Here are the things that you need to do:
What you will need:
Universal joints are a vital link in your vehicle's driveline. If these
joints fail, you could be left stranded. Fortunately this can be
prevented through periodic maintenance and/or replacement. A bad
U-joint can most commonly be detected by a metallic clunking sound when
the vehicle is placed in gear. This indicates play in the U-joint and
should be investigated as soon as possible. Other symptoms of a failing
U-joint are vibrations from the drive shaft, noticeable especially
between 25 and 35 mph; shudder on acceleration and/or squeaking noises.
- Grease gun
- Shop Rags
- Latex Gloves (Optional)
To check a Universal Joint for play, raise the vehicle and support the rear axle with jack stands.
Place the vehicle in neutral and set the parking brake. Now
rotate the drive shaft back and forth by hand, checking the joint for
any play if any play is detected, the U-joint will have to be replaced.
Also look for signs of rust. This usually means a U-joint that has no
grease and is ready to be replaced soon.
There are two, basic, types of Universal Joint, not
surprisingly called Type A and Type B. The only real difference is the
clips used to retain the bearing cups; otherwise the replacement
procedure is the same.
Type A, Figure 1, has a C-Clip that sits in a groove
inside the yoke to hold the bearing caps in place. These are removed by
using a small tip punch or chisel to pop the C-Clips out.
Type B, Figure 2, has a Spicer Snap Ring that sits in
a groove outside the yoke to hold the beraing caps in place. These are
removed by using a pair of pliers to squeeze the e-clip together and
pull it out. Most times you will need to tap the bearing cap in
somewhat to make removing the Spicer Snap Ring easier.
You don't have to worry about trying to save these clips. You get a set of each type when you buy a new U-joint.
Before You Start:
- Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
- Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
- Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
- Remember that these are general instructions. For more
detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an
appropriate repair manual.
- Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
- Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
- Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use
jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid,
level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.
- Remove all the snap rings (or C-Clips) that retain bearings in yoke and drive shaft.
- Index-mark, Figure 3, the drive shaft components Figure 3.
NOTE: If components are not marked and therefore installed incorrectly, a driveline imbalance and vibration can occur.
- Place U-joint in a vise.
- Select a wrench socket with an outside diameter slightly
smaller than the U-joint bearings. Select another wrench socket with an
inside diameter slightly larger than the U-joint bearings.
- Place the sockets at opposite bearings in the yoke so that
the smaller socket becomes a bearing pusher and the larger socket
becomes a bearing receiver when the vise jaws come together, Figure 4. Close vise jaws until both the bearings are free of yoke and remove bearings from the cross or spider.
- If bearings will not come all the way out, close vise until
bearing in receiver socket protrudes from yoke as much as possible
without using excessive force. Then remove from vise and place that
portion of bearing that protrudes from yoke between vise jaws. Tighten
vise to hold bearing and drive yoke off with a soft hammer.
- To remove opposite bearing from yoke, replace in vise with
pusher socket on exposed cross journal with receiver socket over
bearing cup. Then tighten vise jaws to press bearing back through yoke
into receiving socket.
- Remove yoke from drive shaft and again place protruding
portion of bearing between vise jaws. Then tighten vise to hold bearing
while driving yoke off bearing with soft hammer.
- Turn spider or cross ¼ turn and use the same procedure to press bearings out of drive shaft
When installation is completed, check U-joint for binding
or roughness. If free movement is impeded, correct the condition before
installation in vehicle. If there is a little binding, try striking the
yoke with a brass or plastic hammer. It will be somewhat stiff, but
- If old parts are to be reassembled, pack bearing cups with
Universal Joint grease. Do not fill cups completely or use excessive
amounts as over-lubrication may damage seals during reassembly. Use new
- If new parts are being installed, check new bearings for adequate grease before assembling.
- With the pusher (smaller) socket, press one bearing part way
into drive shaft. Position spider into the partially installed bearing.
Place second bearing into drive shaft. Fasten drive shaft in vise so
that bearings are in contact with faces of vise jaws, Figure 5. Some
spiders are provided with locating lugs that must face toward drive
shaft when installed.
- Press bearings all the way into position and install snap rings or retainer plates.
- Install bearings in yoke in the same manner.