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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old September 12th, 2011, 23:10   #1
FletchMan
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Default Axle Spins but no go - seems like CV problem but....

While stuck in a little mud I was rocking my Jetta by popping the clutch so this is somewhat self-inflicted. Of course that doesn't change my problem. All of the sudden the car just does nothing while in gear. I can hear something clanking when I release the clutch and can see the driver's side axle spinning. This should mean the CV joint is stripped, correct? What I don't get is why the other tire isn't providing drive? Would it be the other CV joint that somehow gave way at the same time? Seems really weird? Any way to do any checking on what I might need for parts before I tear into it? I just can't picture in my head what's happening at all. Of course I don't know much about how it works anyway but..........

Thanks for any tips.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 04:13   #2
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With one axle able to turn, the differential lets all the power go to the spinning wheel. Think of this as one wheel on ice or in the air. The most likely thing is the balls have fallen out of the outer joint, allowing the shaft to clang around inside the joint shell. There will probably be some steel balls on the ground just inside where the wheel sits. The shaft needs to be removed and have a new joint put on. Don't buy one of the cheap reman shafts from the local store. They are just not worth the money. You are far better off fixing the original shaft.

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Old September 13th, 2011, 04:44   #3
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Yep, get yourself a NEW joint, preferably one from a known brand like GKN/Lobro. Unless your axle is already a Chinese replacement (which is certainly possible, as it is broken), in which case you should find a used OEM one and recondition that, or try and find one of the vendors that sells NEW GKN/Lobro shafts.

I think www.boraparts.com had some new OEM axles available, as did www.metalmanparts.com but you will have to check.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 04:55   #4
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Agree with the above, and if I may add some info, hope it isn't too boring...
If you were to drive your car in a constant circle (such as skidpad etc.) and trace the path followed by the inside wheels vs the outside wheels- the two circles would be different size (by approximately the track width of the car). When turning, the outside wheels spin at a faster rate than the inside wheels. Something has to allow for that to happen without binding in the drivetrain- that's where the differential comes in. One of the characteristics of a basic differential is that it gives torque to the wheel that can turn easiest. Many people don't realize it, but theoretically it is possible to get such a car stuck by having just one of the drive wheels on a patch of ice (etc.). So, a "2wd" car with basic differential is really only 1wd, and a 4wd truck with basic differentials is really only 2wd. In the "old" days, if you took out mom or dad's car and stomped on the accelerator to spin the wheels away from a stoplight, you'd often find there was just one black stripe on the ground- for that same reason. Some cars and trucks were (are) available with something called a limited slip differential. There are different approaches to implementing this, but the bottom line is the limited slip unit partially binds the two wheels together, so all the torque cannot go to one side. One of the areas where this is highly beneficial is in rapid acceleration, where more power can be applied before wheelspin occurs (because both wheels are being driven, not just one). Limited slip also offers benefits in mud, off road etc. I believe the GM (Chevy etc.) designation for their limited slip option was (in the 60's, 70's etc.) "positraction", and that moniker has become often applied in general (like saying you want a kleenex, when kleenex is really a brand name). This is where you hear people ask "does it have posi ?". (cars with this equipment will make two black lines on the road, assuming the engine has enough power....) Even for our VWs there are aftermarket limited slip differentials available. Not sure what's current because I don't dabble much in the hot rod side of vws, but there was at one time a company named Quaife (sp?). If someone listed Quaife among their mods, that generally meant the car had a limited slip differential. Drawback to limited slip is that it can increase binding in tight maneuvering.
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Back to OP original question- I agree with Alchemist- looks like a CV joint or something in the axle shaft has broken on one side. I'd recommend no more effort to move it with the engine, lest something tear loose and the flailing axle shaft bashes something up. Have the car towed home (or to trusted shop etc.) and replace the axle shaft.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 10:30   #5
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It probably doesn't matter a whole lot but I failed to mention that this is on a 1990 1.6. The car is about 200 miles from me right now so I can't just simply tear it down and see what the deal is. I will probably purchase the outter CV joint and take it with me in hopes of that being what it is. It sounds very reasonable considering I can see the drive shaft turning.

Thanks for all the replies.
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Old September 13th, 2011, 11:12   #6
FletchMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer View Post
Yep, get yourself a NEW joint, preferably one from a known brand like GKN/Lobro. Unless your axle is already a Chinese replacement (which is certainly possible, as it is broken), in which case you should find a used OEM one and recondition that, or try and find one of the vendors that sells NEW GKN/Lobro shafts.

I think www.boraparts.com had some new OEM axles available, as did www.metalmanparts.com but you will have to check.

Ohhhhh, now that I think about it, I had the CV joints replaced about 65K ago - so I don't know. It was from a pretty good place I thought but who knows what I got. I might go for the whole axle now. As far as it giving way because it was a POS, I can't say for certain that's the issue - I was being pretty stupid trying to get this out of a mud hole. Thanks, again.

Last edited by FletchMan; September 13th, 2011 at 11:16.
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