connected to the axle

The current axle on it was a "Combo" of metric stubs and hubs and EFI casing - some bits are very slightly different, but you would need to have it shown to you - in general terms they look the same :( until you try to mate them up....


Away we go

The previous evening undo the drain plug under the diff hosing and let it drain overnight into a container, there will still be plenty of oil left on stripping to make a real mess

1st I did this in the garage, this was because I was very unsure as to if this would be a straight swap, it wasn't, so this way I could close the garage door on the entire shambles and walk away from it (Grumpy) till I got the bits I neded or the tweaks to get it all back together.

1st thing to do :

Loosen EVERYTHING in the area whilst it is all held together - ie wheel nuts, Half shaft drive flanges, A Frame ball joint, rear radius arms to axle, radius arms to chassis, rear caliper to axle casing bolts, diff to propshaft bolts and nuts, and anything else that you think is easy just to "Crack" now, than to try on a loose unit rolling around on the floor.

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Then, jack in up, and in my case place 2 F HUGE axle stands under the chassis, make sure these are well and truly level, secure and shake the 4x4 to make sure of this, you are going to be under neath it a LOT and tugging on thing so be very very sure.

Get a bucket / tin and fill with cleaning fluid / petrol etc, as you pull the lump apart throw the nuts bolts washer flanges etc in so as to "Soak" they can almost come out clean sometimes ! - saves hours later....

Now remove both the rear wheels, and then rear radius arms, have trolley jacks under both sides of the axle, and as I am flash a third under the diff,

It will now start to become more and more unstable, so work around with care - I aways like to get the axle on the ground ASAP - its a heavy bit of kit, so all work now it to speed its safe drop to the floor. With 2x of you it is much quicker and easier, I was working on my own, and did not wnat a axle "Nipping" me :lol:

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Also then remove the propshaft from the diff, Air line to the ARB, Breather line (Green) and then place the bolt back in the hole to keep dirt out, hang the pipework up out of the way.

I was also reopalcing the bushes on the radius arms to the axle and also to the chassis, I have tried Polybushes - see below why after less than 1 years use I won't be using them anymore - anyone for a part used Polybush :(

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Hmmm...these are replaced with genuines pushed into the radius arms by a mate and placed on one side for later reassembly, Frankly I am disgusted with polybush, and having spoken to a few peole re these they are basically "junk" don't waste you money as I did.

OK, Onwards.

Remove the fittings on the base of both shockers, and let shockers drop and push back out of the way

Remove the 2 brake pipes that run across the top of the casing, I find it easier to undo at the T Piece, and plug with the 2x plugs to stop fluid going everywhere, these are basically brake pipe unions, that I have welded up solid, this way you can plug the T up, then remove the T from the Diff Bolts (T is mounted on a shaped plate) and not have to struggle with the Piggin awkward flexi pipe....I am not a great lover of Special Tools, but a proper brake spanner stops you beautifully rounding off those unions :)

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Now, your just about there - lower the axle.

It is however still held on with the A Frame Ball joint, with the axles underneath lower the jacks just a tad, Undo and remove nut on ball joint then with a big copper mallet belt the joint on the a frame, often you'll hear a "BANG" as it lets go, and the whole axle drops a tad, but the trolley jacks hold it in place rather than the whole unit smashing to the floor and damaging discs etc.

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The carefully lower all the jacks a little at the time till the unit is on safe ground to continue to strip.

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Now you can attack the casing, I needed to remove my relaoctors, and as you can see the seat has started to collapse

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Place a trolley jack under on side and then remove brake caliper, pull off the Drive flange, Half shaft, and this leaves you looking at the hub lock tabs, one should be bent in over the inner nut, and on bent out locking the outer nut. Outer nut 1st, pry the lock tab off it, I do then have a Socket big enough to fit and then I just undo it. NOTE many people use a cold chisel and hammer, smacking the nut about but making gouges in the nut, this is very poor pratise and the nut will then have a lump which interferes later with a the seating smoothly on the assemble, making wheel bearing set ups a mess and not very good. I file off any of these so that the nut faces are smooth both sides, then they are easy to set up. Get a big (Cheap) box spanner, makes doing the job much easier and you get better wheel bearing adjustments .

