I live in an area that is particularly hard on my AWD system. Mountainous terrain + snowy winters have not been friendly to me R. I've gone through 2 AWD sleeves (the coupler between the trans and angle gear) in a year and now the angle gear input shaft was completely stripped. So what could I do now?
I wasn't really in the mood to spend Texa$ on an angle gear only to have it chew through a couple more sleeves. So my options were to A) leave it in FWD mode indefinitely, which would make winters unbearable and take a lot of fun out of the car or B) Apply some thinking, some drill bits, and a welder to the problem.
I chose option B. I mean, what's the worst that could go wrong? Maybe I'd have to buy an angle gear if my solution didn't work (which I would otherwise have to do anyway)?
So from research and my own experience, I know that the sleeve basically always fails on the angle gear side and that the transmission side of the collar engages more tighly and has much more surface area of spline engagement so I'm not too worried about that side of the sleeve failing. What if I figured out a way to weld the sleeve to the angle gear's input shaft? If everything worked, that would likely strengthen the one really weak link in the driveline.
Step 1: Purchase new sleeve/seal kit
Step 2: Remove angle gear
Step 3: Drill 1/2" diemater hole in angle gear right in line with the splines on the angle gear input shaft.
Step 4: Drill 3 seperate 3/8" holes in the sleeve on the angle gear side of the collar equidistant along the perimeter of the sleeve.
Step 5: Install sleeve onto the angle gear, tighten sleeve onto the angle gear using a threaded rod/washers/nuts. This is imporant because the sleeve must stay straight and alined with the input shaft while welding to avoid warpage or misalignment of the sleeve.
Step 6: Rotate angle gear shafts to line up one of the sleeve's holes with the larger hole drilled in the case of the angle gear. This allows access with a mig welder.
Step 7: Plug weld the hole in the sleeve to the input shaft. Rotate input shaft to reveal the next hole drilled in the sleeve. Plug weld each hole.
Step 8: remove threaded rod and install angle gear onto the trans.
And that's it! I re-installed the welded angle gear. AWD is back and stronger than ever, and the car is driving great! A 3/8" plug weld, done properly, should have a shear strength somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000-30,000psi and I have 3 of these welds on the collar so it should hold just fine for the remaining life of the car.
It really is very nice not to ever have to worry about that again! Yes I have pics, and I will post them them as soon as I have a chance to get them hosted.