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As confirmed by JS5D it'll be ok to do that.

But as a check for VC, it'll drive ok without front driveshaft if VC is ok too. You should as you've posted loose the bad noises if the VC is the cause.

To make sure you don't get a misdiagnosis though, I'd still advise you to check definitively the VC action to avoid you sourcing and paying for a replacement unnecessarily.

To satisfy yourself, go with the "lift one front wheel and put a lever into the joint on front of transmission" that's at the first knuckle of the front driveshaft, it turns relatively easily at that point as you're not working through the axle gearing to a disadvantage. If it's siezed then you'll bust a gut without being able to rotate it.
It's a critical point that will define which way you go from there.
 

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To answer question regarding serviceable status.

As far as I know the mechanical structure is ok to be used again, hence a return core is part of the deal. It's the liquid that if overheated to extreme fails to a permanent solid status causing the lockup.

You could loosely describe it as like a meat mincer, consisting of alternative plates linked to front or rear output shaft. Left to their own structure they'd rotate freely and have no effect as they don't touch. Filling the casing with the fluid causes the plates to be immersed at which point rotation between the two sets will need to shear the fluid to move independent of each opposed set. The fluid characteristic allows a slow shearing to take place, but as speed/torque builds across the interface it moves to solid state (non newtonian character) and when relieved of difference, drops back to its normal status.
I was informed this is a "dilatant" property, ie dilates when left without stress.

Speaking to someone who races mazda mx5 miata? Which use this type of diff, they drain and refill with different fluid spec to offer a track orientated lockup as more aggressive than plain street use.

There are it seems people that have facility to renew the fluid but depends on unit familiarity as to whether they'd look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Thank you for that write up. That is very informative.
Assuming I go and test the VC as you mentioned and I cannot turn the shaft, I will remove the VC from the transfer case.
Will it be visually obvious where the problem is?
I am looking at a VC for sale and I don't know how to tell if it is good or bad
 

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Discussion Starter #24
I just did those tests and it is pretty conclusive that it is the VC.
Next I am going to pull off the front driveline.
How bad is it to drive with only the rear? Especially with bigger tires. Not huge, but slightly bigger than stock.
I've read about people driving with a broken VC for tons of miles. How is that possible?
 

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To drive it with no front shaft in all honesty you'd not even notice, unless you put it on a surface that needed the traction of 4x4.

Personally I try to be smooth with any transmission I drive, both auto and manual, as I just don't like breaking things. But I do expect one in good condition to be used accordingly, so with that proviso I'd be comfortable operating it in rear wheel drive configuration only.

What I do as generally good practice on these is always when engaging drive or switching to reverse and back, apply the parking brake prior to shifting as it stops any torque shunting through the ongoing driven couplings and giving them a hard time.

Testing for failure on another unit. I've only tested in situ so lacking experience of a naked sample. They don't as far as I know show any failure signs from looking at the unit though.
To test it out of vehicle you've got to hold one side and turn the other to replicate how you've just tested yours. You'll need to lever it but they do turn relatively easily when good. You'll know as soon as you feel it, it's just a slow constantly yealding drag as it rotates.

Is there out of vehicle test routine published in Rave manuals?
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I removed the front drive shaft.
I lost the grumble sound in the rear.
I also gained a terrible moan from my power steering. Bubbles (kinda foamy red) in my PS reservoir.
Took out for a drive and could net get a couple hundred yards. Steering was ALL OVER the place.

Now what the #@$% is wrong with it? Sounds like air in the lines??
I have noticed a lot of leaking under this thing
 

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That's the corrosion reduction system sir, mostly factory fitted but can vary.

In all seriousness, top up the reservoir and it'll be ok. If level drops the oil will foam and the system moans like hell. No damage is done.

No corrective action required but topping up the level, it'll de aerate itself and go quiet again.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
My girlfriends driveway looks like a Rorschach.
I need to replace not only PS hoses, but trans hoses and oil hoses.
All of which I will prob have to make myself.
Hopefully the fluid is just being flung and I don't also have to replace steering box.
This might end up being a decent little $20k ride that I will drive 1000 miles a year haha
 

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The steering box is where you bleed out the air. Really simple job.
Tighten all your hose connections & give it all a good cleaning. Then you will see what may need fixing or replacing.
 

