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I have a 98 Land Rover Discovery and yes I love it. Believe it or not I have had VERY few problems. She hit 178k miles the other day and I went to turn and the lower steering universal stripped out. I am a mechanic by trade and this made me wonder how this could happen? Two years ago I replaced the gear box and every bushing and tie rod end. The old gear box was leaking. When I installed the gear box two years ago I took care and made sure I got the lower universal on properly and in the slot. I noticed that the bolt threads did not do completely through the universal. I tightened the universal bolt BUT the universal did not compress on the shaft. The universal seemed tight and I'm not a Rover Tech so I figured this would be fine. Back to last night I had to get the rover home so I removed the old bolt after making sure it was tight and it was and installed a smaller bolt and nut and tightened it down and the universal compressed onto the gear box enough to get it on a trailer and get it home. My question is this, was my universal machined wrong or is the bolt supposed to bottom out and not compress the universal on the gear box? I have heard of this issue a few times. I ordered a new one so I guess I will look and see if the new one is this way. IF it is my though is to drill the threads out of the new universal and install the correct size bolt just a little longer and add a side locking nut with loctite to aid in compressing the dang universal on the gear box. I checked the splines on the gearbox and they seem ok but I have a spare gearbox I am going to install anyways. Any thoughts on my plan for the universal? I am just very glad I was barely moving and this didn't happen at high speeds and would like to keep this from ever happening again!
 

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No need to drill it out. They don't normally strip the splines. The new bolts come with thread locker on them so when replacing them, like when you did the steering gearbox, you should use thread locker.
This assumes the splines on the gearbox input shaft are good, but they should be since they are steel and the u-joint is aluminum.
Yes, the u-joint does compress some when installed, that's why it is split on one side, so it can.
 
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