how to replace u joints without a press

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004 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

Some individuals will inform you that you’re going to want a hydraulic press with a purpose to exchange U-joints—these persons are flawed. Right here at Wrenchin’ Wednesday, the MO is to distill store methods and instruments into one thing the home-gamer can do, and we’ll pull again the veil on driveshaft service. Whether or not you are chasing a mysterious vibration at larger speeds or listening to these poor needle bearings chirp within the morning, U-joints are a put on merchandise that may sneak up on you and fail on the worst of occasions, placing your challenge out of fee and risking vital harm from a newly liberated driveshaft as soon as the joints catastrophically fail. On a typical labor e book, a U-joint alternative is one or two labor hours, that means {that a} $25 half can value considerably extra as soon as another person installs it for you and prices round $100/hour.

The reality is that with a couple of sockets you in all probability have already got within the toolbox, a hammer, and a fundamental bench vise, you possibly can simply knock out worn U-joints and wrap up the restore as a day challenge.

Studying: the best way to exchange u joints and not using a press

023 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

first . Begin by the driveshaft out of your car. Most driveshafts seal towards the transmission or switch case, so it helps to place the rear of the car on ramps or jack stands in order that the fluid rushes away from the tail shaft seal we’re about to uncork. Additionally, you are going to be flopping the driveshaft round lots on the bench whereas engaged on it, so masking the slip yoke’s polished floor with an outdated sock and even painter’s tape will shield it from harm that might lead to a leak down the street.

003 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
002 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

2. Subsequent, you will want to search out three sockets to make use of as urgent instruments, two of them which can be only a hair smaller than the U-joint caps, and one that’s bigger than the caps for them to slip into whereas eradicating the shaft. I discovered {that a} CV axle socket labored finest for my large socket, however the U-joints on this 3/4-ton 1996 Suburban K2500 are greater than what most individuals might be working with.

006 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
007 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

3. For this step, you’ve gotten two choices. One might be to make use of the vise as one big screw press, however you will want a reasonably stout one to do that, because the jaws might be unfold far aside, which could be numerous stress on the vise itself (you possibly can see the place the slide on mine is fractured from earlier abuse—it lastly chipped off throughout this shoot). Save this for a final resort if issues are very rusty. As for the remainder of the job, you will largely be hammering the caps out. Both approach, choose your weapon and begin urgent the primary cap out.

GIF 201118 130958 1
Phillip Thomas
008 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

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4. Hammer till the joint slides up towards the interior ear of the driveshaft, then flip the joint over and repeat the method to start popping the other cap out.

009 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
010 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

5. As soon as each caps have been pushed so far as doable, the U-joint ought to have the ability to wiggle out.

011 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

6. Up shut, it is simple to see why this one failed. These 259,000-mile manufacturing facility joints are “lifetime” U-joints with none solution to grease them, which is what led these to dry up and start taking over water, as famous by the rust. With out correct lubrication, the needles started sporting into the U-joint, creating these ridges like a washboard street because the needle bearing rolls alongside. This created a high-pitched chirping sound at low speeds however was nonetheless tight after I grabbed and twisted the driveshaft below my Suburban. They do not all the time turn into sloppy earlier than failure; this man was doomed to someday seize up and shatter.

012 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
013 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

7. Knock out the remaining caps with a screwdriver or punch and hammer from the again aspect, and clear up the bores of any rust or gouges attributable to the U-joint removing. You need these to be as clear as doable with no scratches or nicks in order that the caps of the joints can slide in easily and evenly.

015 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
014 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

8. Right here comes the trickiest a part of the method: getting the brand new U-joint affixed earlier than urgent them in. First off, run a chunk of tape over the 2 caps that you just will not be working with through the set up, and guarantee that the grease zerk is put in and dealing with the driveshaft itself when positioned into the caps. These caps are stuffed with tiny needle bearings that have to be stored collectively and clear—anybody who’s dropped one is aware of the nightmare of attempting to get them to stay again inside in an organized method with none driveway grit getting caught within the grease. Then, press the caps into the ears of the driveshaft by hand, and cargo it into the vise with the U-joint floating in one among them. Gently start clamping down on the vise to press the caps in, however regulate the alignment of the U-joint because it meets the opposite cap.

016 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
017 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

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9. If you must, offset the vise jaws to press on an fringe of a cap if it is not stepping into straight, initially. Very small changes of the vise make large modifications right here, so work rigorously as you information the U-joint into the opposite cap, after which proceed urgent till the jaws of the vise simply start touching the ears of the drive shaft. At this level, the U-joint needs to be using on each bearing caps, although with additional lateral play whereas the caps are nonetheless transferring into place.

018 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
019 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

10. Now, use one among your small sockets to press a cap in a couple of millimeters till the cap clears the C-clip groove, and set up the C-clip.

020 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas
021 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

11. As soon as that first clip is put in, assist it with the second small socket, and gently press the other cap into place till you possibly can set up the second C-clip.

022 Wrenchin Wednesday Driveshaft
Phillip Thomas

12. Now, spin the joint backwards and forwards by hand; it ought to take little or no effort to rotate, but when the caps are pressed in a hair too tight, a couple of mild faucets on the driveshaft ear with the horizontal caps supported by the vise will free it up—work gently at this level.

1118201236 HDR e1605744593328
Phillip Thomas

13. As soon as put in, do not forget to grease it! Three-to-five pumps needs to be sufficient, however cease when you see the seals on the bearing caps start to bulge with grease. In case your retaining {hardware} is rusty and worn out, it is low-cost insurance coverage to interchange it now. Torque the driveshaft to spec, go for a fast drive, after which double-check them after a couple of miles—and it would not harm to mark them and regulate them sooner or later. Whereas solely the axle-side wanted a U-joint on this specific challenge, the approach is similar for slip-yoke finish, apart from needing to do it twice whereas urgent all 4 caps free.

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