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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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With a day off I've slung a battery in The Duchess and I'm trying to get ready for the annual pilgrimage to Swindon so familiar to P38 owners. This time it's Radius Arm Bushes because I missed the meet.

I'm a little concerned setting off as she makes a nice loud cheep noise related to road speed. It's most obvious when coasting, disappears under power and for a Brucey Bonus there's vibration when coasting downhill. Steering left/right makes no appreciable difference. There's a reasonable amount of clonking during low speed manouvring too but I'm putting that down to the radius arm bushes. I did think it might be UJs in the driveshaft but wiggled the front one earlier (by hand) and it seemed solid side/side. It looked nice and fresh too, it that's any indication.

She's getting washed right now but when I get her back I'm going to get her up in the air (as far as I can with the standard jack). What should I poke/prod/pull when trying to diagnose? I'll try to get a video as well.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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Propshaft UJ. You won't be able to feel any slop with the propshaft still bolted at each end, you need to disconnect one end to be able to check properly. If you give the grease nipples a squirt from your greasegun (assuming you have a greasegun), you will almost certainly see it ooze out from one of the bearings and the cheep, cheep, cheep noise will either go away briefly or change as the floppy ends will at least be lubed rather than dry.

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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OK, sounds good as I did buy a couple of bearmach greasable ones.

Here's the vid if you want to confirm, although the aircon was running which makes it hard to hear until the end :(

https://youtu.be/K8jeQeKpePA

The main question is: would you drive it to Swindon (4hrs)?

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Should be OK as long as you take it steady on the loud pedal, it'll be rapid changes in load that will cause it to wear quicker. I once drove my LSE to London and back in that state, got so bad that on the way home I stopped and blasted more grease into the front UJs to stop the noise. What didn't help was I later discovered that it had a broken rear half shaft so the drive to the back wasn't doing anything at all and I had a front wheel drive 2.5 tonne, V8 powered car, all the drive was going through the front prop with a broken UJ. Driving it around like that, and I had no idea how long the rear halfshaft had been broken for (since before I got the car at the very least), it completely buggered the viscous coupling.

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I’m always weary of prop UJ’s after having the front of mine breaking, smashing the gearbox sump and crossmember, suppose I was lucky as day before I was a ton up down the m11,, that would of been interesting for sure..

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OK, well I've now got a grease-gun, grease (Lithium ASGII) and a bendy hose for it. I'll see if I can find where to stick the grease!

edit: Grrr, need a narrower fitting to reach the nipples :(

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Morat wrote:

OK, well I've now got a grease-gun, grease (Lithium ASGII) and a bendy hose for it. I'll see if I can find where to stick the grease!

edit: Grrr, need a narrower fitting to reach the nipples :(

Does turning the prop by moving the car help with access?

Where to stick a bendy hose to pump grease - I prefer syrup of figs though, not greasing my nipples either :-)

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Joined: Dec 30 2015
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heheeh.

sadly, moving the prop doesn't help. I need one of these, I reckon: https://tinyurl.com/y6ad7akn not for the locking thing (although that would help) but because it has a smaller cross section that the thing I've got. I could use a needle one, but more faff.
But I'm out of time.

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Joined: Nov 16 2016
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Maybe some of the others will reply with type of grease gun they've used.

I have a grease gun with end that seems to get into tight spaces, bought it specially for greasing the new wheel bearings I fitted on my boat trailer (my old grease gun wouldn't fit), if you're headed South on your trip you might want to call in en-route and try it, you can even have the grease for free lol.

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That's an easy fix - with a grinder grind 1 mm depth and about 1.5cm length from the side of the grease gun nozzle - you may have to do the same on the opposite side. I think I had to do that for the Defender, in fact, but it gives you the ability to get the nozzle onto the nipple between the two halves of the UJ, never had a problem since. The simplest ideas are the most satisfying :o)

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romanrob wrote:

That's an easy fix - with a grinder grind 1 mm depth and about 1.5cm length from the side of the grease gun nozzle - you may have to do the same on the opposite side. I think I had to do that for the Defender, in fact, but it gives you the ability to get the nozzle onto the nipple between the two halves of the UJ, never had a problem since. The simplest ideas are the most satisfying :o)

romanrob wrote:

That's an easy fix - with a grinder grind 1 mm depth and about 1.5cm length from the side of the grease gun nozzle - you may have to do the same on the opposite side. I think I had to do that for the Defender, in fact, but it gives you the ability to get the nozzle onto the nipple between the two halves of the UJ, never had a problem since. The simplest ideas are the most satisfying :o)

Where’s the like button, lol

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Well I made it to the hotel.

