Changing the front axle swivels

Changing the front axle swivels

The handling on the Rangie has never been great. I decided to change the front axle swivel joints to see if that affected matters. Changing these joints is a pretty ambitious job for the home mechanic, although I did manage it without too much trouble.

This is what I did:

First remove the hub nut whilst everything is still on the vehicle. Don't forget it's a staked nut! and is extremely tight!

Then strip off the brake caliper and disc.

Then the hub. You need to remove the ABS sensor for this step. I destroyed mine!

Use hydraulic pullers to split the tapers. They go with an almightly bang!, so leave the nut on the thread if you can.

Which leaves you with this:

You need proper balljoint extractors for this step, although they are just pushed in, it is a very tight fit.

You might as well clean it up and give it a lick of paint.

And then press in the new joints.

The next part is tricky, so most people don't bother and hope. The vertical alignment is adjustable via a threaded collet on the bottom joint. You are supposed to adjust this up and down to get perfect alignment between the hub and the axle casing. If you don't, the driveshaft doesn't come through the centre of the oil seal.....

Land Rover make a special tool for about £1000. Clearly out of the question, so I had one made up by EW Engineering in Willingham. My design is a bit simpler. It engages in the end of the axle casing where the oil seal sits, and also in the hole in the swivel where the hub sits. If the alignment is right, the large flange on the tool will sit perfectly parallel to the swivel:

When the alignment is right, the oil seal can go in, then driveshaft, hub, ABS sensor, brake components, hub nut etc.

The splines on the driveshaft are supposed to have loctite on the outer end (presumably to stop chattering in the hub). The hub nut can be torqued up when the wheel is back on and the vehicle is on the ground.

Pretty tidy eh?

Naturally it made no difference to the handling!, but at least I know to look elsewhere.

Also, I purchased some new ABS sensors (Britpart). In spite of them being £130, they didn't work, I got lots of warning messages about ABS sensor faults. A bit of investigation showed that they are just a magnet and a coil of wire (so pretty cheap to make!). Some comparisons between the Britpart ones and an OEM one showed that the Britpart one would lift a 10g steel weight, but an OEM one lifted 55g. So the OEM one would generate a much larger signal for the ECU. I then bought some 2nd hand ones from eBay, and also a brand new one from China for about a tenner. It worked fine!

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Last modified on: 23rd June 2015 by email the webmaster

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