Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Hi

I'm having difficulty removing the NSF driveshaft from the gearbox on the Escort.

I've taken apart the suspension so all that's holding the hub in place is the driveshaft and strut. However the driveshaft does not want to budge. Quite difficult to get a lever in between anyway because of the crossmember and ABS modulator securing bracket in the way. Have tried hitting a crowbar at it whilst someone pulls on the wheel, but still no luck. I'm running out of ideas.

Hope someone can help!

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - bell boy
you need to put a tyre lever type instrument between gearbox and shaft and hit it to shock the circlip out of its housing (an alloy lever is best so you dont damage the gearbox)
why dont you take strut off so that the weight of this isnt pushing the shaft back in as you are trying to remove it (a hub type puller is best to draw the shaft out rather than hitting end of driveshaft for this purpose)
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Thanks oldman. I think my dad tried tyre levers earlier but failed, however I'll take the strut off tomorrow and see if that helps.

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Again I'm afraid to say it failed, using as much brute force as we could/dare. The Ford special tool for this btw is £50.42 so I'll be keeping clear of that!

How about something like www.tooled-up.com/Product.asp?PID=61476 ? Do you think it would do the job a bit better?

Thanks in advance.

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - Number_Cruncher
Mike,

IIRC, the ABS modulator bracket just bolts onto the gearbox - why not undo the bracket, and move the moulator gently out of the way (leaving the brake pipes connected).

I agree with oldmans approach - put a lever in, then apply some prying force (you don't need a huge amount), and then, shock the circlip by hitting the end of the lever (in the same direction as you are pulling/pushing) with a hammer - it may take a few hits, but I have never had one defeat me using this method!

Although I have a bar like the one you mention, I don't tend to use it for this job - I prefer to use something much more like a tyre lever or wrecking bar.

Good luck!

Number_Cruncher
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Thanks NC.

Sorry, I need to make my first post clear: I can get a lever in, the ABS modulator bracket is just in the way towards the rear and can't be removed completely.

I guess I'll have to try again with the wrecking bar and a bigger hammer!

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Success!

I bought a bigger breaker bar and managed to lever it on one of the scructural ribs - where I had used it before, I was always pushing on the crossmember as well, which gives!

I'm leaving it to stop dripping oil overnight and tackle the seal insertion tomorrow. I'm a little worried as I accidently scored the seal bore getting the old one out. I've carefully gone over the burs with fine wet and dry but should I use some sort of sealant to prevent it leaking? noting I don't want to lock it in there forever!

Thanks for everyone's help.

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
I bought a bigger breaker bar


... wrecking bar ...
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - yorkiebar
Well done for getting shaft out. remember for future "if in doubt, hit it again" although you shouldnt really be hitting it anyway!

Seal should be ok if its only minor burrs that you have sanded down but a little instant gasket on the edge of the seal after it has seated will be ok but doubt if it is necesary. they don't normally leak from that edge!
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - Number_Cruncher
Mike,

I didn't realise you were doing this to change the seal. Are the diff bearings OK? Sometimes, if there is some play in the diff bearings, the driveshafts can move about a bit, and hammer the seals.

Number_Cruncher
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
I hope so NC!

I was actually going to take it to my local garage last week as I'd almost given up, though they wouldn't do it because they reckon it would be the bearings. However the mechanic who examined it couldn't feel any noticable play, nor do I have the telltale speedo jumping around. Despite this they still sent me away with the number of a gearbox reconditioner!

I'll see how it goes with the seal replacement. If it leaks again this thread will be back :-)

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Hello again!

Well the honeymoon period was short-lived.

Not leaking again (yet!) but the speedo is jumping up and down like a yo-yo under no-load conditions. Time to do some maths I think!

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - Number_Cruncher
Hi Mike,

What can happen is, if the diff bearings are failing, the crown wheel tilts over a little bit, and the plastic drive gear for the speedo catches on the housing. When this happens, there are some lugs on the plastic gear which shear off. The plastic drive gear can then spin relative to the crown wheel, which could explain your speedo behaviour (in fact it is the classic first symptom of failing diff bearings on this gearbox - most owners weren't as observant as you, and didn't see the preceeding driveshaft seal failure!). You can check if this has happened very quickly by withdrawing the speedo drive pinion, and probing the drive gear through the hole in the diff casing. Also, see if you can "wobble" the diff by moving the driveshafts up and down while looking through the hole at the diff.

Other than this, is the car in good condition? Does the gearbox have any other faults?

