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Axle Boot and Grease Replacement

If your pre '69 VW is starting to mark its spot with little puddles of grease you may have an axle boot that has finally dried up and started to crack or tear. We're going to show you how to replace that boot and repack the grease.

Once this starts they go fast so it is a good idea to replace it ASAP. The boots are the first line of defense between the large differential carrier bearings and the great outdoors. The original boots were installed at the factory before the axle tube was put together and have no seam.
Fortunately the replacements have a seam that is held together by a series of small screws, washers and nuts so that they can be wrapped around the axle without disassembling anything else. There are a couple of styles and some even come in colors. They often come in pairs and it is probably a good idea to replace them both while we are at it.
The area around a leaking boot can be pretty grungy so you may want to spray on some degreaser and hose it off before you start. Unless you are very thin and like to work in tight places you are going to have to raise the rear of the car to access the boot. If you are supporting the car on jack stands you will need to put a 13mm bolt under the torsion plate to act as a stop. Otherwise the axle will pinch the boot against the frame
If the boot has been replaced in the past you may be able to unscrew the old clamps. If they are stuck or you are removing the original style clamps you can cut them with a sharp chisel. Be careful not to hammer so hard as to deform the flange next to the transmission.
With the clamps off the boot can be slid down the tube and cut the rest of the way off with tin snips.
. Put the screws in one half of the new boot and wrap it around the axle and fasten together with the nuts and washers on the other side. Don't over tighten. Now you can push the boot over the flange. The seam should be placed off center at near the 10:00 or 2:00 o'clock position so as not to be over-stressed by the axles movement.
Now you can install the clamps. When the outer clamp is installed the boot should be pushed in a little to allow it to stretch when the axle is in its extreme angle.
The new boots should be good for several years.
Since the old boot was leaking and you may have gotten some water in the transmission now would be a good time to change the grease. On the older transmissions there are two drain plugs on the bottom and one filler on the side. These take a 17mm Allen head hex wrench to remove.
The car should be level when the grease is drained. The plugs have magnets to catch small metal shavings which are normal. Don't be concerned unless you see big solid pieces.

Once the grease is drained, clean off the plugs and replace them. Then refill the transmission with 5 pints of 90wt gear grease unless your area calls for something different. Check with the local aircooled VW mechanics if possible. I suggest pumping the grease in. Slow and easy.

Replace the filler plug, set the car down and pat yourself on the back for one more job well done. You can see this done in detail in our Vol.5 Transmission swap repair video available from Bug Me Video.

Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc

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