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Spline / Driveshaft Lube

13604 Views 2 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Vulcan Verses
I have the Clymer manual, 85 95 version. It says to "apply a light coat of grease (lithium based NLGI No. 2 grease with Molybdenum disulfide) to the final driven flange spline etc" I think I saw that grease @ Autozone, but it doesn't have anywhere near 60% Moly. More like 3% if I remember correctly.

Is the Clymer grease good enough for use on the final drive or is a grease with >= 60% moly a lot better for it? What would be the diff?

With all the talk lately on grease and what to use on our drive splines I would like to suggest LocTite Moly paste, 65% molybdenum disulphide pn 51048. It can be found at any good bearing supply house or they can order. Last I paid was about $17.00 for a 8oz can with a brush top (wholesale).

Here is a good site about Motorcycle Grease.


Final drive grease Maverick: I had the SAME experience at the Honda dealership. He walked out with the tub in hand and I said 'no thanks'. I order the Moly 60. Here are all the options I can think of, and a write-up I did below that: Recommended High Moly (>60%) Content Greases: Note: the Kawasaki manual calls for 17ml, which is about 0.57oz, or at least 5 applications per 3oz! In other words, this is cheap compared to the protection!

1. "Honda Moly 60" (60% moly di). Conveniently available from any Honda dealership p/n 08734-0001 ($9 / 3oz tube). Also available for slightly less from http://www.casporttouring.com or http://www.ronayers.com

2. "TS-70 Moly Paste" also called "GuardDog GD-570 Moly Paste" (70% moly di). http://www.guarddogmoly.com or http://www.tsmoly.com/prices_motorcycle.htm ($14 / 4oz).

3. "LocTite Moly Paste" (65% molybdenum di). Found at any good bearing supply house or they can order p/n-51048 also available from http://www.use-enco.com p/n 505-1197 ($20 / 8oz tube )

Note: Now, if money is no object Dupont makes a product called DuPont XHT-BDX extra high temperature extra bonding Krytox $230 for an 8oz tube pn-10195K24. This is what NASCAR uses and they claim it can reduce the temperature of spline joints on driveshafts by 150° . Also, this stuff lasts forever. It is, unfortunately, quite expensive. Out of my league!

Q: I am new to this group and reside in NJ. I have a 2002 (purchased in 2003) and have 1300 miles on it. I am experiencing grease leaks around the drive shaft beside the rear wheel. I am finding myself cleaning the rear rim every 70 miles. Is there a document on a fix that someone can point me to? Any information on the problem would be appreciated.
A: Good news .. your shaft at least has been greased Bad or not so bad news.. it was either greased with the wrong stuff or.. over-greased and what you are seeing is overfill that will eventually fade away or.. the o-ring needs replacing.

A: If it's black, greasy stuff oozing from between the wheel hub and the final drive housing, don't worry about it. My '02 did the same thing and when I pulled the rear wheel and housing to grease the rear drive spline I found about a 1/2 pound of extra grease inside the hub. When it gets warm it slowly oozes out due to centrifugal force. I cleaned it all out, regreased it with a moderate coat of moly lube and it's been clean ever since. MokiMan

A: I had the same problem with my '03. When I took the rear wheel off it was packed with about a gallon of grease, well a lot anyway. I cleaned it all up and lubed it with 70% Moly and have not had a problem since. BTW - I also changed the rear gear oil just for giggles. Phil 'Stargazer'

re. bolt size + Removing rear axle nut

Maybe I can help, just done mine. First off, the wheel is at max lowness on the center stand, in fact if your on level ground, you can turn the wheel. the pipes are easily removed, you simply remove the back support bolt, then loosen the heat shield clamp on the rear muffler, then loosen the muffler clamp on the goat belly, or whatever pipe you have there, then simply work it out, the gasket is re-useable, so long as you are careful with it. then you can put your sockets on the bolt, anyway, even if you wrench it loose, you cant get the axle out anyway for the right pipe, so you must remove it. if your doing a spline lube, you can do the back fine from there, the front is a bit trickier, you must pry up the boot on the back side and spoon the grease on the splines, as you cant pull the drive shaft out through the back all the way, just enough to dislodge it and spoon in some grease. to do the spline, unless you are unbolting the entire swing arm, If I was going that far it is easier to pull the front bevil gear case and pull it out from the front, easily greasin both ends, but this requires a complete exhaust pull and possibly new crush gaskets? beavis

Can't you remove or loosen the nut first..then remove the shocks to lower the wheel far enough to get the axle out? KM
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WRITEUP: Drive Shaft Lubrication

To loosen the dang nut holding the axle on: Hey Mike and Stewart— Find a 2-foot long piece of steel pipe that is of a diameter that just slips over the end of your wrench. This extends your point of force application way out there (increases your leverage) to where you shouldn't need to whack things with a hammer. I happen to have a breaker bar (solid 15" length ratchet handle) for my ½" socket set (the socket required is 27 mm) and I use a 2 foot long piece of 1" galvanized pipe that slips neatly over the end of it. I can break loose the axle nut by pressing down on the end of the pipe with one hand. Note: I have to hold the opposite nut end in place with a separate wrench when I do this, but it is easily done. . . . Chris Down (but almost back!) in San Jose, CA

Or, you can use the Mechmo Method: Thanks again to all who responded. I got a 12 inch adjustable wrench from Lowe's. Banged on it with a 3 or 4 lb. hammer. Banged > on it some more. Banged on it some more. I was about to give up, and then it started moving.

