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My Flexplate - Crank Endplay Check Pictorial

 
Old 06-27-2007, 07:46 PM
  #46  
AO
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It mostly just slipped into place. I guess the next time I'm under the car (and when I get my dial indicator back from Big Dave) I'll just give it a try and see what happens.
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:23 PM
  #47  
Garth S
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The intermediate ("stub") shaft in a five speed clamped to the prop shaft allows the identical length decrease when under torsion as is experienced by the ridgedly clamped prop shaft in an automatic. The 5-sp achieves retraction on the pilot nose inserted into the pilot bearing: the flexplate offers the same retraction in the auto .... ergo "flexplate".
As said long ago, the prop shaft is effectively identical to a torsion bar in a suspension: it twists axially under torque, shortening itself .... and restores to the original length when the throttle is lifted.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:01 PM
  #48  
Tails
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Bill,

I believe that setting the clamp on the front flexplate with any preload or clearance etc was superceded by Porsche technical bulletin number 9023 dated May 5th 1992 relating to installation procedure of the central tube.

Under repair information within this technical bulletin it states: "After the cnetral tube is bolted to the forward housing, first tighten the six (6) drive plate bolts (A in Figure 1 [which refers to the flexplate bolts to the flywheel] to 32-39 Nm (23-28ft lbs). Then tighten the clamping screw (B in Figure 1 {which refers to the clamp set bolt] to 75 to 85 Nm (54-62 ft lbs). following this procedure will ensure necessary running clearances for the crankshaft thrust bearings".

There is no mention of setting any pre load forward or aft on the thrust bearing via the flexplate, so one can assume that this has become redundant?

In tightenting the clamping screw by 10% over the recommended tension would, under the law of physics, increase the frictional resistance between the clamp and the spline of the drive shaft, that is if the elastic limit of the clamp or bolt is not exceeded.

Even increasing the tension of the clamp bolt did not stop the migration of the flexplate clamp along the spline of the drive shaft on my car.

As Constantine pointed out there are 3 methods in trying to improve the clamping the flexplate clamp to the drive shaft:
1. Increase the torque on the clamp screw by 10%
2. Using Locktite
3. Using his redesigned clamp.

1. Does not appear to work in my case as the clamp still migrated forward along the spline, which would indicate insufficient frictional resistance can be imparted between the clamp and the spline to overcome the axial forces involved that caused the migration.
2. By using loctite. I have used loctite 290 and currently after 12 months use, and checking, no movement, so it would appear that the locking effect of the loctite has secured the clamp in place on the drive shaft spline so that the axial forces are now being absorbed by the flexplate thereby only imposing cyclic axial forces on the thrust bearing. Loctite's product description sheet states that if there is difficulty removing apply localised heat to 250 degrees C and remove when hot. Brake away torque on a M10 steel bolt and nut tensioned to 5Nm is 30Nm, so it looks like the loctite works.
3. By using Constantine's collar clamp. As he stated no migration has been experienced. This definately looks the best fix and is a great engineering design.

With regards to whether the crankshaft is set forward or aft on the thrust bearing faces is still a matter of conjecture, as there is no definative reason that has been given that all can agree on.

I can bring to mind three reasons given for the excessive loading on the flexplate/thrust bearing:
1. Torque converter balooning
2. Drive shaft length increase, and
3. Torque twist up of drive shaft reducing it length momentarily during hard acceleration causing a incremental migration of the drive shaft out of the clamp in the aft direction.

I personally subscribe to the 3 point based on my engineering experience.

Whatever the reason the clamp migrates along the spline of the drive shaft in the forward direction. This migration can ultimately cause excessive continuous load on the aft thrust bearing face via the flexplate on the automatic transmission cars. This I believe has been proven by the simple paint method of monitoring which has verified this forward migration of the clamp along the spline of the drive shaft, for whatever reason.

By returning the flexplate to its neutral positon by releasing the clamp bolt and then reclamping basically returns the constant axial forces acting upon the thrust bearing to cyclic axial loading only as designed.

This cyclic loading only occasions in the manual transmission models due to the operation of the clutch as explained above.

The reason for the thrust bearing failure when the constant load imparted by the flexplate due to clamp migration can be explained by tribology, that is the study of the science of friction, lubrication and wear.

Tails 1990 928 S4 Auto.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:58 PM
  #49  
Black Sea RD
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Hi Bill,

I couldn't answer your questions earlier since I had to go handle something at work. Yes, your understanding is correct, the clamp is the problem, not usually the flexplates. And again, this recommendation to change out the flexplate was given to a person's mechanic shop from Porcshe AG as well as increasing the torque on the front pinch bolt. I somewhat doubt, as I said earlier, that this same prescription would be given to someone calling Porsche AG today.

And for the record, we do not think this is a good suggestion to stop this problem once and for all in a 928.

