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Thread: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    the ebay guy seem to have good feedback and I suppose if he has an axle and no use for it, get whatever he can. I don't really have any experience on Sprite axles but the weak point is where the splines start. Every other axle I have broken ('46 Chevy multiples) it was at that point. One other fault with a used axle could be not knowing which side it came from. Over time, axles tend to take a certain set or twist from always under load in the same direction. That could cause some problems if you put it on the other side.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    There's a couple of ways that they fail. My sole experience is that the splined end (that goes into the diff) twisted off. Others have had them fail at the connection between the outer end flange and the axle. Ask your seller if he can mark them left and right so you replace a busted axle with the matching one. And take 'em both. My recollection is that the later axles (not sure what year, but definitely by 72) were stronger than the early ones. And (if it is twisted off), plan on spending time to do a good cleaning with rags and a magnet to get any wee bits of metal out of the housing. Being low budget back at the time, I made a 'puller' out of a piece of plywood. Good fortune. Have a look at suggestions on the forum regards what to refill the with. Doug

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    Jedi Trainee Joe Schlosser's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Having had my share of broken axles over them years, both on the track and on the street, I am not sure if it is your problem
    Looking at your video, car in gear, you are seeing the spider gear turn. It appears to turn when either passenger side or driver side wheel is turned.
    The opposite side wheel moves in the opposite direction with both wheels in the air. Passenger forward, driver reverse. as the passenger sider spider is moving when you turn each wheel then the axle (s) are connected at least at hand pressure.
    There is a chance the break is such that everything is connected when you turn the wheels by hand.

    However, it is easy to check as pulling an axle is a relatively simple job. Just pop the brake drum, take out the securing screw in the axle, break all the sealing goop between the axle and hub and pull it out. Broken axle is obvious.
    90% break at the spline where the axle enters the spider. If broken you will need to pull the diff carrier to get the broken stub out of the gears.
    Aside from 60 year old weak steel another cause of the failure is the wearing of the shims that hold the spider gears in place. If the shims are worn then the spider will not stay aligned and will overload the axle. The spider should not wiggle.
    Doing the shims is not a big deal but it does require a little patience.
    Stock axles are available on Ebay all the time. The uprated Axles are more $$ from Moss or Winners Circle. Stock 948 should be OK with the stock axles. Modified 1275 could use the the better axles.
    Joe Schlosser
    SCCA National License, Retired
    60 Bugeye, since 1966
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Is it possible the questionable axle has a posi-traction unit in it?

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    Jedi Trainee Joe Schlosser's Avatar
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Not likely. With a locking rear both wheels will drive. Looking at your video again, I am not sure you have a broken axle. Usually the broken side will free wheel.
    Also, your description of the initial symptoms do not seem to feel like an axle. Usually you are driving along and make a turn and all of a sudden there is no drive at all.

    However, as I mentioned it is easy to check.
    Joe Schlosser
    SCCA National License, Retired
    60 Bugeye, since 1966
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Not sure I can add to above. My guess would be broken axle. I have experienced both broken axle and clutch issue by the dozens. if our weather ever drops below 100f in our area I can lend a hand - I am retired but still have boss if you know what I mean. Or you can bring to my garage as I have hoist and AC! BTW I have a couple clutch throw out arms if yours is bent as was suggested earlier in this thread.

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Hi everyone! Sorry to take a while to get back... biz is a little hectic right now. I did the suggested test by holding one wheel and turning the other (no friend needed, just hold one with your foot and turn the other.) It takes almost no pressure to hold the driver's side still while turning the passenger. You can feel only the slightest tendency to move. This is both in and out of gear... even tested multiple gears including reverse... same. So, next time I can get an hour I'll pull that wheel and see what's up. Really hoping for the axel!

    Thanks for all the great info! jtaylor3 .... that ac'd garage sounds **** nice... I'd even bring the beer. But then I realized Lock Haven is half way across PA ... and PA is big! I'll update this as soon as I get a chance to pull it!

    Mike

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Sorry to hear it's broken Mike but at least it looks like you have found the problem.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    '73 MB 450SE
    '04 Saab Arc
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Well... pulled the axle today.....
    Broken Bugeye Axle.jpg
    So broken axle confirmed! Next step will be to remove the broken end from the diff.... am I correct that the back of the diff comes off by removing nuts on the front side of the housing? Haven't crawled under there yet to check. And... any advice on removing the broken piece of axle?
    Thanks everyone!

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeamondo View Post
    Well... pulled the axle today.....
    Broken Bugeye Axle.jpg
    So broken axle confirmed! Next step will be to remove the broken end from the diff.... am I correct that the back of the diff comes off by removing nuts on the front side of the housing? Haven't crawled under there yet to check. And... any advice on removing the broken piece of axle?
    Thanks everyone!
    Broke one just like that when I was in high school. Went to the junkyard and they gave me one from a Nash Metropolitan that worked. Who knew? Remove both axles, undo the pumpkin by removing the nuts as you said. You may need a long piece of steel rod to knock the broken piece out of there. Don't forget to order a new gasket in advance.
    Rick

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Thanks! Am I removing the other axle so I can push the long rod thru from the psgr side and knock the piece on thru from inside the pumpkin? Might be a problem... it's rather tight on that side of the car....

