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U joints

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by coolhandluke, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke 1/2 ton status

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    My U joints are making some horrid noises, gonna change them this weekend, any tips or tricks to make it easier?
     
  2. amm888

    amm888 1/2 ton status

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    take the truck to a mechanic /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  3. RedDwarf

    RedDwarf 1/2 ton status

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    Soak it all down with WD-40 ahead of time.

    Also, pay attention to the way you're putting them in. If they are greasable, the zerks should be positioned to where the driveshaft will be trying to "sqeeze" them all the time. This may be confusing at first, but you'll figure it out.

    A shop press helps a ton. It keeps you from dinging up the yokes or having to burn out the plastic retainer material (if you have the 3R type yokes that use this style retainer)

    Finally, just think about what you're doing and you should be ok. And don't foget to grease the heck out of the joints. Do it again after driving for a few days to make sure it is full of grease.
     
  4. RedDwarf

    RedDwarf 1/2 ton status

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    no pun intended on the "shop press helps a ton" comment /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  5. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Don't take it to a mechanic! Not only will it take a few days before you get your truck back, you'll give them a funny look for the price they charge you for a 30 minute job.
    Here are the steps:
    -Park on flat surface and block tires. Make sure truck is in gear or in park (although this doesn't matter if you're removing the rear driveshaft - because once it's out you'll get rolled over)
    -Remove the four bolts holding the driveshaft to the axle. Most likely you'll have the bolt and strap style. The other style used is the U-bolt. In that case you take the four nuts off.
    -Once the straps are off, you will most likely have to pry out the driveshaft (rusted in a bit).
    -Since you're replacing the u-joint, don't worry about the caps and the dust falling off/out.
    -Next, your transfer case should have a slip yoke - meaning the driveshaft will be one solid piece.
    -With the axle side of the driveshaft removed, pull the driveshaft away from the transfer case and under the axle. If fluid starts to come out of the transfer case, don't worry about it. That just means some tranny fluid made it in there through the tranny seal.
    -Now that you have the driveshaft in your arms, take it to a vise.
    -You'll need 3lb hammer or better, propane or acetylene torch, grease, and new u-joint.
    -If it is the factory u-joint, fire up your torch and hold it right on the yoke where the caps are. After a minute, black rubber will purge out of the yoke. Let it all come out. (This is injected in the factory to keep the caps on)
    -Once both sides are purged, set the u-joint on the open vise jaws so that the u-joint rests on the sides with the caps already off. _+_ (Will look something like that if you understand my sorry picture)
    -Then with your hammer, wail on the yoke (straight down) as close to the u-joint as possible. (you don't want to hit the hollow part of the driveshaft -- it will dent)
    -Once one cap pops out, flip it around and do the same for the other side.
    -Now for the new one. Take each cap off and fill it with some more grease. (There's never enough)
    -Place the bare u-joint in driveshaft yoke and put on caps. Be VERY careful to keep all of the bearing in the caps straight.
    -Next put the c-clips provided with the new u-joint on the inside of the caps (inside the yokes)
    -Now back to the truck. Slide it back onto the transfer case output shaft. (Some people may tell you to mark with chalk some lines on the driveshaft and axle and transfer case before you take it out so that when you put it back in it will be the same. You can do this if it will make you feel all good inside, but if you think about the mechanics of it, a driveshaft is balanced and weighted as a separate unit, so it won't matter how you put it in.) Place the driveshaft into the axle yoke. Put on straps and tighten up bolts. Not too tight, just snug enough to keep them from loosening.
    -Pick up tools and you're done.

    Sorry about the lengthy post, but I know from personal experience that very detailed instructions are the best.
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. coolhandluke

    coolhandluke 1/2 ton status

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    wow, thanks heavy, i appreciate the help.
     
  7. NetBlazer

    NetBlazer Registered Member

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    Heavy has some excellent step by step directions there.
    I just did this job for the first time last night and found a tool that makes it way easy. Do you have a Harbor Freight near you?
    I picked up one of these 3-in-one Press and with that and an impact wrench (you could crank it by hand, but if you have air tools, it's short work.) I had the joint swapped out in a few minutes. It went like this: Park and block the truck, remove u-joint straps, pull off driveshaft, clean up the joint so I could find the clips that hold the caps on, remove clips, put press on yoke and crank with impact wrench, remove cap, flip press over and crank out other cap. Installing went just as smooth, insert cap and crank on with press, insert clip, press on other side, install clip, install zerk in u-joint and grease liberally, slide shaft back in t-case, install u-joint straps, unblock wheels, drive happy /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

    I figure the press will come in handy for a bunch of other stuff too.....

    If you go to the Harbor Freight site and click on "order from printed catalog" and put in the number 38335-6-vga it will show up as being on sale in one of the catalogs for 1/2 price, which makes it only $19.99, well worth it to me! You can then print out the shopping cart page with the item in it and bring it in store and they will price match from the web site.

    Good luck,
    Sean
     
  8. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    The site says that number is no good, but it does accept the 38335-0vga for 39.99 /forums/images/icons/confused.gif
     
  9. NetBlazer

    NetBlazer Registered Member

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    Damned fat fingers, should have been 3833 5 6 vga. I just tried it again and it worked for me.
    I'll go back and fix the original post. Sorry bout that /forums/images/icons/crazy.gif
     
  10. Thunder

    Thunder 3/4 ton status

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    What ever you do. DONT WAIL on the yoke with a hammer .
    Striking the yoke with a hammer will weaken the metal possibly causing it to break when under stress. It is one of the best ways I know to get a broken yoke.
    U joints should always be pressed out. Use a press or a vice and sockets to get them out.
    Or just pull your drive line and take it to a driveline shop. My local shop only charges 40 bucks including parts to do a basic rear driveline. They will usually do it in a hour or so. Thats about the easist way to do it I know.
     
  11. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    Geez, All this talk of tools and presses and torches....It all seems kinda over board to me. I've gotten to where I can change a u-joint on my tail gate with a hammer and a socket in about 10 minutes. Since I'm to lazy to get a shim to fix the out of whack driveline angles, I have to replace them once every 2 or 3 months. Get lot's of practice. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     

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