Sunday, April 7, 2013

Half Shaft Rebuild, Part I

I'm working on the half shafts, ready to rebuild them.  I went in with some buddies on a 20-ton shop press and bought some u-joints with grease zerks from a Pantera parts vendor.  I found out later that Steve Wilkinson actually manufactures the joints and the joints are labeled "PPUSA" for Pantera Parts USA, which is his corporation name.
If I had it to do over, I would have purchased the U-joints from Steve.  I anticipate that the rebuild will cost $250 in parts and plating.  Re-balancing has crossed my mind.  If you know you need re-balancing and don't have a press, then the next best thing would be to call Steve Wilkinson and order his already-rebuilt versions for $225 per side.  If you need a press anyway, then this task may be just as expensive.  I want to rebuild my car; I could have bought a good car for the same money but what fun is that?

You should first clean the half-shafts of grease as much as possible.  I de-greased, soaked in WD40, and pressure-washed mine.  Even then, you can't get all the grease out until the halves are separated.   The halves are balanced and there is an inside and an outside orientation of every part, save the U-joints.  Proper reassembly is crucial for not only balance but also for proper fit-up.  Using a Dremel and cut-off wheel, I have cut small locator marks in low-stress areas to aid reassembly.  Using a large pair of channel-locks and a pipe wrench, I un-screwed the nut that assembles each side together.  There is still considerable grease in the sliding splined area, so be prepared to de-grease again using your favorite process.  I think brake cleaner is wonderful stuff with greasy bare-metal parts since it leaves no residue and blasts all grease right away.  

One of my half-shafts has a small cup welded in at the back of the female splined yoke, probably to minimize grease that will fling around in the engine bay.

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