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Eating u-joints in rear driveshaft

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by rampage, Mar 29, 2001.

  1. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    I have an 89 Blazer and I just replaced the rear u-joint in the rear driveshaft. Everytime I replace it I find that the needle bearings in the caps on the driveshaft yoke have turned to powder. I always make sure that it moves easily and doesn't bind and that grease squirts out all the caps. Although this is not a tough or expensive repair I don't like doing this every year like clockwork. I've been using the heavy duty "Super joints" from Kragen but I would like some input on u-joints that have a good reputation (I'd prefer one with a zerk fitting). I have a stock suspension, 33 inch tires, no lead foot, and grease it every 6 months. I don't abuse my truck with any extreme off-roading. Who makes a u-joint that my truck won't eat?
     
  2. Wheels

    Wheels 1/2 ton status

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    Check your pinion angles and see if they are operating at the same angle. Another thing to check is the proximity of the cat convertor to your u-joint. The heat generated from these will boil the grease right out of your u-joint. Try a good synthetic grease or a different brand of a high quality grease.
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    You are greasing them after installation, right? The factory grease is usually just enough to keep it from rusting in the box.

    Also, does your u-joint fasten to the yoke with those little straps or with small u-bolts? If it uses the bolts, then overtightening the nuts will deform the cap and cause the bearings to overheat. If it uses the straps, make certain that the bearing caps are seated propery in the yoke. If you leave the cap sitting up on the little tang that locates the cap, then tightening down the strap will deform the cap and cause the bearings to overheat.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com>http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com</A>
     
  4. ftn96

    ftn96 1/2 ton status

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    Also I would recommend greasing them a little more often than every 6 months. I do mine at every oil change.

    Will work for beer, parts and tools.
    90 Jimmy 350TBI-700R4-241-33" BFGs-10 bolts w/4.10's
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.nashvillek5.freeservers.com>http://www.nashvillek5.freeservers.com</A>
     
  5. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    1) The cat converter is at the factory location.
    2) The pinion angles have not changed and are at stock angles since no suspension mods have been made.
    3) I do grease them at installation with marine grade grease (its blue in color). I thought every six months was adequate, but I'll do it more often to see if that helps.
    4) It's the bearings inside the caps that are located in the driveshaft yoke that are turning to powder, the bearings inside the metel straps are ok. When I press the caps into the yoke (using a vice) I am very careful that they go in straight and that the u-joint always moves freely and I use metal plates between the caps and the teeth of the vise so the caps don't get damaged.
    5) Any recommendations on good heavy duty brands?
     
  6. Brian 89KBlazer

    Brian 89KBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    Are your u-joints spitting out the retaining clips? The yoke on the end of the driveshaft in my '89 was ovaled out a very small amount which caused it to lose the retainer and the cap would come out just enough to ruin the bearings.

    Just something else to look at??

    Brian
    89KBlazer
     
  7. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    No. all the C-clips are in place. The yokes don't look to be ovaled out, but would it be enough to be noticable to the naked eye or would I have to meausre it with an inside caliper?
     
  8. mudhog

    mudhog THEGAME Staff Member Super Moderator

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    i just replaced mine about 2 weeks ago and i asked what everyone recommended and most everyone said to go with spicer so i put them in and they are working good so far

    77blazer see it at<A target="_blank" HREF=http://community.webshots.com/user/ssmith6333>http://community.webshots.com/user/ssmith6333</A>[​IMG]
     
  9. 87K54WD

    87K54WD 1/2 ton status

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    I just replaced mine about 3 weeks ago. I used Percision Super Strength U-Joints. They have a zerk on one side of the end-cap. I didn't want the one on the cross because I heard that makes the u-joint weaker. I tried to get Spicer but I could not find anyone that sold them. I don't know how people get their hands on the Spicer U-Joints. GM dealer wanted $75 per joint. I went with the Percision Super Strength at about $25 a joint with a lifetime warranty at O'Reilly's. So far so good. I used Quaker State multi-purpose lube. However, next time I am going to use Mobil 1 Synthetic lube (pink/red in color).
     
  10. ftn96

    ftn96 1/2 ton status

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    The only other thing that I can think of is that your driveshaft may be out of balance and that may be causing them to go bad so soon.

