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Old 09-06-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
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Question NAPA U-joints good replacement?

I just went to napa and bought the "Heavy duty premium" u joints they sell for my front driveshaft (replacing all 3), but i got home i noticed they werent spicer (i dont know why but i thought they were going to be spicer's). So my question is, are these a good replacement for the factory ones, or should i take them back and get the Spicer joints?

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Old 09-06-2008, 01:53 PM   #2
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I can shed a little light. I worked for NAPA for many years. They used to stock Spicer U-joints and Napa brand U-joints as well. None of our customers ever wanted the Napa brand joints because the felt they were less reliable. But, in an effort to stay competitive with other parts houses most changed over the the NUJ (Napa Universal Joint) line and dumped the Spicer joints.

NUJ joints are nothing more that "Precision" u-joints. Precision u-joints are made by Federal Mogul. And come in different grades.

Standard - Most light trucks and autos

Heavy Duty - Most light and medium duty trucks

Extreme Duty - for racing and off road applications.

Personally, I would go for something a little more aggressive for anything for the Jeep. Remember, you only get what you pay for. You can put the cheaper joints in, but how many times are you gonna have to replace them?

Oh and make sure ANY joint you get is greasable!

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Old 09-06-2008, 02:23 PM   #3
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I can shed a little light. I worked for NAPA for many years. They used to stock Spicer U-joints and Napa brand U-joints as well. None of our customers ever wanted the Napa brand joints because the felt they were less reliable. But, in an effort to stay competitive with other parts houses most changed over the the NUJ (Napa Universal Joint) line and dumped the Spicer joints.

NUJ joints are nothing more that "Precision" u-joints. Precision u-joints are made by Federal Mogul. And come in different grades.

Standard - Most light trucks and autos

Heavy Duty - Most light and medium duty trucks

Duty - for racing and off road applications.

Personally, I would go for something a little more aggressive for anything for the Jeep. Remember, you only get what you pay for. You can put the cheaper joints in, but how many times are you gonna have to replace them?

Oh and make sure ANY joint you get is greasable!
Nice explanation but I'll disagree that all applications should use a greasable u-joint. Greasable u-joints are perfect for those who do lots of wheeling in mud but the grease channels drilled through the u-joint's body weakens it which makes it less desireable for high stress applications like rock crawling. The only type of greasable u-joint I'd ever consider is the kind that has a zerk for each of the four caps which leaves the body undrilled and thus stronger.

A good example of a u-joint that has a grease zerk at each cap is a CTM like the one below.

I'd never use a greasable u-joint that had a single zerk fitting on its body which indicates the body was drilled that weakens it. That'd be ok for mud but not for what I do. Until I can afford a CTM or similar u-joint, I'll stick with my triple-sealed Spicer u-joints. In fact, I converted all of my greasable u-joints to solid body sealed u-joints until I can go to something uber-strong like the CTM.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:17 PM   #4
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i agree with jerry. couple things, spicer u joints last from the factory 100k on average. aftermarket greasable last about 50k average. and if you don't grease them, and most shops won't if you aren't doing your own maintenance they will last 20k.

if you grease them 4 times a year, and don't wheel hard you'd be fine.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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and ctms are not meant to be used in driveshafts
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:41 PM   #6
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yeah i'd never put a ctm in a driveshaft.
i used the precision ujoints, i forget what they were called exatly but they were the "extreme" or super duty or something like that. about 45 bucks a piece.
they are single cap greasable, no hole drilled in the cross but still drilled through the middle. much stronger than a regular style, maybe not as strong as totally undrilled(but i question that as the undrilled ones usually acually have a much bigger hole in the end to act as a grease reservoir)
i questioned them at first when napa brought me the box, but after comparing the two i'd say the precisions are way better than stock. ive had no problem running them in my front axle on 35's for the last year or so. the spicers didnt last a year up there on the 31's.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:09 PM   #7
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And then there's the opposite - Chinese junk from AutoChina.

A customer brought some for me to put in. I shot some grease through the Zerk in the center - the hole behind the Zerk didn't go anywhere! The cross wasn't drilled at all. Trying to shoot grease in it did nothing!

But ya gets what ya pays for!
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:20 AM   #8
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Well These are the heavier duty of the 2 options the guy said they had for my jeep, and to clarify they say made in japan on the caps not china (i consider that a tiny step up). and i do all my own maintenance so they will get greased (even though its probably going to be a PITA to get to the zerks).
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:47 AM   #9
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darnit i just looked at the other 2 they say made in america, i think the one is the cheapier of the 2 options.
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Old 09-07-2008, 03:31 AM   #10
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just take them back and order up some spicers
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:15 AM   #11
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and ctms are not meant to be used in driveshafts
CTM doesn't make u-joints for drive shafts, they only make them for D44 and D60 axles. I only mentioned CTM to use as an example because their u-joints have individual zerks on each of the four bearing caps.
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Old 09-07-2008, 12:17 PM   #12
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What about these? I havent really heard to much on them.
Tom Wood's Gold Seal U-Joint 1330
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:33 PM   #13
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Tom Wood makes good stuff but the u-joint you asked about has a body-mounted zerk grease fitting that uses drilled body that weakens it. If you're not doing exceptionally tough trails, it'd be fine... that is if you really think you need a greasable u-joint, which I believe few benefit by using.

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