Universal U Joint Replacement
How to Replace a Universal U Joint A universal joint (u-joint) is used to connect a vehicle’s drive shaft to the differential on one side and the transmission on the other. Rear wheel drive vehicles have only one drive shaft that contains two or three u-joints. U-joints are very durable, but they can wear over time. The inside of the joint contains needle bearings packed with grease. As the grease dries out, the needle bearings become worn; thus, additional play is created. The most common symptoms of a bad u-joint is a clunk or squeak when placing the vehicle in gear from park or neutral, and a vibration while driving. Also, a common issue is a noticeable vibration or shudder under acceleration. Look for a rust like powder around the joint caps. This is a sign the joint has failed. Park your car on level ground with the engine off and the emergency brake off. Block both sides of the front wheels. Always raise a car according to the manufacturer's recommended instructions and secure with jack stands. Also, we will be dealing with grease and gear oil so be sure to wear protective clothing, eyewear and gloves.
Tools and Supplies Needed to Complete this Job 1. Hydraulic floor jack 2. Jack stands 3. Wrench set 4. Bench Vice 5. Pliers 6. Socket set 7. Marker or chalk 8. Center punch 9. Electrical tape 10. Hammer 11. Shop towels 12. Replacement U joints 13. Grease Gun
Instructions Step 1 - Place the vehicle on a firm, flat surface. Step 2 - Using a hydraulic jack, lift the rear of the vehicle.
- After the completion of the U joint replacement, check the joint to make sure it moves easily.
- Keep track of the cup needle bearings, sometimes one or more of the needles can laid down inside the cup. If this condition occurs it will make the joint hard to move. At this point the joint will need to be disassembled and repaired.
- After the driveshaft has been reinstalled service the joint by injecting grease until it starts to show up at the bearing cap seals.
- When replacing a U joint make sure the needle bearings do not lay down inside the bearing cup not allowing the bearing cap to be completely installed
- If a U joint is stiff or has rough spots during operation the U joint has gone bad and needs replacing