10/12/2003: Removed Driveshaft

On this car, the driveshaft has several pieces. On the back of the transmissi on is a rubber flex disc, to which a short drive shaft is attached. The other end of this short front shaft is in a center bearing in a rubber mount. From here, it goes through a U-joint to a longer driveshaft (with a short telescoping section in the front), through another U-joint, and to the rear axle.

Here is a diagram, and some photos of how this looked in the car:


I removed the assembly as follows:

First, from above, I removed the three bolts that attach the front driveshaft to the transmission flex disc. This was easy with an impact wrench, but would have been very very hard without it, since the drive shaft wants to rotate some what (even with the parking brake on).

Then I loosened the two bolts that hold the center bearing in place, which lets it slide a bit. This let me push front u-joint back about a quarter of an inch, so I could get a wrench on the bolts. I then removed the four bolts on this flange and the rear axle flange.

This required patience and a 13mm wrench, but wasn’t too bad- I could break them loose with the wrench and the parking brake on, and they came out easily enough (though it was tedious, since I could only thurn the nut a bit at a time with the wrench.. there’s no room for a ratchet).

The only problem I had was that my (new) craftsman 13mm wrench wouldn’t fit on these nuts! Turns out that it seems to be a bit smaller than 13mm- an older wrench I had worked fine. I’ll double check this tomorrow, but it looks like i’ll be exchanging this wrench at sears next time I am there.

Anyway, once those 8 nuts are removed, the rear drive shaft drops right out. One important thing to be aware of is that the front and rear drive shafts are balanced at the factory as a unit- that is, they have to be aligned to each other the same way when reassembled. There is a provided alignment mark, fortunately:

I made sure I could find it before separating the two pieces completely, just in case.

At this point I just had to remove those two bolts I had already loosened, which held in the center bearing. The three front flange nuts I had already removed, so the front axle pulled out at this point.

So, all done. Check out these these front flange bolts though:

Each is a slightly different length, and the middle one has a really weird wear pattern in the middle. Maybe it was loose at some point? (it wasn’t now). I’ll replace them with the new (proper grade) bolts in any case.

Here are the flanges, now that the driveshaft is gone.

rear axle