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universal drive joint transmission shaft

Drive shaft calamity
It has been quite a 36 hours. As we pulled into Redgate in Savannah, I felt like the coach ran over something. Then I felt like one of the tires was locked as I rolled forward.


Nope, the part that bolts the transmission to the rear of the driveshaft had lost the bolts and slipped off the spline. Meaning the yoke, the flywheel that is part of the assembly, the rear universal, and the rear part of the shaft just simply came out and went under the coach. Yikes. 

Now the good part. That 150 lb chunk of steel described above hit the transmission case on it’s way under the coach. Yep, the tranny is puking all 5 gallons of it’s life’s blood in the driveway. This is not good, I think to myself at the time. Did I mention we are now blocking the driveway to a rather busy park on Friday before Memorial Day? They would like us to move. Other drivers would like us to move. I would like us to move,  but if wishes were fishes..........

Four hours later, and much conversation with the towing insurance company, a proper wrecker arrives. I am EXTREMELY anxious because of other towing horror stories. This guy, Chad (the owner) of Tim’s Towing and Recovery, could not have been more careful, courteous, and professional. Not a scratch, ding, or bent anything on the coach. He pulled me into a grassy field where we spent the night dry camping. 

The part that is cracked on the tranny is an extra port for the cooling system. We don’t utilize it. But a replacement part from Allison is at least a week out, and the parts guy is making NO promises. Hmmmmmm. The exploded view diagram shows an alternative part, a blanking plate. 

It took most of the next day to reassemble the driveshaft assembly. Did I say it was heavy? Did I say I was working under the coach in 95 degree temps with the gennie and ACs on high? Did I say I was in a grassy field? And oh yeah, did I say Miss Rhonda was slightly stressed? Did I say I used copious amounts of permanent locktite on the two bolts that backed out? 

Now the challenge is how to keep ATF in the tranny. I bought some 1/4 plate at Lowes, and used a portable milling machine, aka side grinder, to fashion a blanking plate. Drilled some holes, enlarged the holes, and enlarged again till all the bolts would thread in. 

Refilled tranny, and drove 100 miles or so today. All is well with trans function, trans temp, and no leaks. 

There was very little indication I had a problem. A ever so slight vibration for the last 200 miles, but so slight I doubt most would have felt it. It would come and go. Even though I had been under there recently, and I always look at the u joints, you could not see this connection because it is actually inside the transmission housing. When I get home from this trip, I will remove the existing two bolts, and use hex head bolts with some sort of “keeper”.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
Way to go McGiver !! You are able to do much with so little. Are you home now?
Guy & Sue
1984 Classic 40' #59
You never cease to amaze me Richard!! (in a good way).
Michael Day
1992 Newell 43.5' #281
Wow you are the man!!
Rhonda was stressed ?? Phyllis would have had a complete
Melt down.
Sorry you had the problem.... but not suprised you found
A way to get back rolling
Coach 385
Toad Mini Cooper 
Guy. We are out for five months, go home in October
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )
Great that you got back on the road. I need you to just follow us around.
Steve Bare
1999 Newell 2 slide #531
Awesome fix! So you think the bolts just worked loose?
Oops, just saw it was cracked. Glad you were going slow when it let loose and not on the highway.
Forest & Cindy Olivier
1999 Foretravel 36' U320
former 1998 Newell 45' 2 slide #486 

former 1993 Newell 39' #337 
2011 Chevy Tahoe 

I still remember you finding those 8 loose bolts on my drive shaft in Spearfish, SD....glad those bolts were easy to see. You are the man when it comes to breakdowns..... nothing seems to be beyond your problem solving capacity! I also felt an unusual vibration the last 200 miles into Spearfish.... another 40 miles and i would have been toast. We've stayed at Redgate twice.... nice people!

Clarke and Elaine Hockwald
1982 Newell Classic, 36', 6V92 TA
2001 VW Beetle Turbo
Cannondale Tandem
Cannondale Bad Boy
Richard & Ronda,
WOW! Amazing recovery, given all the external pressures, thanks for sharing your story!

The takeaway(s) I see here are;  There is no way to prepare for something like this.  Being resourceful is probably more important than being prepared.   You guys just kept your heads and worked through the problems.  Having a toad...AKA.... (NSV, Newel Support Vehicle) is vital.  I am sure there are many more that will come to mind as I reflect on this.  A great job, my hats off to the both of you!!

We have a PM due soon I will be checking these bolts and adding keepers as you going to do when you guys get home.

Steve & Doris
Steve & Doris Denton
45' Newell #525, Bath & Half
2014 Honda CRV Toad

Those bolts are hidden. They attach the rear of the yoke to the transmission, and if you didn’t know how to look through a very small opening you won’t even know they are there. Look at the very first picture of the output shaft of the transmission. You will see three holes, the outer two are threaded. Those are the bolt holes for the offending bolts. If you do find the little window to look through, my bolts were socket head. There might have been a way to get a modified Allen wrench through the hole to tighten them but that is just a guess.

I took the rear assembly apart to gain unfettered access to the bolts.

The 8 bolts that hold the rear of the driveshaft to the transmission are not the ones that came loose.

The only way I know to check the integrity of the bolts that caused our problem would be to try and slide the driveshaft away from the transmission and confirm the rearmost piece of the driveshaft does not try to slip out of the tranny.
Richard and Rhonda Entrekin
99 Newell, 512
Subaru Outback Toad
Inverness, FL (when we're home Cool )

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