Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Pulled the propshaft on my ’88 Spider (in order to remove and repair the gearbox), and found some problems with the driveline components that I am working to correct. I thought I would start a thread to share photographs of my propshaft removal and rebuild project, and to solicit answers to my questions along the way. Some of my methods may not be ideal or follow the shop manual to a “T”, but I'm hoping that a few will find this thread useful. And if it looks like I’m doing (or have done) something incorrectly, please chime in. I need to learn from this exercise too.

1. Raise the car and place on jack stands.

2. Remove the tie bar. The heat shield covers three of the six bolts that secure the tie bar. The manual says to bend the heat shield back to access the hidden tie bar bolts, but when I did that, the white asbestos coating on the underside began to break and fall off in chunks, so I stopped bending it and just unscrewed the entire heat shield. Then I was able to easily unbolt and remove the tie bar.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Mark the components

3. Mark the prop shaft components. They are balanced at the factory so they need to go back in exactly the same orientation (to each other) when re-assembled.

Before starting to unbolt the shafts, I marked all the flanges with a white paint pen, but later, after the whole driveline was off the car, I realized that my paint marks were beginning to rub off (because they were placed on top of grease).

I decided to stamp small letters into the metal at the paint marks, which is what I should have done in the first place, because just cleaning the parts removes any painted markings.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Remove rear flange bolts

4. Put the car in neutral and release the emergency brake. This allows the shafts to turn so there is access to all of the rear flange bolts.

5. Remove the four bolts holding the two rear flanges together at the differential. I had a bit of trouble loosening these M9x1.25 nyloc nuts and bolts. Due to a lack of clearance, I couldn’t get a socket or box wrench on either side. So after applying liberal amounts of Liquid Wrench to the bolts and nuts over a few days, I arranged the open ends of a pair of long-handled 13mm combo wrenches like plier handles on each bolt/nut set and squeezed. NOTE: Be careful when removing the last bolt – if the two flanges want to come apart easily, the rear shaft section will drop (and it is HEAVY).
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Separate the rear flanges

6. Separate the rear flanges. In my case, the rear flanges were really stuck together. With a nut and bolt loosely connected in one of the holes (to prevent the rear shaft from accidentally falling), I began pounding on the cast flanges with a rubber mallet but they didn't come apart. I switched to a metal hammer and still no luck. Finally I soaked the seam between the flanges with Liquid Wrench for a while and then carefully hammered a small (1/2” wide) cold chisel between them and they came apart.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Remove the rear propshaft

7. Remove the rear propshaft section. It’s easier to do this than try and deal with the entire driveline as one unit (especially if you're working alone). Look for the two small arrows stamped on both sides of the slip yoke joint. These little arrows make it easy to get this connection back together in the right place. If you can’t find the little arrows, mark both sides of the slip yoke joint before unscrewing the ring nut that holds the slip yoke to the rear propshaft. Loosen the ring nut and slide the rear propshaft section out of the slip yoke.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,035 Posts
I never split the driveshaft like that. I make a "hammock" out of wire to support the center of the shaft, disconnect both ends and lower the hammock. Installation is the same procedure in reverse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,111 Posts
it is a good opportunity to clean out any dried grease from the slip joint and replace with fresh...and to check the grease nipple is actually working (they can block up)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I never split the driveshaft like that. I make a "hammock" out of wire to support the center of the shaft, disconnect both ends and lower the hammock. Installation is the same procedure in reverse.
Hi Ed,

Thanks for the great tip. I considered that method but at the time didn't feel that separating the shafts would cause any difficulty (since the arrows made it very clear how to re-assemble them). Working alone, and realizing the need to to slide the shaft aft to get it off the flex coupling bolts, I wasn't sure if I could devise 'central straps' that would provide enough slack to do that. Thanks for convincing me it can be done that way. I will definitely try and use that set-up during the re-install.

it is a good opportunity to clean out any dried grease from the slip joint and replace with fresh...and to check the grease nipple is actually working (they can block up)
Dom,

Also excellent and much appreciated advice. All the old lubricant will be removed, the function of the zirk fitting will be verified, and the union will be filled with fresh grease. Thank you.

