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Broke the halfshaft

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  • Broke the halfshaft

    I was at NJMP a couple of weeks ago with the E30 M3. I tried to do some "standing launch" in the back of the empty paddock area. First time, lit up the tires for a couple of car lengths. Second time, snap, heard a weird noise then no drive. Turns out I broke the driver side half shaft. See attached picture. I am a little surprised that this happened. I thought the drive train would have been more robust to withstand this kind of abuse. Yes, the car is on slicks, but still...anyone have similar experience?

  • #2
    Show off!

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    • #3
      I too am very surprised that an S14 could do that. I don't think I have ever heard of that happening before.

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      • #4
        Ive never seen or heard of it happening but in our weekend warrior race world we dont usually do standing starts. I dont know anyone who drag races E30s either.

        The Gruppe A cars did use a beefier half shaft if I remember correctly (they did do standing starts, at least the BTCC did) but they were also series rule limited to an 8" rim and (I think) a 235 section tire. You probably have way more rim / rubber down that that as well.

        Driveshaft Shop makes an uprated ~$1800 pair of E30 half shafts they rate at 700HP,,, which I am going to guess is marketed to the drift-o-licious crowd or possibly import drag racers(?). I cant imagine any E30 road racers with 700 HP, or needing 700HP axles.
        http://www.driveshaftshop.com/import...-bolt-in-axles.

        I would think, replace the axle with a known good rebuilt unit and "dont do that anymore",,, and it will probably be fine for the normal track service life of an axle.
        Outside of standing starts the E30 rear axles always seemed to be a very overbuilt part of the car in normal and even heavy track use.
        Last edited by jimmy p.; 10-30-2018, 02:36 AM.
        jimmy p.
        87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
        88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
        88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
        92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
        98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
        04 Ford F350 - V10

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        • #5
          Were they new?

          It's pretty common. Even with the larger diameter shafts as shown in your photo.
          Talk to anyone who's swapped in a M60/M62 V8, and they eat half shafts and bearing cages almost as fast as they fill fuel tanks.

          Also, FWIW - I waited almost 2 months for the Driveshaft Shop to turn around a pair of E36 axles, that were supposed to be "a quick rebuild" by their terms.
          Service is abhorrent, and communication non-existent.

          $.02
          -CL

          Chris L.

          Spray paint and tire shine doesn't equate to a "restoration!"

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          • #6
            The half shaft on the driver's side was not new. It's been on the car since I bought it. I don't know exactly when it was last replaced. The passenger side was replaced by myself two years ago with an OEM GNK unit. It may be just a combination of factors which contributed to its breakage. The age, type of tire/size, the grip level of the surface. It's no coincidence that it broke on the second time when I launched the car...the tires fully warmed up during the first launch. Traction was much higher the second time around. I have since replaced the broken one with another OEM GNK unit. Regardless, I won't try launching the car from a dead stop anymore.

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            • #7
              Custom halfshafts are nice, but probably overkill for track use...

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              • #8
                If you had slicks on and an old axle I'm not entirely surprised. I've seen stuff like that happen on other cars with grippy tires and grenading usually solid components.

                I've done plenty of 4k clutch drops on my car with 215 width Falken 615ks and I've never had an issue, not even a slipping clutch (still had the original clutch before I pulled the motor a few weeks ago). Granted my motor only outs out 178rwhp/167rwtq...

                So what tire and width were you running?
                1987 325is - 185-195k
                1988 M3 - 141k

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                • #9
                  Michelin 25-64/18 slicks.

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                  • #10
                    LOL,,, yeah not super surprised at that.
                    jimmy p.
                    87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                    88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                    88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                    92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                    98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                    04 Ford F350 - V10

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                    • #11
                      Mate just needed to swap out his half shafts at a track day recently. Axles were roughly 5 yrs old, but is behind a 300hp+ atw's s14 with a Drenthe sequential and DTM replica suspension. They didn't sbap like yours but wore out...

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                      • #12
                        I snapped a half-shaft on an M42 powered 318iS E30. It was an atypical case of abuse. I was in the process of rolling backwards from a gravel drive onto a street, and then I buried the pedal. I was rewarded with a broken half shaft.
                        I ordered a GKN unit and it's been fine.

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