-----------------------------------------------

If you choose to go ahead:

If the gearbox is a four speed, they are really easy to do - budget for the price of the plastic drive gear a new speedo drive pinion, the new diff bearings, new diff seals and some gaskets. It's probably worth putting a clutch kit in, while the gearbox is out.

If it's five speed, you will probably need to hire, borrow, or buy the fifth gear removal tool - they are pressed on very tight!, and you can't split the gearbox without removing fifth gear first! Otherwise, it's a very similar job to the four speed.

Number_Cruncher
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
Thanks for your reply NC.

I haven't had a look at the speedo pinion as I'm not at home but I'll have a look when I return.

Car was owned and garaged for 13 years by my grandma, and has always passed MoT with only some advisory welding done this year to the rear sills - other than that it is structurally sound. So on that count I'd sooner the devil I know.

It is a four-speed. I've been having a look at this guide www.quantums.info/gearbox.htm and am concerned by reading it that the output shaft might be knackered by it being used as the inner bearing surface, and the cost involved in replacing it (£100). Is this the same on all B4 boxes?

As I can't keep it off the road too long, and the work will have to be done at my leisure, I was thinking of getting a donor gearbox (be it 4- or 5-speed with donor linkage) and doing a straight swap after I'd rebuilt the box. If the box has 5 speeds, will the 5th not come off with a normal puller? Also, with any of the work, will I need to get a press to get the bearings off and on the shafts? Will something like this do the job cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3200...2 ?

Sorry for all the questions, but I much appreciate the advice!

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Mike Farrow
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - bell boy
As you say just get a good known box, £35 for one of these from my trusted local breaker..
Go for a 5 speed same cc if possible, eg out of a 1300 car so the ratios are the same and quite rightly you need all the linkage but they used to unbolt out of the floorpan quite easily (inside under the rubber)
Escorts always dropped their diffs as n/c says, it was the law at one time and the moving speedo was the quick giveaway plus as he said lift in the shafts.
Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - Number_Cruncher
If, like oldman, you can get a 'box for £35, it's definitely not worth going to the trouble of stripping yours down.

The gearboxes I did obviously weren't too bad, because the output shaft surfaces were OK, it was just the diff bearings that had failed.

I found great trouble removing the fifth gear, and the first one I did damaged my small Sykes puller. Thankfully, I was on the same day release course as a local Ford mechanic whom I had known for years, and we struck up a neat if unofficial arrangement, where he would allow me to use the Ford special tools, while I gave him access to Vauxhall tools. The problem with the fifth gear is that there is a thoughtfully provided groove in the upper part of the gear hub for a puller (which you can just see on the upper gear in the piccies you linked to), but it isn't deep enough to get a good grip with a standard puller. The ford puller engages with the entire circumference of this groove, rather than just where the two or three legs of a standard puller would engage.

The bit in the link about carefully grinding the inner race on the difficult side of he diff is exactly how I used to do them - if you are careful, and grind to a uniform remaining thickness, you can get the inner race to crack long before you are in danger of marking the shaft with the grinder.

If you do find the output shaft has failed, then I would imagine that the outer part of the bearing will be a real pig to get out, because it is a blind bearing, and you will struggle getting anything behind the outer race.

But, if you just fit a known good gearbox, you won't have to put yourself through this trouble!

Number_Cruncher


Difficult driveshaft - '89 Escort ABS - mfarrow
But, if you just fit a known good gearbox, you won't
have to put yourself through this trouble!


Too late :-$ ! I decided that not knowing the mileage of the new 'box I wasn't going to chance having the bearings let go on that, so I bought a rebuild kit from eBay. As you can see, it's taken me a month to get this far, hence why I didn't want a 'live' project on my own gearbox!

Thanks for all the help and advice so far. The story as it stands is:

  • 'New' gearbox bought and stripped

  • 'Box looks like it's been rebuilt before (!). 5th gear off OK but I think I'll loctite it back on

  • Diff bearings seemed to come off OK with bearing puller and ring gear removed

  • Outer race of mainshaft came out fine after I fabricated my own tool (I'll put a piccy somewhere when I've finished) and the oil slinger was removed (read destroyed)

  • Parts cleaned and checked ready to be put back.


  • One question before I proceed. What should I use on the gears and the synchros? Should I follow Haynes guide and buy the moly paste from Ford or will dad's decades old moly grease suffice? Same question goes for the detent cap seal (loctite?) and 5th gear on input shaft (lithium grease?).

    Thanks again.

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    Mike Farrow
     

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