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Discussion Starter #1
I live in deepest rural France (Limousin - Correze department) so finding garages here for my T4 is a challenge. The fact it is a professional Tdi conversion adds to that challenge. Anyway I followed advice and threads on here and a few weeks ago attempted to change the split outer CV boot on the drivers side (RHD) driveshaft. I planned to completely remove the shaft and ordered a new Febi Bilstein CV boot kit to do the job.

Unfortunately lying on the driveway with the van on axle stands I was simply unable to undo the two 16mm nuts which hold the lower balljoint in place. A socket and a spanner were not enough. I even broke a Draper 16mm socket trying in vain with a breaker bar.

I gave up and booked the van into a local community run garage where one of the French mechanics speaks good English and can understand my garbled French!! (I have used them several times before).

I took the van in last week and was told the French mechanic had left and had been replaced by an English guy. (should help with communication I thought). Anyway the way the garage works is that you can do your own work on your vehicle using their equipment and ramps or they can assist/lead.

Unfortunately the English guy turned out to be more than a bit of a dick and I could not believe him when he said he had done a five year VW apprenticeship!!

He told me the procedure to remove the outer CV boot/joint was wrong in the Haynes manual and despite me suggesting it would be best to remove the whole driveshaft (6 extra bolts) he proceeded to remove the brake disc and caliper and split the lower ball joint. He undid the shock bolt and lowered the torsion bar nut but did not remove the shock bolt or droplink?? Because of this it was very tight getting the driveshaft out. He then removed the torn outer CV boot and started hammering the end of the CV joint (with a metal hammer!!) to drive it off the shaft. He did hold the shaft with pliers!! It was stuck tight, so I suggested putting the driveshaft bolt back into the joint (Haynes suggest this) which he did try but to no avail. He then kept hammering at the joint and at one point missed and hit the lower balljoint splitting the gaiter. It was new on only recently!! (Meyle HD).

Finally he relented and removed the whole shaft with a struggle. Put it in a vice on the workbench and tried to drive the end off. It just would not budge. He tried putting the big bolt back in the centre to drive it off but nothing!! I suggested putting a suitable metal rod/drift before the bolt to attempt to push it that bit further, so he starts putting tiny little nuts into the bolt hole and winding in the big bolt. Suffice to say he got these stuck in the universal joint. By this time he had also destroyed the plastic thrust washer and I was fuming!!

My Febi Bilstein kit came with new big bolt, circlip and flat washer but no thrust washer!

So by this time my girlfriend is going mental and having a go at the guy. We had already been there in freezing temperatures for three hours. He tells me the driveshaft is fucked and I will have to order a new one!! This is rural France (so no same day motor factors). He said the van could not stay on the ramp as they had other jobs so he would put the suspension back together, minus the driveshaft. (In the Haynes it states not to put the van back on the ground with one or both driveshafts missing as damage to the hub can occur?). I told him this but he said he didn't trust manuals and that no damage would come to the van.

So they gave us a courtesy car, told us to go away and order a new driveshaft and new balljoint and to leave the van with them.

This was last Friday. I ordered a new Meyle driveshaft (€108.00) and a new Meyle HD balljoint (€16) and they arrived at home today. Tomorrow we will ring and book an appointment to fit the new parts. This time round I will do the work myself as it is straightforward to put it back together and I don't want him anywhere near my van.

I wanted to know about the skinny rubber gasket that came with the new driveshaft. It goes between the end of the inner CV joint and the gearbox. It is not a self adhesive one and is a bit fiddly.

QUESTION: Can I affix the gasket in position on the end of the inner CV joint face with a few tiny dabs of superglue? This will stop it falling about when postioning the drive shift and fixing the 6 bolts?

Finally what would you do about the garage? We haven't paid anything yet. All this ******* about took about three hours because he didn't seem to know what he was doing or was maybe a bit unlucky with the stubborn joint? They also fitted two new tyres (provided by me) which I am happy to pay for but not for the mechanics bodge work? Will my wheel hub be okay?

Rural French living eh!!!
 

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I've done this job, if the ball joint is off and you are simply changing the drive shaft, it's a Billy No Spanners of a job!!

I've done it with the van on stands, easily do able in a morning.

In terms of payment, check how the law works in France, ask a trusted local how to proceed.

I would suggest either way that you ask for the old bits back, bend the Emglish mechanic over the bench and ram them up his &&&&&.

Now I've just written that something occured to me, we have a house in Brittany, all the trades people we use bring their certificates with them, they have to show that they are qualified to to the work before they start. Now, since Brexshit most UK qualifications are not recognised in the EU. You might have an in there if he can't legally charge you for B****ing up your van. .

Rhys
 

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If he lowers the van onto the unbolted bearing it may push the outer races out of alignment and ruin the ball cage and dust seal. Even if it goes back together fine the bearing will fail very soon after. There's a chance that the hub is stuck tight onto the bearing, nothing will move and it'll be fine.

As to the inner CV gasket thing, I tried to install one on mine which was self adhesive, but there was grease on the surface and it didn't stick so I left it off. I've had my van 8 years now without those gaskets either side and they've never leaked grease. Make sure every single CV bolt is tight at least 3 times before driving off, too many stories of bolts backing out to be complacent. :)

I agree though that mechanic is a clown and should never be allowed near a car. Ask him what he drives and if he works on it himself - bet it's some French garbage.
 

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Theres a split washer on the end of the driveshaft that holds it into the outer cv joint. Makes it a nightmare to drift off, at least it did for me. Made even worse as the new cv joint was a slightly different shape meaning it bound against the wheel bearing! So had to knock it off and put the old one back on! I beat it with a lump hammer for 30 minutes before it came off....

Moral of the story is dont bother replacing cv joints. For the cost just swap out the whole driveshaft.

Hopefully you get it sorted quickly
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all your helpful replies. I am going back to the garage on Saturday morning and will do most of it myself. I have the Haynes manual and I know the procedure. I will triple check the driveshaft 6 bolts for tightness. New Meyle driveshaft seems good quality. Fingers crossed it all goes well and I can get the van out of there asap!
 
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