There’s a little bit more to the front axle than the rear as it incorporates the steering. I didn’t take any photos of the strip down as it was a filthy job and didn’t want to get oil all over my camera.
There wasn’t as much rust to get rid of as the front axle is naturally protected given it lives below the engine and will catch the odd drip of oil…. and over time, this acts a good protective measure to corrosion. It does mean however, dirt sticks to the components more readily and creates a nasty mess getting it all off.
The two half shafts both needed a lot of work, the journal assemblies had enough play to warrant replacement. The half shaft bearing seats were well worn and as new bearings would be living on them, they had to be changed. Both of the stub shafts were replaced as the ends were quite worn.
As per the rear, all seals, bearings and gaskets were replaced. Additionally, the thrust washers, nuts and lock tabs in the hubs were all swapped for new items along with new Timken bearings and seals.
The front diff was reused as it was in surprisingly good condition. It’s a common misconception that all Land Rovers have permanent 4 wheel drive. This isn’t the case. The first permanent 4 wheel drive Land Rover came with the Stage 1 V8. Aside from some very special models for the Dutch army (2 wheel drive only), Series Land Rovers up to 1979, had selectable 4 wheel drive. Day to day driving was done in rear wheel drive only.
4 wheel drive was selected by either pushing down on the yellow knob in the cab, giving 4 wheel drive in high range, or pulling back on the red knob, giving 4 wheel drive in low range…. to this end, the front differential has an easy life as most of the time the vehicle is in rear wheel drive. Although it rotates as the vehicle is in motion, there is no load transmitted through it, therefore it wares at a slower rate that the rear.
On inspection, all the teeth looked in good condition, there’s no more backlash in it than the one I’ve just fitted in the rear from Ashcrofts, so in my mind its fine. I do have to replace the output seal at some point though.
The amount of corrosion on the swivel balls and the fact the seals between the axle and swivel had failed, I think the decisions was taken at some point to gun the whole axle full of grease. The differential was full of it. It’s harder for grease to weep past failed seals than oil due to its higher viscosity….. but getting it all out was a nasty job. Yik.