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Old 08-27-2006, 04:30 PM
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Jeremy5848 Jeremy5848 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sonoma Wine Country
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The old style axles have very very fine helical grooves to keep the differential oil where it belongs. The FSM even describes how to re-do those grooves (with sandpaper, as I recall). However, there is a new (later in the 1980s) seal design that eliminates the need for these grooves. I believe that the new seal is the only one sold now so you don't have to worry about the grooves. The lip of the seal (where it contacts the rotating axle shaft) has a series of diagonal lines that protrude a fraction of a mm and act as wipers.

There are two of these seals (one for each axle) that go in the side of the differential. The manuals seem to think that you can remove the old seals with a screwdriver (pry them out) but I found it took something a lot heftier. See this thread for a description and dirty pictures (well, I had oil all over my hands and some got on the camera ).

W123 axle R&R job--some questions?

There are two different kinds of axles, "homokinetic" and "annular." I never did understand the difference. As far as I know, they are interchangeable. Others may have a different opinion to share with us.

You should have no problem swapping the 1980 axle into your 1981 car. Check the rubber boots that cover the constant-velocity joints; if the boots are worn and cracked, they (or the entire assembly) should be replaced. Once the boot cracks open, the fluid inside is lost and the cv joint fails. There are lots of threads on that subject here.

Jeremy
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