Alberi e giunti comando ruote posteriori - 2014

1070, like many UK Aprilias at some time had it’s original Lancia drive shafts replaced with English Hardy Spicer drive shafts. The story goes that after the war it was impossible to obtain original Lancia spares and Lancia England adapted the English made Hardy Spicer units. The Lancia originals also had a reputation for wearing, caused through lack of maintenance and poor lubrication, and when they could be obtained the originals were very expensive.

I’d attempted a re-build of my Hardy Spicers in 2012. Unfortunately that wasn’t very successful, the sliding splines were too worn and the universals were very loose in the cages. This caused some very nasty judder especially taking off in 1st and in reverse.

To check for wear in the drive shafts and brake drum splines jack the rear wheel off the ground and with the handbrake on see how much the wheel can move, wear in the various splines and universals then becomes obvious. I’d borrowed a pair of better Hardy Spicers from Andrew for the 2013 Castlemaine Rally and Alpine Tour but they had to go back and therefore something needed to be done.

Ben Courage had heard some reports of CV joints from VWs & Fiats being used but couldn’t track down the owners. A local company in Bendigo had manufactured a new pair of Hardy Spicer like shafts some years back, an option I wasn’t keen on which I’ll detail later, but for me the best, but most expensive option, was to try and find some Lancia originals.

After sending out a series of emails to the normal and not so normal sources of parts I got a reply from Ron Francis in the UK that he had a “decent” pair of the later type.

There are two versions of the Lancia drive shafts. The first, fitted up to construction no. 5840 (about mid 1938), the next from 5841 up to the end of production in 1949. The difference is the later type have bigger universal bearings (38-0345AR) and an improved lubrication system, groves cut into the bearing cages and grease gun fittings (58261/R), the very last 2nd series units also had protective rubber boots around the universals. I have a few parts from an early type but the later is much, much better.

The pair from Francis weren’t as good as I hoped. A close inspection revealed 8 of the 16 bearings worn beyond repair, one retaining cap (38-32026) rusted solid on the shaft, the sliding groves in one shaft (38-32041) badly pitted and all the spline balls pitted, still they are more than seventy years old and rare, so I shouldn’t complain. Cavalitto came to the rescue with 8 new bearings, all beautifully made complete with needle rollers and seals. I had a splined shaft in the spares collection that was good, also a good spare retaining cap and the 108 balls 7mm (48021) are easy to find. Interestingly there was only one original bearing, a RIV-5 9382, none of the others had any markings on them and there were variations in the needle roller sizes (49402). They should be 2mm dia x 9.8mm long. Some were 2.4mm dia and some were 10.2mm long. In all the worn bearings the needle rollers had seized with varying degrees of damage. My traditional Lancia date stamp hunt came up with parts from 1941 and 1943.

After cleaning all the rust and muck off the complete shafts and applying a coat of paint they looked much better. The felt dust seals (38-32028) were replaced with modern 25 x 38 x 10mm lip seals. Sixteen high tensile 8mm bolts were cut and taped to size and this time I fitted nyloc nuts, I’m sick of stuffing around with castellated nuts and split pins and horror of horror they take a 13mm spanner!! I also made four new 16mm spline nuts (see TAVs 18 & 21, 38-32661) as previously there was one with a 30mm hex, two 29mm and one 22mm, a pain in the bum when working under the car, all are now 30mm.

Before installing I splashed plenty of Molygrease around the bearings and inside the spline shafts, then made sure the bearing cages on the axle spline lined up with the cast hollows in the brake drums and finally the spline nuts were nice tight.

The first road test showed no issues. I always had a clunking noise from the left rear of the car and that seems to have gone but the handling etc. has not changed, we’ll see what happens over longer distances and different loads in the future. Checking for play in the drive shafts revealed none at all. Previously both the rear brakes drums had wear in their splines, for now I’ve tried some Loctite 660 “Quick Metal” as a simple fix, again only time will tell how successful, or not, this is!


March 2014

Postscript 2016. Fitted replacement rear brake drums with good centre splines.

Hardy Spicer Drive Shaft Problems

The main problem with the Hardy Spicer shafts is they are too short. At maximum suspension travel, i.e. when the wheels are off the ground, the distance between the universals is 265mm compared to the Lancia shafts 350mm, see photos below. This means the angle of the shaft is more severe putting greater stress on the universals. Also the sliding splines run direct in machined grooves, the Lancia sliding splines run on steel balls for a much smoother sliding action and less wear

As bought from Ron Francis.

38-347 Bearing inner damaged by seized needle rollers.

38-32041 Badly pitted spline, balls would not slide.

Lancia 1941 date stamp on cage 38-363

The only original bearing, a RIV-5 9382.

New bearings from Cavalitto.

New 16mm castellated nut with 30mm hex.

Bearing cage set to fit inside drum casting.