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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Front axle roll pin

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30 replies to this topic

#26 gadberry


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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:55 PM

I ran into this "roll pin wont fit" issue this past weekend. Passenger front axle failed and the replacement axle, roll pin hole wouldn't align with the stub holes so that I could pass my 3/16" drift through to the opposite side, prior to driving in the roll pin. I did flip the axle 180' more than once and still couldn't get the darn drift to pass cleanly thru, and this is the first time this has happened to me so I assumed I been given the wrong axle but the fit was normal... Except for the roll pin hole alignment. It didn't seem to make sense that the spline count would be off because I didn't think the axle would have fit/slid into the stub so smoothly....

I was on the side of the road and on my way to the off road park, so I hammered the roll pin (gently) about 1/2 way into the hole
And left enough exposed that I could grab it and pull it later if needed. I thought the replacement axle must have been wrong or bad from the factory...

Wasted 30min of daylight pondering this issue.... Frustrated with 2 napping farm dogs laid up against my rear tire as I thought About my situation.... ;). The car drove fine after I finished and drove towards the offload park but its bugging me. I've never had a roll pin not align perfectly...


Thanks. The car is an 1981 Subaru GL 4x4 4speed manual

#27 jj421


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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:21 PM

The only thing I can really say is my experience. When I replaced my axle, I didn't actually own punches. So to get the roll pin in/out, I had to use a small screwdriver. As I was punching the pin in, the tip of the screwdriver broke off in the roll pin and axle, and I was unable to get either out. So for about six months, I've driven around with a roll pin sticking halfway out one side, and a screwdriver tip sticking out the other side. Now that I've done my D/R swap, I've fixed the roll pin, but it worked fine all six months. I'd still get it fixed ASAP.

#28 idosubaru


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:13 AM

what brand axles are people using that has this issue?  it's so rare i'd expect it's a certain axle or something....?


the roll pin went in part of the way?

have you tried driving the pin in with the axle off the vehicle to see if it's an alignment issue or the hole in the axle issue?  i would guess it's alignment though...



this doesn't sound like it is but just to be clear since all we have is words. you said you "flipped it more than once" - by looking at the axle you can tell which way it's supposed to go in.  one hole on the trans splined shaft will have the valley going through the center, the other side has the peak going through the center.  so you can line the axle up definitively, no need to guess if you compare that to the axle holes.


if someone is flipping it multiple times it sounds like they might be guessing and maybe inadvertently got it the wrong way each time?

#29 gadberry


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:28 AM

Yes, I can't say for certain that I wasn't guessing wrong, but I did try to be methodical about the "turning the axle 180 degree to the stationary output shaft " and then tried inserting the 3/16" punch in from both sides only to find that it would insert about 75% of the way from one side and only 25% into the other. Btw- I did test the hole alignment on the axle (and again in the output shaft) prior to installing the axle onto the shaft.... Because by the 3rd or 4th try I was beginning to think I had lost my mind. Ha! It just didn't make sense to me. I didn't know about the "valley and peak" differences so I cannot confirm that but while this may only be my 4th axle to replace, I've never had issues with roll pin alignment.. It just always aligned and tapped in or out as expected..

The axle was an autozone warranty replacement but ill have to double check the brand. The odd ball think about the axle IMHO was that it came with a new castle nut and the metal grease cup attached to the inboard end, BUT there wasn't a new Roll Pin taped to the shaft, so I was reusing the old roll pin I had tapped out... First time I opened an axle without a new roll pin taped to it... That struck me as odd from the start and its why I was careful to test the "looseness or fitment" at the output shaft splines. It wasn't noticeably different than the axle fit on the other side of the car. Btw- my old castle nut also threaded onto the outboard end of the new axle too. I checked what I could, where I was, but I was stranded out on the road without a full set of tools and or measuring instruments. So I was just trying to decide if I should install and go or call for backup with a trailer.... I went for it and installed it and it drove fine but "it ain't right" yet... I don't think.

I got home on my own so that was the small victory. :). The axle is coming off again in the near future anyways because I'm needing to replace the bearings on that side. The left side bearings failed on my last trip down State so for my last two road trips in this bugger I've found myself in repair mode... :). The wife's confidence in my old soobie is waning, needless to say. I tell her that a trip in any Subaru is always an adventure... Haha!

Thanks for listening and offering advice.


Edited by gadberry, 14 March 2013 - 07:32 AM.

#30 Numbchux


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:47 AM

The axle was an autozone warranty replacement but ill have to double check the brand.

If it's a remanufactured one, it'll say Duralast on the box, but it's a cardone. Same reman stuff you get from most parts stores. Pretty crappy quality from them.

I'm kind of curious about the new ones (Duralast Gold on the box). I'm not sure who makes them, but completely different story, we've had almost zero problems with them, and they're not much more expensive. I believe they are available for the rear of an EA81, so I may try some on my Brat (no core either, so keep the old ones as spares).

#31 NickNakorn


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:20 PM

Hey Opus, I have that trouble with glasses too - especially when under the car - hard to get the right distance away to focus; it sems the depth of field for reading glasses is pretty spoob..

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