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Old 10-18-2012, 11:04 AM   #1
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front axle u-joint questions

I have a bad u-joint in the front axle and am prepping to swap it out.

do I need a press for the axle u-joints or will I be able to get it done with a pully puller and hammer?

I looked but did not see a write up for this, any advice?

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
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Here is a good write up.

U-Joint Replacement - 1

You don't HAVE to use a press...u CAN do it with a couple sockets and a hammer, but it's mostly what you are comfortable with.

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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I definitely would not use a hammer. In lieu of a press, I would use a bench vise to seat the bearing caps. There is a writeup in Stu Olson's website at http://stu-offroad.com/axle/ujoint1/u-joint-1.htm. Be careful not to seat the bearing caps too deep which will cause the u-joint to bind.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:31 AM   #4
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It looks like my pully puller might work, It converts to a two arm and I have something that will put a flat end on it.

What are the odds of being able to do it without pulling the wheel bearing?
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:35 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by obidya View Post
It looks like my pully puller might work, It converts to a two arm and I have something that will put a flat end on it.

What are the odds of being able to do it without pulling the wheel bearing?
No problem...its a little more awkward to handle, but no big deal. Like Jerry said, I actually use a bench vise when i do them. It is probably actually easier than messing with the press. I was mainly saying you CAN use the hammer/socket method as in a press is not the only way. If you do not have a press or vise...you can actually go to the auto parts store and they typically rent tools for free. I went to my local autozone to get a press for ball joints...they took a 200 dollar deposit in case I didnt return it, but wont charge you when you return the tool.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:36 AM   #6
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What are the odds of being able to do it without pulling the wheel bearing?
Zip and none.
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Zip and none.
This is right as far as leaving it installed on the jeep lol. What I meant was that you can leave the unit bearing attached to the axle shaft (you don't have to remove it like it shows in the write up). But in order to service the joint you will have pull the axle shafts out, whether you remove the unit bearing from them or leave it attached to them.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:56 PM   #8
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good info guys thanks.
Anything else I should know before starting it?
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #9
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While not easily explained here, if the newly installed u-joint is binding when you test it for free movement with your hand, you can use a hammer on the yoke to help move a bearing cap back out against the u-joint clip to free up a newly installed u-joint. Let's say you got one bearing cap seated too deeply and it is pushing against the u-joint trunion (body) causing it to bind. Holding the driveshaft in one hand with yoke up and the offending bearing cap facing up, smacking the yoke energetically with the hammer can move the offending bearing cap back up & away from the u-joint body by enertia. Flipping the yoke 180 you can do the same thing to the other side to insure both bearing caps are seated outward as far as possible against the u-joint mounting clips which prevents binding.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:07 PM   #10
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good info guys thanks.
Anything else I should know before starting it?
Spicer 5-760x Joints
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:24 AM   #11
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got the new joints and replaced them both this weekend
this was the drivers side, aka the one that squeaked.


only two of the caps even had needle bearings anymore, only one still had anything that resembled grease. that and the damage to the caps... this was overdue


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Old 10-22-2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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I was impressed with how bad the drivers side joint was.... until I did the passengers


keep in mind this side was still quiet, with barely any noticeable play. I almost didnt do it...






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Old 10-22-2012, 07:13 PM   #13
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this is why i had mine replaced at 72k miles when the front brakes were done. scary.

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