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Old 03-23-2015, 01:43 PM
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CTM U joints

any one use the CTM U joints? Just had a axle U joint go bad on a kinda new G2 axle shaft and want to up grade and was wondering if they are worth the extra couple hundred?

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Old 03-23-2015, 03:49 PM   #2
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I run CTMs and have been to their shop here in the San Diego area several times over the years to BS with Jack the owner. They make a great u-joint and it's well known to be pretty much bulletproof. You do have to keep them greased and each bearing cap has a needle-style grease zerk.

However, I generally tend to blame front axle shaft u-joint failures on the axle shaft itself, or improper u-joint installation technique. The Spicer 5-760x u-joint (an upgrade to the factory 5-297x) is up to what you can dish out to it on nearly any streetable TJ with any reasonable size tire. I doubt you need CTMs to be able to trust that your u-joints will hold up. I'd look at the axle shafts for stretched or broken ears, the part that holds the u-joints. The usual breakage order is the shaft ears followed by the u-joints after the shafts allow them to pull free and spin.

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Old 03-23-2015, 05:08 PM
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I know the U joint has some play obviously enough for the joint to hit.
could the axle be bent or just a bad U joint.

thanks jerry

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Old 03-23-2015, 05:12 PM
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you can see where it hit the Vanco knuckle . is this normal for a bad U joint?

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Old 03-23-2015, 05:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by slowginger View Post
I know the U joint has some play obviously enough for the joint to hit.
could the axle be bent or just a bad U joint.
What play where? There should be no play. The joint is hitting something?

Did you install both inner and outer stub shafts from G2 or could the stub shaft still be OE? Are they carbon steel as the OE shafts are or are they G2's 4340 shafts?

Edit: I now see where it is hitting and yes that is very bad for the u-joint. Have you adjusted your steering stop bolts out a little for the wider tires? Are the steering stop bolts still in the knuckles?
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:31 PM
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What play where? There should be no play. The joint is hitting something?

if I use a pry bar I can move the U joint

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Did you install both inner and outer stub shafts from G2 or could the stub shaft still be OE? Are they carbon steel as the OE shafts are or are they G2's 4340 shafts?
they are G2 Chrome

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Edit: I now see where it is hitting and yes that is very bad for the u-joint. Have you adjusted your steering stop bolts out a little for the wider tires? Are the steering stop bolts still in the knuckles?
No I didn't adjust the steering stops didn't want to lose my radius
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:39 PM   #7
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Adjusting the steering bolt stops won't reduce your radius enough to notice but it can prevent interference issues. I put two washers under both of my steering bolt stops to stop the rubbing after I installed wheels with 4.5" of backspacing and 35x12.50 tires and I honestly could not detect any turning radius increase... it still turned on a dime and I was never tempted to remove them even after installing wheels with less backspacing so the washers were no longer needed.

The u-joint should not be movable with a prybar, within reason. Where is it moving... between the trunnion and bearing caps, or is it moving where the bearing caps are seated in the axle shaft ears? Regardless of where it's moving, it should not be moving.

My best guess is all this was caused by installation error(s).
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Old 03-23-2015, 05:51 PM
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Adjusting the steering bolt stops won't reduce your radius enough to notice but it can prevent interference issues. I put two washers under both of my steering bolt stops to stop the rubbing after I installed wheels with 4.5" of backspacing and 35x12.50 tires and I honestly could not detect any turning radius increase... it still turned on a dime and I was never tempted to remove them even after installing wheels with less backspacing so the washers were no longer needed.
I will put some washers in . I didnt consider the U joints being an issue
I didn't care much that It would rub the CAs and sway arm and tried to be careful on those

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The u-joint should not be movable with a prybar, within reason. Where is it moving... between the trunnion and bearing caps, or is it moving where the bearing caps are seated in the axle shaft ears? Regardless of where it's moving, it should not be moving.
if I pry between the two ears it moves a strong 1/8 inch

