Sep 30 2012

Rolling with the joints

First, the really good news. The frame has had both bumpers bolted on, and has been let down from its precarious perch. Overall, the paint job is exactly what I’m looking for. Nothing perfect, and nothing glaringly wrong. I had a drip across the front bumper that got mostly taken care of. With that mostly taken care of, I turned my attention to finishing the front axle.

The first thing on my list was dealing with the shafts. If you’ll recall, my front axle had 2 of the 3 types of axle joints that Willys used, the passenger’s side had the Bendix style and the driver’s side has the Spicer style. The third type is the Rzeppa (pronounced Cheppa) style joint. In working on the axle shafts, I determined that the Bendix shafts were far too warn for me to put them back in. Together with the fact that the joint wouldn’t stay together under it’s own weight, it was time to retire them. On the Spicer side, the yolk on the long shaft was pushed in to the point where I couldn’t get the cardan cross out. So there went that shaft. As I began to come to grips with the thought of spending close to $300 on new shafts, a thought hit me…

I have a parts Jeep that likely has good front axle shafts, or at the very least is worth pulling out to see if I can get one or two of them without making another purchase. On Saturday I set out to do just that and headed over to my brother’s place where I’m storing the white Jeep. The tires on the white Jeep were so rotten, that the front tires had collapsed under the weight of the Jeep and had come off the bead, making rolling it away from it’s tight hole very difficult. After getting it moved, and the parts banged on, I had two nice Warn locking hubs that will need a bit of restoration, and two potentially usable axle shafts with a …. Rzeppa joint.

From offroadvehicle.ru

From offroadvehicle.ru

So now I get to learn all about these joints when I get around to taking them apart next weekend. In my initial research, one of the major positive points of this joint is its increased turning angle (29˚ versus the 23˚ of the Bendix and the 27.5˚ angle of the Spicer joint). Along with that, it’s fairly strong. The down side? Finding replacement parts can be difficult and expensive. That being said, if these end up being good shafts and joints, having one of the earliest constant velocity joints in my Jeep will be pretty cool 🙂

From Wikipedia

From Wikipedia – click for animation

I also got a bit of sand blasting done today, with both hubs now blasted and ready for paint, and half of one of the brake backing plates done. Unfortunately, it just got way too hot to continue blasting, so I had to put it up for the day. I’ll have to remember that next weekend when I fall asleep on the couch after getting up at 6:30am with the dogs.