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    You have to remove the other axle to be able to remove the pumpkin. Once out, you can attack the end left in the spider gears.
    Rick

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    You need to remove both axles. Disconnect drive shaft. Remove nuts from diff. Tap gently and then prize diff pit of axle assy.
    You should be able to get the piece out of the splines pretty easily. Check the diff spider gears. There should be no wiggling against the bearing housing(s).
    One reason the axles break is "wiggle" of the spider gears due to worn bushings between the gears and the bushings.
    The shims re available from the major suppliers. Get a new diff gasket. Reassemble in reverse order. Questions just PM me. I have done this multiple times.
    Jim Gruber will recommend replacing the hub bearings with sealed bearings. He has the part numbers if you are interested.
    Joe Schlosser
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    60 Bugeye, since 1966
    SCCA FP, sold but not forgotten

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Also, You will need a block or something to lift the driveshaft out of the way when removing the diff. Make sure not to pull the driveshaft back or it could slip out of the transmission and putting it back is almost impossible (but doable) with the engine/trans in the car.
    New Drive shaft/diff flange bolts (Grade 5) are nice with Nylok nuts.
    Try to buy the newer axles or go spend a lot and purchase the two piece racing type from Winners Circle or Moss.
    There are lots of threads about resealing the axle to the bearing and lots of opinions.
    Most of my changing diffs is due to changing gear ratios for different tracks.
    Joe Schlosser
    SCCA National License, Retired
    60 Bugeye, since 1966
    SCCA FP, sold but not forgotten

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Yes a while you are in there, sealed Rear Wheel Bearings that fit a Subaru will replace the Bearings in there. You’ll also need a gasket puller, looks like a small hammer with a spike on one end. If you are on eBay looking for used axles you want ones saying EF17 stamped on the side of the hub. Some tricks in making sure hubs seal correctly, you want to use Hylomar as the sealant. It seams but does not get hard so if you screw up easy to take back apart. I made my own gaskets out of gasket material, a leather punch kit I found from Hobby Lobby for $5.00 and scissors. They can also be made from. Brown paper shopping bag. A hole punch needed for adding holes for wheel studs. Need to look up Subaru Bearing number. Not at my oc now.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Sealed Rear Wheel Bearing is a Timken 207FF. You will also need to order the Inner and Outer Axle Seal. Moss carries them.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Wait a minute, guys. A bit overwhelmed here. I just replaced the wheel bearings on this car. (wish I'd know about the Subaru thing).. I just want to get the piece of spline out of there, pop in another axel and get back on the road. This needs to be done in the cheapest possible way. Can't afford the new moss axles.... I'd love to have something stronger, but it's just not in the cards right now. Can I get that spline out with the diff still in the car and or the driveshaft still attached? If the spider gear bushing need replaced, can that be done that way as well?

    I'm guessing my problem here is that I've never even seen a differential opened up and can't work out in my mind how it works it's magic. While I wait see what thoughts this post might have generated in those in possession of more Bugeye knowledge than I am.... I'm going to grab my repair books and look at the exploded view... a little self ed-u-ma-ca-shun.....

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Sorry, it's not going to be that easy. you'll have to take out the pumpking to get the spline out. It's not that bad a job, sounds worse when you write it down than it actually is.
    Rick

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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Mike, it's not as bad as it sounds. You do have to drop the driveshaft from the diff of course and pull the other axle far enough to get free of the diff. Then remove the bolts and the whole thing comes out as a unit. Then you can see the broken piece and just push it out. Reinstall the diff with a new gasket then the driveshaft. Finally put the axles back in and you're on the road. Be sure to replace the axle gaskets and O-rings. Jim mentioned the inner axle seal. When you replaced the wheel bearings did you replace then then? If not then this would be a good to do it.
    Never express yourself more clearly than you can think.
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    '74 Super Beetle
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    Re: Help with 60 Bugeye - major drivetrain issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayless View Post
    .... remove the bolts and the whole thing comes out as a unit. Then you can see the broken piece and just push it out......
    I realized now.. the back of the pumpkin doesn't come off.. the front does. Duh. That's why the driveshaft has to come out.

    So... I don't need to drop the entire rear end assembly? Once the driveshaft is dropped, I should be able to remove the front of the diff with everything still in the car. And... if I'm reading this correctly, the guts of the differential pull out the front portion of the pumpkin? So no need to undo the suspension, take off and rebleed the brakes, etc? That would be nice. Sounds like I can just pull the diff out forward of the read end assembly, remove the broken bit, check the spider gears for wobble and slide it back in if all is good.... correct?

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