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My best guess is all this was caused by installation error(s).
by installation you mean by not extending the stops or the axle gear set up?
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:05 PM   #9
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I will put some washers in . I didnt consider the U joints being an issue
I didn't care much that It would rub the CAs and sway arm and tried to be careful on those



if I pry between the two ears it moves a strong 1/8 inch



by installation you mean by not extending the stops or the axle gear set up?
The axle shaft ears move 1/8"? That doesn't sound good. The installation issues that came to mind include not properly setting the steering bolt stops, and possibly having damaged the u-joints and/or axle shaft ears during u-joint installation. It takes experience and good technique to install u-joints in non-hardened OE carbon steel axle shafts, and it take more experience and better technique to install them in hardened chromoly alloy shafts due to the ears being hardened and thus being harder to seat the bearing caps into properly. Not to mention if the bearing caps are seated too hard (too deeply), the u-joints bind and will fail prematurely.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:23 PM
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The axle shaft ears move 1/8"? That doesn't sound good. The installation issues that came to mind include not properly setting the steering bolt stops, and possibly having damaged the u-joints and/or axle shaft ears during u-joint installation. It takes experience and good technique to install u-joints in non-hardened OE carbon steel axle shafts, and it take more experience and better technique to install them in hardened chromoly alloy shafts due to the ears being hardened and thus being harder to seat the bearing caps into properly. Not to mention if the bearing caps are seated too hard (too deeply), the u-joints bind and will fail prematurely.
Had the gears and axles installed at the same time, did the gears before tires so it was on 31s when the gears where installed

do the axles come assembled or is it up to the installer to fit the U joint?

I already have 3.5 of back space but have been thinking about using a 1/4 inch wheel spacer. what are your thoughts on less than 3.5 inches of back spacing?
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:37 PM   #11
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You should not need a wheel spacer at all, 3.5" of BS isn't very much. Some axle inner/outer shafts come pre-assembled with the u-joints factory installed, others like my first Warn axleshafts did not... I had to press the u-joints in myself.

It sounds like a shop installed everything, I'd be speaking with them about the failures. I'm still of the opinion it's an installation issue. I've run both Warn (previous TJ) and Superior Axle Evolution axle shafts (current TJ) up front and never had any issues whatsoever.
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:00 PM
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You should not need a wheel spacer at all, 3.5" of BS isn't very much. Some axle inner/outer shafts come pre-assembled with the u-joints factory installed, others like my first Warn axleshafts did not... I had to press the u-joints in myself.

It sounds like a shop installed everything, I'd be speaking with them about the failures. I'm still of the opinion it's an installation issue. I've run both Warn (previous TJ) and Superior Axle Evolution axle shafts (current TJ) up front and never had any issues whatsoever.
really don't want to drive with the U joint being bad and all so I might fix it my self just might take the shafts to a shop to install the U joints.

thanks Jerry
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:09 PM   #13
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Tell them to note for you how much force it requires to seat those new u-joints. It takes considerably more force to seat them into hardened chromoly axle shafts if the ears are still tight and in good condition than it does with the OE carbon steel shafts. If they're not tight, it's possible the G2 shaft ears have stretched out too much to hold the new u-joints securely enough.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:39 PM
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Tell them to note for you how much force it requires to seat those new u-joints. It takes considerably more force to seat them into hardened chromoly axle shafts if the ears are still tight and in good condition than it does with the OE carbon steel shafts. If they're not tight, it's possible the G2 shaft ears have stretched out too much to hold the new u-joints securely enough.
pretty sure G2 axles are under warranty if the ears are stretched.
from what I've read the CTM U joints are kind of difficult to install
fancy U joints and chrome axles kinda pars in price with a set of RCVs
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:20 PM   #15
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CTM are really for off road. If it is a DD, I would run regular spicer U-joints.
I have G2 and mine do not move like that
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:39 PM   #16
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CTM are really for off road. If it is a DD, I would run regular spicer U-joints.
I have G2 and mine do not move like that
That the CTM u-joints are not suitable for a daily driver is an old wive's tale... they definitely are fine for a DD and they've been installed in my near daily driver TJ for years. Call Jack Graef who designed it at CTM in Oceanside CA and he'll tell you the same thing. Not to mention front axle u-joints don't do much unless you're turning left or right.

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