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Spare Halfshafts:

Refer to the Halfshaft Illustration.

At 9:00 AM -0500 7/29/97, Michael Selig wrote:
There were some posts lately about a way to disconnect a broken halfshaft and get home, eliminating the need to carry spare 3 different sized halfshafts.

Can we define these issues more clearly? Do you really need dummy shafts or plates?

Please give case senario for broken rear and front halfshafts.

We have broken both front and rear half shafts and here's what we found. If you have a spare that is the best, and if you have air then zip, zip and you're on your way in a half an hour with all wheel drive and brakes.

If no spare, then you need to plug the hole that the shaft goes into on the geared hub, and if you need to go far you probably should but in a stub so that the gear that the spline slips into stays centered. The last one we broke we plugged the hole with a big gulp bottle top and duct tape (worked fine, didn't go far).

This can be accomplished by knocking the outboard stub off at the cv joint. There is a snap ring that holds the assembly together so you have to bang on it HARD to break the ring and remove the stub. A BIG hammer and a vice help. Once the stub is off, put it back in the geared hub and off you go. You will be missing brakes on the wheel and if it is a front half shaft or you don't have lockers you will probably have to run in 4HL or LL to get traction to the remaining three wheels.

thanks, sam

BTW, I am looking into making a universal spare.

Sam Stein

Charles Piper was here in the Denver area recently. He explained what his setup is for this circumstance. Charles should be back home today, but I think it may take him some time to get through the backlog. So: Charles, if I mis-quote you, please post and correct me.

He made 2 plugs for the geared hub shaft seal, and 1 for the rear transfer-case shaft seal. When a half-shaft is removed, the brake rotor is re-fastened to the diff output shaft using washers as spacers in place of the half-shaft plate. (Shorter bolts could be used instead.) Here is how he uses these parts:

  • Any Half-shaft failure: remove broken half shaft, plug geared hub.

  • Front drive shaft failure: remove front drive shaft, drive in HL.

  • Rear drive shaft failure: remove rear drive shaft, plug transfer case, drive in HL.

  • Front Diff failure: remove front drive shaft, remove both half-shafts, plug geared hubs, drive in HL.

  • Rear Diff Failure: remove rear drive shaft, plug rear transfer case, remove both half shafts, plug geared hubs, drive in HL.

NOTE: when you remove a half-shaft, the braking for that wheel is lost. Braking can be very different with only 2 or 3 brakes working!

Hope I covered everything. Charles?

Dave Breggin
'95 Diesel Wagon

Dave Breggin explained the use of my seal plugs. I could not have done better. Thank you, Dave.

I have not broken a half-shaft in over 85,000 miles. I have damaged CV boots on 3 occasions. While doing trails in Colorado, I tore a large hole in a CV boot. I feel I had 4 choices:

  1. Go to a dealer and have repairs made.

  2. Drive home approximately l000 miles and destroy a half-shaft.

  3. If I was carrying 3 spare half-shafts I may have been able to replace the damaged part. It is hard to know which half-shaft to carry with you.

  4. Remove the half-shaft, put a small plug in the geared hub, and drive home. I feel it is much easier and less time consuming to simply remove the damaged half-shaft and drive home with 3 wheel drive.

After arriving home, I replaced the torn boot and grease in approximately l/2 hour at a cost of $8.00 for the boot. This is much less expensive and a lot less weight to carry while traveling.

Someone had mentioned that a stub spline shaft would be needed to keep the small geared hub gear in its proper alignment. This is not necessary as the small gear is supported by 2 tapered roller barings. The gear supports the shaft, the shaft does not support the gear.

My understanding is that AMG does not replace boots or parts on half-shafts, l994 and after. I have found that it is quite easy to repair the half-shafts on my l994. I do not recommend using a large hammer and vice. The easiest way is to remove the lockring on the inboard end of the half-shaft. After removing the inboard end, both boots can be removed and replaced without damage to the CV joints. If you force the splind CV joint from the shaft, it is very likely to damage the balls and cage.

For someone interested in making a universal half-shaft, I feel the easiest way would be to use the shorter of the 3 half-shafts and a spacer to go between the brake disk and the inner CV flange. Using this method, you could carry one half-shaft and two spacers, which would replace any of the four half-shafts. This would save considerably on weight, bulk and cost.

When I travel I am normally at gross vehicle weight or over. This is my reason for not carrying a lot of spare parts. When I did carry spare parts, it was very hard to decide which ones might be needed. Everyone you talk to has a different list of parts to carry.

l994 4 dr ht

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