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Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:42 pm
by JJDraper
I have just carried out the pre MOT inspection of my +2 and amongst the usual "I must get round to doing that" things I spotted severe movement at the forward UJ . That explains the noise & vibration then! Any one venture a comment on how easy removing (and replacing) the propshaft is? Any major problems to avoid? Fortunately I have a spare propshaft ready & waiting to fit, so could this be one for a sunny morning & then off to the pub for lunch?!! The manual makes it seem very simple.....


PS gearbox mounting looks/feels very squishy as well!

Very Simple

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:05 pm
by CBUEB1771
Assuming you have a standard Lotus chassis you only need to remove the engine and gearbox to get the drive shaft out. I have only had the driveshaft out because the engine and gearbox were coming out anyway. I always renew the u-joints at that time. Cheers, I think.

Re: Very Simple

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:44 pm
by types26/36
CBUEB1771 wrote:Assuming you have a standard Lotus chassis you only need to remove the engine and gearbox to get the drive shaft out.

Remove the engine & gearbox ??? :shock:
I've had the prop-shaft (drive shaft) off without removing eng & g/box, its not a big deal, disconnect it from the diff, I think the workshop manual says remove the gearbox mounting and lower the gearbox down, from memory you take the mounting off BUT raise the gearbox.......well thats what I remember anyway. Take out the rubber grommit in the side of the tunnel (next to the seat) then when you refit the shaft you can guide the shaft onto the gearbox main shaft.

Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:38 am
by reb53
Haven't done a Plus 2 but have done my Sprint a couple of times and certainly didn't pull the engine/gearbox.

It was a while ago but seem to remember that the problem with withdrawing the shaft from the rear was not being able to get it past the flange on the diff.

Got around this by un-doing the torque rods, which is an easy job. This enabled the front of the diff to be levered up and allowed the shaft to be slid out the rear.

Hint.....make sure you balance it before putting it back and you won't have to do it twice.


Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:57 am
by Phil W
Interesting as I've just removed engine / gearbox on my +2 for third time in 20 odd years of ownership. As far as I was aware you couldn't remove prop shaft without removing engine and gearbox. Only was to access front joint is to withdraw far enough into engine bay whilst still attached.

Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:54 pm
by types26/36
Phil W wrote: I've just removed engine / gearbox on my +2 for third time in 20 odd years of ownership. As far as I was aware you couldn't remove prop shaft without removing engine and gearbox..

Ah well, at least you've had good practice incase you need to remove the engine/gearbox :lol:

Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:45 pm
by Phil W
Bloomin heck! Will check my manual when I get home. Plenty of practice removing engine / gearbox cos:

1. 1987 - burning 1 pint oil every 50 miles. Bottom end rebuild.

2. 1997 - gearbox rebuild.

3. 2003 - crankshaft oil seal needed replacing and decided to take engine
out rather than do in situe.

4. 2007 - gearbox rebuild.

Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 10:51 pm
by JJDraper
Thanks for your help. I think I will try the 'simple' method before removing the engine!! Perhaps a pub lunch is not out of the question!


Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:11 pm
by stuartgb100

A pub lunch !!!

Is that a pub lunch to fortify, before you start, or to celibrate after a succesful conclusion ?

Or was that an open invitation ?


Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 11:57 am
by JJDraper
Saturday morning, 10a.m (breakfast in bed) start work to remove propshaft. Reverse car up onto ramps. Have a good look. The exhaust centre pipe & box will have to be removed. Workshop manual doesn?t mention this, but never mind, press on & dismantle. Get a good look at the access to the diff/propshaft flange bolts. No way can I get sockets or even ring spanners on these! After trial and error I can get a ring on the bolt head facing the gear box & a open end spanner on the nut ? heave? Spanner slips, oops, nut looks a little mangled.. rising panic. Calm Jeremy, calm. Lets try a different tack, rather than using the spanners in opposition, lets try moving the nut & bolt together to release stiction before separating them. Easy now, get a good grip ? success; they both move together. This gives a couple of pristine nut flanges for the spanner to grip. Steady heave and the nut & bolt separate. Jack up one wheel clear of the ramp & rotate the shaft ? same procedure as before, nice and easy. All four bolts out and sitting in the sun. The two flanges separate easily and the propshaft can be lifted above the diff and pulled towards the rear of the car ? Clang! The other end falls clear of the gearbox output shaft.

Shuffle forward under the car and the front end of the shaft is dangling out of the chassis. Reach into the tunnel and heft the whole shaft upwards and angle the shaft to slide out of the tunnel easy as pie. The shaft is now sitting under the car ? shuffle out and stand up with a glow of contentment ? 10.45am. This is going to be a piece of p**s!

