Problem with Front Drive Shaft Double Cardan Centering Ball

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by 1-ton, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I removed the factory stock u-joints from my Crew Cabs front drive shaft over the weekend. I melted out the factory injection molded plastic that holds the u-joints in, and then used my brand new 20-ton press I bought from Harbor Freight to remove the u-joints. That press worked like a dream. One of the reasons I removed the old u-joints is that I need to clearance grind the front drive shaft double cardan joint because of the 9" of lift my truck has.

    The problem I am having is the centering ball and seal. The centering ball is completely seized to the nipple that the centering ball seats into with the needle bearings. I have tried soaking it down with penetrating oil, grabbing it with a set of locking pliers and pulling it off, and I have tried heating it up with a torch and it still will not come off. I can get it off, but I would have to carefully cut it off with an angle grinder, and then file down the nipple that the ball seat nipple as best as I can.

    My question is this drive shaft screwed because of this, or can I use the drive shaft even if the ball centering nipple has to be filed back close to as good as I can get it...even if it is not a perfect fit down to the thousands of an inch?

    The drive shaft centering ball nipple that I am referring to.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. imiceman44

    imiceman44 Hoarder extraordinaire Premium Member

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    The ball is replaceable but not sure if the nipple might be damaged by now.
    I guess you have to get it off, then you can check the condition.
    I am assuming the picture is not yours
     
  3. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I got that picture off a web page on how to replace double cardan joints and centering ball and seals. The damage to the nipple that the ball and needle bearings seat on is the main question...how bad off can that nipple be, and still work?
     
  4. imiceman44

    imiceman44 Hoarder extraordinaire Premium Member

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    Well I always thought it was a press fit.
    I can ask my driveshafts guy tomorrow or Wednesday, if you can't get an answer before that.
     
  5. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    The centering ball and seal on a double cardan joint is one of those dark mysterious parts of a vehicle that most people never deal with so a lot of people are not real familiar with it.
     
  6. imiceman44

    imiceman44 Hoarder extraordinaire Premium Member

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    I had a driveshaft that was only one year old and it was binding at that joint I had the shop rebuild it.
    I didn't have time to do it myself, usually that's how I learn.
    I have a dozen driveshafts maybe I should take one apart
     
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  7. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I "think" some front shafts had the centering ball machined out of the yoke itself and cannot be removed...most driveshaft shops here just cut the yoke off and replace "everything"with a new yoke..
     
  8. frankin5

    frankin5 Super Mall Crawler Premium Member

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  9. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I was just going to post a reply on the stuff I found at the torque king web site. These centering balls are pressed on, and torque king has replacement balls. They also have a tech tip on removing the centering ball

    TECH TIP: The replaceable hardened steel centering ball MUST be replaced if it shows any evidence of wear. Ideally an expensive specialized puller is used for removal, but you can remove the ball by carefully slitting it with a die grinder.
     
  10. frankin5

    frankin5 Super Mall Crawler Premium Member

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  11. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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  12. frankin5

    frankin5 Super Mall Crawler Premium Member

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    I did and now corrected, see above. Forgot to read my own post.
     
  13. imiceman44

    imiceman44 Hoarder extraordinaire Premium Member

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    So I was right it's a press fit.
    I remember one driveshaft I had rebuilt the ball was loose and the pin was too thin for a press fit so we had to change the yoke
     
  14. 1-ton

    1-ton 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    I called denny's driveshaft, and had a short chat, and the person on the phone (may have been Denny himself) clued me into the fact that these R3 front drive shaft centering ball and seal are press fit type, and not the roller bearing type like most are. Which is why I had the correct info to do a better search for the correct parts I need to fix this deal.

    I am pretty sure I can get my stock drive shaft to work with my 81/2" lifted truck (8-1/2 front / 9" rear). Since my truck is not a competition rock crawler my stock front drive shaft should work with a little more clearance grinding to the H-Yoke. My front drive shaft angles are currently running at 7-degrees of angle. My truck is running a Tom Woods off-set front u-joint at the pinion, which are capable of handling 7-degrees no problem.

    If all else where to fail High Angle Drive Line has an R3 front drive shaft that can handle lifts up to 15" (as shown on left).
    [​IMG]

    The Crew Cab I am working on.
    [​IMG]
     

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