But as I turned into the parking space BANG clunk clunk clunk. It did sound very much like a diff. Rut roh!

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You're in the right place to get it sorted though.....

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Fingers crossed it was just the UJ giving up the ghost with the loading on it from cornering, that the VC would usually take up...

I'll have a look under in the morning before we go anywhere and see... if it's just the prop then I'll whip it off and you can run in 2wd mode up to the workshop :)

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Joined: Mar 22 2016
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Fingers crossed for you, it annoys me that the UJ’s are such an easy thing to maintain, but people buy p38s and don’t do basic maintenance, it takes until complete nutters like us till they get the maintenance there meant to have happens.
Whatever it turns out to be, lucky it happened when it did and not on the motorway..

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Joined: Jul 12 2016
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When checking the UJ's for play what's the best procedure? I know the handbrake needs to be off but does it need to be in neutral?

Reason I ask is that with mine in gear or park I get no movement of the prop but in neutral there's quite a lot of movement and clunk if I move it quickly. The clunk sounds like it's actually inside the transfer box rather than the UJ though.

The cheep cheep cheep sound mentioned here sounds like it could be the clicking/ticking noise I can hear with my windows open and driving next to a wall.

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Joined: Jan 16 2017
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I'd suggest you might find an answer to the sound by greasing them if you haven't already done so if they have nipples on them, if that shuts them up, then you know which bit you might want to be looking at. If your still not sure, easiest way to tell for sure is to remove the whole thing (or at least one end of it) and see where you have movement. Wouldn't be a bad idea if your going to do that to get hold of some UJ's anyway though. Alternatively I was told lift all wheels off the ground, handbrake off and rotate both propshafts like that (Suspect in neutral was also part of it, can't remember though, and slightly different on a D2 anyway as its a separate control, plus it has the centering front bearing which I don't think is on the p38 to add complication)

The clunking you mention, is it particularly noticeable when you change direction (like parking for example, does it thump when you go to pull away in the other direction having been parked for example). Mine felt like the handbrake was sticking on if that gives you an idea of what it might feel like and had the same cheep cheep cheep sound when driving along with any throttle at all.

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The clunking doesn't happen when driving - only when I move the prop by hand when in neutral.

Very rarely I'll get a clunk when driving if I'm coasting and suddenly jab the throttle. I can't make it do it on purpose though, it really is a rare occurrence.

I don't think my UJ's have grease nipples but I planned on replacing them when I fit the new front axle I mentioned in another thread as part my plan to replace EVERYTHING and hope my noises go away :P

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C'mon then, what was the verdict?

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For the Duchess? :)

Seized VCU which means the front half of the drivetrain is under a lot of stress. I don't know how long it has been knackered but the front diff popped a couple of years ago and maybe the VCU was seized then. The current front diff is whining despite being only about 12k old.
Anyway, the VC needs to be changed before it undoes all the good work from this weekend. We replaced the UJs in the front prop-shaft, Marty donated the rear flange from a spare prop which meant she was up and running again. Then we changed the front radius arm bushes which went incredibly smoothly. That was all done by 1730 so we had dinner at the hotel :)
This morning Marty was going to replace my door latch but it quickly became obvious that the drivers door latch was actually fine, it was the Door Ajar wire that had corroded through and snapped. Marty did a repair there and then discovered a similar wiring/connector issue at the door outstation end of the loom which he fixed as well.

The door now works properly too!

Then we spent some time swapping Marty's brakes over for new calipers all round and I had a leg workout during the bleed procedure. After looking through Marty's impressive pile of transfer cases it became obvious that all the VCs were toast so his generous offer of a good second hand unit didn't work out.
I was back home by 1930 :)

So, I need to replace the Viscous asap but Marty gave me one of his knackered ones so I can get a replacement from Ashcroft before taking The Duchess apart again which should make things easier. I'm not sure if I fancy doing that in the driveway so I might let the garage have a go at that one!

I'll have a close look at the rear prop and maybe swap those UJs too now that I know how to do it. They'll get greased at the very least! I'll also be greasing the UJs on my Jeep which uses UJs instead of CV joints at the front wheels as well as the UJs in the prop shaft.

Once again - HUGE THANKS to Marty for sharing his knowledge, workshop, tools and generally being a very generous chap. Without you, The Duchess would be a wreck by now and I'd be sad.