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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: The Rear Suspension and Brakes 4: Drive Shaft Removal, Radius Arm Removal Spring and Shock Removal

Once the rear suspension and brakes were down off the car I wanted to pull the drive shaft to replace the u-joints, have it dynamically balanced and paint it. Now, the tricky thing about the E-type is that the drive shaft runs in a tunnel and you cannot remove it without taking out either the engine and transmission or dropping the rear suspension.  So – this was a good time to take the drive shaft out and work on it.

Now – here is a neat trick to remove the drive shaft from some cars (at least for Series II 2+2’s).  The manual says that you have to remove the front seats and the entire transmission tunnel to get to the front u-joint. For the automatic this means the linkage etc. This is a lot of work. However, somewhere down the line the Jaguar engineers got smart and added a little door to the top of the tunnel providing access to the front. u-joint. So. all you have to do is remove the center console (easy) unscrew the four machine screws holding the door closed and unbolt the u-joint – presto!

Easy access to the front u-joint on Jaguar XKE E-type Series II

The drive shaft came out through the back and off it went for dynamic balancing.  Then it was time to roll up the sleeves and clean the unit before taking things apart. I used the usual anti-grease spray and went to work. I was happy to see that things were very nice and unmolested. All of the safety wires were in place. Once the unit was cleaned up I could get to work on getting the springs and shocks off.

The Jaguar XKE E-type rear suspension cleaned up prior to disassembly.

Now, the Jaguar rear shocks and springs are assembled into one unit and there are four of these units at the rear of the car – two for each half-shaft.  I turned the  rear suspension cage upside down and supported each half-shaft with a jack and unbolted the spring-shock units. Now this is straight forward except for the forward shocks in this case there is a little spacer between the suspension arm and the spring-shock assembly. DO not lose that – you will need it again. Now, to the radius arm.

Supporting axel and ready to remove springs and shocks.

In taking the radius arm off the rear suspension you will encounter some of the strangest ‘back-yard mechanic’ engineering you are likely to encounter in any car – particularly an expensive and ahead of its time super-car! There is not sufficient room to withdraw the long bolt holding the radius arm on to the suspension through its small bushing. If the shock is in place you cannot withdraw the bolt. Now when you remove the spring-shock AND the  little spacer you still DO NOT have clearance to remove the radius arm bolt. At this time you will notice that the head of the bolt is actually asymetrical and part of the head is missing. You just have to turn the bolt so that the shortened end can pass by the spring-shock mount on the arm. In the case of my car there is actually a grove cut in the top of the radius arm bolt that allows easy turning to line it up.  If this does not make sense – take a look at the picture

Turning the radius arm bolt so it can clear the spring-shock mount.

Spacer ring on Spring-shock bolt that has to be removed in order to remore the radius arm bolt (seen at bottom of picture)

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