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Need some opinions on rear half shaft route with R200 VLSD

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So finally got a chance to get my baseline. 


The WD21 axle shaft is ~13 1/8 inch.


The diameter on the CV side after the splines is 26.8mm. The splined portion CV side sitting at 28mm. About 4 or 5 splines broke off with the spring clip when I popped the CV side of the axle off giving me the height of the spline on one side 27mm. That means the splines are about a mm deep and that the shaft is actually 26mm under the splines. That means I only have 0.8mm of material to spline instead of 2mm if I go past the original splined portion.


I decided I needed to know how much of the axle will be shortened so I added the flanges and took some measurements.


With the tripod gears on and the housings on, the measurement ends up at ~13 1/2 inch. Actually a little less without the spring in the 280zx turbo axle, but with the spring about 13 1/2 inch.


So that means....I have at least 1/4 of an inch to play with without any modifications what so ever. Very tempting.


I have about 1.5 inches of plunge on each side, so that means I have about 3 inch wiggle room. If I planted it smack in the middle so my range would be 12.3-15.3 inches, I would have to shorten the axle about 1 1/4 inch. There is roughly 1.15 inch of spline, so shortening it by the full 1 1/4 would mean having to cut the 1/2 height spline into the axle and removing all of the existing spline. If I instead cut it down by about half an inch, I would still retain half of the full spline height, get rid of my damaged ring splines, and give my self additional 1/2 inch of breathing room giving me a total of an axle that can go from 13-16 inches. 


So some options open to me here.


1. Go with how it is now, A c-clip will fit in the remaining splines where the spring clip was and live with the 1/4 inch of room, if I get crazy concerned I can space the axles out with adjustable control arms a couple threads.


2. Order a new WD21 axle for 40$ and have an axle shop remove the CV and keep the same as above. That means no missing splines, but this shouldn't be a concern because I am not worried about extension, I am more worried about compression.


3. Contact the axle shortening place and see if the 1/2 height splining is a feasible option. If it is not a problem just go with that and shorten the axle the full 1 1/4 inch and have them re-spline and add new stops.


4. Contact the axle shortening place and see if the 1/2 spline is a feasible option. If it is not a problem have them shorten it 1/2 an inch and have them re-spline 1/2 and inch and add new stops.


5. Go with a custom axle. I have all the other pieces so they can custom make an axle for less then 300$. 

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Option 3 and 4 are out of the question, the company said that it would be too thin to have a usable spline machined onto it.


That means I am more or less relegated to using the axle as is or getting a full custom axle, about 330 or so just for the one.


JohnC's bench racing article states that at a six inch ride height the axles have a 7.5* angle and is 1/8th from bottoming out. I am curious if that is the shortest they will ever be or if they can get even shorter. I don't quite recall if at that ride height the arms are pointed up or down. However it is a point.


JohnC's article also said at this height the passenger axle is 7/8 from bottoming out. While it is piss poor to make this assumption, given that my setup will make it very difficult to measure, I am going to say that the passenger side will have a minimum distance of the driver side + 6/8 of an inch.


I found an old thread and asked a forum member if he recalled the values of having run the axle thorough the suspension travel without the spring and replied with a measurement that it is about a 1/4 to 3/8 from bottoming out when just running through the travel on the driver side without the spring with an R200 differential.


Thus the lowest measurement for the minimum passenger axle length is found via...

12 3/16 + (1/8) + (1.442 * 2) + (6/8) = 16.009


The highest measurement for the minimum passenger axle length is...

12 3/16 + (3/8) + (1.442 * 2) + (6/8) = 16.1965


The math in the above post was done with 16 1/8 inch axles which is 16.125 inches. Redoing the math with the shortest possible minimum length and the longest possible minimum length brings us to a minimum range of the axle in total having to be from 13.66 inches - 13.84 inches. 


I will have to reassemble the axle and get a real accurate measurement, but that should mean that the axle I have as is would have a very tight but very real margin from bottoming out. I can also lengthen the arms a bit to make additional room.

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Something interesting I stumbled across




Reposted below as I have found more and more posts disappearing off the internet. 



