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Jacqui 12-15-2012 03:44 AM

Questions on U-joints and track bars
2006 Unlimited Rubicon. A few days ago, I began noticing a distinct clicking noise while driving at low speeds (20 mph or less). There is also more vibration than usual (our mudders ride rough... working on getting money to replace them with A/Ts). I know our front track bar needs replacing, and we're going to replace some U-joints at the same time. I think the U-joints are what's causing that clicking noise... Am I correct? I'm looking to order all the parts tonight, but want to make sure I'm ordering the right ones.

Adjustable front track bar is pretty straight forward. I think I figured out what we should order. We're on a budget, but we do want to make sure we put quality parts on our LJ. Is the Rough Country Adjustable Track Bar a decent enough one to use? I'm staying away from the similarly-priced Skycrapper one.

Oh, and is the rear track bar necessary? Someone seems to have ripped ours off... I think it was the track bar, anyway...

I found a couple of posts on U-joints and Jerry recommends the Spicer 5-760x for the axle. The cheapest price I've found so far is $23.90 each (not sure what shipping will cost). Is that a decent price? What's the down side of getting these u-joints instead of the Spicer? Why does that one say it's good through 2004? Is there a different one I should be looking at? Do I only need to replace the two U-joints at the front axle, or should I go ahead and order other ones as well?? Argh, too many questions!

Thanks in advance for your time and advice. =)

Jacqui 12-15-2012 02:54 PM

I normally wouldn't bump a topic so soon, but I really need to order these parts today. Anyone? :)

Jerry Bransford 12-15-2012 03:24 PM

For sure, both the front and rear track bars are required, don't drive with either one missing.

For the front axle shafts, use Spicer 5-760x u-joints. Front axle shaft u-joints are the same for all Wrangler TJs so that an ad says only good through 2004 just means that webpage hasn't been updated since 2004. That u-joint in the link you gave is just a generic store-brand u-joint. The Spicer 5-760x is recommended because it is more durable, stronger, and just better quality than the usual store brand. The Spicer 5-760x is good for all Wrangler TJ and Rubicon front axle shafts.

For Rubicon (only) driveshafts...

2005-2006 Rubicon Models
Front DS @ Pinion: 5-793x
Front DS @ CV/T-Case: 5-790x
Rubicon w/ Rear DS #410AD @ T-Case: 5-795x
Rubicon w/ Rear DS #410AD @ Pinion: 5-793x
LJ Rubicon w/ Rear DS #585AA @ T-Case & Pinion: 5-1310x

Jacqui 12-15-2012 04:40 PM


Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
Front axle shaft u-joints are the same for all Wrangler TJs so that an ad says only good through 2004 just means that webpage hasn't been updated since 2004...
...The Spicer 5-760x is good for all Wrangler TJ and Rubicon front axle shafts.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. And for the list of u-joints. How do I know which u-joints need replacing? Our mechanic in the family pointed out we need the two front axle ones replaced, but I'm not sure if he looked at the others. Is this something I can simply look at and know if it's bad?

Jerry Bransford 12-15-2012 06:20 PM

Rarely will a u-joint be so bad you can tell by just looking at it... though rust coming out of the bearing caps is definitely a bad sign. Moving it about both its axes to test for slop/unwanted movement is about the only way to know for sure if it is good or bad.

Jacqui 12-15-2012 07:43 PM

Thanks, Jerry. My husband woke up and told me our mechanic did, in fact, check all the u-joints while he was looking around and there's only one front axle that needs replacing. He said the others need to be greased. But I'll order two Spicers. I understand it's a common part that needs replacing, so we'll keep the spare on hand... Or would it be better to just replace both at the same time? The Spicer u-joints don't need to be greased, so it makes sense to me to simply begin upgrading all the u-joints, even if they don't "need" it yet...

If anyone is looking for a good place to buy the Spicer 5-760X front axle u-joint, try ebay. I found a guy that sells them for $21 each with free shipping.
Another seller has them for $23 to your door a week faster than the other guy. $2 more to get them a week sooner isn't bad at all.

I've been trying to find out exactly what grease to buy for our other u-joints. I know I need an Extreme Pressure grease. But looking at a google search is a bit overwhelming. I don't know how to start narrowing down my choices. Does anyone have a quick link to an EP grease I should buy?

I came into the Jeep world knowing zilch about how vehicles work or what it takes to maintain them (beyond basic oil/tires/antifreeze) so forgive me... I know a lot of my questions are very basic, but I'm determined to learn! =)

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