A few weeks ago I changed the oil pressure switch on the Land Rover.
As I cleaned up some of the oil which had dripped onto the front prop-shaft, I noticed the sliding joint was shot, and it had so much play it wasn’t funny!
So it was a trip to the local Land Rover shop to get a new prop-shaft. It cost £80.
Its 8 nuts and bolts to change the prop-shaft. This is how I fitted it.
What is a prop-shaft?
The prop-shaft transfers the the rotational power from the gearbox to the axle differentials, which then drive the road wheels.
The prop-shaft has 2 universal joints (UJ’s) in either end and a sliding joint in the middle. This allows the prof-shaft to form different angles as the axle moves up and down on the suspension. The sliding joint allows the prop-shaft to alter its length as the axle moves up and down over the terrain.
Note: The UJ’s do wear out, and they can be replaced separately if need be. But if your sliding joint is worn, (as in my case) the whole prop has to be replaced.
How to change the prop shaft on a Land Rover
Its only 8 bolts to change the prop-shaft, so you don’t really need any specialist tools. You can use a prop-shaft tool, but spanners do the job as well.
Note: I have a Land Rover Defender, but the instructions are pretty much the same for a series vehicle, Discovery or Range Rover. You can also apply this to the rear prop-shaft, although there may be a few differences.
This is what you will need.
- 2 14mm spanners or a thin walled socket
- WD40 or similar
- Tub of grease
- Grease gun
Removing the prop-shaft from the diff
1: First thing is to chock one of the wheels of the Land Rover as you are going to be working underneath it.
2: Climb underneath the Landy behind one of the front wheels. Start by undoing the front bolts which attach the prop-shaft to the diff as shown in the photo on the left below.
3: When the nuts are undone you may need tap the propshaft with a hammer to get it to separate from the diff flange. With it undone, it will look like the photo on the right below.
Removing the prop-shaft from the transfer gearbox
Now you have the diff end of the prop-shaft removed, it will allow you to move the prop around to help in getting access to the nuts and bolts on the transfer gearbox end of the prop.
5: Start to undo the bolts on the gearbox end of the prop-shaft. When you have undone one or two of them you will need to rotate the prop to get access to the other two.
6: Take the Land Rover out of gear, and it will allow you to rotate the prop-shaft to get access to the remaining bolts. Once you have them in sight/access, put the Landy back into gear.
7: You can now undo the last couple of nuts and bolts.
8: You can now remove the prop-shaft.
Fitting the new prop-shaft
Fitting the new prop-shaft is the reverse of removal.
Make sure the sliding joint is at the gearbox end.
Greasing the prop-shaft
Your new prop-shaft should come pre-greased, but I choose to pump some more new grease in to make sure it was well lubricated. In each UJ is a grease nipple, and there is also one on the sliding joint.
Its a simple case of getting a grease gun and attaching it to the grease nipples and pumping in the grease until you see it oozing from the UJ joints – same with the sliding joint.
So there you have it – a straightforward job that should see your new prop-shaft last many years if greased regularly.