The Propshaft is an often overlooked component that works hard in transmitting the Engine power to the driving axles. It consists of a universal joint at each end and a sliding splined joint along its length which both allow for movement of the suspension whilst driving. It needs to be balanced, lubricated and checked for security to its mating flanges at each end. My Land Rover was experiencing some vibration as its road speed increased and seemed to be concentrated to the front half of the vehicle. I disconnected the free wheeling hubs which promptly cured it suggesting that the problem was in the front drive train. A crawl underneath the vehicle and a quick look didn’t show anything obvious but when I grabbed the splined joint (underneath the rubber gaiter on a front propshaft) and gave it a wiggle, it was obvious that it had seen better days by the way it was clonking about. I didn’t think it was worth rebuilding the prop so I decided to source a new one complete with universal joints.
I called a parts supplier but was told that they were out of stock of a standard front propshaft but they did have a heavy duty Mlitary spec one. Seeing as it wasn’t that much more expensive I opted for it, that’s why in the photos the replacement is meatier looking and painted Nato green. I removed the old one by simply undoing the eight nuts and bolts and had a good look at it on the bench. The rubber gaiter covering the splined joint had split and the clips securing the ends of it weren’t sealing it,
which was letting in moisture and dirt. This had obviously contributed to the demise of the propshaft so I ensured the gaiter on the new one was nicely secured before pumping some fresh grease into all the grease nipples. That done I offered up the replacement and secured it using new nuts and bolts. Just worth mentioning is that the correct high Tensile steel bolts should be used to cope with the turning forces carried via the propshaft. The nuts should be lock nuts (the ones with the nylon sleeve
In) to prevent them from vibrating loose. Torque up the bolts to the required setting and job done. Maintenance for the propshaft should be to keep it greased regularly with a grease gun, to inspect the gaiter for splits/damage and to ensure any balancing weights that are fitted haven’t come off. The front props on series 3’s don’t usually come with grease nipples which is another good reason to fit a military spec one. The rear prop doesn’t usually come with a gaiter on the splined joint, but does have nipples!
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