Meanwhile, here's how I disconnected the front end from the giubo:

8. Remove the three 19mm nyloc nuts holding the flexible coupling to the gearbox fork. To aid in this operation, I secured a large hose clamp with a diametric range of 102mm to 152mm (#088 from my local Ace hardware store) tightly around the giubo. Since I had the front console and all the shifter boots off already (in preparation for removing the gearbox) I was able to slip a 19mm box wrench down through the tower opening and over a bolt head while using a 19mm socket on the corresponding nyloc nut (last photo).
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Remove the front propshaft

9. Remove the front propshaft section. With the three nuts that hold the flexible coupling to the gearbox spider removed, adjust the tightness of the hose clamp around the giubo (so that the donut slides easily along the bolts). Then loosen the two 13mm nuts that hold the center bearing support. While taking care to hold up the front half of the prop shaft with one hand, remove the center carrier nuts completely, lower the central carrier and slide the front prop shaft backwards off the three giubo bolts.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Dis-assemble remaining pieces and evaluate parts

10. Separate the center flanges from the front and rear propshaft sections by removing the 13mm nyloc nuts from the tempered M9x1.25 bolts.

11. Unscrew the three 19mm nyloc nuts holding the flex coupling to the front shaft. Slide off the giubo and remove the three nuts. My coupling seemed to be in good shape, so I just left the hose clamp around it to make re-installation easier.

12. Time to inspect the other parts of this two-piece propshaft assembly.

The rubber carrier/bushing that supports the central bearing had a huge split in it near the outer circumference. To replace the central support, the central flange and the carrier bearing both need to come off the front shaft.

The flange is secured by (a) two crescent keys, (b) a 30mm nut, and (c) a 30mm “palnut”. The two 30mm nuts come off easily with a breaker bar or impact wrench, but I had to press the flange off the tapered shaft. I think a 3-arm puller would have worked just as well, but I used a bearing separator along with the press at work.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Remove central support

12. After the central flange is off the forward shaft, it’s time to remove the central support assembly. This is done by pressing or pulling the bearing off the shaft (along with the carrier surrounding it).

To make access to the bearing easier, I cut/ripped the metal frame off the outside of the central carrier. I placed the flat sides of the OTC 1123 bearing separator up against the bearing, taking care not to damage the sheet metal slinger right next to it on the shaft side, and then pressed the carrier/bearing assembly off the shaft with the big press at work.

It didn't take much to get the bearing off, so I’m sure a two-arm push-puller (like an OTC 927) would work in conjunction with a separator if a press was not available.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Further inspection reveals more issues...

13. Examine the nose bushing. Located at the forward end of the front driveshaft, I discovered my “top hat” bushing was gouged/eaten/worn away halfway down into its bore on one side.

(Note: The olive on the mating output shaft had a little uneven wear on it too, so I will be using a better one from the donor box when I rebuild the tranny).

The nose bushing is pressed into the three-armed casting that’s welded on the front end of the shaft tube. It’s a “blind” bushing so there’s nothing inside the bore to grab onto in order to pull it out. I read somewhere that these bushings could be pounded out with a cold chisel if some notches were sliced into the outer diameter of the brim, so I gave that a try.

Using a cutter blade with my Dremel, I cut slots in the bushing flange between each of the cast tripod arms. Then I started pounding away with the chisel, but I couldn't get the bushing to budge. I was beginning to damage the leading edge of the nose casting so I abandoned that method.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Top hat olive bearing/bushing/seat removal

Since the nose bushing was already trashed, I decided to weld a pin to it and use the pin to pull it out of the casting. I used a foot-long piece of 5/8-18 (fine) threaded rod, and greased it up real well. Then I sleeved the rod with a 10-inch long piece of mild steel pipe (2”ID) and capped it with a steel plate containing a ¾” diameter hole. I followed the plate onto the rod with a 5/8-18 nut (grade 8) and tightened the nut until the bushing pulled out.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,671 Posts
Edward,

Great write up and thanks for sharing!

Just a word of warning that the heat shield is covered in Asbestos and should be handled with the greatest of care.

When moving it around, I wear a painters mask.

Thanks again!

I love the pictures!

Vin
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Edward,

Great write up and thanks for sharing!

Just a word of warning that the heat shield is covered in Asbestos and should be handled with the greatest of care.

When moving it around, I wear a painters mask.

Thanks again!

I love the pictures!

