Author Topic: Axle U Joint?  (Read 1274 times)

Offline Horn

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Axle U Joint?
« on: May 04, 2017, 11:10:14 PM »
Hi All,

About a week ago I noticed on sharp parking lot maneuvers I was starting to feel a slight rough bumping or clicking at near full lock that sounded and felt like a possible axle u joint starting to get tired.  It has gotten a little more noticeable and I can hear a single clunk when first leaving a stop now.

Tonight I was able to take a closer look but I don't have a lot to compare to. Tonight I was only able to jack stand up one side at a time and when I had the wheels turned one way and another they weren't at full lock. The driver's side u joint has a small amount of play that I can hear when I shake it but isn't enough to be visible. When spinning while turned the drivers side wheel it isn't as smooth as I suspect it should be.  The passenger's side spins more smoothly as far as I could tell and doesn't have any looseness to the joint that I can feel.  I can't feel any play in either front wheel bearings.

I read that the caps can sometimes rotate when the joints start to fail and I marked them several days ago but there is no movement in any of them.  Some of this is just me shooting in the dark with things I've read to try.   Maybe this weekend I will be able to get a closer look at it during the day and get both wheels off the ground at once.  I've been working mostly late at night on it in our parking lot, and while the raccoons in our dumpster are some kind of company, they don't give me a lot of feedback.  Does it sound like I'm on the right track?  I was hoping tonight I would have definitive proof of what was going on so that I could order parts and move forward but I could use a second opinion.


Offline RedJeepster1

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2017, 03:21:59 AM »
You are doing the right tests. I had one go bad and on one side it felt "notchy" when I spun the wheel.


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Offline XtraChrisP

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2017, 05:28:03 AM »
Just order new ujoints, zthey aren't too pricey, and check your bearings while you're there because you'll have to remove them to get to the ujoints, might as well kill two birds one stone if you've got it apart already and then bearings are worn
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Offline Right Wing Curmudgeon!!!

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 07:30:46 AM »
Get Spicer Ujoints 5-760X.  All else are junk. 

Timkin Unit bearings.  Best place to get this stuff is Rock Auto.com they are only $66. 
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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 07:36:09 AM »
Bruce makes a good point. Don't get lured by cheap local parts with lifetime warranties.
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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2017, 07:44:43 AM »
Lifetime warranties on cheap parts at the local dime store are great for a DD if you have time to replace them when they fail (and they will). Not a good place for the trail nor tow rig where reliability is priority.

Get the Spicer joints and Moog bearings. Do it once...
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Offline Horn

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2017, 07:11:50 PM »
Thanks! Spicer and Timkin ordered. Working on tools and directions. Started reading directions and watching videos on how to do the axle removal and joint replacement. Seems like using a ball/ujoint press might be the safest option for doing it for the first time?

Offline JeepinMaxx

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2017, 07:23:49 PM »
There's a great trick for removing stubborn unit hub/bearing - hard to describe.  It involves loosening the three unit bearing hub bolts and putting a deep socket on one over the bolts and wedging it against the inner "C" and using the steering wheel to press the unit hub out! 

As far as the u-joint replacement, the ball joint press works with a 3/4" socket as a ram...

I haven't done either in some time, but I may try it after my parts come in next week
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Offline Right Wing Curmudgeon!!!

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2017, 07:25:59 AM »
U joints need only a hammer and socket.  Ball joint press is overkill and can bend the ears.
03 Rubicon, 4 inch Clayton Short Arm Lift, Rokmen TT and Gas Tank Skids, TW DS front and Rear, 1 inch Daystar BL, 35x12.5-15 Cooper STTs, Warn 9.5ti winch.

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2017, 07:48:41 AM »
soak the crap out of the end caps before pressing...
"This situation requires an immature act be carried out on someone's behalf - We're just the guys to do it!" - Animal House

93YJ: Waggy 44 HD's F&R, Rear Detroit Locker, Front Eaton Elec Selectable, 5:13 Motive, Anti-Wrap Bar, WARN Hubs, 6" Lift on 35" Mud Terrains, 4.0 HO w/K&N Air Tube, Live Wire Ignition, WARN 8,000 lb Winch, AtoZ Cage and Sliders, FX Tuner Seats w/Harnesses, OBA, SOA

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Offline Horn

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2017, 08:08:34 AM »
You mean start hitting them now with some penetrating oil? Or talking about something else?