(I believe the description below is for the 1500. See the one later in this section that was written by someone with the beloved VN750 - SN)
Please read this entire section before you begin. The drive shaft splines or the "Propeller Shaft Joint" are supposed to be initially lubricated at 10,000 km (6,000 miles), and 30,000 km (18,000 miles) thereafter, per the "Periodic Maintenance Chart" in the Kawasaki manual. It is one of the most neglected items. Many people have experienced stripped splines (this happens on all shaft-driven bikes)... if not properly maintained. Don't you be one of them - if you are, you will need to purchase a new or used rear pinion gear assembly which runs over $800 new, since they are only sold as a unit as the pinion and ring gears are factory shimmed and matched. I strongly suggest lubricating per below every time you change your rear tire.

1. Put bike on center stand

2. Remove rear tire (deflate it and remove the license plate to get out from under fender). If you still do not have enough room, you can take off the front tire and push the forward part of the bike down, but you must be very careful not to let it drop off the center- stand !

3. Remove the 4 bolts holding the rear bevel case to the drive shaft tube and pull the rear pinion gear assembly (the big round hub that fits on the wheel) off the drive shaft. #3 should include loosening the top shock bolt and removing the lower shock from the hub assembly so it will pull away from the driveshaft housing of the swingarm.

4. Clean the spline (male side). No reason to take off the C-clip inside the collar (female side) that the spring and pinion fit into. Check the rubber O-ring (It appears to be part number 92055) on the pinion. If it shows ANY wear, replace it (I suggest replacing anyway to be sure). The O-ring is the only thing that keeps the grease in- if it breaks you CANNOT see the grease leaking out, since this area is covered by the drive shaft tube !).

5. Pack the collar with approx. 17 ml of high-temp molybdenum disulfide grease (see below). That's a tad over 3 teaspoons (5 ml = 1 teaspoon)

6. On the other side of the shaft (front side on the left side of the engine), pull the rear portion of the rubber boot off, pull the shaft back to expose the spline and lubricate. The front splines experience little back and forth motion, due to the heavy spring loading in the rear spline coupler (connected to the pinion). The spring in the rear keeps the front splines pushed together tightly (with all the in/out motion confined to the rear). However, the manual says to coat the front splines with a "thin coat of high temp grease", so it's best to do it.

7. Mate the front spline, then the rear spline (remember to insert the spring) and reassemble (17.5 ft-lb torque on the 4 bolts)

Other helpful notes - There is NO need to remove the front bevel gear case to access the front splines. Just pull the rear of the rubber boot off the drive shaft (the one with the smaller tabs), pull the drive shaft off the splines, and grease the splines with a thin coat. Also grease the universal joint while you are in there (I used a spray lithium grease for that). Then align and slide the front of the shaft back on with the boot peeled back. Do not mess with the front of the boot (with the larger tabs). It is hard to get off/on. - When you pull off the Final Gear Case, there is NO need to drain it (unless you need to). Just do not tip it upside down. It will leak from the vent/breather hole. - Make sure no air is trapped when you pack the spline collar, so the rubber O-ring will hold all the grease where it's supposed to stay. About the swing-arm and steering head bearings: - The manual also calls for lubricating the swing-arm. Forget it unless it has sticky spots or sideways movement. The bearings are SEALED inside the arm. You replace them when they go bad. I am not sure why Kawasaki says to lubricate them. These bearings should last just forever unless you do a LOT of riding in the rain or regularly use a high-pressure sprayer.. This is like the car service manager telling his customer he needed to have his fuel system cleaned at 25,000 miles, Geeeze. - Same thing for the steering head bearings. See testimonial below, from a VN750 Poster ("sea_wolf_59"):

If you can get the bike up, you won't need to remove the muffler. Pull both shocks and it will let the wheel drop low enough so the bolt will just clear the muffler. If you DO end up pulling the muffler, just be careful pulling it so that the sealing wrap around the pipe is not damaged. I pulled the mufflers on mine when I pulled the rear swingarm (a necessity then) but the seal wrap (don't know what the proper name for the stuff is) was in good shape. I just reassembled the muffs when done and have had no leaks or problems. MokiMan
You don't need a jack, etc. Just remove the rear fender. Put the bike on its centerstand. Removing four 10mm bolts (2 on chrome rail, and 2 near batterybox under the seat) attaching the rear fender and disconnecting the rear taillite harness. Keep the rear taillite assembly on the fender as you remove the rear fender. Roll out the rear wheel after the fender is removed. Its a snap! Lance
The crush gaskets are up where the pipe attaches to the cylinder. If you are just removing the muffler, you don't need new gaskets.