Vin
Hi Vin,

Thanks for the warning. Yes. I saw the tell-tale white fiber of the asbestos right away when I peeled the heat shield back and took the picture (I'm an old school guy who actually remembers what asbestos looks like). That's why I stopped the "bend back the shield" method outlined in the shop manual and opted for removing the whole shield altogether.

I always wear safety glasses, but after seeing the asbestos, I did put on a particle mask before slowly taking the whole panel down. After it was off, I carefully (so as to avoid creating dust) slid the heat shield out from under the car and into a large garbage bag. I'm sure a few minutes of exposure without any dust can't harm me, but I'd rather play it safe. And for sure the mask will go back on for the re-install, which will be done in a most gingerly manner.

Thanks again,
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Universal joints

14. Universal joint removal. There was very little play in my universal joints, but not knowing their age, and at only $25 or $30 a pop, I decided to replace mine while I had the propshafts out.

It’s a fairly straightforward process: Remove C-clips, push on one u-joint cap until the opposite cap pokes out of the bore, pull that extended cap off, and then reverse the operation to get the first cap off.

The internal Seeger rings (cir-clips) need to come off first. The tools required for this task are safety glasses, a pair of internal snap ring pliers with 2.0mm tips and a small screwdriver (or similar tool).

I don’t think it’s possible to squeeze the c-clips tight enough to completely free them from the groove. Even when the plier tips are closed, the OD of the clip is not smaller in diameter than the bore. As a result, the only way to free the clip is to pull one side out of the slot, get a screwdriver (or other tool) under that leg (to keep it from slipping back into the slot), and then pry the clip out by working around the bore. Sometimes it helps to continue applying internal pressure with the snap ring pliers while prying with the screwdriver.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
pressing out the u-joints

After the internal snap rings are out, the extraction of the universal joints from their cast housings can begin. The outer surfaces of the clevis castings are neither flat nor perpendicular to the trunnion bores. This makes pressing the u-joints out safely, and without causing damage to the machined flanges a bit of a challenge, but with a decent press pin and proper backing support it’s not too difficult.

I have heard that it’s possible to pound the U-joints through the bores with a hammer, but without a reliable way to hold the press pin and backup fixture(s) in place, I think this is risky, so I don’t recommend it. However if I didn’t have a press at my disposal, I would certainly consider using a large vise for this operation.

Note: I am working with a Series 3 propshaft and what I believe to be later model universal joints. A lot of the preceding applies to all Spiders, but much of what follows (regarding universal joints) may only be pertinent to the Series 3 and later models that have u-joints with internal springs.

The press plug should have an OD slightly less than the 24mm clevis bore diameter. I used a socket with an OD of about 23.8mm.

The backing fixture needs to provide enough clearance to allow the leading u-joint cap to travel out of the bore about 1/4", and still support as much of clevis casting surface as possible. I think a short tube with a slightly angled cut on one end might be ideal, but since I was using a press, I was able to utilize small pieces of scrap steel to support the u-joint housing castings. Just be careful not to use any part of the flange features for support as they could be damaged.

Anyway, the next step is to slowly press down on one cap until the opposite cap has extended out of the bore about 1/4 inch. Remove the protruding cap with a pair of vice grips (or the jaws of a vice). Do this carefully, and pay attention to what is under the cap as it is removed.

Some (or all) of the later universal joints utilize internal springs, but only under two of the four caps, and the location of those two springs appears to be critical. As the u-joint caps are removed, if internal springs are discovered, make a note of where they came from, because new springs will need to be installed in the same exact locations (reference the attached Alfa Romeo Service Bulletin).
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
internal springs under half of the u-joint caps

I found internal springs under two of the four caps on both of my universal joints. In each case the springs were at 90 degrees to each other, as described in the Alfa Service Bulletin above. I was careful to record each of the spring locations so I could install new ones in the exact same places. Here are some pictures of what they look like.

The first two pictures show the springs after the caps were removed.

The third photo shows one of the hollow trunnion ends that didn’t contain a spring.

In the last picture one trunnion tip has a spring and the other one doesn’t.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
clean parts

15. Clean and re-paint. After all of the components were removed from the shafts and associated castings, I stripped off the old paint. Then, to prepare the parts for a new coat of paint, I kept the parts “wet” for about 30 minutes by spraying them several times with POR Metal Prep, followed by a water rinse. The POR Metal Prep product lightly “etches” the metal substrate, to provide a superior bonding surface for new paint.
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top