The test fit of the Engine and Gearbox is getting out of control. In discussion with the team at the Surgery, we’ve decided that the best approach given all the changes I’m making, is to test fit more components and make any changes the bodywork now. The reality is that the engine and gearbox change is a bit more challenging than I first thought. Is it possible that I didn’t think things through properly in the first place? Surely not!

Anyway, I’m now having to “quickly” (Yeah right, we know nothing is quick when it comes to classic Jags) reassemble the front, and rear suspension components, which I have already disassembled but not rebuilt. However, I think the pros outweigh the cons.

The pros being:

  • Check the alignment between gearbox and differential
  • Check the fit of a new (or modified) prop-shaft. The original will be too short.
  • Make any changes required for the power steering conversion I’m planning
  • It will be easier to get the completed shell back here with the wheels on
  • And, I want to take my time painting and rebuilding the suspension and brakes

And the cons:

  • Very inefficient, actually since when is a hobby supposed to be efficient?
  • I need to deal with the rear hubs again!

Anyway … the first task was to clean the rear axle assembly, I just need things clean to the touch at this stage, so that wasn’t too onerous.

Diff assembly ready for a clean-up
Old grease in the axle tube
Cleaned up axle tube with the original oil seal still in place. I’ll replace it later.

Once all that was completed the next step is to get the axles back in the rear axle assembly. This bought back a host of unhappy memories (ref: the Dreaded Jag Rear Hub).

Rear axle assembly

I don’t own a press, and I couldn’t be bothered trying to get the taper bearings (#36 in the diagram above) back on to the axles at home, so I took them to the same engineering shop that removed them for me in the first place. I also got them to have another crack at the threads crushed in the attempts to remove the hub. This was great, as it’s a simple exercise to drop the axles off on the way to work. Some time saved! For some reason I didn’t take any images of the axles re-united with the bearings.

The axle assembly consists of an oil seal in end of the axle tubes (35), taper roller bearings (36) on the axles, shims (41) to set the axle (half shaft) end float, a gasket (42), the brake carrier (40) and an outer retainer and seal (43).

In my case, there were 3 shims on the left axle and one on the right. Looking at the disassembled parts, it seems there was another gasket behind the retainer. I decided to go with two gaskets on each side. These were simple shapes, so I decided to make them myself.

Axle and inner taper bearing in place

After installing the axles, the next step is to get the bearing outers into the axle housing.

Here’s the process I followed:

  • Install both axles with inner bearings.
  • Fit the outer bearing shell (I just tapped them gently into position with a block of wood, but there is no doubt a better way
  • Leave the outer shell a bit proud of the face
  • Assemble the shims, brake carrier and gaskets
  • Through this process I checked the end float (you can just feel it by hand) to ensure I had everything about right.

NB Both axles need to be in place to get a gauge on the end float. I made the mistake of installing one axle and for a while couldn’t figure out why things seemed wrong. After all, I hadn’t changed anything. With both axles in place, things made sense.

Outer bearing shell gently tapped into position
LH and RH shims and retainer with original seals, these will be replaced later, it’s good enough for now
Brake carrier, shims and retainers, after a quick clean and a spray of matt black on the retainers to keep rust at bay

Just to be inconsistent I gave the retainers a quick coat of paint to protect against flash rust. It will be easy to get off if I reuse these components. Next I made the gaskets. With prior approval, I used my partners self healing cutting mat which is designed for cutting fabric. It provided a perfect base for cutting around the edges of the shims with a knife.

Gaskets made, just need to punch the holes out. I used a block of hardwood for that rather than risk damaging the cutting mat.
Completed gaskets
Retainer, brake carrier and shims loosely fitted (LHS)
Oil seal reatainer
After a quick clean up the hubs are ready to go back on

After all the drama getting the hubs off in the first place, I sure hope that they will come off easily after the test fit. With this in mind I tightened the hub nuts up just to the point where I could feel some serious resistance and left it at that. I was glad that I had the threads repaired as the nut went on really smoothly.

Nut tightened up “just tight”

And, just in case I run into trouble getting the hubs off I reused the bolts with the screwdriver slots I cut when getting the hubs off in the first place.

Original bolts with the screwdriver slots
All done!

Right … now onto the rear suspension. I’m not looking forward to dealing with the very rusty rear springs.