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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.

  1. #21
    Obi Wan 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.
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    Jedi Knight
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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
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    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
    SCCA FP, sold but not forgotten

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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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