Drive shaft rebuild

Maintenance advice to keep your Spider in shape.
Funcar
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:24 am
Your car is a: 1972 Fiat Spider 124
Location: Kitchener Ontario Canada

Drive shaft rebuild

Postby Funcar » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:11 am

I have finally got my spider on the road after it was stored for 30 years. I nervously drove for 100 miles before tackling the job of replacing the flex joint. Didn't look awful from cursory inspection. However there are some terrible stories about them failing and the damage they can cause. Very reasonable to purchase a rebuild kit for piece of mind. Got mine from AR on sale.

There are plenty of posts and an old video from international on this topic.Rebuilding a Driveshaft - International Auto Parts - YouTube

The drive shaft comes out relatively easy with the help of a friend. It is heavy and awkward working on your back under jack stands. Take time to move it past the emergency brake cable and bracket. I didn't have the tools or experience to change the center support bearing or the universal joints so took them to an automotive. machine shop. Tip call ahead and set it up. Cost $118.00 CDN.

Here are pictures of the center support bearing and the flex joint. You will note the support bearing was totally destroyed and the drive shaft flopping around...not good. The flex joint when I removed was pliable and big smiles opened up when I twisted it...several seve cracks..not good! You will note the bolts were installed all the same way. This was done by a mechanic in the past so I did the same pattern. This car is a combination of 2 different years so thought there must be a reason for this configure assion.

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I picked up the drive shaft from the machine shop and he told me he hadn't greased it because he knew I wanted to paint it. He showed me new grease fittings in the universal joints. I didn't have this on my old ones. Is this common?

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After degreasing sanding etc. painted it up and was in a hurry to install the drive shaft as I wanted to put a new convertible top on the same day. Got it in and was bolting it on when I realized I hadn't greased the fitting. There is no way I could get the grease gun on the nipples. I just couldn't articulate the shaft enough to allow access so had to take it out to grease it. Lesson learned...however the second time we put it in slick as a whistle.

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blazingspider
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:44 am
Your car is a: 1977 fiat spider
Location: Greenacres, FL

Re: Drive shaft rebuild

Postby blazingspider » Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:31 am

Sure hope the length of those grease fittings is short enough. I did a rebuild once on my drive shaft and after a test drive I discovered that all of the grease fittings had sheared off. After that experience I found some allen head cap screws to use to plug the grease fitting holes and now when I want to grease the u joints I just remove the allen head cap screw and screw in a long grease fitting that extends out past the universals and allows me to get a grease gun on the nipple. Once done I screw the allen head caps back in.

bluespider262
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 11:14 am
Your car is a: 1979 Spider

Re: Drive shaft rebuild

Postby bluespider262 » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:31 pm

Yep don't run it with those fittings like that. Remove them and install grub screws. I bought an assortment of short hex head machine screws off Amazon for like 10$ and it had plenty of the right size.

*EDIT*

Had a minute and found the exact item I used:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N21LPL6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Funcar
Posts: 172
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:24 am
Your car is a: 1972 Fiat Spider 124
Location: Kitchener Ontario Canada

Re: Drive shaft rebuild

Postby Funcar » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks for the terrific advice both of you. I have driven about 20 miles and both greases fittings are intact...no damage. I do plan to get the longer fittings to substitute when I want to grease. Much easier than pulling the driveshaft to grease. :x

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blazingspider
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:44 am
Your car is a: 1977 fiat spider
Location: Greenacres, FL

Re: Drive shaft rebuild

Postby blazingspider » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:30 am

Had a minute and found the exact item I used:


+1 I used those as well


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