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Then, Remove both nuts and lock tab, and then if as I have pull out the face thrust washer that sits on the wheel bearing outer. I run Oil in the hubs, so you may find if you have grease hubs (bad idea IMHO) that you have dowty washers and seals etc, but the process is similar, if you wnat to convert to oil then trow the dowty stuff in the bin and replace with this big "Washer"

Then place your thumb over the end of the hub (stops the bearing falling out :lol:) and "PUll" the entire hub assemble will come away, place immeaditely away from the work area on a clean surface as dirt will get in there otherwise and then you are into cleaning it out :). the stub shaft is then removed by undoing the ring of bolts, and the bolts, as Ring and then the stub come off. Store the correct stub with the correct Hub, best not to mix them up.

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When you have done both sides, then the diff can be undone and removed, undo the ring of nuts and throw them away, always use new, and they are 3/8 UNF.

Then grab the diff and pull up, have a clean cloth so you can pop in down immediately (its F heavy) and again this can be wrapped up moved and will stay clean, you will be amazed (but not delighted) to find out otherwise how cr*p can jump onto oil surfaces such as diffs etc. Also take a few moments before pulling on the diff, to scrap off the excess go and cr*p off the outside casing then maybe blow with an airline, this way when you go to put back together in that O so clean casing etc that when you move your grip for a "Better" grip you don't then see a lump of some fall in just as the diff pops in the casing.....

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So, you now have a bench fllor and back of Landy full of bits..... :) now the fun part.

Grab ones new casing - in this case for me BRAND NEW (courtesy of a very kind mate), note this is a late metric casing, and these apparently have a stronger Taper unit, compare pics !, I place this where the old casing was having clean up the diff area, plugged up the casing ends with cloth to stop ingress of dirt, and clean out the inside threads and other areas around the diff with brake cleaner. Note that on secondhand casings the threads that the diff locates onto can wear as they get done up time after time to the same area, these can easily be replaced but knocking out and replacing. These ones are all new. Also be aware that a Imperial casing is different to a Metric casing, imperial casing have a mixture of short and long studs Dependant on location as the thickness of the diff case varies, on metric casings the studs are all long ones as the diff casing is the same thickness all over, therefore a metric diff will not go into an imperial casing unless you swpa the short studs for long ones.

For this event I have taken the advice of a knowledgeable mate who does this for a living and thrown away the diff gasket. Instead I am using the proper LR special gasket and "Glueing" it in completely, time will tell, he does this now as std to LR and hsi racer, and says it is far better and doesn't ever leak, it is however "A Challenge" to get it all apart in the future, so fingers crossed.

As such small couple of 3 mm beads as run around the casing, new nuts placed ready to do the diff up, the diff then picked up and gently eased onto the studs which point up, then loosely do the nuts up progressively to FT Setting :lol: - thats what he said, not leave it alone as there are other things you can be doing whilst it all "Goes Orf" :) make sure you put the T piece Brake bracket on before doing everything up :)

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Now reassemble the Relocators to each side, and also I replaced both the A Frame arms with new bushes, and as you can see a new ball joint was ready, DO NOT use a worn ball joint in an unworn casing it will wreck it double quick time ! Also the reloctors on the metric casings do not have nuts welded to the base plates so nuts and bolts replace just the bolts into captive nuts on EFI Axle.

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Now, jiggle the casing plus diff onto the trolley jack, we now need to get this relocated into safety and secure, jack up the casing bit by bit, 1st is to get the A Frame ball joint on it with the nut, then the radius arms each side, its tricky but take you time and it will go together !

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Then replace the Stub axles having cleaned them up and the ring and locktite in the bolts, do up criss cross style, and work up till tight.


Do this on both sides, then the Hubs. As you can see the hubs on mine were "Ok" but showing signs of a little oil, as such I do replace these whenever I have them off. I use the ealier seal RTC 3511 which works well with the oil hubs conversion, a double lipped seal which seems to last better than the later one. I also have a special CARTOOL LR Hub replacer, saves hours of messing about and damaged seals. Just remove the old seal, place the new on on the tool, place over the hub and whack with hammer, remove and the seal in is at the correct hight and without fuss, then load the hub on to the stub shafts grease the seal area and put the big washer and one nut on to hold in place. Bang flat again the tab washers, if they split or show signs of stretching throw them away, there are different types in different casing dependant on you stub axles.