"Let me impart some of my wisdom onto you. Have you ever heard someone tell you, "It can't be done" or "It will not work?" To me, that is music to my ears. Too often that means the other guy was just too lazy or too stupid to achieve the desired end results. Don't always accept things for face value. With that in mind, I began my journey of doing something "that can't be done." Granted, modifying cv halfshafts is not rocket science, but I was told that special shafts would have to be made and I have found a way to use OEM pieces to make this conversion work. We just won't consider the spacer that has to be machined as non-OEM stuff. WHOOPS! Anyway, we know that with the VLSD we are forced to use the input shafts that slide into the diff because they are special to the VLSD. We also know that the VLSD shafts are way too long to use in the 240Z. Here was my philosophy in doing this conversion. I needed to use the VLSD input shafts for the diff side and I wanted to use the 280zxT companion flange and outer CV on the stub axle side. The 280zxT companion flange can be used with the 240Z stub axle and allows for the outer CV from the 280zxT to bolt to it. Now, here is where the secret comes in! I needed to find a shaft that used the race/cage design on the diff side and was compatible with the input shaft and that had the tripod design on the stub axle side and was compatible with the 280zxT outer CV. What was the magical shaft, 84-89 AMC Eagle 6 cylinder front CV. I will need to get the specific part #'s so that you can do this swap if you want. Let me just put down some info off the top of my head for now until I get the part #s with some explanatory pics. On the diff side, you will use the input shaft and the cage from the VLSD, I believe it is a #175 'cage.' You will use the #174 'race' that comes on the 84-89 AMC Eagle 6 cylinder CV. Don't worry, they are compatible. The #174 and #175 'race' only differ in the ID and # of splines. On the stub axle side, you will want to use the tripod from the 84-89 AMC Eagle 6 cylinder front CV and the case from the 280zx turbo. The same is true for this side, even though they have different part #'s they are compatible. Do not try to use the 4 cylinder CV stuff, it will not work. I will try to update with part #'s and a better explanation soon. This should be a good start for now.


Here is the specific information to do the VLSD swap 

***Input shaft(diff)- must use from VLSD 
***Cage(diff side)- #175 cage(from VLSD) 
***Race(diff side)- #174 race (from 80-87 AMC Eagle 4WD 4cyl) 
***Shaft- OEM Replacement Axle # 87-7699-0 (from 80-87 AMC Eagle 4WD 4cyl) (from 80-83 AMC Eagle 4WD 6cyl) 
***Complete Tripod(wheel side)- # 87-7801-0 (from 80-87 AMC Eagle 4WD 4cyl) 
***Tripod Housing(wheel side)- 280zxt 

So, using the AMC shaft the #174 race is placed on the shaft for the diff side and is compatible with the #175 cage. The complete tripod from the 80-87 AMC Eagle 4WD 4cyl fits onto the shaft and is also compatible with the 280zxt tripod housing. Whala....you have the shaft that works. The shaft is 13" long. As I said before you will want to use the 240z stub axle with the 280zxt companion flange and the passenger side will require a .5" spacer. Good Luck."


I have more or less already gone my route, but for others it may be a viable option.


Edit: Apparently already on here. 



Edited by seattlejester

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I keep referencing this thread, and I'm still not 100% sure.


So to summarize.


Items ordered

Description: 1995 Nissan Pathfinder - CV Joint FEBEST # 0211-WD21 OEM # 39741-05U85
Description: Febest - Nissan Inner Joint Left 27X98 - Oem: 39711-64E10 (G35)

CV Axle Assembly Rear-Left/Right Heri 93885 fits 81-83 Nissan 280ZX

New OE Quality CV Axle Shaft Fits Nissan Infiniti Driver/Passenger Front 80-4706


Driver side. 

280Z 27 spline stub axle

280ZX Turbo 3x2 in 96mm center bore pattern companion flange adapter

Heri brand 280ZX Turbo complete axle, with lock ring grove ground down to accommodate infiniti J30 lock ring


Passenger side.

280Z 27 spline stub axle

280ZX Turbo 3x2 in 96mm center bore pattern companion flange adapter

280ZX Turbo 3x2 in 96mm Tripod housing

WD21 tripod bearing?

WD21 front passenger axle

Bearing from Description: Febest - Nissan Inner Joint Left 27X98 - Oem: 39711-64E10 (G35) ?

Tripod housing from ______

J30 passenger VLSD input


Just for my checklist, that should leave me with a 280zx turbo axle with input, but not tripod maybe tripod bearing?

WD21 input

2x pathfinder tripod housings

G35 or pathfinder bearing? 



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