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Rear drive clunk!


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Hi all and Happy Easter,

I've at last got time to work through a list of jobs on my 110 CSW 1996. First is to investigate and fix a clunk on taking-up drive. It's been there for all of the last twelve months that the vehicle has been on the road.

When I first purchased it I had to replace the rear half shafts and drive flanges as they were worn down to razor edges. I also worked through UJs on the front prop. but I don't think I have worked on the rear one.

So now to the clunk. I am getting an appreciable movement in the rear prop splines - it's easy to feel and hear it by twisting or by grabbing and moving up/down. (I will have greased it although it now looks dry). So I think that means a new prop.

However I have also popped the covers off the rear wheels and checked under the dust covers. All is nicely greased and there's a very very iittle movement in the flanges. So OK i think.

Whilst underneath I started wondering about the rear diff (Salisbury). Serial number is 39S36984A. I don't know anything about them and so I'm initially "scared" when I find that I can twist the prop and the flange shows "play". I've read threads etc. and people talk about a lot of play between prop and diff - but if a few degrees (10 maybe??) is ok then why doesn't the diff bang and clunk too? Or maybe it does.

So I will change the prop. but what about the rear diff - what further checks can I do? Is the play likely to be at the pinion to crownwheel and if so is the adjustment made with shims to re-locate the pinion further into mesh with the crown wheel in order to take-up wear? Is this a job I can do from the input flange without opening the case - or should I drop the oil, open the case and then look from the rear as well???

Thanks

Tim

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The A frame ball joint is the biggest cause of clunks from the rear.

As yours is a s/w it will have a load leveller, I think these tend to knock the joints out faster and make detecting play harder as they exert a constant load.

Get a bar between the top of the axle and the edge of the joint and check for lift.

Edit, Mo beat me to it.

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Hi Mo and Pat

Yes I have already tried to do that check and yes there is a load leveller.

I have used a bar - well I have a smallish jemmy which is a bit harder to position but I can't find any play. I tried first with the chassis on stands and the axle hanging but thought better of it and put it back down and then tried, assuming that it might be looser.

I also tried to look as I moved the vehicle on the ground to see if there's any axle twist but I can't see any. That's what led me back to the driveline and the prop. - presume you agree that the prop is u/s anyway with that amount of play in the spline??

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Yes by all means change the prop, there should be little if any play in the sliding joint splines.

Park the vehicle on the level, in gear with the hand brake off and look at the diff nose whilst someone rocks the vehicle back and forward against the engine. If the diff nose moves up and down by a noticeable amount the A frame joints gone.

You could get under and feel for the clunk, just make sure there's some chocks or someone in the vehicle in case it comes out of gear.

Being run over by your own Land Rover is no way to die! :o

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Ok thanks I'll try that method and see what it shows. Should have chance tomorrow.

Any chance of getting the advice re the diff as I mentioned at the top? It would help my knowledge even if it turns out not to be the cause this time.

Thanks

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Regarding the Salisbury rear diff, they're strong reliable units and only really suffer if they've been starved of oil.

IMO they need no "in service" adjustment, they work or they need complete overhaul.

For the average diy'er they're not practical to rebuild at home, you need a number of special tools and a thorough understanding of how to set and check the mesh of the crownwheel & pinion.

If you still want to expand your knowledge I suggest you get a copy of the workshop manual and read the section on diff overhaul and then balance that against your own skills/tools/confidence.

I would add there's a bit of an art to building any diff, after setting up, the mesh needs checking with engineers blue. This allows you to see the actual contact point between the gears, it's rarely correct when using a used crownwheel & pinion set. Reading the pattern and doing any subsequent adjustment is where the skill comes in, IMO that skill only comes with experience.

At best you may end up with a whining diff at worst you could wreck the whole thing.

Hope that's useful.

Edit, Land Rovers have a shocking amount of slop in the transmission as standard, don't get paranoid!

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Check the tightness of the bolts that hold the propshaft to the diff input-flange, and also the bolts that hold the prop to the transmission-brake.

A periodic "click" from my 90 when pulling away (and sometimes when releasing the footbrake after applying the handbrake so the vehicle rolled slightly forwards/backwards until stopped by the handbrake) went away once I'd tightened said bolts to the recommended torque.

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Been out to try to check the A frame ball joint with SWMBO and we can't see any play.. No nodding diff. So I will definitely change the prop due to the spline wear - that's got to be done - but before I undo, I will check for tightness as you suggest Tanuki.

