Thursday, May 1, 2014

Driveable once again

Since I attended the Warrnambool Drag Races on the 13th of April, I knew there was another event scheduled for the 27th. I decided it would be nice to try and get the car up and going again for that event.

Before we go too in-depth, here's the go-pro footage Michael Hamilton took at the first meet, of the two runs prior to breaking the CV.

Note the amount of negative camber under load. I need stiffer springs or coil overs.

Anyway, first step, look for replacement CVs or complete half-shafts.

Shit out of luck there. I did find a CV which looked like it might suit on eBay internationally but it was around $90 with no freight option to Australia... I found some vague references to Land Rover half shafts or using Porsche 930 CVs.

I decided to measure what I had, since nobody would actually confirm what was or was not usable. Charbel refers to using "Early Datsun" Halfshafts but didn't respond when I asked what model datsun he was referring to. Since I think he's from the states perhaps he's referring to early Z cars - 240Z etc? I am still unsure if those are just a bolt-in item.

Either way, this is only really a temporary fix - I fully expected the axles/CVs to outlast the diff center itself, so you can imagine my surpise when that didn't happen.

The next step, then, was to remove what was left of the broken CV from the driveshaft so I could count the splines and measure the diameter. I also measured the CV itself as well as the bolt PCD. Bugger, 26mm OD 24 spline. Porsche 930 CVs are 28 spline, they won't work.

Neither will anything else as it turns out. To use a 930 CV (assuming they run the same 6x M10 bolts at 86mm PCD on a 100mm CV) you would also need custom made axles. Perhaps with an R200 center down the track...

The longer term plan at this stage involves a Nissan R200 center, modified (again) tailshaft, and either modified subframe with custom axles, or replacing the whole subframe with one from a Silvia or Skyline... This still needs more research before I decide which way I'll go; I am not too afraid of widening the rear track but packaging of the strut towers could prove to be the biggest hurdle. If the rear track gets widened then I'll just build Group 5 style guards and do something with the front as well.

I post links to this blog on a number of Facebook groups, as well as four or five different forums. Statistically, you're most likely to be reading this right now as a result of the Facebook posts, rather than clicking through on a forum.

A true gentleman by the name of Craig Saxon who hails from the ACT spotted my post on one such Facebook group and responded that he had spare half shafts that I could have for the cost of postage. At this stage I still had a week until the next drag meet.

One problem though. Easter. Easter Public Holidays. Anzac Day. Australia Post. The combination of these things does not work at all well, according to many of the people on my Facebook friends list. Complaints of 12 days wait for items to arrive from Melbourne and Sydney worried me.

Craig tried to get the CV from his parts car which is located some distance from his normal place of residence, but lost his Allen Key part way through. Instead of just putting it off until the next time he could make it there, he removed one from another vehicle closer to his home in Canberra, and I decided that despite being Wednesday it was worth sending Express Post rather than regular (for ~$65 instead of ~$25).

Thursday (the last working day of the week) rolled around, and no parcel arrived. I held out the hope that AusPost would have contractors working Saturday due to the horror stories I'd seen on Facebook re: delivery time (they do it at Christmas time to ease the load). No such luck.

Sunday rolled around and I attended the drags. I took my camera gear and got some fantastic photos which I've posted to flickr (

As a result of not having a drive-shaft, I couldn't test or compete. I was tempted to put the E39 in but since it's my daily, decided it wasn't such a great idea.

Monday came - the half shaft arrived! Craig had thoughtfully decided to send me all the bolts along with it... except for one which went missing somewhere along the line.

I figure, that's ok as I have more - until I test fit one:

What's this? The bolt is WAY too long and will foul on the diff housing or suspension upright.

The replacement half shaft is from an '83 323i. Mine is a '79. I figured I had the later CV because of the 10mm bolts, but it appears that besides from the change to 10mm bolts around 1979, there were more changes along the way. Perhaps this one won't break so easy. The overall length is the same, so off to the local bolt shop to buy a replacement bolt.

$2, some time with an allen bit socket and my breaker-bar, and the half shaft is installed with the bolts torqued to 40ft/lb (this was the best guess I could ascertain from a google search)

Test-drive time! Oh, the battery is flat again. Bastard.

Oh well, there's the time to fit the front bumper. I use the two end bolts, and then just wedge some rubber falcon sway bar end link bushes between the "bumper" and the front bar to keep it level. I can't use the factory mounts because there's kind of a radiator in the way!

I also fitted the front 79 Paderborn plate I got from Marvin Gloger to whom I sent some Victorian plates for his Ford Australia Fairlane that's somehow found it's way to Europe!

The vehicle fires up and off she goes for a test drive. Heat cycling the tyres have made them a bit grippier as pulling in and out of the driveway the welded diff shows itself a little less subtly than before.

The "turn on the throttle" feeling and odd axle tramping from the single driven wheel has gone. No odd vibrations or noises. We're all good again....

What's next?

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