Inspect the old worn UJ ? Jesus, how did I let it get this bad! The bearings are so worn, the rollers have disintegrated leaving silver flakes everywhere.. Just as well I have a nice new reconditioned shaft to hand. Slide under the car with the new shaft, and reverse the procedure, again easy as pie. Lift up the rear end of the shaft above the diff & shuffle forward to engage the splines at the front. Easy! This is going so well.. Shuffle back and find that the shaft will not go forward enough to let the rear flange drop into place ?what the ?.? Try sliding the shaft backwards & forwards with a thud. No change, the shaft will not slide forward enough for the rear flange to drop down & engage. Bug*er! Remove shaft again, hey I?m getting good at this! Compare the two shafts ? identical, even down to casting numbers. Inspect very closely ? test the depth inside the front yoke, yep, there is a difference. There is half an inch difference in depth between the old one & the new one, the old one being deeper. Hell what is going on here? Get the trusty Maglite & peer down the shaft. The old one is shiny & silvery at the bottom but the new one is black. Tapping the two shows that the old one has a metallic plug & the new one sounds plasticky. Getting a socket extension bar I tap the bottom of the shaft hole in the old shaft robustly & there is a clink as a standard looking core plug pops out. Lets try the other one. A few taps later and a thick plastic plug is extracted. S*d it! Trial fit of the shaft no.2 ? slides in no problem. That plastic plug was the problem. The clearance between the gearbox output shaft and the bottom of the yoke must be pretty tight.. Remove shaft ? again..

The core plug must be there for a reason, probably to limit oil leaks along the splines & prevent dirt getting in, so it has to be replaced. The plastic plug was a loose fit in the yoke, and would not have sealed against anything, probably dropping out after a few miles. Damn, I will have to drift out the new UJ and refit a core plug on the new yoke. OK, find my new circlip pliers set, bought at the last auto jumble I went to. Bl**dy hell these are absolute crap, why did I buy them? Using the combined force of the circlip pliers and a pair of grips, I get the circlips out. Now drift out the UJ cups with a copper hammer. Easy out, and inspect the UJ.

Rising panic ensues again. In my haste to drift out the cups I had forgotten that a grease nipple was fitted to this UJ and in my rough handling it had snapped off flush with the spider. It is now 12 midday and my local garage closes at 12.30, will they have new UJ? I toddle off to them with shaft under my arm and get a reasonably sympathetic hearing, resulting in their mechanic (who is anxious to go home) getting an ?Easy Out? and removing the remains of the grease nipple. With a new grease nipple in hand I am feeling extremely well disposed to the garage, and head off home.

I now look at the new yoke & see that the groove where the core plug is supposed to sit is choked with paint. 20 minutes of scraping with a sharp chisel clears the area, but I am surprised that the plug would not sit in it until every trace of paint was removed ? it is a tight fit. Driving home the core plug is satisfying and it sits in nice & tight. A quick spray of paint over the area should keep it oil tight. I quickly refit the UJ, using the crappy circlip pliers and screw in the new grease nipple. It is now 2pm and the prospect of a pub lunch is remote. Still, press on ? I am back to where I was over 3hours ago. 20 minutes later the shaft is fitted and all bolts tightened. With all prospect of lunch gone, but the sun still shining I go on to fit the new gearbox mounting (easy, but VERY oily), clutch fork gaitor, roll bar/drop link bush. This is going more easily than I thought it would. Last chore is to identify where the manifold is blowing from. From the sound of the exhaust it is a single exhaust port that is blowing. As I am now pushed for time, can I remove the manifold branch without disturbing the rest of the gubbins? I undo all the head/manifold nuts, and gently pull the manifold away from the head. It comes away nice and easy (never use gasket cement) and I can see that it is number two gasket which has blown. Pulling back on the manifold I can just get it off the studs of 1 & 2, but not the others. A poke with a sharp knife & the gasket slides away from the head and off the studs. On with a new one, refit the manifold and tighten up the nuts.

Getting dark now; clean off the end of the centre exhaust pipe section, lubricate it with exhaust compound and slide it into the ?Y? piece. Wiggle & rotate it until the silencer mountings line up ? bolt everything up making sure there is no exhaust to chassis contact anywhere. Clear up the mess of tools, miscellaneous blocks of wood, jacks, axle stands, discarded rubber gloves and newspaper. Drive car off the ramps & take her for a spin.

Go to pub for a beer. I am back in love with my +2.

Moral ? don?t trust anyone else?s work without close inspection, use mechanics? rubber gloves and don?t buy crappy tools


Re: Removing & replacing propshaft - easy?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:32 pm
by Harvey

I'm almost 10 years late with this reply but I want to tell you I greatly enjoyed your story even chuckling a bit at several points because you describe with humor what I and others go through in making what at first seems like a simple repair.