Swing-axle Boots

by Clara Williams

You know those boots on your swing axle tranny? How it has that row of little nuts and bolts holding the split closed? Well, your swing axle tranny didn't come like that- it came with a boot with no split. This is sometimes seen on very crusty VWs, and as seen on a swing axle bug tranny someone gave me (condition unknown, presumed core status)

I liked the idea of putting non split tranny boots on the tranny for my westy. I obtained a pair of said boots, which seem sturdy. They would not pry over the end of the axle tube (axles are off) that goes into the center section, as the flange was too big (even when using hot water to soften and stretch the boots). After a bit, I accepted what the book said about having the reduction gear housing removed to put the boots on, though still concerned about the rubber bumper mount on the tube, and the brake hose/line clip flange, over which the tranny boots would have to be stretched.

I believe the boots were originally put on before all the bits on the tube were welded on. Then the tube was painted (notice paint line does not extend center section wise from where the small end of the boot is).

I cannot press the bits off, So I called places. A lot of places. The results are funny:

  1. I had to explain to the guy what non split boots are, when he understood he said just go with split boots. Wouldn't believe they came with non split boots. He thought it was a waste of my time/money/energy. Said they never came that way either. (!)
  2. He knew what I meant, but didn't have the stuff to do them. Said go with split boots.
  3. Old crusty German guy with thick accent. Knew what I meant. Had done it, maybe 30 years ago. Though I should just go with split, but would put the boots on (both sides) for $150.
  4. This point I am wondering why I am getting this "go for split" pressure. Perhaps they are afraid. Ha!
  5. First guy I talked to said sure, check for a price, came back saying no go, they won't do it.
  6. Said they'd never done it, but they'd try for circa $120.
  7. Sells parts only
  8. No, won't touch it.
  9. Know what I meant, and why I wanted to do it. Had done it before (in the past year). Said $60.

So, it turned out when I went to Pei at Wolfsberg Motorworks, and said how I had tried to get it over the flange. He clamped that bad boy axle tube in a vice, heated up the boot with an industrial hair dryer type thing, sprayed some lube and wrestled that boot in place over the axle flange. It involved serious pushing and stetching, with his body at a 45 degree angle pushing hard, but both of them went on without damage, and without pressing the reduction gear housing off. He changed me less that the quoted price, too. Guess I could have done it if I just used more strength, but I was happy with the outcome.

Back to Library Back to Drivetrain