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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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.
 

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I thought Volvo engineered the sleeve to fail $100 part vs replacing the angle gear $4000 IIRC?


Sent from : can't think of anything funny.
 

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so you drive around in permanent AWD?
 

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so you drive around in permanent AWD?
No, he welded his collar/sleeve to the angle gear's input shaft. Haldex in the back of the car is still doing it's job.
 

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I thought Volvo engineered the sleeve to fail $100 part vs replacing the angle gear $4000 IIRC?
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Now that I think about it this was proven wrong in subsequent discussions - So forgive my brain fart.

Sent from : can't think of anything funny.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
When the sleeve goes it usually takes the angle gear with it anyway. My angle gear input shaft splines were so badly stripped that just changing the sleeve again would not have done a thing, so I really had nothing to loose here. Actually the drivline on this car is fairly strong... Don't seem to see many trans failure stories and it's still highly front-wheel biased, so it doesn't see the kind of stress that's seen in systems with an actual center differential (50/50 all time). I come from the world of the 5 speed Subaru WRX with the "glass transmission," the car that blows through 2nd/3rd gears regularly (I went through 3), so this driveline is damn near bullet-proof in comparison by my standards.

The downside in a haldex system is that it is not really all time AWD... It is front wheel drive until the computer that controls it decides it should be 4wd... There is no center diff, but rather a clutch, so you get a gradient from 100/0 Front:Rear bias to a 50/50 direct lock between fronts and backs like a 4wd vehicle. There is an advantage though, you'll chirp the front tires or loose some traction up front under heavy shock load conditions and release some of that torque throught lost traction. In a Subaru, for example, it always has all 4 wheels mechanically engaged to the transmission via the center diff... So where there is a hevay shock load introduced (harsh clutch engagement or sudden grip), all of that energy is directed at the transmission.

The sleeve is always engaged in factory form... It acts as the coupler between the transmission at the front and the driveshaft that goes to the rear where the haldex clutch is (via the angle gear, a small hypoid gearbox). So operationally it is no different than the stock setup, just much much stronger if welded to the angle gear's input shaft. Most of what I've read and seen suggest that these sleeves wear out rather than snap. The splines are very short on the angle gear side, and fit is somewhat loose on that side as well. The sleeve itself can take quite a bit of shock without being a "fuse," but bad fitment and minimal contact surface area cause the part to wear prematurely on the angle side. Fit seems better/tighter on the transmission side, and there's more than twice the contact surface area available on that side, so it's much less likely to fail on the transmission side of the sleeve.

My background: B.S. in metrology (measurement science) and professionally I deal with a lot of weld inspection, fabrication, and metalurgy... So this type of analysis is not alien to me.
 

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This is very interesting. Since I don't know nearly as much about this as the OP and others here on SS. Any chance you took photos of this project? I'd love to really wrap my mind around the work it took you to make this happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Sleeve with 3 holes drilled


Sleeve on the angle gear and tightened down using threaded rod, ready to weld.


Sleeve plug welded to angle gear. I was a little dissappointed that the angle gear shifted a little on the drill press so the access hole isn't perfect, but what can ya do? Still just as functional, so no big deal.
 

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Excellent response time! Thanks!
 

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Very, very, very interesting! This is coming from a guy who has done two sleeves and I know what a PIA these things are. I really like where your head is at with this design man! Though one question, in both of my cases, and I am sure many others on this board, the sleeve seizes very badly to the transmission, and pulling it out is a bloody BI T CH! I know you are saying that this system is now foolproof, but say for whatever reason you have to pull your angle gear out. How are you going to get the sleeve to break lose from the transmission when you cant get the sleeve off of the angle gear to then fight it off the transmission?

Love the ingenuity man! Keep it up!
 

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Very, very, very interesting! This is coming from a guy who has done two sleeves and I know what a PIA these things are. I really like where your head is at with this design man! Though one question, in both of my cases, and I am sure many others on this board, the sleeve seizes very badly to the transmission, and pulling it out is a bloody BI T CH! I know you are saying that this system is now foolproof, but say for whatever reason you have to pull your angle gear out. How are you going to get the sleeve to break lose from the transmission when you cant get the sleeve off of the angle gear to then fight it off the transmission?

