How To Diagnose and Repair Your Imperial's Driveshaft's Support Bearing 


Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> U-Joints & Driveshaft -> Carrier Bearing

Question from Steve (1959):

Boy am I confused....

I am trying to get my '59 ready for a road trip. High on the list of "must do" items was replacing the driveshaft carrier bearing. I have a new one of those on the way. I also think I have a couple bad u joints so figured I should replace those as well. #2 (center) and #3 (rear) seem to be no problem.. They are on the shelf at the parts store.

When I get to #1 (front) it gets confusing. The '59 service manual says there were no changes from '58 and to reference that book. The '58 book shows some big elaborate creature with lots of parts and a rubber boot over it. That isn't what I have...

I have my '59 and the parts '59. On mine there are four bolts coming through the parking brake drum. The u-joint ends that attach to the drum are not perfectly round like #2 and #3. They have a roller and bushing assembly that is wide and flat at the bottom with two holes on each one that slide over the bolts on the parking brake drum and then nuts to hold them on. The '59 parts car has what appears to be a standard type u-joint like #2 and #3 attached to a metal plate that attaches to the parking brake drum.

Now my problem is that I don't know what is correct.. Neither drive shaft shows any signs of ever having been modified. I don't know how it should be so don't know where to start in trying to find a replacement u-joint. Anyone have an idea of what is going on here?

On a separate but related note... Can I replace u-joint #2 and #3 at home or do they have to be done at a shop?

Reply from John:

The one you describe on your parts car sounds the same as the 60 has. I wonder if there was a change late in the 59 year? The 60 uses all 3 regular u-joints of the same part number. Does it appear that you could swap the driveshaft from the parts car to your "good" car? If so, getting the parts would be easier.

Question from Mark (1963):

I know there has been talk of driveshaft supports. One tends to overlook those things until one is left up a creek with no paddle.  My '63 LeBaron decided to cost me more money this weekend on a leisure drive. It appears that when I apply throttle, the driveline comes closer to the floor and thuds a few times until the torque catches up.  Only on acceleration, and only on slight inclines. I haven't been under it yet, but is sounds exactly like my 62 Fleetwood did when it had the same problem.  Am I looking in the right direction for this problem?  Are these bushing/supports available? Is the bearing available?  Is this something an average guy can do with hand tools and a pair of jack stands and car ramps?  I have a '62 as a parts car...can I use anything off of it to replace on my '63?


From Jay:

There is a place in Northern California that will rebuild these by taking your old core and revulcanizing them with more modern rubber compounds. When I talked to them the told me that they were SERIOUSLY considering stocking this item (Imperial center driveshaft support) because of its popularity. 

Damper Doctor

A.K.A. Bob's Barn

1055 Parkview Avenue

Redding, CA



530-246-2987 fax

They do not have cores in stock so they'll have to rebuild what you send them. I need to get our '62 driveshaft support rebuilt but also need to drive the car, so I'm trying to locate a core to send to them. They quoted me $89 to rebuild the bushing. I believe if you need a new bearing it will cost an extra $30 or so. 

From Norm:

If 62 and 63 share the same driveshaft, then the easiest and fastest and cheapest fix would be to unbolt the entire 62 driveshaft and bracket/bearing together and put it in to your 63.  If you can get under the car you can do this. 10 bolts altogether. Then you can find the parts at your leisure.  NOTE: If 62 does not have a "Park" lever then the driveshafts may be a different length. You'll have to look it up.

Follow-up from Mark:

62 doesn't have the "Park". I'll have to do some measuring.

Question from Jerry (1964):

Can anyone tell me where to get the driveshaft bearing for my '64 Crown?


From Rodger:

I got the center bearing for our '63 at NAPA and the center bearing for the '66 at NAPA. For the bearing mount Lowell Howe was the supplier.

From Kenyon:

The bearing is easy and should come from any parts store worth its name.

You may have a harder time with the rubber isolator bushing that the bearing rides in. They are an Achilles' heel of your car and will rot, allowing the driveshaft to flop about and make thumping noises prior to failure.

Lowell Howe (and others) in our vendor parts sources pages has them. Lowell claims to have units that are superior, but my memory fails to recall his reasons.

Question from Scott:

I need to find the rubber piece that serves as the drive shaft center support......any ideas?

Reply from Bob:

I would suggest either of these revulconizers:

The Damper Doctor

1055 Parkview Ave.

Redding, CA


phone: 530-246-2984

fax: 530-246-2987

...another, very knowledgeable source that can also rebuild your cores:

Antique Auto Parts Cellar
PO Box 3, 6 Chauncy St.
South Weymouth MA 02190

Phone 781-335-1579
Fax 781-335-1925"

Also, Lowell Howe in Patterson, Cal. told me he is now set up with the tooling to rebuild Imperial driveshaft carrier bearing supports. He makes a good point that a rebuilt unit with new modern rubber will be much more reliable than a 30 yr. old NOS unit. His prices seemed reasonable, about $100 or less.

Tip from Norm (1964-1966):

No need to panic over these. A perfectly adequate functioning one can be fabricated relatively simply as follows:

Obtain a piece of flat stock of at least 1/4 " thickness. Cut to where it will fit the bolt pattern of the sedan carrier.  Bolt on the piece of metal to the carrier. Measure the location of the convertible studs that hold in the carrier in relation to where they would lie on the fabricated metal and drill through the piece of metal you have fabricated at those points.

You may need to shim as the height of the convert carrier is taller. I have had 2 cars with this set-up and there were no problems.

Question from Harold (1964):

The center driveshaft support is bad and today I attempted to remove the driveshaft. I removed the rear ujoint from the third member but the rear shaft will not slide out of the front shaft. There is about 1&1/2 inches of movement but no separation. Is it supposed to come apart? Am I just not pulling hard enough?


From Chris:

If you are repairing the center support you will need to take out both sections of the driveshaft. Detach from transmission and unbolt center support to remove. Two things you need to remember:

-- Don't lose any of the shims beneath the center support. They are important for proper alignment.

-- I wouldn't hurt to take a can of spray paint and paint a thin stripe along both sections of the driveshaft. Although it is indexed for reassembly, you will be assured it has gone together the way it came apart. Otherwise you may be plagued with vibrations.

New supports are available from Lowell Howe and others. Center bearing is readily available from most parts stores.

From John:

You need to unscrew the nut where the 2 sections join.

Question from Norm (1966):


I need a driveshaft carrier for a 66 Convert.  My bearing is good. The one that is on there is a homemade affair and the rubber is shot which is causing a vibration at 70-80 mph. I need a correct one for a convertible as I do not want to rebuild the one that's on there-it's wrong.



From Bob:

If you find a bad, but correct "core", you probably know the following:

Rebonding (re-vulcanizing) - The Damper Doctor, 1055 Parkview Ave.
Redding, CA 96001-3314; phone 530-246-2984, fax 530-246-2987. 

From Henry:

Contact Lowell Howe--he has 'em--someone does them up for him, but the price is okay.    209-892-3464   Box 1342, 16218 Sycamore, Patterson, CA 95363

Question from Henry:

How long did the process take--from you sending the old one off and the repaired one returning to you??? I'm in a bit of a time jam on one of my projects now and if the turn around isn't too bad, I might just send the old one off rather than switching around from one car to the other--long story, sigh.

Reply from Mark:

It only took about a week. It probably would have taken a day less if I had not done the COD thing. Actually I thought it would take longer. You could probably call the guy and make arrangements to have it shipped overnight

This page last updated October 31, 2003.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club