Good pics and writeup by the way!
Constantine

Originally Posted by Bill Ball
Constantine: Oh, it's the clamp, not the flexplate itself that goes bad. Sorry, I am so literal. The clamp and plate are only sold as a balanced unit, so, now I understand the recommendation to replace it at some point.
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:09 PM
  #50  
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Hi Tails,

Lots of good information stuffed into your post

Tails qoute: "Even increasing the tension of the clamp bolt did not stop the migration of the flexplate clamp along the spline of the drive shaft on my car."

That is what we found in our tests. The PSI needed to move a clamped driveshaft portion through a OE clamp did not change to a higher value when we used a new pinch bolt and tightened it to 66 foot lbs.

Tails qoute: "As Constantine pointed out there are 3 methods in trying to improve the clamping the flexplate clamp to the drive shaft:
1. Increase the torque on the clamp screw by 10%
2. Using Locktite
3. Using his redesigned clamp."


I didn't point these three out really. The three methods currently being used to stop driveshaft migration that seem to work are the ones Vilhuer mentioned in his earlier post.

Cheers,
Constantine
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:35 PM
  #51  
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OK, Dave and Garth, I think I have a better idea of the 5-speed driveline. I believed the stub shaft couldn't be completely free to slide or it could come out of the pilot bearing, but there is room for things to move and the endplay to be tested.

Tails and Constantine - good stuff as well.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:15 AM
  #52  
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Tails:
That's got to be one of the most lucid & comprehensive posts on this topic I've ever seen. Thanks.

Originally Posted by Bill Ball
OK, Dave and Garth, I think I have a better idea of the 5-speed driveline. I believed the stub shaft couldn't be completely free to slide or it could come out of the pilot bearing, but there is room for things to move and the endplay to be tested.
I think it would be wise for the the next person to check crankshaft endplay on a 5-speed to try it with everything in situ, record the results, then slide the coupling sleeve back and re-record. You might be able to get an accurate reading with everything connected, but you'd be fighting the PP. However, if you disconnect the coupling sleeve, I think the entire clutch pack will slide back. It's going to be a while before I try this as both my liftbars and dial gage are out on loan.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:06 AM
  #53  
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Clutch will always stay together with crank no matter where short shaft is. All but fork and disk itself are married to flywheel and follows along where ever it goes. When clutch is not pressed even disk is fixed comtared to crank. If TT centershaft and its front clamp are set right there is about 5mm empty space between pilot bearing and wider part of the clutch shaft. This is more than enough for measuring crank endplay.

Only way clutch is going to hinder measuring is if clutch shaft is so worn that it prevents plate from moving. This will cause so serious problems in clutch use that most people tend to forget thrust bearing until this is fixed and while fix is done its very easy to measure crank play at same time using dial gauge method Bill shows in #1 post.
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:20 AM
  #54  
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Erkka-
You're probably right.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:46 AM
  #55  
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Bill,

Whilst you are naval gazing relating to whether the crankshaft should be pushed forward against the aft end of the thrust bearing or pulled aft against the forward end of the thrust bearing before re-clamping you and the other learned folk may like to consider the following:

Do we agree that when the clamp bolt is released, the flexplate clamp moves aft along the spline of the drive shaft to its neutral position?

If we agree that yes this is what actually happens, then this means that the drive shaft (under load) is pulled aft out of the flexplate clamp. I would suggest this migration is incremental as I have measured my migration at different time and it had not returned to the original 3mm mark, as I kept releasing it and letting it return to its neutral position before it got there.

This incremental migration occassions when the axial aft drawing force of the drive shaft (say by torsional twisting/wind up or whatever) exceeds the opposite forward acting spring loaded force exerted by the flexplate and this force draws the clamp along with it when the frictional resistance between the flexplate clamp and the spline of the drive shaft is exceeded. This is why I suggest that the an incremental movement takes place.

This process continues until the flexplate clamp reaches around 3mm at which time the clamp would actually go into a small forward and aft oscellation movement on the spline as the frictional resistance of the clamp is exceeded in both directions.

I believe that this small oscellation movement start to occasion when the flexplate clamp has moved to its maximum extent on each late model automatic car (ever car actions and reactions are different, so movement of the clamp will not be exactly the same). Under heavy load conditions when maximum torque is reached on the drive shaft and is then removed, say when the car has reached it cruise speed, the reaultant force exerted by the flexplate in the forward direction is countered by the force exerted by the aft side of the thrust bearing. When this force exceeds the frictional resistance of the clamp, the clamp will move slightly aft ( this is Newtons 2nd Law of motion, "ever action has an equal and opposite reaction"), however, there will always be a resultant forward axial load/force, which is equal to the frictional resistance imparted by the clamp on the spline when the clamp has reached its maximum movement.

When the clamp is secured either by lictite or Constantine's modified clamp in the neutral position or by some other method, then the flexplate will oscellate as designed and will cause the thrust bearing to be loaded and unloaded against its forward and aft faces, but will never have the resultant constant force applied against the aft face of the thrust bearing.

If this clamp migration resultant constant force is not removed by releasing the clamp and firmly locking it in the neutral position it can cause TB failure, as we have seen or heard of .

