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Replacing Driveshaft Center Bearing

Replacing Driveshaft Center Bearing

Mark Stephenson

There was a dull thumping noise on acceleration, through the 3-5 mph range. It began about a year, 10K miles ago. It was worse in cold weather and as the summer approached, the noise diminished. Within the last month, my son, Paul, who drives this particular beast, complained that unless he drove with and egg under his foot, it had become pretty noisy. From the first, I suspected that either the rubber mount of the center bearing was shot, or that I had a bad U-joint. A quick inspection revealed that it was the center driveline bearing. Again, I have pictures on the snaps... In the first shot, you can see the location of the carrier bearing. You need to remove the possibly really greasy heat shield to get to the end of the U-joint. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Paul and I discovered that the best way to remove the heat shield is to pull down on the exhaust and rotate the heat shield out the side of the exhaust tunnel. Forget trying to slide it out the back. The bearing itself mounts to the plate right behind that. The plate, in turn, bolts to the floor pan. Unbolt all of that. Now for the first real challenge. The third picture shows the end of the U-joint right in front of the carrier bearing. You'll notice, in order, the bolt head, a locking washer, and a U-shaped spacer that fits in a slot in the "Y" of the U-joint yoke. You could remove that bolt, but wait! If you loosen it and put a bolt between the head of that bolt and the spider (the cross that connects the yokes), you can use the bolt to push the drive shaft part way out of the end of the yoke, making it much easier to remove. This is a time consuming job, and if you have one of those ratcheting box end wrenches the job will be much easier. I didn't, so I had to turn a half flat, flip the open-end wrench, and turn another half flat. In either case, eventually you'll get to the point where the bolt and other bits fall out and the drive shaft is partially dislodged. The yoke connects to the drive shaft via a splined shaft. If you can see splines, mark one and an aligning point on the yoke. If not, do it before you pull the shaft completely from the yoke, below. Next, you need to loosen the bolts where the driveline connects to the diff flange. Mark the two flanges, break that end apart, and pull the driveshaft out (only part way if you haven't marked it yet). Take the driveshaft in to your workbench and if you have one, clamp it in a good vise. If the metalastic ring has not been totally sheared away from the rubber, you'll need to remove it to get a gear-puller's arms around to the base of the bearing. In our case, with my small bearing puller, I also needed to trim some rubber away from the bearing to get it to pull at the base. A hacksaw worked well. By the base, I mean the collar that protrudes farthest toward the rear of the car. You can see it in pictures 2 and 4. Even with trimming, pulling the bearing was a two person job for us. I held the puller arms together while Paul cranked in the puller shaft. With this removed, you'll find a couple small collars on either side of the bearing, one on the drive shaft and the other still on the yoke, that need to be removed. (At least I had those parts included in my kit.) Both the U-joints had Allen head screws in them where the grease fittings should be. I replaced them with fittings and was able to put at least two full pumps of grease in each. I checked the U-joints for any free play and didn't notice any. Put everything back on the way it came off. In the fourth picture, Notice more of those cryptic Jaguar paint markings Simple, right? On a test drive, the problem was solved. Now we were able to notice a very minor vibration at about 10 mph. U-joint? Balance problem? We'll have to see, but I'm not going to worry about it for the time being.


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