240Z Half-Shaft Rebuild

Rebuilding the Datsun 240Z half shafts or Drive Shafts (per Datsun FSM) – is indeed a do-it-yourself project.  There are tons of references on the internet, and I’ve made several of the links available below.

I have rebuilt the half shafts in my 1971 Datsun 240Z.  I took a bunch of photos of the dis-assembly and re-assembly, and added copious notes about my experience.

Factory Service Manual Pages

First, here are scans of the 1971 Datsun 240Z FSM Half Shaft Manual Pages RA-10 through RA-14.  (28mb)

It makes sense familiarize yourself with the major components

Datsun 240Z Half-Shaft Rebuild - 1971 Datsun 240Z Drive Shaft Exploded View

1971 Datsun 240Z Drive Shaft Exploded View (FSM Page RA-10)

 The Replacement Parts

Universal Joints (#s 10, 12, 13 & 14)

An exhaustive list of cross-referenced vendors of U-joints for both the half shaft and drive shaft can be found on ZCar.com and on AtlanticZ.ca.  I did not compare the content of these two sources.

Rubber boot (# 5) and front-and-rear boot bands (#’s 6)

Motorsport Auto
ZCar Source
Black Dragon Auto

The Parts

Here are all the parts ready for installation.  Two extra u-joints are for the drive shaft.
Everything was not as it seemed!  Read the caution, below.

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[stextbox id=”warning”]Inspect all the parts when you get them.  I received 4 boxes of 393 u-joints, but only 3 actual 393 u-joints.  One had 29mm caps instead of 28mm.  Called local O’reilly retail store (Friday 11am), and did a straight exchange over-the-counter Saturday at 11am – just as the promised! [/stextbox]

[tribulant_slideshow gallery_id=”2″]

Removing the half shafts

Jack the rear of the car onto axle stands.  You will need to remove the 8 bolts (4 at each end) that secure the half-shaft at the differential end and at the rear wheel.  If you start by the wheel, leave two bolts & nuts in place (finger tight) so the half-shaft is not flopping around while you try to remove the bolts at the other end.  Not an issue if you start at the differential end.

Datsun 240Z Half-Shaft Rebuild - FSM Removing the Drive Shaft

FSM Removing the Drive Shaft

You will need to remove one bolt, spin the shaft, remove one bolt, spin the shaft, repeat.

The connection at the differential end required some work with my 2.5 pound sledge hammer to get the two parts to separate.  There isn’t a lot of ‘swinging room’ and the joint is very near the diff, so be careful and patient.  Many years and a little bit of rust is all it takes.

Removing the U-Joints

I found this great reference on removing U-Joints from ClassicZCars.com.
“Change a U-Joint with a hammer” http://youtu.be/8jpME2VD1oA.
Installing a U-Joint (with a press): http://youtu.be/aE9aNHFehqw
240z half shaft U-joints part 1 – YouTube

I used a vise and my 2.5 pound sledge hammer to remove the u-joints.  Worked fine.  Go slow, make sure everything is lined up.

Dis-assembly of the half-shafts

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Re-assembly of half-shafts

[stextbox id=”warning” caption=”Definition of an Expert”]Danish scientist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr defined an expert as “A person that has made every possible mistake within his or her field.”  Source: wikipedia.org[/stextbox]

By this definition, I am now a “half-shaft expert”.  Please learn from my mistakes and follow the learnings in the slideshow below.

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Remember to grease the U-joints.  Here is a helpful hint from EuroDat

When I first purchased the car

Here is what one of the half-shaft U-joints looked like when I first bought the car.  It is pretty obvious that the u-joints were already leaking a LOT of grease back then.

Datsun 240Z Half-Shaft Rebuild - Half-Shaft U-Joint when I first purchased the car