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Found my 4WD problem, need advice

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by djm, Mar 21, 2000.

  1. djm

    djm Registered Member

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    The 4wd doesn't work in my 85 suburban 2500 becasue the front axle ends are shot. I guess the splines are roasted. How
    common is that? The mechanic didn't remove the tires or any hub parts, he just shook the u-joint back & forth (about a 1/2" of
    play). Could the hub parts be worn and not the axle? Could the mechanic have mis-diagnosed the problem? What is that part
    called anyway? A spindle or something? He quoted me $400 in labor + parts to replace the axle ends. I'm rather disapointed
    that it's more complicated than I had hoped, I already paid too much for the truck (1K) and I don't want to spend $500 for 4wd.
    Guess I'll be CHASING those blues at the beach this year.... Any suggestions? If there is a chance that the hubs could still
    be the problem I'd buy new hubs and replace them myself just to really know. Thanks.
    Dan
     
  2. Boggin' Blazer

    Boggin' Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    Almost all 4x4's have that slop. I kinda think he is trying to take you for a ride. I would first off pull the hubs your self. That is the most common place to start looking. I could go crazy with this post but if you do some simple checks first it will save big bucks in the long run.Does the front drive shaft turn in 4x4?
    Let me know what you find
    David

    [​IMG]Drive it like you<font color=red>Stole</font color=red>it!!![​IMG]
     
  3. Burt4x4

    Burt4x4 3/4 ton status

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    Yes, it could just be the hubs!
    And they are very easy to do!
    Don't pay the money you can doit!
    Do you have a service manual?
    The play doesn't mean the axels are hosed, he was giving you worse case or just tring to get your money.
    All you need is an allen wrench, snap ring pliers, phillips head,and someting little to pry out the retaining ring.
    Hubs are around 50-100 bucks and I recomend you get WARN.
    If you need more just shout!!
    Burt4x4

    Rock ON!
     
  4. Eagle86K5

    Eagle86K5 1/2 ton status

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    I was real hesitant to pull mine apart the first time. Then the folks here talked me through it...what a piece of cake. It is east just remember how it comes apart and where you lay all the parts.

    <font color=green>Eagle86K5[​IMG]

    <font color=red>Only guy I know that can get out of line in a one car funeral
     
  5. djm

    djm Registered Member

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    That's what I like to hear! I'm going to buy a set of Warn hubs and see what happens. One more thing,
    I just called the mechanic to ask about hubs. All of the sudden he agrees the hubs could be the problem.
    Then he said the U-joints still needed to be replaced. WTF? I didn't see much play in them. Now that I
    don't believe him, I'm going my own way. I'll think about spending the money on U-joints when/if they go.
    Lots of labor involved. Everyone's comments have been great. I'll let you know what happens. Thanks
    Dan
    NJ
     
  6. '73 K5

    '73 K5 1/2 ton status

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    I wouldn't be so quick to assume its just the hubs. The balljoints were bad in my truck and you could jiggle the tires back and forth, just like you describe. After they were replaced, all of the movement was gone. It would suck to spend money on hubs that don't need replaced. Instead of guessing, why don't you just get a second opinion from another mechanic.

    Chevy good...Ford bad
     
  7. Todd78/87

    Todd78/87 1/2 ton status

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    I had the exact same situation in my 78,, I could lean over the tire, grab the U joing and wobble the axle around. It was not the hubs, cuz I just put brand new ones in. I replaced the U joints, ball joints, and wheel bearings and races,,, the old bearing and races looked fine, but figured I'd do them while I was in there.
    It's probably your U joints.

    Todd 78/87[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. djm

    djm Registered Member

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    If the hubs are locked with the axle, how could a worn u-joint be the problem? I thought u-joints were like CV joints and had nothing to do with 4wd operability. If there is play side to side, won't the new hubs do it's job of turning the wheel with the axle?
    Dan
     
  9. Depdog

    Depdog 1/2 ton status Author

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    Just my .02 cents. If you are going to pull the shafts. You might as well put in new wheel bearings and have the joints replaced, its cheaper to do it the first time. Having to pull all that stuff is not hard, just time consuming. Scrape out the axle tubes with a homaid rod with a half moon of metal on it to. That way you dont push all the dirt in the axle back into the diff housing.

    Depdog

    <font color=blue>"Lead, Follow, or BECOME the Trail"</font color=blue>
     
  10. Todd78/87

    Todd78/87 1/2 ton status

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    Actually,,, I think his problem is two-fold,, the warn U joint causing the slop is not causing the 4x not to work. For the 4x not to work, it would have to be the hubs or axles splines, or there is nothing in the front pumpkin[​IMG]
    Assuming, of course, the xfer case and front driveline are doing their job.

    Todd 78/87[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. djm

    djm Registered Member

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    It needs to be diagnosed some more. It's definitely something up front. The front driveshaft turns when the t-case is in 4wd so that is OK. It was up on a lift earlier today but idiot me was too busy checking the rest of the truck and forgot to lock the hubs, spin tires, etc. I'm sure the u-joints, ball joints, steering and everything else are very, very worn. The truck has 150k on it and it shows. The truck runs great though. I don't do much off roading besides surf fishing and hunting(although that might change if I get it working), so I'm looking for the bare minimum fix right now.
    Do I need to remove the tires to replace the hub locking parts? How do I know what axle it has? Summit assumed a Dana 44 or 60. I can't read anything on the diff (10 bolt sorta oval, 8 lug) to ID it. The glovebox doesn't say much(standard differntial and locking differential). Time to get dirty...
    Dan
     
  12. Blazer1970

    Blazer1970 1/2 ton status

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    The axle, if stock, is a 10 bolt. Your 4WD problem could be one or both of the auto-lock hubs are bad (very common), or it is also pretty common to see stripped splines on the front driveshaft slip joint. Were both halves of the front shaft turning? Also, the splines could easily grab enough to turn the front end with the wheels off the ground, but not when there is any resistance. Be careful about not replacing the front axle u-joints if they are badly worn. If one of them grenades, it can break the yoke on the end of the inner or outer axle shaft, which will cost you a lot more in the long run.

    Tim

    1970 Blazer CST 4X4 350 SM465 NP205
    1987 Suburban 4X4 350
    1988 Chevy Pickup 4X4 350
     

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