Shortening Your Half Shafts



First let me just say that you probably will never need to shorten your half shafts. Just as you will probably never need to drill holes in your cylinder head for increased cooling. But I've done it at home with common power tools. Most people would tell you that the right way to do either of these is to take it someone who knows what they're doing and pay them to do it. If you decide to do it your self, here is how I shortened mine. I haven't had any problems with them... YET...

First thing to do is to look at a repair manual and familiarize your self with the inner workins of your half shafts. If you can't understand how they work from a blown up diagram of them you should probably heed every one else's advice. Next find an extra set of 510 half shafts. Go down to your local parts house and pick up four new u-joints. Autozone sell lifetime warrantied u-joints for less than $10.00 each. They also sell "heavy duty" u-joints for less than $15.00 each. I would go for the regular ones as the "heavy duty" one are just the same as the regulars except that they don't have a grease fitting. This is supposed to make the cross shaped center piece stronger. I've never seen a u-joint break throung the center section, not on a 510 anyway. They all have lifetime warranty. It's your choice. I bought the regulars. While your out pick up a couple of those thin cutting wheels that fit in a power drill. Also pick up a good quality set of C-clip pliers if you don't already have some. Make sure they are capable of removing heavy duty C-clips. The inside and the outside type.

Begin disassembling the half shafts following the instruction in your shop manual. This may take a alot of fighting. Don't be afraid to use force. There isn't much there you can break. Have a clean container ready for all of the greasy little bits that will soon be coming out of your half shafts. I used a metal pie pan but any plastic or metal container will be ok.

Once you get it apart you basically what you want to do is cut 1/4" to 1/2" out of the inner yolk. You could just cut the inner end of it off. But the little plat that clips on that end is what keeps it form just pulling apart. With the half shaft bolted in place there isn't much chance of it pulling apart any way. But if you want to be able to pull your half shafts out without worrying about them falling apart you should probably plan on reattaching the little end plate. At this point most people would take this part to a machine shop with a good lathe and let them do it. I didn't. You don't NEED to either. Just brake out your handy drill. It should probably be the kind with the cord. Your going to be using it to cut throught the yolks. This take a long time and a cordless drill will probably need a recharge long before you're throung the first yolk. Break out your bets hack saw and blades and make a small starter cut as far from the inner end of the yolk as the amount you want to shorten your half shafts. If you want to get a good work out and have stock in a hack saw blade company you could try cutting through the yolk with the hack saw. If not just get a small starter notch made. Now chuck the cutting wheel into your drill and start cutting through the yolk. The cut doesn't have to perfectly perpindicular to the yolk. It would be nice but not 100% necessary. It will probably take you in the neighborhood of 1 hour per half shaft to make it through. To make this easier I made a cradle for my drill out of two 2x4s and hinged it to a saw horse. Then I strapped the drill into the cradle and strpped the yolk to the saw horse so that the all ireally had to was lean on the drill. This made the hors not seem so long but the vibration still made my hands numb by the time I was all done. This is the best way I found to cut mine. You may find a some magic grinder bit to do it but I couldn't find anything that worked better than my drill. Once you've got the yolks cut what you want to do is drill and tap a hole in the cut end. This bolt and a good oversize washer will hold the end plate in place. You will probably need a carbide drill to make this hole. Now just clean off all of the pieces really well and reassemble the half shaft with all new grease. Put your new u-joints in. Bolt the shafts into your car and if you have had problems with your half shafts bottoming out you should enjoy a much smoother ride. If you didn't have a problem with you half shafts bottoming out and you did this modification any way you need to look into getting a life.

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