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Tranny Output Shaft Boogers... Ok to drive for awhile?


dibo

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So I just added a new ride to the stable this weekend... a '78 320i with an M50B25, ZF close ratio 5 speed, full coil-over setup, rear toe/camber adjustment... let's just say she has a ton of potential.

That said, she also has some issues (don't they all). The first on my agenda is the leaky tranny. In and of itself, it's not really a big deal (a few seals), but I noticed that the output flange didn't have a nut or lockring holding it on... in fact, the flange itself sits too deep on the shaft to adequately tighten with a nut by a few mm (missing spacers?). Also, the shaft splines are a bit boogered (as one might expect considering it's been held on by the tension between the driveshaft and center support bearing). The flange came off really easily (the flange splines looks fine), which I would think indicates excessive wear on the shaft (as I recall, 4sp Gertrag flanges are a bitch to get off...)?

I was only able to get one good pic of some of the damage (a score near the output seal), but there are a few other places closer to the threads as well. I also took one to show the state of the flange when I got in there (note the absence of lockring and nut).

At any rate, I'm curious if anyone has input on this... Can I get away with driving in this condition for awhile (with new seals, of course), or is it absolutely imperative that I remedy the situation asap? Keep in mind, it's hard to drive this car slow, so although I'd certainly try to take it easy in the meantime, there would be a few moments of insanity here and there...

Also, to clarify what I mean by "remedy", it'd probably cost me more than it's worth to repair this box, so I'd probably just find another used ZF (so I don't have to get a new driveshaft made).

Thanks for the help! Oh, and some eye-candy ;-)

e21_back.jpg

e21_bay.jpg

e21_front.jpg

shaft_score.jpg

output_flange.jpg

75 '02

78 M50 swapped E21

95 E34 touring

69 C10 Fleetside

69 Datsun SRL 311 (2012 project)

"Toil and learn or have deep pockets" - a smart guy

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Sounds that you should park the car and start looking for a new gearbox.

It's probably leaking from the splines so new seal wouldn't help that. I would say driving in that condition is pretty dangerous. Even if you don't care about the gearbox anymore it could cause some hazardous situation when failing eventually, probably sooner than later IMO. It's not fun if the front of main shaft falls down to ground and throws the car up in the air during your "moment of insanity".

I need to add that the car looks like a lot of fun when fixed in right way.

Edit: Oh now I see the pictures of the flange that I didn't see before. Definitely, I wouldn't drive it.

Tommy

Racing is Life - everything before and after is just waiting!

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Kinda what I was thinking... guess I just needed some reinforcement before I spent the money. At least the car was relatively cheap... ha! Thanks.

Matt

75 '02

78 M50 swapped E21

95 E34 touring

69 C10 Fleetside

69 Datsun SRL 311 (2012 project)

"Toil and learn or have deep pockets" - a smart guy

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hmm.

The splines on the shaft don't look all that bad-

you MIGHT be able to get away with a new flange,

if it's chowdered its end and not the inner race of the bearing.

Which is likely, because the flange is pretty soft compared to the bearing.

As long as the pilotting system on the driveshaft's intact,

the shaft won't come off the transmission.

So I'd CAUTIOUSLY try fixing it... with the understanding that

it might not work. And I'd use some form of sealant on the splines-

if you can get 'em cleaned up enough for it to work.

t

"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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Thanks for the responses!

I agree that it's not terribly awful looking (though there are a few gouges that I can get an unnerving amount of finger nail into...), but decided to play it safe and replace the tranny... the repercussions of a failure would cost me way more than $400, so I just picked up a new used unit and am hoping to get it in there in the next few days. That said, I'll keep the other one around just in case... it's probably not worth much in its current condition, although it's probably not worth rebuilding either, so that may just be the pack rat in me talking...

Anyway, thanks again!

Matt

75 '02

78 M50 swapped E21

95 E34 touring

69 C10 Fleetside

69 Datsun SRL 311 (2012 project)

"Toil and learn or have deep pockets" - a smart guy

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