Prop shaft install

What to say about the install of the prop shaft and differential? There is nothing that really jumps to mind, other than the differential was hard going, took most of the day and was physically brutal.


I attempted the installation of both with only assistance from my wife and whilst I appreciate her input, my wife isn't great when it comes to contributing in a physical sort of way. She is great at handing me tools and holding the jack but that is her practical limits. I'd recommend sourcing support from someone more physically capable for this.


There is no ambiguity in the manual for either the prop shaft or differential, it is just one of those tasks where the expected actions are really really difficult, most of which is associated with supporting a heavy lump whilst aligning and inserting some hefty bolts which have limited maneuverability.


You'll have to forgive me about the depth of this blog also, the install took place around the 10th November 2018, it is now the 12th January 2019, so my recollection of the process isn't ideal.


Preequisties? I installed the handbrake cable before the prop shaft or differential, I believe this order is stated in the manual as it is important to ensure the handbrake cable locates either side of the differential.


The prop shaft is installed first, this might seem obvious however as an inexperienced builder it wasn't clear to me before I started. Once I started the process it became abundantly clear why the prop shaft was first, it has a lengthy splined section which is inserted into the rear of the gearbox. If the differential was in place it would be impossible to insert this into the back for the gearbox.


I found the prop shaft had to be inserted from the rear of the car where the differential would be hung, and it was not possible to lift the prop shaft from the floor into its required location. Looking back this approach turned the process into something akin to the kids' board game called Operation. You need to move the prop shaft down the transmission tunnel without touching and banging the powder coat chassis and transmission tunnel panels, otherwise the buzzer will sound!


I opted to add 3M low tack detailing tape where I thought contact might occur along with some rubber matting on a couple of keys areas such as the first horizontal chassis bar below the prop shaft, this was to allow me to rest the prop shaft on the rubber protected areas if needed. Don't forget I was doing the install myself with only limited support, so I suspected I might need to be underneath the car for the initial phase moving to above for the final leg.


The process of moving the prop shaft down the transmission tunnel was straightforward, if very tight in at least in one area. If I recall no matter how much twisting of the shaft it wouldn't go passed one pinch point and required a firm push to just get beyond. Once down it was a case of removing the plastic cap from the end of the gearbox and sliding the splined section into the gearbox.


Through support on Blatchat I'd been told to make sure I aligned the splines and also to add a small amount of grease to ease the insertion. When I attempted to insert the splined section I found it went in without fuss and total ease. Sorted, next up the differential.


I didn't get any great photos of either the prop shaft of differential install.


Check back soon for the second part detailing the difficult part, the dreaded differential and the top bolt!

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Meet Mark
Loves cars, light weight specials, jDM, Lotus, Caterham, Rallying and Trackdays