At the same time as doing this, I'm replacing the sill channels, 2nd row heel upstand and possibly the crossmember that sits under it (although that has been changed sometime since 1996 I can see). Already got the 2nd row floor up and the seat brackets off.

Although I don't need to, I might remove the rear floor and that will help with the A frame. The bushes on it haven't been changed and as I have changed all others front and back, maybe I should do them and the ball whilst I can.

Thanks for the help with the diff - and yes that's what I thought. I have rebuilt a series gearbox but there's only one measurement in that! The Ashcroft YouTube video of a diff re-build is good but I really don't want to go diy rebuild unless I have to!

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Regarding the load leveller - I have the chance whilst it's off the road to remove this and go for a new ball joint in the conventional manner. If I do get rid, what's people's thoughts about the springs?

The current set-up (110 CSW) rides very well (except for the clunk which might not be the ball joint!). I use the vehicle for long-haul road trips (camping) with some gravel roads but no serious off-roading. I don't tow big trailers or carry heavy loads.

Would I get the same ride quality without the load leveller and new springs - and which springs would I need? Currently have 12 month old Monroe shocks and I assume the springs are originals.

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I replaced the rear springs and (tired) load leveller on my 97 CSW with a pair of RKB101111 springs (std TD5 fitment) If I were doing it now I think I'd go for the Puma CSW RKB500300 (these are the LandRover options). I find the 101111 a bit stiff, the ride totally unladen is a bit hard , but it smoothes out with a small load. I think the newer ones are bit more progressive.

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Thanks, interesting - those Puma ones aren't something I would have seen or known about. If they are as soft as the current set-up then maybe it would be the way to go.

They are available from Paddocks with a Britpart label on them but stating OEM and at lrseries at considerably higher price as a Genuine part. Couldn't see them on Paddocks until I used your part number. I wonder what a dealer would quote?

I'd need to remove the A frame etc, replace the bushes, buy a new ball in the normal adapter thing. Then fit the springs by letting the axle hang down far enough to pull them out?

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Try...https://www.lrdirect.com/RKB500300-Spring-Rear/?sfi=rkb500300&keep_https=yes . I think you'd get the springs in OK even with the A frame connected if you undo the bottom damper nuts, and did them one a time, at worst you'd need a wee bit of spring compression. I think I'd go with the official parts, other suppliers springs may have different rates. Or another alternative is to leave your existing springs and get the load leveller type of air helpers, but I have no experience of those. Rates are rkb101111 dual rate 270/420 lb/in (purple/brown) , rkb500300 triple rate 269/315/406 lb/in (green/green/white), so not a huge difference, I did consider changing but I have better things to waste money on at the moment. Apart from that there is OME and suchlike, talking to Gwyn Lewis would be a good start on that route.

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IMO the most comfortable set up is what you have now. However the self leveller can fail, it has it's own ball joints that can knock as well as the A frame joint and it's a bit wallowy.

If you change the rear springs for anything stiffer, dump the self leveller, it's only there because standard sw springs are quite soft and it will hinder rather than help if left on.

The later dual or tri rate rear springs make an excellent choice and can be had in good used condition from ebay or any of the sortouts.

I've said it before, but it's possible upgrade your suspension successfully for very little money.

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Great replies thanks.

Been a little distracted as my dad is 89 today and going strong :D His brother is 90 today too so more distractions at the wend.

Whilst thinking about the ball joint I have also started work on replacing the two sill channels and the under 2nd row seat crossmember. Got both old channels off by drilling out the spot welds at B & C pillars and managed to cut the bolts at the bottom of A. Bit of a job that! Should I start at thread? Not sure if that is "picture documented" anywhere.

The YRM replacements are here and I've been fettlin' the bottom of the C pillar on the nearside.

Also seen stuff that confirms a chassis change is needed after the summer. It will have to wait till then as got to get back on the road soon as the ferry to Bilbao is booked for May for a trip around Iberia.

One thing, if you are losing the Boge strut, I think you don't need to change the bit in the A frame; the attachment just isn't used.

Ok on that - I see what you mean - although that would mean pressing the old ball out and the new one in, which some are saying is a right pain.

IMO the most comfortable set up is what you have now. However the self leveller can fail, it has it's own ball joints that can knock as well as the A frame joint and it's a bit wallowy.

If you change the rear springs for anything stiffer, dump the self leveller, it's only there because standard sw springs are quite soft and it will hinder rather than help if left on.

The later dual or tri rate rear springs make an excellent choice and can be had in good used condition from ebay or any of the sortouts.

I've said it before, but it's possible upgrade your suspension successfully for very little money.

