Drive Shaft Removal & Fitting

Half Drive Shaft Removal & Fitting with Oil Seal Change

This section is also linked very heavily with the following as they are all part of the process.

Rear Brake drum rebuild – Part 1

Rear Brake drum – Part 2

Complete Hand Brake (Emergency brake) Replacement


I had to take the rear plate of as the brakes were so rusted on and couldn’t be moved. I decided that while the shaft was out I would replace the oil seal as everybody recommends it. The last thing I wanted was oil being dumped all over my new brake shoes. That would make me very unhappy to say the least. I bought the parts from Mustang Maniac which was the two oil seals, complete hand brake cable, equalizer bar, spring and push rod which would all be part of this project. I already had the complete Wagner replacement hardware kit, shoes and cylinder for Christmas and a previous visit to Mustang Maniac. I read my books and have checked the net and I was ready to go.

What was required:

I have for this project, replacement oil seals, new brake shoes, new rear cylinders, new replacement hardware kit, hand brake cable, equalizer bar, equalizer spring, push bar and nuts, copper slip grease, time and patience. All in all around £300 or there abouts to do both brakes and the hand brake.


This was going to be interesting, some of the parts were rusted in solid and the brakes just had to come off. I jacked the car up put her on axle stands and got to work.

Some of the pictures will be repeated on the brake rebuild pages but only where they are relevant. First job was to take the drum off. First problem encountered. The center part of the drum mounting had been hit with something that caused the outside to distort as little, so a fine set of files and little bits at a time I filed the burrs off and made them smooth. Eventually the drum came off, what was inside was worse than the front. The brakes were solid and seized up. Inside there is a set of four bolts that holds the backing plate to the shaft and the axle itself. The way these looked I was going to round the nuts off and give myself endless agro. I soaked the nuts everyday for four days (while I was working in the garden), with Plus Gas and WD 40 alternatively, two or three times a day. Then when I got round to doing it I hoped they were going to be ok. One of the nuts was already partly rounded at the top of the nut, obviously an attempt was made to remove it but he gave up. So again I filed the burr down but not too much as I wanted the socket to be tight.

If look you will see the incorrect location of the primary and secondary springs these are round the wrong way.
The front of the drive shaft has a hole in it, this is moved around to the nut required in order to get the socket and ratchet in place to the nut. I decided to start on the damaged one first. The socket fitted and I used my long-handled Snap On 3/8 drive ratchet, held my breath and gave it a sharp shove. The nut cracked loose, undoing the nut all the way I was slowly removing forty-seven years of rust and dirt from the threads as I went. The other three all followed the same process and the part I was worried about was done.

To remove the shaft was going to require a slide hammer. I didn’t have one, but I decided I needed to improvise. I got the drum itself and reversed it onto the stud bolts, I put the nuts back on the studs until they were halfway down the bolt. This would then acted as my limited use hammer. (I would love to say I invented the idea, but when I visited Adam one of his guys also suggested it to me, but that was after I had done it. The other way is to put the wheel on, get a lump of wood behind it and give it a good whacking. Thanks for that one Adam.) Anyway, grease was applied and on the moving parts of contact and started to jerk the drum towards me. A few thuds later I checked and the shaft was moving. I continued untill the shaft came free. I was well chuffed and relieved.

Once the shaft was out, I undone the brake pipe (it was only tightened up by fingers when I put it on as I knew the cylinder was going to be changed.) The backing plate was then able to be pulled off. Then I cleaned up the axle ends of the old gasket and removed the bolts that held the plate on the axle. I also cleaned up the grim and rubbish around the oil seal to see what I was going to be dealing with.

I got to work on removing the rust on the end of the shaft and got to work on the brake backing plate.


The first job to remove the old oil seal, I was told that if you dig it with a screw driver it will pop out! Yeah right, this was the original Ford seal and built like a tank. I hit it, I revered it, I pulled it, I wished I had a slide hammer. The seal was now distorted on the outer case and I was able to get my Beta mole grips on it, I tightened the adjusting nut to maximum grip. I then pulled and it started to move. Eventually it came out and I breathed a sigh of relief. To fit the new one I borrowed a 1 3/8 socket of Will (cheers mate), and tapped it in square all the way round. I regularly checked till it wouldn’t move anymore. Seal was in and seated correctly. The process was now the reverse of above. I put the new gaskets on, the inner and outer are different for mounting the plate. I put the bolts back in, fitted newly rebuilt brakes and back plate back on. I put some engine oil around the inside of the seal and plenty of it, I applied oil to the bearing and then around the shaft where the seal was going to be.

Note: I was told the first thirty turns of the shaft were the most important. So I was prepared to get it right.

I gently slide the shaft into the axle trying not to drag it across the seal. When it was almost in the gearing at the end I gently wiggled it around untill it seated. I placed a block of wood in the centre of the shaft and gave it a few good thumps to get it seated all the way in. I then tightened the four bolts up. The next part was the turning, I moved it small amounts at first and back wards and forwards progressively getting bigger movements, I made sure the main drive down the center was moving too. I then moved the shaft all the way around about fifty revolutions and every so often going backwards one turn as well. It was silky smooth.

Hand brake:

This is going to be a section of its own, but again it crosses over. The end of the brake cable is finished with a nut, this sits behind a lever on one of the shoes. The cable is feed into the drum via a forward facing hole at the back of the plate.  It’s a little tricky to get it in place, so I put the retain bolt behind the lever and then the spring is not under pressure if the clip is not pushed in, this makes life a lot easier. Once the cable is in place then I pushed the clip into the whole and the three retaining legs clip into place and it’s in to stay. The rest of the cable is the run up to the front of the car via the drive tunnel.

Last job I put the drum back on just to keep it all clean.


I managed to remove a couple of layers of skin of my knuckles again (getting the old oil seal out), but the drive shaft is beautifully smooth. The brakes are new and hand brake cable is new. I am just waiting for a couple of springs for the bar to shoes for the hand brake and its completed.

Total time was couple of hours to remove the shaft. A day cleaning the brake backing plate, brake drum and drive shaft with repairs and spraying. Fitting the brakes was an hour (including taking the photos), half hour for the hand brake. It took about hour and half to remove the old seal and half hour to fit the shaft and backing plate. I spend about hour just making the sure the shaft was ok in the seal.

I was and I am still happy.

Note: the shaft was heavier than I thought, I don’t know why but it sort of caught me by surprise when it came all the way out.

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