    Will work for beer, parts and tools.
    90 Jimmy 350TBI-700R4-241-33" BFGs-10 bolts w/4.10's
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.nashvillek5.freeservers.com>http://www.nashvillek5.freeservers.com</A>
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    After I press the cups into that yoke, I smack the sides of the other cups (the ones that are now sticking out the side of the yoke, attached to nothing) with a leather or rubber hammer to push the cups that are in the yoke up tight against the retaining clips. Just be careful not to knock the caps off of the part that isn't bolted on yet.

    Don't know if this makes sense in words, a picture would help! But basically you want to move the cups in the yoke as far outward as they'll go. This makes certain that the end of the cross isn't rubbing against the inside of the cup, creating heat.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com>http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com</A>
     
  12. rampage

    rampage 1/2 ton status

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    Hmmm, that sounds simple enough to work Harry (I do understand what you're saying). I may be pressing the caps in too far and they might need that little bit of play to keep from heating up.
    I also like the zerk fitting on each cap. I've never seen or heard of those ... where on the web might I find those?
     
  13. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Yep! You've got it! [​IMG]

    As for greasable vs. non-greasable. The non-greasable u-joints have stronger seals, since they don't have to let excess grease out as you pump in the new stuff. I just did the first u-joint swap on the non-greasables in my S-Jimmy. They were the factory originals with just over 123K miles on them. They still worked, but felt just slightly gritty (and when I pulled the caps, they were starting to get dry inside) so I slapped in some new ones. They've been muddin', rock crawlin, creek crossin' and even wandered around Houston during floods. I'm amazed at how long they lasted. Of course, they also work at very small angles compared to a lifted K5! [​IMG]

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com>http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com</A>
     
  14. Waxer

    Waxer 1/2 ton status Author

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    I grease mine once a month. You cant over grease ujoints, but you can very easily undergrease them. Real easy to just do it more often than 6 months and you should be fine.
     
  15. DMK

    DMK 1/2 ton status

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    I like the non greasable. I have heard they last as long or longer than greasable. Just use a brand name. I pulled the axle halfsahfts in my 69 corvette with 150,000 the joints were like the ones in harryh3 blazer. they were fine but were starting to dry out.
     
  16. prjt_blzr

    prjt_blzr 1/2 ton status

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    It is possible that the grease you are using is not compatible with the grease that the factory uses in the joint. It is also possible that the grease you are using is too HEAVY. I found this out the hard way once. Try changing the type of grease that you are using to a good automotive brand. Since you already have the joint greased you'll have to wait until next time to try this.
     
  17. Jeff427

    Jeff427 1/2 ton status

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    Spicer non greasable joints are the best, you can get them from Jesse at High Angle Driveline, <A target="_blank" HREF=http://highangledriveline.com>http://highangledriveline.com</A> phone, 1-530-872-5725. He can get them in greasable if you insist, but the non greasable last longer.

    Jeff427
    <font color=red>Mud Dog Off Road Club</font color=red>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://muddogoffroad.coloradok5.com>http://muddogoffroad.coloradok5.com</A>
     
  18. 89Jimmy

    89Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    I can sympathize. My '89 eats up rear joints like popcorn. I've had the drive shaft checked for balance. It was ok. I can only grease mine with a needle attatchment. A real messy deal. Greased or ungreased doesn't seen to make a huge difference. I got a joint with a flat grease fitting on the end of the cap once. It was ok but not great. Usually that style isn't in stock and I always need it today. I finally bought an extra drive shaft and keep it in the garage with a new joint in it. When it starts squeaking I just swap shafts.
    John

    So Much to do, So LITTLE cash.
     
  19. doonjumper

    doonjumper 1/2 ton status

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    I had same problem until I talked to a driveline builder and he said that the most common problem is that people don't give the yoke a good smack after installation to ensure that the cups aren't to tight. After installation smack the yoke a few times so that the sups will separate a little. If cups are to tight then grease will not flow through the chanels.
     
  20. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    That's exactly the smack I described above! [​IMG] Gotta make sure the cups aren't squeezing the ends of the cross.

    <font color=black>HarryH3 - '75 K5</font color=black>
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com>http://ThunderTruck.ColoradoK5.com</A>
     

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