View Full Version : Front Axle / Run with no half shafts?

July 25th, 2010, 07:08
While doing a front break job I noticed the u-joints were totally nuked. I pulled everything out, cleaned it up, used some PB blaster ,and proceed to press out the u joints. These very well could have been the originals with 158,000 miles on them, no needle bearings and the caps even were beaten up. My 20 ton press struggled to force them out but finally everything did come out. When I went to re-install the new u-joints the I noticed that the end of the half shaft was tweaked down about a 1/16 to an 1/8" of an inch, basically just enough to not be able to get the c-clip in.

Do I attempt to bend the shaft back apart some how? or do I need to get a new/used one and replace.

This is my daily driver and I need to use ASAP, can I leave the half shafts out on both side, and seal the ends of the axle tubes for temporary service??

Thanks in advance,


2000 XJ Limited 4.0L Auto NP242 158,000 miles

July 25th, 2010, 07:19
As long as you re-install the stub shafts in the unit-bearings, I don't see a problem.


July 25th, 2010, 07:21
All you need is the outers in the unit bearings. DO NOT RUN THE UNIT BEARINGS WITHOUT THE OUTERS!

you can leave the inners out and stuff some plastic grocery bags in the tubes to try and keep the oil in.

regarding bending eh ear back out, yes, you can attempt to bend it back with a BFH and some gentle persuasion, but you're likely not going to get it back perfectly and it's going to continue to eat u joints.

Put the outers back into the hubs, plug the tubes and find yourself a new set of axle shafts at the junkyard.

July 25th, 2010, 07:50
Thanks for the info.

I just start looking for a used shaft, and run it with the outers in.

Should I prepare myself for incredible gas mileage?

July 25th, 2010, 08:28
Not really, shouldn't improve much unless you constantly drive in circles, most of the time the ujoints aren't operating at an angle.

Trick to avoid bending the ears - find a way to press against the arms of the ujoint cross instead of the opposite cap. This way you're only pressing a single cap at a time and the ear is supported by the press. You might have to fab some sort of adapter to make it easier.

Matthew Currie
July 25th, 2010, 08:35
Thanks for the info.

I just start looking for a used shaft, and run it with the outers in.

Should I prepare myself for incredible gas mileage?Incredible? Hardly. Maybe some. There's very little if any difference in gas mileage between an XJ with disconnect front axle and one without. My 87 consistently delivered a bit better mileage than the 95 and 99 have, but only by one or two at best. Likewise, my experience with other old 4x4's with locking hubs suggests that although it might be measurable, it will not be magical.