Vanagon – measuring axle runout

Apologies for the dearth of postings over the last month or so. I have been doing a little Vanagon work but nothing that was ready to blog about (I’m looking at you, Mr Bumper Project). This post is an effort to get back on track.

I made up a spare axle (rear) with cv joints and boots some time ago and carried it around in the van thinking it would be a talisman against breaking an axle or cv joint during one of our logging road trips. Additionally, I had made some end caps for the cv joints so the joint could be all greased up and ready to go. Good friend Simon envied the idea so I gave him the assembly as a Xmas gift.

I ad another spare axle so the other day I dug it out and started to make up another spare assembly. I stripped it down, degreased the shaft, and took off the old paint and rust. I put the shaft on the lathe, tailstock and centre supporting the far end, to make painting easier. Yeah, I know, pretty sloppy habit to paint something on the lathe. But I covered the lathe to protect against overspray, put the lathe in back gear and had the shaft rotating as I sprayed the paint.

As I was doing that I noticed that the shaft had a bit of runout, i.e. it looked a little bent. Today the paint was hard enough to allow me to measure just how much runout the shaft has.

Shaft was supported at each end by V-blocks and the dial indicator positioned roughly between. I rotated the shaft by hand and watched the dial indicator. About a 0.013″ runout.

I did the same at both ends, one end it was around 0.003″ and the other end about 0.002″.




To be sure, this was a very quick and dirty way of measuring the runout, and to tell you the truth I have no idea if this is an acceptable amount of bent-ish-ness.



  1. #1 by Peter Richardson on February 10, 2014 - 6:28 pm

    Thinking about your mention of a cap for the exposed ends of the cv joints and wondering if the caps from a porsche would fit….

    Also wondering about the runout tolerance, but I have no info to add there.

    • #2 by albell on February 10, 2014 - 11:16 pm


      I have to look up what the porky caps look like. What I did was very simple, I just turned some 1/4″ aluminum disks, drilled 3 holes, and bolted to the vc joint. No gasket. When I make a new set for my spare axle I think I might try adding a zerk fitting to the caps and see if I can grease the joint without getting my hands dirty. No sure if a single zerk will distribute the grease evenly.



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