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Driveshaft removal question


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This is out of curiosity, I was always wondering how does a towing company remove the driveshaft for towing our coaches. Do they remove it all the way out or just disconnect at the axle and strap out of the way? Maybe slide the slip joint out? Probably depends on the company.  Also, in case of big ujoints with bolted in caps like mine, how do they handle that? The ujoints are usually pretty much impossible to remove without the "Tiger" style tool. Maybe they carry it, maybe not. Or do they remove it all the way with the flange, don't know if that is even possible at the differential side? I know a low boy trailer is the way to go but still would like to know if anyone had this experience and saw them do it. Thanks.

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Ivan K

Both of the times I need a tow the wrecker driver, (sent by CoachNet), removed the 4 bolts and 2 straps holding the differential end universal joint to the output yoke of the differential... then he pulled the spline end out of the transmission... thereby completely removing the drive shaft with both  universal joints attached.

image.png.ac674094eac238cfd9a61e2bbedcb847.png

 

Typical Driveshaft Bolts and Straps

Edited by Mel S, '96 Safari Sahara
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Mine was completely removed and marked to make sure it went back in same position.

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Thanks Mel and Gary, that makes sense with that type of ujoint but still wonder if they would remove the ujoint with caps that have to be pressed out like the ones that I have with Allison 4060, no straps there and the caps are not going out without the puller, like in the picture, for instance. That's not an easy task with the access we have.

IMG_2803.PNG

IMG_2804.PNG

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Both times my rig was towed the drive shaft was removed.   The second time, when I picked up the rig from Cummins I sensed a vibration.  When I got home I crawled under the coach and saw that the driveshaft was not in phase.  I removed and fixed myself along with a number of other issues. 

Very disappointed in the Cummins shop and talked to the manager about the issues, they didn't provide any relief.   The biggest thing was that when they reattached the hoses for my thermo valve they got contamination in it causing it not to open/close so the fan ran high speed, had to buy a new thermovalve.   

Point is that if you have your rig towed you should check that the driveshaft is installed in phase correctly.

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If the driveshaft can't be removed, the axle shafts will need to be pulled.  And a lot of times pulling the axles  is easier (you don't have to get under coach - especially if air bags are deflated). However if you pull the axle shafts you need a "cover" to put over the openings so the oil doesn't run out. 

Here's an example of the cover plates (this is a full set for Tow Truck operators) you would just need a pair for your specific coach's axle model.  Of course you can make a set out of most anything. I would buy/make and keep a pair in the Coach in case you need a ever tow and the Tow Truck doesn't have a set (that is better than having Driver using cardboard and risking leaks and maybe burning up a bearing (or best case making a mess all over the tires)).

https://www.myteeproducts.com/axle-caps-axle-covers-22-pc-set.html?fee=36&fep=4768&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7oXHvpXC5gIV7ffjBx2L4Qa8EAQYBCABEgIt2fD_BwE

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That is a great information, Mike. I do carry the ujoint puller for our 1610 bearing plates, just in case but never crossed my mind that pulling the axles was possibly a better option. I guess I'm too much used to cars with c-clips...  I'll definitely look into fabricating/getting the covers. Is removing the axles just a matter of taking out the nuts locking it into the hub an pulling them out?  Is it possible that someone might insist on pulling just one axle and let the spider gears go nuts? Any precautions needed that you know of? Thanks.

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I carry a U-joint puller too. If you can get under the coach that may be the best/easiest. I pulled the rear U-joint on my coach before. And I have to jack up one wheel so I can rotate the u-joint into the correct position for the puller (for each bearing cap) - so that's another step.

To remove an axle shaft, you have to remove all the nuts then smack the center of the axle with a sledge hammer. That smack pops the wedge-shaped locks loose. Then you pull each lock off the stud and you can slide the axle shaft out. At this point oil will start running out so you need a catch can under it. Once the axle is fully removed you can put the "axle cap/cover" on and use the same nuts to tighten it down. 

On the procedure document attached, then show using a brass driver to smack with the sledge. I have never used one of those - I just wack the center of the axle. But if your aim is off and you hit a stud then you have a bigger job, so a brass drift like shown or one of these tools is desirable. https://www.kienedieseltools.com/product/26181/kiene-axle-shaft-removal-tool?affiliateID=10056&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhLXd7qDC5gIVReDICh37ZQCEEAQYASABEgK3V_D_BwE  but for a "one time" tool, it is expensive. I've never had a problem just smacking the axle flange directly (the axle flange is designed to be hit).

 

Also, you only need to pull one axle shaft if the differential doesn't have limited slip (as most don't). So you pull one axle, then if you can turn the driveshaft by hand, your done. If you had limited slip differential you would not be able to turn the driveshaft by hand, then you would need to pull the other axle. 

The goal is to not have the driveshaft turn when towing so the transmission output shaft and counter shaft is not turning (which if turning while turning while the engine is not running could burn up the tranny bearings).

 

 

Removing Axle Shaft.pdf

Edited by CountryB
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Here's a video showing removing an axle with the tool (it take more time to install the tool, then to just hit the axle directly). You can see how wacking the axle flange pops the wedge locks loose (same with or with a tool).

