Looking for tips to free motor from spline shaft

CULPRIT: 2008 Gem e4 Special Edition with the 7.0hp GE motor

ISSUE: Gearbox oil is leaking from the spline shaft into the motor housing. I’m trying to remove the motor but it’s frozen to the shaft.

WHAT I’VE DONE SO FAR: I came across a couple of old threads on the subject. I successfully removed the motor casing so now it’s just the armature on there. I can’t get a torch on the female flange because it’s too tight (OK guys, let me have it for that one). The fan blades really restrict access to the flange which also makes it tough to get penetrating oil in there (I did my best).

Someone suggested removing the C-clip that holds the spline shaft in, but there is just no room to remove the seal and get a pair of snap ring pliers on it.

I’ve been lightly tapping the female flange with a socket extension and a hammer. I’ve been hitting it in various positions (wow, another one) while rolling the car back and forth.

I am going to leave it sit for a while and keep at it. Hopefully it will eventually let go. If I ever find the assembly line worker who was too busy to apply some anti-seize, my size 14 is going straight up their keister.

WHAT I DON’T WANT TO DO: I do not want to put a pry bar on the aluminum gearbox housing and risk cracking it as Spicer (now Schafer Driveline) said these cases are no longer available.

Any other tips or ideas? I had the same problem with my Club Car golf cart and it wasn’t pretty. I had to remove the rear axle, attach an old wheel rim to one end, then drop the axle vertically onto the ground (impacting the rim) from 3 feet up. That was only after applying heat and penetrating oil for 2 days, but it worked. Not an option here unfortunately.



Some pictures:


Soak it down with some PB Blaster - give it a spin and a wiggle every couple hours, spray and repeat.
Hopefully it will just pop off after a awhile (day or two)

You can also try and tap it onto the shaft (just a little) with a malate to try and brake it loose.

Be VERY respectful of that ring magnet on the comm end. They crack REEEAAAL easy.

Thanks @MikeKC . I already tapped the armature from the far end. Will keep trying and reapplying the penetrating oil.

@AssyRequired – What ring magnet are you referring to? Are you talking about the speed sensor that is attached to the end of the housing (in the first photo)?


Are you talking about the speed sensor that is attached to the end of the housing (in the first photo)?

Yep- that would be the one.

I already tapped the armature from the far end.

Funny how I suggested this to somebody once. Figuring the shock wave might travel all the way to the other end and rattle things loose in the coupler. That is exactly what cracked the ring magnet.

The concept is sound tho. It seems so backwards to pound something ON to get it OFF but there is a rubber bumper disc in the coupler I was trying to compress a bit more.

You still have to be careful. It recall some comments on how it won’t take much to drive the whole input shaft out the other side of the gearbox.

Worst case, cut the shaft, that will give you access to everything and would be the cheapest part to sacrifice. You would then be able to easily remove the rest of the shaft for replacement and then also have access to the end of the motor to remove the cut off piece of the shaft. @Old_Houseboater sells new shafts and bearings. He may also have some suggestions for removal, he is the resident expert on rebuilding motors so he may have been down this road before.

@Derrick - When you say “cut the shaft,” which one are you referring to? The spline shaft that goes into the gearbox or the shaft of the armature?

I hate to trash components because everything on this car seems impossible to find replacements for. I know that’s certainly the case with this Spicer gearbox.

Before I do any cutting, I’ll remove the gearbox (hopefully the half-shafts come out) and turn it on its side with the armature facing down. As the motor currently sits, I really don’t think the penetrating oil is doing much of anything because gravity isn’t helping it sink further into the female flange.

Except for the step of Take it slow and let it sit overnight and move it to a new position.
Sometimes patience is key. You can’t be in a hurry.

My next step would be to drill a tiny hole the size of a penetrant straw in the coupler. Get it soaking from the inside. Use one of those Drill bits mounted in a hex bit adapter, then find the socket for that, extension to get up and out, with the adapter for a hand drill.

Be real sensitive to how this is going through. If you get lucky, the drill punches through in the right spot at the rubber bumper. If you bust through one side or the other then you will catch a flute and probably snap the drill right off.