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The calipers were a PITA - Imerial bolts now Metric and bigger, I had to ream the bolt holes slightly bigger, then the calipers fitted on both sides, and the brake pipes reconnected

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Reconnect the Propshaft etc, and then put the wheels on, I then drove it outside to finsih


The reason for this is to set the wheel bearings properly I do it via the wheel on as well, this way you have more to grab and waggle and feel for slack.

The way I do mine is to adjust the bearing outer nut tight, then back off and retighten "A Bit", then place the lock tab on, and then the 2nd nut, and spin, if "Ok" then I tighten the outer nut with the socket V FT, then recheck, often the tightening of the outer nut does tend to move and therefore retighten up the inner nut "A Tad" so I then recheck, once I am happy then bend the lock tabs in and out and fit the outer drive flange and half shaft with thread lock, do both sides and then its nearly job done

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Get underneath and tighten all the bolts up one last time (except the diff to casing) the radius arm bolts need to be super tight as do A Frame ball joints and diff to prop and handbrake, radius to chassis etc etc.

Then fill with EP90, and let settle (oil hubs will need a small top up after a short run around as the oil works into the hubs and therefore level may drop a tad), park up, and check for tightness again, esp the A Frame ball joint, fit new split pin and jobs done


Hope you all find this usefull


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Very good Nige ………………. So this weeks aftershave is Eau de EP…….. it doesn’t matter how much you shower, wash, bath, or change your clothes, that sweet disgusting smell of the EP hangs around for a good while………. :rolleyes:

It looks bling with the new case ……………..when are you fitting the UV lights underneath ?…....... :lol:

For me points worthy of note are the poly bushes …………. I went back to OEM rubber some time ago due to similar reasons, although the cheaper orange (no, no , that just the colour) deflex bushes seem to last a far while longer than the more expensive original Polybush.

The other point is the axle seals……………… how long had they been in there ? looks to me like the sandy site driving (grinding paste) in your area has taken its toll………

So how long will the old case sit in the garden until your are ‘forced’ to remove it ? :hysterical:



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Nice job, Nige. I particularly like the seal tool - I might have to get myself one!

FYI, the gasket glue is a bit of a PITA to get off but its not terrible. Its just a case of smack diff, wiggle diff, push stanley blade in between diff and casing and finally lever off carefully with a screw driver. That's what'd been used to put my diffs in when the ARBs were done and when I came to remove them for servicing and pegging after 3 years there were no leaks. I'll be going back to the stuff as the gaskets aren't anywhere near as good.

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Nige, this is good and as my axle is of similar vintage to your old one of much interrest.

I gather you were running the old casing (imperial) with metric stub axles and hubs but imperial calipers. Are the stub axle retaining bolts common to both imperial and metric casings?

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Beyond belief Landrover weridness :lol:

The old casing was EFI casing but I was somewhat "Stunned" to find

diff bolts are 3/8unf

Calipers are Gawd knows what but not metric and I don't think UNF poss BSF ?,

and the stub shaft bolts were M12 ?

WTF :huh:

How do LandRover manage to do such weridness :lol:

So the late metric casing means I have :

Yep still diff at 3/8 unf,

calipers now go to M12 but with a F 12 sided bolt head cos there isn't room for a 6 sided bolt head ( Itried :angry: )

and Metric M12 stubs as with a EFI Axle

Madness :blink:

I had Metric ABS Stubs and bits to go 24 spine and ARB etc, these are Narrower Stubs so the wheel bearing setting needs to be carefully (even for me) set :lol:



Oh Yeah Ian..........................

Finished jobbie

3x Good heavy duty handwashes with "Manista Stinky Ornage gritty stuff" so skin good and red, then fairy liquid washing up liquid scrub up, V hot bath much bubble bath (scented) and hands in and soaked (unless drinking Lager :lol:), then went to bed.

Hands smelt perfectly fine.

Cuddled up and hands warmed up under the bedclothes, a voice said "Oh Gawd" I said "Never tounched you" voice said "No and you won't either - you STINK of gear Oil :huh: "

Sniffed me warm hands - shes right :lol:

Kin old EP90 does seem to "hang in there" Dunnit ? :lol:


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Cheers Nige. I'll probably be changing one of my stub axles before too long and I'd also like to get some metric hubs on it too to get some consistency back into the drive members (which I've had to modify to fit imperial hubs).

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