This TB failure is caused by the breakdown of the oil film between the faces of the thrust bearing and the crankshaft thrust collar to boundry lubrication which causes friction by asperity contact. This micoscopic frictional contact generates heat and the oil film will become less and the bearing subsequently enters into a degenerative spiral with eventual total thrust bearing failure and engine failure.

Now the question to contemplate is why do some thrust bearing fail and some don't?

Constantine drew our attention to the web site which explained the correct fitting of the thrust bearing in its pocket to ensure that there is full contact with the thrust bearing faces to the crankshaft thrust collar and also the quality of the surface finish of the crankshaft thrust collar.

Unfortunately the thrust bearing fitted to engines of automobiles is the most basic type of thrust bearing and it is not designed to take a constant load. Thrust bearing which have a constant load like in the marine field are usually fitted with a thrust collar on the propeller shaft and the thrust bearing is made up of tilting bearing pads. When the shaft turns the pads tilt in the rotating direction and an oil wedge is formed between the collar and the tilting pad which ensures that the oil film is maintained and no boundry lubrication is possible. Heat is still generated in this type of bearing, however on large vessel the bearings are water cooled.

The reason for TB failure, as I mention before, is covered by the study of Tribology and its science of friction, lubrication and wear, so this can equate to the bearing setup, the surface finish of the bearing faces, the oil used and its ability to maintain the oil film, the actual friction resistance of the clamp and the force of the subsequent constant load on the thrust bearing, its friction etc.

Bill, I hope that you have given due consideration to the question posed at the beginning of this thread, so if we agree that when when the clamp is released and the flexplate return to its neutral position and subsequently commences migrating in a forward direction I would suggest that you would get around an 0.008 inch gain by moving the crankshaft forward against the aft end of the
TB in the cold static flexplate neutral position.

Tails 1990 928 S4 Auto
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Old 08-11-2007, 03:40 PM
  #56  
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Great writeup on this topic. Will be getting under the car tomorrow to perform the procedure. One silly question? Is there a torque value for the bell housing bolts when buttoning up? Can't seem to find it anywhere.

Brent
89 S4
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:20 PM
  #57  
Gary Knox
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Bill,

As everyone else has said - great writeup. Two comments from my experience:

1. The first time I do this on any car, I always paint the spline from the flex plate white where it joins with the clamp. This way, I can put a thin light tube up into the hole, and see whether there is ANY unpainted area between the front of the clamp and the white paint. If none, I usually don't proceed further (I do this 2-3 times a year, as I have a lift, and I do a check while the car is on it). Of course, if there is any gap from the clamp to the painted mark, I know it needs to be re-clamped. Never had to do a re-clamp, except when I actually do a crank end play check.

2. With respect to the loctite. The first loctite experiment was probably done on my '87 auto back in about 2000. We used green loctite on the splines, and on the clamping bolt. Again, we painted the spline after 24 hours (with no driving, as it takes that long for the green to cure). After 2 1/2 years of driving, including 25 days or so of Driver Ed on several tracks (with LOTS of full throttle dowshifts from 3rd to 2nd), there was no indication of movement on the splines. Unfortunately, I totaled the car on a concrete barrier at Mt Tremblant track, so don't know how much longer it might have maintained the tight connection. We did heat the clamp/spline moderately when we dismantled the wrecked car for parts.

Thanks again for doing such a great writeup

Gary Knox
West Chester, PA
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:41 PM
  #58  
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Bill,
Great write up and one all our new owners need to read and do.
I must have been sleeping under one of my cars when this was orinally posted but now it has come to the top again I have a couple of points for topic and discussion.

1) On all my Auto cars and similar customer cars I use Loctite (penetrating) on the splines and Loctite on the bolt. So far no movement at all on the cars I have done and had back for checking. I highly recommend this method. Even better is Constantines new clamp but the cost is very high when compared to $15 for the Loctite. I also had the opportunity to watch a TT being removed from one of my cars where the splines were Loctited in place. Heat was applied to the splines and the shaft parted company very easily. So the Loctite is not such a NO NO for future disassembly.

2) IIRC Factory spec for crank end play is .0025" to .0075 - that is when the car is new. All cars I have checked have been within the as new spec or at the most .002" outside. I also seem to remember that TB wear does not occur until the float is .016" - right or wrong???

Great writeup and Thank you for taking the time to do it.
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Old 08-12-2007, 02:11 PM
  #59  
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Nice writeup, Bill!

Originally Posted by Tails
...methods in trying to improve the clamping the flexplate clamp to the drive shaft:

1. Increase the torque on the clamp screw by 10%
2. Using Locktite
3. Using {Constantine's} clamp.
4. Decrease trans oil cooler circuit pressure, and increase volume.

...

1. Didn't work
2. Didn't try
3. Didn't try
4. Worked!
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Old 08-12-2007, 02:51 PM
  #60  
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5. When the TT needs rebuiildig or replacing, use an -85MY rebuilt TT with front end shims and shim retainer.
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