The rubber perishes and the bearing no longer supports the propshaft in a centered position, causing vibrations and can eventually completely fail. They need regular greasing, however often the propshaft is forgotten until they cause you a problem. Replacement is relatively easy although can be fiddly.
This was a particularly bad propshaft failure we had in the workshop this week, where the rubber has perished.
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Keep your Propshaft fit and healthy.
Land Rover propshaft joints are exposed to the elements and take considerable torque load, especially if you use your vehicle off-road. The Universal Joints are the weakest part of your propshaft and need to be given regularly TLC.
It’s hard to say how regularly you need to grease a UJ as it all depends on the conditions in which it operates. Whether you’re negotiating the most extreme off-road track in Wales or taking the ‘Mrs’ out for a Sunday lunch or an afternoon drive, there are always ways to prolong the life of your propshaft.
Simple steps to follow:
- Regularly grease your propshaft through all greasing points
- Monitor the angle at which your propshaft is operating (keeping it at 2-3 degrees if possible)
- Check that your propshaft is equipped to take the stress when taking it off-road. Heavy duty universal joints, Rilsan coated spline section and wide-angle components can all help.
- Check that the diameter of your tube is suited to the length of your propshaft – the longer the propshaft, the larger the diameter required.
How often do I grease?
If you’re driving through water, mud or on dusty tracks it will need to be greased more regularly. If they are operating at a more extreme angle, they need to be greased even more regularly. If your Land Rover is exposed to a lot of power through the Propshaft, they need to be greased more regularly again. In fact, when you think about what you put them through; it’s no wonder they need a bit of care and attention!
Propshafts should be inspected and greased every time you service your Land Rover. This should be carried out on a level surface with no tension in the transmission, so any play becomes apparent. The vehicle should be chocked to prevent roll while the handbrake should be off and it should be out of gear.
Grip the universal joints and try to push it up and down. There should be no play at all and there should be no stiffness in the joint.
If you have freewheeling hubs, turn to the 4×2 position so the shaft can be rotated. To grease, clean off the grease nipple and pump the gun until grease comes out of the seals of the needle bearing cups. If play is found in a universal joint, no matter how much grease you put in, it will still be loose and the only solution is a replacement.
Get to Know the ‘Propshaft’ Key Terms:
Universal Joint, UJ: The cross section comprising of bearing cups
Flange: The propshaft component that bolts to the vehicle
Spline: The internal sliding teeth of the shaft that allows the propshaft to extend
Working length: The gap between the flanges on the vehicle as it sits on the road
Closed length: The length from flange to flange as the propshaft is detached from the vehicle and fully compressed.
Extreme Propshaft: The Bailey Morris brand of wide-angle and double jointed shafts
Grease Nipple: The lubricating point on a propshaft
Removing the propshaft is straightforward but can be time-consuming as the nuts can only be turned a short distance each time. A special prop-shaft socket tool makes this job much easier, though it is not essential.
You will need:
- 2 14mm spanners or a thin walled socket
- WD40 or similar
- Tub of grease
- Grease gun
If you get stuck or if you aren’t sure then ask for advice. The JGS4x4 team is always happy to answer any questions you may have.