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  • Help!! Halfshaft fell off

    OK, so I'm cruising into work today in my bone stock e30 M3 and suddenly while in 4th gear I hear the worst sound ever from the rear of the car (bang clank bang). I press the gas but no power goes to the wheels. I roll into a gas station and call AAA for a flat bed. When I look under the car I notice that the drivers side half shaft has completely disconnected from the diff. All the bolts were out and one snapped off. The end plate of the halfshaft is a little mangled and the diff flange is fine. If they bolt back up neatly is it OK to drive like this or do I need to by a new shaft? Why did this happen and what can I do to prevent it from happening again? Thanks for any advice, I need to get the car on the road.



  • #2
    Wow, glad the damage is relatively minor. I really can't see how all those bolts could come loose on their own. The 2 possibilities I can think of is a)there was some work done in that area the bolts never got torqued to the spec or b)the clusterfuck has been in the works for a really really long time.



    - Tire is the other control arm bushing.

    zhpregistry.net

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    • #3
      I know how you feel, same thing happened to me on a long trip to the beach. I bet it was nuts at that speed! Mine luckily happened from a start at about 5-10mph so I immediatley limped the car to the side of the road.

      It is time to rebuild the shafts or buy a good used one or a reman. You can rebuild the axle with bmw boot kits which include grease, plates, boots and clamps for around $60 If you don't have the time to rebuild them yourself you can find a good used axle for around that price I believe all e30s had the same axles except maybe the ix.

      since the axle plates got tweaked as they are just thin aluminum, you can not re use that axle in that condition. It is also possible the shaft may be warped but I also highly doubt that. The diff out put flanges are tough, I highly doubt that they are bent at all.

      The bolts most likely were not at the proper torque spec and when one loosened the others quickly followed. When you install the axles again make sure to use red loctite and torque them properly in a cross alternating pattern.

      Originally posted by noro View Post
      Wow, glad the damage is relatively minor. I really can't see how all those bolts could come loose on their own. The 2 possibilities I can think of is a)there was some work done in that area the bolts never got torqued to the spec or b)the clusterfuck has been in the works for a really really long time.
      when mine came off I concluded it was my own fault as I had removed the axle previously and failed to use loctite on the bolts and torque them properly.
      Last edited by Dougy Fresh; 09-30-2009, 01:33 AM.

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      • #4
        Cheapest solution is to get some loctite and re-install the bolts with proper torque spec after removing any oil/grease obviously). As Noro said, someone must have worked on that area...unless you have a seriously bad vibration from back there?

        Halfshaft seems to be fine though. Check to make sure that the rubber boot didn't get cut after this incident. If it did, you can get a repair kit to replace the boot. You can always replace the halfshaft, but why not try the easiest/cheapest solution? Last halfshaft I tried to replace was the OEM one, and it had seized so badly, I had to get a new bearing (expected) and hub ($180+ not planned for).


        Nick
        Last edited by Nikos; 09-30-2009, 01:34 AM.

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        • #5
          I was pretty damn scary at about 50 MPH!! The boot is OK, can anyone confirm that the halfshaft from any e30 will work? No work has been done in that area since I purchased the car 9 years ago!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Nikos View Post
            Cheapest solution is to get some loctite and re-install the bolts with proper torque spec after removing any oil/grease obviously). As Noro said, someone must have worked on that area...unless you have a seriously bad vibration from back there?

            Halfshaft seems to be fine though. Check to make sure that the rubber boot didn't get cut after this incident. If it did, you can get a repair kit to replace the boot. You can always replace the halfshaft, but why not try the easiest/cheapest solution? Last halfshaft I tried to replace was the OEM one, and it had seized so badly, I had to get a new bearing (expected) and hub ($180+ not planned for).


            Nick
            oem rebuild kits is by far the least expensive, quality assured route. that half shaft is not re-usable with the mangled dust cover plates. Those are very thin aluminum and will not properly seat to the diff out put flanges if tweaked like that. This would cause unbalanced rotation.

