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The Trials & Tribulations of the Tail Shaft Ball & Pinion Rubber Boot replacement.

Being an entrant in the 7th National Rally in Adelaide I thought I’d better give the Valiant a check over, grease up and oil change. Not being as nimble as I once was, Peter Tonkin said bring the ‘S’ to his shed where he has a car hoist, I gladly took him up on it. Now, because it was winter we waited for a fine day. When the opportunity arose, I contacted Peter for a suitable time to come over. That arranged I arrived and Peter drained the oil and I wiped down the oil leaks and then commenced the greasing.

That all went along fine until I got to the Tail Shaft Universal Joint, no way would the Grease Gun reach the embedded grease nipple. As it hadn’t been greased for a long-time due to this problem, Peter said we’ll unbolt the universal joint from the diff flange and cock it on an angle to widen the access to the nipple. It worked and we got it greased up.

While supporting the tail shaft for this procedure we noticed that the Ball & Trunnion Rubber Boot had disintegrated with old age, this a dilemma because as far as we know Rubber Boots are unprocurable anymore. Time is now running out for a huge modification to the Tail Shaft so I decided it will have to be temporarily bandaged up until the Rally is over.

The oil and filter were changed and the car was lowered down driven home where I was about to purchase ‘Gaffer’ tape for the temporary repair.

Later on, while I was talking to Martin Wood about some club matter I mentioned the disintegrated Rubber Boot when he said he has got a Rubber Boot, a bit old, and offered it to me to get me by. He handed it over to me at the AGM.

Peter again offered his help and the use of his hoist. Another fine day was selected to tackle it.

I had read the Service Manual and it said after unbolting the Trunnion end off of the Transmission it was possible to slip the rubber boot over the pinion pin and work it through the trunnion to its rightful position.

The rubber boot was prepared by smothering it with rubber grease to make it slippery, it went over the pin alright without tearing but we could not feed it all the way through the trunnion. A decision was made to remove the tail shaft from the car to the vice in the shed for better manipulation. We managed to get it partially through to where I applied 2 pairs of pliers onto the lip and pulled with all my might, Peter meantime push pulling and rotating the trunnion. After a while not getting anywhere we gave up and thought the only way it is going to work is by pressing the pin out whereby with the trunnion removed the boot could be easily fitted.

This then required removing the two balls with 30 or so needle roller bearings each, we had a bit of an accident here as I dropped one ball spilling needle rollers onto the concrete floor. We thought we picked them all up but as Peter cleaned them up said there was one short. After a short search, we found it.

Now not having a hydraulic press we tried to press the pin out by using a large vice peter had on the bench, even with the vice handle extended with 3 feet of pipe we still couldn’t shift it.

Again, we gave up, but I remembered my son in-law had a small Hydraulic Press bought from Supercheap. It is now too late in the afternoon to do anymore and so Peter drove me home. That night I collected the Press from my son in-law, the following afternoon the press was set up on pallets to a workable height and after several slippages we got it right by using a high tensile bolt as a drift and a socket on the other side to receive the pushed-out pin. It was very tight and took a lot of effort!

The rubber boot was easily installed and the pin then had to be pressed back in, equidistant of either side of the mounting shaft. After several measurements, we were happy.

A tube of suitable grease was used to lubricate the trunnion slides, needle bearings and balls on reassembly. Two stainless steel clips retained the boot lips to the tail- shaft.

The Tail-shaft Trunnion was then attached to the Transmission flange and the Universal Joint end secured to the horseshoe Differential flange.

On the way home, I deviated to the Kwinana Freeway for a short burst of speed to see if there was any vibration, there was none so all was OK.

Thanks go to Peter for his help and the use of his equipment which was greatly appreciated.

Also, thanks go to Martin Wood for saving the day with the correct rubber boot.

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