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My girlfriends driveway looks like a Rorschach.
I need to replace not only PS hoses, but trans hoses and oil hoses.
All of which I will prob have to make myself.
Hopefully the fluid is just being flung and I don't also have to replace steering box.
This might end up being a decent little $20k ride that I will drive 1000 miles a year haha


One should never attempt to repair all the leaks at once. I am not even certain it is possible? Besides, it a bit of a game – fix one – find another. Try to limit them to two at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
So I do not have the front driveshaft installed.
My steering is super loose feeling. Like I need to really focus while driving so i don't swerve into another lane.
I was getting the Rover ready to work on today, parked on a slight hill, put it in park and started cleaning the rain and snow off of it as I noticed that it was very slowly creeping forward. What would cause this? Is it because there is no front shaft? Something else is broken?
 

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One should never attempt to repair all the leaks at once. I am not even certain it is possible? Besides, it a bit of a game – fix one – find another. Try to limit them to two at a time.
Agree, also the desire to fix the (oil) leak needs to be proportional to the cost and fill-up frequency of the fluid leaking.

As they say: "If it stops leaking.. it is probably empty"
 

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So I do not have the front driveshaft installed.
My steering is super loose feeling. Like I need to really focus while driving so i don't swerve into another lane.
I was getting the Rover ready to work on today, parked on a slight hill, put it in park and started cleaning the rain and snow off of it as I noticed that it was very slowly creeping forward. What would cause this? Is it because there is no front shaft? Something else is broken?
Loose steering feel is either (mis)alignment and or excessive play. Go through the whole front axle. You can do alignment with some creative use of a tape measure, sticks or strings of wire (check internet). Eventually you can do a professional aligment, but with very little to align (and the price being the same) it is often a bit of a waste of money.
Do you have a lift fitted? This can upset the geometry. Despite America's love affair with lifting (or slamming) cars, it is in fact not a very good automotive engineering practice for many many reasons including basic safety considerations!
Your damper could be loose, missing or just kaput.

The handbrake operates on the drum behind the transfer box. So it brakes the rear prop (drive) shaft and thus the rear wheels (as long as they are both on the ground). Arguably not the most effective design and could creep. In addition if you have an automatic the P is a peg lock (should not slip). If you have a 'normal' transmission you can part in first/reverse gear.
In your case in "P" it should not creep. The removal of the front shaft should not have any effect on that. In fact a bit of a puzzle why that would happen. Did you try and not put it on the handbrake and see what it holds in "P', maybe the lock inside is broke and what you are seeing is the hardbrake slipping?
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Ive replaced some hoses. Still leaking. I think it is the steering box. I just can't seem to figure out where it is leaking from.

Ive moved back to my axle issues now. Any thoughts on why it is creaping forward when in park?
I just lifted up the front end. I can spin the front wheels but it is not super free. Is it supposed to be? If I give it a full hard spin with tire on, I can get 1 full rotation before the tire stops
 

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With parking brake applied then the rear wheels should be immobile. Just left in park on transmission and no brake it will creep if the centre differential is not fully locked! As the drivetrain coming to the centre from engine direction is stopped but leveraged through the diff.

Parking brake adjust is fairly simple but it is manual to alter it unlike regular setups.

Handbook instructions for changing a wheel if on a slope is to use parking brake, and chock wheel to prevent roll away.

With a free centre differential and stopped on a slope, if you lift one rear wheel it'll roll away as soon as that wheel breaks traction as the braking is through the rear differential across the axle.

With the trans locked in park and no brake applied it'll be trying to spin that centre diff. it won't move without the shaft if completely locked which makes it look like there's some movement in there still.

Do you routinely use parking brake or just transmission P position?
 

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Discussion Starter #39
To be honest, I have been working on this thing for a year and still have not driven it further than "MAYBE" 5 miles. Everything is constantly breaking.
So there really is no answer to that question.
It sits on flat ground and in park. The parking brake does work, but I don't use it on flat ground
 

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Regarding steering weight.

With locked centre diff the steering is generally very heavy and resistant, especially much away from straight ahead. Good centre diff and it feels natural but with kind of slow gluey feeling. No drive to front, it'll feel the most loose but should still steer straight at normal speed, getting a bit more "flighty " above about 70mph.

Front tire pressure too high makes difference, I generally run 27psi front. As already mentioned front tracking (wheels pointing in or out) can have a big affect and would need checking as routine maintenance.

Steering damper doesn't generally affect steering feel if in correct condition, it's not there for feel but to stop the wheel and steering assembly kicking high torque into the steering box if badly deflected by surface conditions. It's more or less a worm and wheel arrangement in the steering box and they really don't like high torque being kicked back in reverse through the components. Even a new example of the damper you can operate at slow speed with your hands, the powered steering box has no problem overcoming it.

(As an aside, a steering damper on a conventional rack & pinion system IS to prevent the steering wheel spinning in same circumstances as wheel deflection can travel straight back through the system more or less unopposed)
 
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