Love the ingenuity man! Keep it up!
instead of welding this on what about drilling/tapping the collar gear/angle gear and then use some sort of set screws to lock the collar on? Then if you can't get the sleeve to release from the transmission side you can remove set screws and pull angle gear. You then have the added benefit being able to thread something in those holes for more grip on the collar after angle gear is pulled off to fight the other side?

props to OP for going this route, keep us updated in the future as to how this works out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
instead of welding this on what about drilling/tapping the collar gear/angle gear and then use some sort of set screws to lock the collar on? Then if you can't get the sleeve to release from the transmission side you can remove set screws and pull angle gear. You then have the added benefit being able to thread something in those holes for more grip on the collar after angle gear is pulled off to fight the other side?

props to OP for going this route, keep us updated in the future as to how this works out.
Actually I had originally wanted to go with grade-8 3/8" set screws with a black oxide coating that I can get locally.

I thought about it a lot, and figured welding would be so much easier, require a lot less precision, would not require drilling into the hardened input shaft (which would be really aukward on a drill press). Basically, welding would just be much much quicker, and in the end much much stronger with no chance of wearing back out.

The first time I changed the sleeve was a huge pain. I had to grind notches in the sleeve and use a gear puller. But this time around, I just slid it off by hand, very easy (luckily). As for the new setup, I have the distinct advantage of basically having a machine shop at my house, so worst case, I figure if I ever need to get the angle gear off I could cut an aluminum or steel rod to the correct length, machine it down to the exact diameter needed, slide it into the hole that the axle normally goes through, and use it to transmit the force of a gear puller, or other custom tool that could just pull the whole angle gear off, sleeve and all. It's definitely in my mind though since I might want to change a clutch some day or may run into some other reason to remove that angle gear since it's in the way of pretty much everything in that area of the car. If it were only kind of stuck, one might be able to get a screwdriver between the trans and angle gear and pry the angle gear away from the trans... Puller would probably be better though.

If you had a lot of patience, a good drill press, some sort of fixure to hold the angle gear straight and in place, another ixture to hold the sleeve perfectly in place, and a good tap/die set, set screws could probably work. I just went gung-ho and welded it... That's just sorta my style I suppose. Guess I'll worry about it if I ever have to do it, definitely not impossible with a welder, a lathe, an endmill, drill press, etc, and some ingenuity to make a tool to do it!
 

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Great job and excellent write up!

Makes for an awkward weld position, did you get good penetration on the angle gear input shaft? Any heat related issues to the shaft properties, (sounds like it is in yuour discipline, and certainly not mine)?

Did you feel a need to plug the 1/2 inch access hole made in the housing?
 

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Actually I had originally wanted to go with grade-8 3/8" set screws with a black oxide coating that I can get locally.

I thought about it a lot, and figured welding would be so much easier, require a lot less precision, would not require drilling into the hardened input shaft (which would be really aukward on a drill press). Basically, welding would just be much much quicker, and in the end much much stronger with no chance of wearing back out.

The first time I changed the sleeve was a huge pain. I had to grind notches in the sleeve and use a gear puller. But this time around, I just slid it off by hand, very easy (luckily). As for the new setup, I have the distinct advantage of basically having a machine shop at my house, so worst case, I figure if I ever need to get the angle gear off I could cut an aluminum or steel rod to the correct length, machine it down to the exact diameter needed, slide it into the hole that the axle normally goes through, and use it to transmit the force of a gear puller, or other custom tool that could just pull the whole angle gear off, sleeve and all. It's definitely in my mind though since I might want to change a clutch some day or may run into some other reason to remove that angle gear since it's in the way of pretty much everything in that area of the car. If it were only kind of stuck, one might be able to get a screwdriver between the trans and angle gear and pry the angle gear away from the trans... Puller would probably be better though.

If you had a lot of patience, a good drill press, some sort of fixure to hold the angle gear straight and in place, another ixture to hold the sleeve perfectly in place, and a good tap/die set, set screws could probably work. I just went gung-ho and welded it... That's just sorta my style I suppose. Guess I'll worry about it if I ever have to do it, definitely not impossible with a welder, a lathe, an endmill, drill press, etc, and some ingenuity to make a tool to do it!
:thumbup: I hear where you are coming from. If I were to attempt it (don't have the tools to pull that off) I'd probably have gone your route. Nothing like having a machine shop at your disposal! I'm learning on a lathe and just started welding myself, one step at a time.
 

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Well that's one way to fix a busted spline sleeve, good job :thumbup:
 

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Nice to see someone trying to fight the "gremlins" in the system.
I was thinking of getting new LSD dif, and get the angle gear and dif to a shop to costum build the collar out of something.
Also it would be nice to get the intake shaft re engineered and made of stronger metal.
But as sad before, what will then brake lose?

Regarding your complains about AWD system being to "soft", do you run your car with DSTC off all the time?
 
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