With 2600 hours on our CV Axles (between transmission output flange and prop shaft thrust bearing) and 8000 miles of travel in the offing, we figured it prudent to have a look at this important gear.Removing these is not easy. They reside in the very tight space between transmission and hull. But with the help of Dave Wyman, and expert suggestions from Tom at Ventura Harbor Boat Yard, we had them sitting in the shop after a couple of hours of grunt work. It will be easier next time as we know the system now.
Here is a partially disassembled unit on the bench. They are actually quite clean, although they don’t look it in this photo.
One of the things were were checking for was the level of grease inside the bearing areas. In theory the grease is a lifetime packing, but you never know for sure as they “spit” grease when initially installed, until the correct level is achieved. These stopped spitting some time ago. As it turns out, the grease level was fine.
Ernie Cruz is cleaning one end of the unit in a bath of diesel. Ernie is an ex-auto-mechanic, and well familiar with CV axles.
Cleaned insides. Note that the ball bearings show no signs of wear, and the sealing surfaces are clean as well. We think those striations on the inner face of the carriers are from machining rather than wear (the other CV unit does not show these and they run counter to the direction the balls run). We tried to check this out with the folks at PYI who sold us these units, but were unable to make contact (maybe they got tired of our phoning for information on the units – the “manual” leaves a lot to be desired).
The consensus of Ernie and Tom is that we’ve probably consumed about 1/4 of the useful life of these CV axles. We are going to rotate them now, so the aft face now goes forward (to even out wear) and we’ll schedule the next look 5000 hours from now.