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Old 10-30-2017, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 89 Sierra with Vitara Engine - Blown Drive Shaft Advice

Hello!

I've just acquired a new project car and I'm looking for experienced advice from you lot. I have basic vehicle maintenance experience (oil changes, manifold/turbo swaps etc - nuts and bolts type stuff but not internals) and am hoping to learn more with this project (so apologies for the noob questions).

It's an 89 Sierra with a Vitara motor that runs great. The problem is, the drive shaft snapped and teared up the cockpit floor while the old owner was driving. The guy who towed it for him said it'd need a new selector and front drive shaft.

I've since got it home, removed the driveshaft and can see some of the damage done to the selector now that it's exposed (see photos). You can also see where it's snapped the joint on the gearbox end.

My questions are;

Can the tube/centre bearing that goes into the transmission from the drive shaft be removed and the new (complete) drive shaft inserted?
If yes, is it a DIY job (any how-to links appreciated) or does it require a mechanic?

At the moment I'm thinking it'd be easier to replace the whole gearbox and drive shaft. It may be better in the long run to upgrade the box also (suggestions welcome).
Can anyone tell from the photos if that's a vitara or sierra box?
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89 Sierra with Vitara Engine - Blown Drive Shaft Advice-20171030_173624_resized.jpg   89 Sierra with Vitara Engine - Blown Drive Shaft Advice-20171030_173728_resized.jpg   89 Sierra with Vitara Engine - Blown Drive Shaft Advice-20171030_173521_resized.jpg  
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The looks like a divorced transfer case which would make it the Sierra, what appears to have failed would be the jack shaft that links the transmission to the transfer case.
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Old 11-22-2017, 02:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Roger, thanks fordem.

So it looks like a replacement sierra box and drive shaft is the way forward.

Since this is intended to be a long termer and will be going off road quite often, I'm looking to make it tougher and hopefully avoid a reoccurance.
So, a couple more questions if I may;

- Could the Vitara engine working with the Sierra box have caused the drive shaft failure? As in, the engine being too powerful for the box? The seller told me that it had been in there for a year or so with no issues up to the big bang point

- If this could be the case, what can be done upgrade wise? Could a vitara box be fitted easily enough or is there other running gear that would need changing/ modifying chasis/ mounts etc?

- Are there any other mods I should look at that could strengthen the driveshaft, clutch or diff?

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Why do I think I've seen these questions already asked, and answered, elsewhere?

The Vitara engine in a Sierra, mated to the Sierra transmission is a very common swap, and so to speak, time tested & proven.

Ask yourself this question - why would the Vitara engine being too powerful for the transmission cause the drive shaft to fail - if that were the case, shouldn't it be the transmission that fails?

My guess is plain & simple neglect, worn UJs on the jackshaft were not replaced in a timely fashion.

Swapping a Vitara transmission in would not be ideal - those have the transfer case bolted directly to the transmission and have the rear tailshaft centered, unlike the Sierra transfer case, the swap can be done, but will require the transmission tunnel and mounts to be modified, along with custom driveshafts and you're likely to run into tailshaft angle issues.
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