Ensure Your Truck's U-Joints Are Operating At The Correct Angle

Universal Joints and Components

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Spicer® 10 Series U-Joints: Tested and Proven for Top Performance

®Spicer® 10 Series u-joints are completely interchangeable with existing parts, so you get total product compatibility with no change in part numbers.

  • Better balance capability
  • Reduced driveline vibration
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Engineered for a tighter fit

Spicer® 10 Series u-joints are created through the combination of a computer-designed bearing plate with a patented manufacturing process that closely controls tolerances.

Video

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad U-Joint: A Step-by-Step Guide On Replacing A U-Joint

While you may be tempted to try out actually how long can you drive with a bad U-joint, but it is highly recommended that you replace it

Process Without U-Joint Tool

Now, let’s see how you can process it without a U-Joint tool.

Step 1

Lift the car into the air, either with the front lower than the rear or level. This will stop the fluid leaking from the transmission. 2 nuts and bolts, alternatively, 4 four bolts are used to secure the rear yoke to the differential yoke – a number that changes depending on the make, model, and year of the vehicle.

These are generally 7/16” or ½”. Once taken out, you can remove the driveshaft by pushing it forward, down, and once more rearward.

Step 2

Smack the yoke using a hammer to release any tension on the snap ring/C clip. Based on the type used, tension is exerted on the snap rings in various directions. Hold the yoke assembly/U-joint by the joint cups and strike the yoke sharply.

Use a pair of pliers to remove the inner snap ring from the yoke’s upper half, or the outer C-clip/snap ring from the lower cup. Repeat the process on the other side to extract both the snap rings/C-clips.

Step 3

Using a press, heavy-duty socket, or a hammer and punch, squeeze the bearing cups outside the toke. Rotate the yoke/driveshaft 180-degrees. Repeat on the other side.

Pro tip: A few heavy-duty yokes feature bearing cups attached on both sides. If that is the case for you, do steps 2 and 3 for the second yoke too.

At every step of the procedure, you must be extremely careful with the driveshaft. To decrease weight on the car, manufacturers keep the driveshaft fairly lightweight and it can dent easily. A dented driveshaft is an unbalanced driveshaft. Then you are going to have a whole different vibration source to deal with.

Step 4

With tape or rubber band, fasten the 2 opposing bearing cups to the replacement joint. At the same time, remove the 2 other caps and push the U-joint’s polished end into the openings of the yoke. Keep a bearing cup below any of these openings and slightly tap the yoke. After the cup is properly seated, use a hammer to secure the yoke. Install the snap ring/C-slip and repeat on the other side.

Step 5

Inspect for binding on the installed joint. You may have to tap it properly to loosen the binding.

Step 6

For this part, you will have to slide under your vehicle. Insert the driveshaft’s transmission end into the tail shaft until it bottoms out. Move to the differential end and lift the tail of the driveshaft to get it into place.

Step 7

Take off the rubber band or tape and set the joint cups into the differential’s pinion yoke. Install the clamps to fasten the U-joint to the yoke and secure the bolts and nuts. Install the snap rings/C-clips to lock them in place.

Step 8

Lower the vehicle to ground level, start the engine and note any clunking in the U-joints/driveshaft.

Step 1

Mark the yoke and driveshaft sides that will have the new U-joint replacement installed. With the vehicle’s driveshaft out, place it on a flat workbench or any comfortable work surface.

Step 2

Find the right size press cup fit for the driveshaft yoke and position the cup on top of the threaded rod. Get another cup that is bigger than the U-joint cups but smaller than the opening of the yoke.

Step 3

Position the U-joint tool against the yoke. Secure the threaded rod with your hand. When you remove the snap rings/C-clips, it will secure the caps. You may have to remove the tension in a clip with the press before flipping it around to extract the other clip.

Step 4

Continue fastening the threaded rod to remove one cap from the yoke. Turn the tool around and redo the process to remove the opposite cap as well as the “cross” of the U-joint. Keep the cross at a 90-degree angle to the yoke – that will make the process slightly easier.

Step 5

Secure the caps to the new joint using tape or a rubber band. Lodge the cross inside the yoke. Push it as far as you can to one and slide the new cap into the yoke, as far as possible. With the threaded rod’s end against the cap, set the tool to slide that cap inside.

Step 6

Press down the threaded rod to push the cap against the yoke until it is seated properly. Remove the tool and flip it before repeating on the other side. Make sure it is easy to pivot the joints.

Step 7

Going under the vehicle, push the transmission yoke inside the tail shift. Raise the shaft’s rear into position and install the latch the flanges/install the straps, making sure it lines up with the marks made previously.

Finishing Thoughts

Never ignore the signs your car is giving you, especially if they may be related to a poor U-joint. Address the problem right away and save yourself from a potentially punching-hole-in-wallet bill. Knowing the condition of your car parts will help you estimate how long can you drive with a bad U-joint.

It is necessary to inspect for transmission leakage. Lubricants can extend the service life of a U-joint but you may have to replace it down the line; keep that in mind.

Learn More About Spicer Commercial Vehicle U-Joints

Check out Dana’s streamlined eCommerce platform, DanaAftermarket.com, to access the parts information you need, check availability, place and track your orders, and more, all in one place.

Some Vehicles Have More Than Two U-Joints

Be sure to know how many u-joints your vehicle has

Be sure to know how many u-joints your vehicle has. There are typically two u-joints to replace on either end of the drive shaft. Some driveshafts have a double-cardan joint at the front, which contains two u-joints. So there are three U-joints to replace. It’s best to replace them all at once.

3. Vibration felt throughout the vehicle while moving forward at speed

This vibration means that the universal joint bearings have now worn enough to allow the driveshaft to move outside its normal rotational path, causing imbalance and vibration. This will be a higher frequency vibration than that of an out-of-balance wheel for example, since the driveshaft turns 3-4 times faster than the wheels. The worn universal joint is now causing damage to other components of the vehicle – including the transmission. Replacement of the universal joint by a professional mechanic is certainly in order at this point to prevent further damage. Your mechanic should, when possible, select quality replacement u-joints with a grease fitting, allowing for long-term preventative maintenance, and enabling extended life of the u-joint bearings.

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday – Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday – Sunday 7 AM – 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com

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