I think that's the way to go.

I might manage without altering the leveller and springs until the chassis change now. At that point it will be a whole lot easier to do it. However I'll be changing the prop for the reason mentioned earlier and report back once its mobile. At that point I'll know if the clunk is the prop or the A frame!

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I have two Boge struts in the garage. One has been reconditioned, but has spat all of its oil out - it may just need refilling. I put new ball joints and gaitors on that when i re-fitted it. The other was potentially working, perhaps partially, when i removed it. I couldnt keep messing around with them, so i fitted the TD5 progressive springs that are mentioned above.

If you want my two struts, even if just for parts, then they are yours for the price of postage. They will be off to the tip otherwise as i need the room.

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I have two Boge struts in the garage. One has been reconditioned, but has spat all of its oil out - it may just need refilling. I put new ball joints and gaitors on that when i re-fitted it. The other was potentially working, perhaps partially, when i removed it. I couldnt keep messing around with them, so i fitted the TD5 progressive springs that are mentioned above.

If you want my two struts, even if just for parts, then they are yours for the price of postage. They will be off to the tip otherwise as i need the room.

That's very kind of you but I think that what'll happen is that I hold off for now, hope the clunk is caused by the prop., wait 'til I do the chassis and at that point probably the best would be to change the springs to the new type and loose the Boge.

Of course if the clunk is still there then it's balls :lol:

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That's very kind of you but I think that what'll happen is that I hold off for now, hope the clunk is caused by the prop., wait 'til I do the chassis and at that point probably the best would be to change the springs to the new type and loose the Boge.

Of course if the clunk is still there then it's balls :lol:

No problem. Using the progressive springs is probably the best option in the long run. The leveller does provide a nice ride when it is working, but with the fact they fail, combined with the fact that noone seems to be able to successfully recondition them, its probably not a thing to stick with. Most seem to have ditched them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

First drive for a few weeks.

Completed replacement of both sill channels, 2nd row cross member, 2nd row upstand to rear floor.

Also changed all oils and filters

Had a very small pit in swivel chrome exactly where the seal sits when wheels are straight ahead - filled with devcon and now leak free.

Best of all, fitted a new prop (Hardy Sp) to rear and the clunk has gone! At least I think it has but I have realised that I have been protecting it as I change gear and it's really hard to not do that! Just drove 12 miles or so but it feels good!

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Try...https://www.lrdirect.com/RKB500300-Spring-Rear/?sfi=rkb500300&keep_https=yes . I think you'd get the springs in OK even with the A frame connected if you undo the bottom damper nuts, and did them one a time, at worst you'd need a wee bit of spring compression. I think I'd go with the official parts, other suppliers springs may have different rates. Or another alternative is to leave your existing springs and get the load leveller type of air helpers, but I have no experience of those. Rates are rkb101111 dual rate 270/420 lb/in (purple/brown) , rkb500300 triple rate 269/315/406 lb/in (green/green/white), so not a huge difference, I did consider changing but I have better things to waste money on at the moment. Apart from that there is OME and suchlike, talking to Gwyn Lewis would be a good start on that route.

Just a heads up for anyone going down the route of AirLift bags inside the rear springs. I have them on my 110 and they are ideal for my purposes, loading up with gear and adjusting the rear end by adding air (although adding air first THEN putting weight in). Or running with less air and no load. Works fine.

However..and its a big however...there is a problem that has emerged which apparently AirlIft are aware of - the installation set-up from bottom to top is a nylon 'seat' for the bag to sit on, the bag itself, then a plastic 'plug' that sits at the top inside the spring that is chamfered and the upper, narrower bit of it sticks through the hole in the spring hanger. This top plug has a hole in it and a slot on top to lead the air hose through from the bag.

Problem is the plugs are too pliable and are being forced up out of the top hole in the spring hanger, impacting the underside of the load bed, and pinching the air pipes. Although I routed my pipes out sideways the upper plugs can rotate in the spring and the pipes then end up getting chafed. Biggest problem though is that the plug could pop right through the hole although it would need to turn on edge to do this, but mine are not far off doing that. I've had to reduce the air pressure and hammer the pug back down into the spring several times.

A fix is supposed to be on the way (according to Matt Savage who supplied my bags) but no idea when it will arrive. In the meantime I've cut a pair of spare plugs square on top to fit a square hole in a 3mm metal plate, which will fit between the spring and the spring hanger and should prevent the plug popping through. Need to fit them this week (waiting for a new jack to arrive).

So be aware if you have these already or are intending to buy soon.

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