The nut on the rear axle can be real ornery motha. I had to use a 1/2 inch drive breaker bar AND slipped a pipe over the end to extend out another two feet to get enough leverage the first time I took mine off. You may want to have someone steady the bike when you do that. When your applying that much torque, things can get out of control real quick. Also-- put some penetrating oil on the outer threads; it might help a little. . . . Chris San Jose, CA
The 60% Honda moly lube will work fine. I use the 70% moly from GuardDog and you can order it on line. A small tub will do about dozen bikes.

Recently lubed the driveshaft (2nd time), and want to report: The 1st time, about 7000 miles, I didn't know about the Honda Moly-60 stuff, and used a Valvoline synthetic high-temperature moly grease (3% moly). This time, 17000+ miles, I had the Honda Moly-60, thanks to this group. What I want to report is this: the Valvoline hi-temp moly grease was doing a fine job - splines were still greasy, grease (and splines) in good shape, and could have gone much longer before this maintenance. I think the important thing is to use a high-temperature grease. Of course I used the moly-60 this time. We'll see how it looks at the next teardown, say 30000.
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Another description of the spline lube process: finishing up my spline lube '99 with 8k mi. After looking at all info ya'll put out over the last 6 mo, I tackled this job tonight. Put the bike on the centerstand, removed the axle nut with my 12" Crescent wrench getting it between the swingarm and the stock pipe. Removed both shocks and swingarm came down, but lower right shock mount/bolt hit the pipe. Loosened all three 10mm bracket bolts where the goat and pipe mount on the right. Flexed outward enough to let the swingarm fall with the axle just below the pipes. Tapped out the axle with a hammer.

Removed right side spacer and removed brake/hub to frame arm bolt and hardware attaching brake rod to hub. Pulled wheel to right and with it loose, cocked it 30 degrees inside the swingarm. Loosened 4 bolts on rear spline housing and pulled whole unit out. Pulled wheel out from between swingarm. Was happy to see lots of grease (don't think it was moly though) on rear unit. Pulled off left side panel and popped off rear of rubber boot at it's top at front of swingarm/driveshaft. Held it open at the top with large screwdriver and shine flashlight inside. Not happy to see no grease or lube of any kind on front spline or U-joint; dry as a bone and a tiny bit of rust/corrosion on the front splines. Condition of the metal is fine. Stick a toothbrush into the cylinder of Honda Moly 60 grease and insert it into cavity and brush on grease to the front spline while turning the shaft with hand at the back. Get a reasonable amount of grease on the front spline. Then take my Honda Spray lithium grease and spray the front U-joint while turning the shaft at the back. Then button up the rubber boot at the front. In the back, take plastic teaspoon and load it up helping wise with grease and put down the hole where the spring was and the rear spline goes into the shaft. Do this again. Put the spring back into the hole. Put the wheel between the swingarm at 30 degrees and put the rear unit back on its 4 bolts. Push on it and tighten the bolts in a criss cross fashion till snug. Tighten with torque wrench to 17.5 ft-lbs. Do a reverse of other steps above - axle tightens to 80 ft-lbs. Went pretty well for my. rgds Mike '99 in Nawlins'

All finished. Before putting on the shocks and the axle was at lowest point, I was able to fit my 27mm socket on the nut and torque it to 80 ft-lbs. Then I put the shocks back on, right side first, and torqued their acorn nuts to 22 ft-lbs. Last was to tighten the 10mm right side pipe/passenger foot peg bracket 3 nuts and then install the left side cover. Done until 18k mi.

Spline Lube Notes 2001 with 37,000 miles.

Previous spline lube was 28,000 Did the spline lube again yesterday and learned a couple of new things. Take a good look at the o-ring on the final drive spline. Mine was torn and the lube was leaking out past it. There was black moly all over the inside of the swing arm tube and the final drive spline housing. There was still some grease in the spline coupling, but not much. Luckily I had ordered an extra one the last time and had one on hand. Getting the rear wheel out past the fender was made easier by tying down the front forks with a ratchet type tie down and compressing the forks a couple of inches which raises the rear end. Assumes bike is on center stand. Use your torque wrench on the final drive nuts BEFORE you put the rear wheel back on. Make sure that you have more than one pair of the mechanics rubber gloves before you start. Also have more than one roll of paper towels on hand.
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