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            • #7
              I had this exact thing happen to me once. It was a little worse because it was the drivers side and the 1/2 shaft came around and smashed my diff cover where it connects to the mount. It also ripped the boot.

              In any case. It looks like you're ok. From what I can see it looks like the boot was not damaged. You should inspect it to confirm, but I think all you need to do is replace the dust cover at the end of the 1/2 shaft as it's dented.

              I'm not 100% sure but I don't think you can buy the dust covers individually. You may have to buy a CV boot kit to get one. If that's the case you may as well just replace the boot while you have it apart. It's a messy job, but very easy. You don't need to remove the 1/2 shaft from the car to do that inboard side.

              When you reinstall use some locktite on the bolts.

              Here's the CV unit with the boot repair kit. Note the little yellow tube to the right is a sealant meant to seal the dust covers to the CV


              Detail of the CV


              The CV is held onto the 1/2 shaft with a snap ring
              Last edited by Mick; 09-30-2009, 01:47 AM.

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              • #8
                FYI when I worked on our beloved mark full time a normal part of my "service" was checking all half shaft bolts, front subframe bolts, etc for tightness... That was on a 15k mile interval unless we knew the customer tracked their car. Then it was everytime we had their car on a life almost. Considering the age of our cars alone regardless of how oftern we drive them we should all add a bolt/nut tightening check to our oil and filter checklist.

                I have seen these bolts from tight to hand-tight on BMWs and Porsches more time than I can count. Over the years any bolt can work loose. They may get over looked unless a part is being serviced or replaced that involves removeing them...

                I would not lock-tight them... That may present a problem comming apart... They tend to strip easy if not handled with care.

                Good luck

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                • #9
                  You need to replace the entire driveshaft.

                  When removing the diff etc, you are to tie the driveshafts to the chassis to prevent them from drooping to excessive angles. Yours has been whipping around at excessive force and angle.


                  m

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the help guys. I'm going to pickup the boot kit at the dealer when the wife get's home with the other car. How does the dust cover come off? Do i Just pry it off with a screw driver and the like? I think the shaft and the outer joint should be ok Mark because it was supported by the exhaust when it fell off and didn't angle way down to the ground.
                    Last edited by 88_MMM; 09-30-2009, 06:13 AM.

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                    • #11
                      here ya go: http://www.s14.net/forums/showthread...building+axles

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by t13vom View Post
                        I would not lock-tight them... That may present a problem comming apart... They tend to strip easy if not handled with care.
                        a little heat and they will come out no problem

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                        • #13
                          Just did my axle project two weeks ago......Not easy. A mess. Well, very messy. I was so glad I placed a flat cardboard on the garage floor and a lot of rags. I tried to keep them neat but never happen. Took me two days. At first it was hard since it was my first time. But on the second axle, I was a little bit more knowledgeable. Still a PIA. Now I know what all the fuss was all about.
                          Lawrence

                          BMW CCA San Diego Chapter #192742
                          '90 M3 AWII - Garage Queen
                          '09 540i Touring 6 Spd - Son's DD
                          '03 530i 5 Spd - SO's DD
                          '03 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab - My DD & Range truck
                          '05 330i ZHP 6 Spd - Alternate DD
                          '15 Honda Pilot - Daughter's & Grandkids Hauler

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dougy Fresh View Post
                            a little heat and they will come out no problem
                            ...very true. I guess I will look at mine this weekend and follow my own advice. It has been a while.

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                            • #15
                              The damaged dust cover your looking for may not be in the boot kit. I did e28 shafts with an after-market boot kit and 2002 shafts with a factory BMW boot kit and neither came with the dust covers. The picture on realoem_com would lead one to believe the dust cover is included in the kit, though, for the M3.

                              The end cap (dust cover) can be worked off with a screw driver, though I'm sure there is a better tool. If Hylomar was used, it may take more work to get it off without distorting it - but distorting it isn't a concern I guess? If it were me, and the boots aren't cracking from age, buy a spare used shaft and use it or use it for parts - depending which shaft has better boots/less play.

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