See this video (just the first couple of seconds to see how the axle shaft comes out).

 

Edited by CountryB
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Mike, that is a lot of great information, thanks so much. I know I have an open rear end (the bus, that is) since I can turn the jacked up wheel and shaft so your note is very useful and the video helps to get the idea big time. I don't see the dowels but I suppose they are to center the axle. I am actually preparing to check on the ujoints today since I could not push grease through a couple of cups just few days ago.

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7 hours ago, fast72rs said:

That is a great information, Mike. I do carry the ujoint puller for our 1610 bearing plates, just in case but never crossed my mind that pulling the axles was possibly a better option. I guess I'm too much used to cars with c-clips...  I'll definitely look into fabricating/getting the covers. Is removing the axles just a matter of taking out the nuts locking it into the hub an pulling them out?  Is it possible that someone might insist on pulling just one axle and let the spider gears go nuts? Any precautions needed that you know of? Thanks.

Ivan:  tell me about your u joint puller.  I thought  once you loosen the bolts holding the ujoint it ( the driveshaft) would just slip right out.  What am I missing and can you post a picture of your puller.

bob L, 08 dynasty

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Bob, I just happen to have pulled the shaft today so here is a pic of it and the puller. This is for 1610 BP ujoints, part 5-279x and the like. There is no slip yoke that would go into the transmission, at least not with the big ones like 4000 series Allison. No ujoint straps, these have to be pulled/pressed out. Not much fun under the bus.

IMG_2812.JPG

IMG_2813.JPG

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For sake of clarity, I got under it one more time and here is a pic of the transmission output yoke. The ujoint caps are pressed into it. It is all nasty from all the grease slinging around but it should give an understanding of the difference from a slip yoke. The differential side is the same thing, pressed in the same way.

3A8AC5C6-5506-4A44-B2AA-974385069976.jpg

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Thanks Ivan;  I understand the problem about trying to do this on your back under the coach.  But, handy tool to have if you need it when getting ready for a tow.  Tow truck folks should have one but you nver know.  Great photos by the way.

 

Bob L, 09 dynasty

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I have the same tool.  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UF4L9BU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It can be found cheaper in the Chinese brands.

When I removed my U-joint I used an air-powered 1/2" drive impact gun, and it took a lot of force to get that cap moving.  I would not wanted to have to had to use a socket and ratchet (although I' m sure it could have been done that way with a 1/2" drive breaker bar). It was probably the first time in a over decade that the bearing cap was pulled.

In my younger days as a truck mechanic, we would put a hydraulic jack under the drive shaft yoke (pushing up) and then smack the top of the differential (or transmission)  yoke with a sledge hammer to drive the caps out. But there was no way that would have worked on my coach. First there isn't enough room to swing a hammer, and second - it was really really tight. Without that tool it wan't coming out.  Any competent Tow Truck company would have that tool - the question is, when Road Service sends out a tow truck - is that company sent competent?

BTW, there are two types of  cap-bolt retainers used. They use a "lock plate" where you thread the cap bolts in then bend the tabs of the retainer plate up against the flat of the bolt head, the other style uses retaining bolts that have a thread-locking compound on them. You should not reuse the bolt with the locking compound.  My style has the retaining plate (like in the drawing on the puller/bearing above). So if you have the other style get some new retaining bolts and throw them in your spare parts bin.

If a tow truck guy pulls your drive shaft, you know they will just reinstall with the same old bolts/tabs. So I carry the correct parts and I would either provide them to the guy at time of install, or install them myself. I would not rely on the tow truck guy to do the job right. If it comes apart later (maybe months later) you know who will foot the bill.

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The removal is not the problem, its reassembling the drive shaft, the universal joints, etc the same way it came out.  Make sure they mark All the assembly so that it goes back in the same way.  Since the drive shaft comes apart with the splines,  just one notch off will put the whole assembly out of phase.

Chuck B, 2004 Windsor

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I wonder why do they or why would they pull the shaft apart? It is totally unnecesary and I kept mine in one piece to take it out. It is a heavy succer but still. The ujoints stay in the shaft and I don't think it matters if the tranny or diff yoke have turned? They certainly will be out of position after towing. I also doubt they care about getting the cups in the same place they came from.

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Ivan,

There are millions of "THEY'S" in the world.  If you are unlucky enough to get a "THEY" that does not know what they are doing,  they can cause a lot of damage to your coach.  There are several posts to the yahoo group about member's misfortunes.  Better to be safe than sorry plus the added expense.  Chuck B, 2004 Windsor

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For towing, there is no need to completely remove the drive shaft. You just need to remove it from the "differential end", then swing it out of the way (so the differential yoke can't hit it as it spins)  and "tie" it to something ( a frame rail or crossmember). It's a waste of effort to remove both ends.  And if you do want to remove it completely, why bother to separate it - that's a third step?

Lastly, if you are going to separate it, it is easy and wise to just mark the two haves with a paint pen (why not just mark yours "now" for later) for easy alignment on reassembly.

 

Edited by CountryB
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