Great suggestion @AssyRequired . Just to clarify, when you say “coupler,” are you referring to the portion of the armature that fits over the gearbox spline shaft? In the 3rd picture I posted, my socket extension is touching that part. I wasn’t aware there was any rubber in this area.

Also, the disc with the fan blades is really limiting my access. I really want to get a torch in there but there just isn’t any room.


Yep- that thing. It is pressed onto the motor shaft and has splines on the female end. Inside is a rubber bumper maybe 1/4 in thick.

Cut the input shaft, not the motor coupling. To be clear this is a last resort. Also something that might help is to take a can of the compressed air for dusting electronics, tun it upside down and spray it to supercool the coupler, then try spraying with penetrating oil again and then lightly tapping it, vibration usually helps it seep in. And of course it might take a good amount of time to work it’s way in and do it’s job.

Not to be taken too seriously.
If access to the coupler. A couple 1/4" welding rods, one against each side, and another guy hitting the welder switch, at 200 amps for about 5 seconds, may get things hot.
I’ve been known to resort to brute force on my own parts.


Another option is to use an induction heat wrench, you’d have to manually wrap the coils around the coupler. I’ve never used one of these before but I’ve heard good things about them and am looking to buy one.


good idea. I was trying to come up with ways to get heat in there too. nichrome wire might be made to heat up the coupler too. At least heating the coupler should expand it while freezing would contract it and make it tighter.

Yes cooling the coupling will contract it but any movement is good movement, it wouldn’t help get it off right then but it would hopefully get it to contract more than the input shaft and break the rust bond and help allow a penetrating oil to get in

Get a piece of 1 inch square tubing about 2 1/2 feet long, Lay it on the armature
and strap it down with 4 or more long hose clamps. TIGHT. an alternate method is to pull the bearing and machine a piece of pipe to fit tightly over the end of the shaft.

Get a large kid to grab the end of the tubing and work it up and down HARD and often. May have to change position a couple of times. Apply WD or Loosen All to coupling while doing this. Have patience. This has failed once in the last 8 years. That cost a motor armature because you have to cut the coupling off the motor. to do that you have to cut down thru the windings on the armature. There is no way to cut the input shaft because it’s harder than hell. Keep us up to date.

Thank you all for contributing your ideas. @Old_Houseboater — you mentioned one of your attempts cost you an armature. Do you know if those are readily available as replacements? I have the 7hp GE motor and when I Google the model number I don’t get many hits. I am worried this motor is just like everything else on the GEM …. NLA! Also, regarding your steel tube clamped to the armature idea, would rigorously working it up and down damage the internal gears of the gearbox at all?

I like the induction heat tool idea and since I have no idea what that even is I’ll have to do some more research. I am not worried about damaging the rubber ring seal around the spline shaft as I plan to replace it along with the bearing to stop the leak.

I called Schafer Driveline about getting a new seal and bearing and they told me they only offer a kit which comes with a new spline shaft. I have to use one of their distributors and I think the kit is around $300. Isn’t that the way it always works. You only need $10 in parts but it costs you an arm and a leg to get them.

Maybe try heating with torch or inductive heat tool . Then use a air hammer with a flat tip and pick a spot to hit it . Try to use the force of the air hammer to shock it lose and then try to use it to push the shaft outward. Works for me with lock hub bearings and other things.

I researched the induction heat tool. That thing is pretty slick. Based on my application, I’d have to get one that comes with wire I can wrap around the coupler myself. However I only have about 1/4” of surface area on the coupler to play with, so I don’t even know if I could wrap the wire around 3 times. Perhaps just 2. Anyone ever use a tool like this before? Would wrapping the wire around the coupler only 2 times significantly reduce the heat generated? I imagine it would.

Also, what if the coil comes in contact with the gearbox housing or fan disc (it’s pretty tight in there)? Would that also affect the heating? All the videos I saw of this tool showed the individual being careful not to touch the rusty nut or bolt they were trying to remove.