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Check Your Props


Retroanaconda
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Recently my 90 has developed a bit of a squeak underneath, not being new to the game I suspected a propshaft UJ was on it's way out and lo and behold I found the upper (transfer box end) UJ on the front prop had a small amount of play. No biggie I thought, I'll get a new one and fit it soon. Done it plenty of times before so no bother.

In the last week the squeak got a lot worse, people would turn in the street to look as I went past sounding like an aviary. The new UJs are due in a couple of days, but I thought I'd better have another look just in case. This is what I found:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qb3Lo2Zo8AI

(Sorry about the appalling phone video quality, but you get the idea)

Suffice to say, I was shocked! This was the other UJ, on the diff end, and I had completely missed it upon my first inspection a week or two earlier. This one can't have been far off letting go, at which point I would have had a very heavy 24" steel tube flying around under the car doing untold damage.

Unfortunately this is the sort of discovery where you can't really drive the vehicle afterwards. Luckily for me my 110 being off the road means that I basically have a whole vehicle to rob spares of in times of need, so I took the very nice front prop of that and put it on the 90 (they're both 200Tdi cars of around the same age so the same front prop). The 90's busted one has no wear in the splined shaft itself, so I will replace the UJs in it and give it a rebuild/repaint and then it can be a spare.

Moral of the story, get under your Land Rover often and check the basics! Check for (major) leaks, and loose/worn items in the steering and transmission. Especially the props, they spin round very fast...and you won't want one letting go.

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I have found that greasing them can lead to demise shortly afterwards. I put this down to the grease pushing dirt in old UJs to where it causes more catastrophic wear. Worth checking a few days after greasing.

Lucky you caught that though :unsure:

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I had one fail (at the gearbox end) and all it needed was a (rapid) coast down to stop with no other damage done. They tend to fail under heaviest load (makes sense) so when you're accelerating hardest, in the lowest gear, and so going slowly. I'm not suggesting it's good news when they let go, but it didn't kill me. ph34r.gif

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I greased and checked mine a couple of weeks back whilst under it doing the waxoyl touch-up.

but a lady who has her horses at the farm had a different and nearly very expensive experience:

she came in to farm last week in her disco 2, asked if i knew about cars as she had a worrying vibration through the steering, reluctantly i said i'd check it for safetys sake.

drove it up and down the lane and around the yard a few times and there was indeed a very nasty vibration accompanied by a harsh metal-on-metal grating noise. i checked the brakes, had a quick look under it but couldn't see anything obviousley wrong, so based on the vibration told her to get it checked as soon as possible.

just as she started the car and moved a few feet there was a loud crack/bang/rattle.

i shouted at her to turn it off and looked underneath....

....to find the UJ had completely disintegrated and had shattered into several bits and was now hanging off, there were clear wear marks where it had been grinding away due to lack of lubrication and wear.

i explained (and i think she realised) how lucky she'd been that it hadn't happened on the road at speed, and fortunately for her she's in the RAC who came to the yard the next day and fitted her a new prop.

Moral of the story? listen to Mr Anaconda and check your prop! :)

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been there done that, with 3 props now ( 2 of them shortly after greasing funnily enough)

2 of the props were complete catastrophic failure, destroyed my floor panels and tunnel once, and the second time ripped the whole wiring loom from the front to the back apart....

the weird thing is, the first one, i forgot to grease, however the other two, i religeously greased because of the first one!

now im so so paranoid, as soon as i feel a shake i brace myself for impact!! :lol:

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I have found that greasing them can lead to demise shortly afterwards. I put this down to the grease pushing dirt in old UJs to where it causes more catastrophic wear. Worth checking a few days after greasing.

Lucky you caught that though :unsure:

most likely because needle rollers were missing and the grease you pump in forces the needles to miss-align and push there way out ;)

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They tend to fail under heaviest load (makes sense) so when you're accelerating hardest, in the lowest gear, and so going slowly. I'm not suggesting it's good news when they let go, but it didn't kill me. ph34r.gif

Not necessarily - I have seen a few that have let go at speed and they (can) do an awesome amount of damage. Floor in the footwell touching the pedals, exhaust - what exhaust? brake pipes etc etc :o

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I had one go on the A3 50mph uphill accelerating in 4th.

Ithe knuckle cracked on the transfer end - the slider part flew across the road and god knows where it ended up, the rest was going round and round, it twatted the floor and kicked up a laod of dust, then got caught in the wiring which held it in place until I had slowed.

Nice.

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I have found that greasing them can lead to demise shortly afterwards. I put this down to the grease pushing dirt in old UJs to where it causes more catastrophic wear.

I find that a bold statement; Millions of uj are produced with that nipple on it, and now you are stating that using the grease nipple is a bad thing.

I reckon that the failure in that vid is the result of grease hardening up, causing blockage in the feed holes. The big problem with the design of U/j is that there is one feed point for 4 bearings; and inevatebly, the grease is going to find the path with the least resistance, and more often than not you end up greasing one or two bearings.

My trick of greasing them is to use a g clamp to clamp one set of bearings, so no grease can go that path and is forced to go the other path. If it still only greases one bearing, you can force the uj in the opposite direction with a crow bar to close of that path and grease the offending bearing. And generally keep greasing untill fresh grease comes out. I also use the blue coloured grease, as it doesn't harden up as much. I dont recall replacing a u/j in the last 5 years.

Daan

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I had a rear prop let go just after I had fitted new UJ's and was giving it a test run up my road, liitle bit of vibration then...BANG! I put it down to one of the circlips not having clicked properly into place like I thought it had. I always make sure now that the circlips can be pushed around with a small screwdriver within their housing to make sure that they are settled in correctly.

On the subject of frequency of replacing UJ's I think it depends more on how much offroad work is done with the vehicle that shortens the life of them but as a precaution I always grease my UJ's and prop before offroading.

Always used normal grease before, but now have some of the blue JCB stuff to try.Anyone else used this and had better results?

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I used to get thro front prop UJ's at a scary rate (tend to sound like someone has let a budgie loose in the cab!), wasn't the UJ's thatwere the problem. It was the exhaust headers (run a V8 with tubular manifolds). In traffic (no cooling airflow) the heat fronm the collector pipes was simply boiling the grease out of UJ, £40 worth of insulating wrap cured that, so worth looking at the proximity of the exhaust to the prop.

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