A Differential with Attitude

Tangerine Dream's initial penchant for leaking different kinds of fluid from every possible orifice has been curtailed of late but not completely so. The rear axle differential casing merrily contributes to the puddles on the garage floor, so this weekend I turned my attention to it.

The two piece rear axle differential housing joint was never designed with a gasket in mind; the lack of a separate breather only compounds the problem. The remedy is to "split the diff", clean it all up and re-assemble using the new (well from the Bug's point of view) silicone gasket goo.

I learned three new things during the work that I should like to share with you:

  1. The rear wheel hubs and the half shafts can be tight, too tight even for a big puller. But, actually there is no need for this job. Just undo the differential housing bolts and firmly but carefully remove the entire passenger side rear axle casing, half shaft, hub, and brakes, all in one assembly. Brake pipes, handbrake cable and road spring all need to come off anyway.
  2. Many Bug rear axles do not have a separate breather device fitted on top of the differential housing, instead a small 1/16" hole is drilled somewhere near the passenger side road spring mounting. Mine is buried under coats of paint. I carefully drilled two new holes in the top of the axle casing around halfway between the diff. and the road spring brackets and then located the brake pipe clips over the holes to keep the dirt out. The clips have a ridge that also will provide air flow. No more leaks due to pressure build up as the air heats up in the diff.

Job done !

 Best regards

Pete Wood "Tangerine Dream" PFB 22L