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2017, 09:16:17 AM »
You mean start hitting them now with some penetrating oil? Or talking about something else?

Yes penetrating oil.
"This situation requires an immature act be carried out on someone's behalf - We're just the guys to do it!" - Animal House

93YJ: Waggy 44 HD's F&R, Rear Detroit Locker, Front Eaton Elec Selectable, 5:13 Motive, Anti-Wrap Bar, WARN Hubs, 6" Lift on 35" Mud Terrains, 4.0 HO w/K&N Air Tube, Live Wire Ignition, WARN 8,000 lb Winch, AtoZ Cage and Sliders, FX Tuner Seats w/Harnesses, OBA, SOA

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Offline SJJEEP

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2017, 09:28:14 AM »
You mean start hitting them now with some penetrating oil? Or talking about something else?

Yes penetrating oil.

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Online MassXJ

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2017, 09:36:27 AM »
and make sure to anti seize everything when you put it back together
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Offline SJJEEP

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2017, 01:37:12 PM »
and make sure to anti seize everything when you put it back together

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Offline JeepinMaxx

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2017, 02:55:47 PM »
Timkin Unit bearings.  Best place to get this stuff is Rock Auto.com they are only $66. 

X2 on Rock Auto!  I ordered two Timken Unit bearings yesterday for $66 each +$7 ground shipping and they arrived this afternoon...
99TJ Tummy Tuck and SYE, Front D30 with alloy shafts, Detroit locker 4.56, Rear D44, ARB locker 4.56.  Detoursusa.com Rear bumper, Superwinch EP9000 Front Cage



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Offline King of the Hill

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2017, 01:48:13 PM »
To test a U-joints on driveshafts and axles I take the load off by jacking up the wheel or putting the transfer case in neutral, then push my thumb between 2 of the caps and rotate the wheel or driveshaft back and forth slowly. If you feel the pressure changing on your thumb, the joint is bad.  There shouldn't be any slop in the u-joint while rotating it.

Another thing to look for is rust colored dust around the caps, thats usually a sign of dry rollers.

Crappy picture, but you get the idea.



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Offline Horn

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2017, 08:22:30 PM »
I'll give the thumb test a try this week. Waiting for parts to show up and hitting with penetrating oil in the meantime. I ordered u joints and unit bearings for both sides. After fighting a stuck OPDA bolt last week and looking at the hub bolts I will be removing I ordered new bolts too. Seemed like it was a good time to address everything.

Offline Right Wing Curmudgeon!!!

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2017, 09:16:12 PM »
You wont need new bolts.  Just a good quality 12pt socket and a breaker bar.  :mrgreen:
03 Rubicon, 4 inch Clayton Short Arm Lift, Rokmen TT and Gas Tank Skids, TW DS front and Rear, 1 inch Daystar BL, 35x12.5-15 Cooper STTs, Warn 9.5ti winch.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.(George Patton)


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(John Wayne)

Offline JeepinMaxx

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2017, 09:39:32 PM »
12pt socket - is the D30 a 1/2" or 13mm?  I can't remember  :redface:
99TJ Tummy Tuck and SYE, Front D30 with alloy shafts, Detroit locker 4.56, Rear D44, ARB locker 4.56.  Detoursusa.com Rear bumper, Superwinch EP9000 Front Cage



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Offline Right Wing Curmudgeon!!!

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2017, 09:42:35 PM »
13 I think.... :eek:

god I hate getting old... :swear_mad:

took off my front DS yesterday and forgot what size the bolts are on the tcase side.  1/2 inch BTW.. :rolleyes:
03 Rubicon, 4 inch Clayton Short Arm Lift, Rokmen TT and Gas Tank Skids, TW DS front and Rear, 1 inch Daystar BL, 35x12.5-15 Cooper STTs, Warn 9.5ti winch.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.(George Patton)


Life is tough! It's even tougher when you're stupid.
(John Wayne)

Offline JeepinMaxx

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2017, 09:47:01 PM »
13 I think.... :eek:

god I hate getting old... :swear_mad:

took off my front DS yesterday and forgot what size the bolts are on the tcase side.  1/2 inch BTW.. :rolleyes:

How many axle NEJeep u-joints, unit hubs, ball joints do you think we have we done over the the last dozen years at your garage!  We should know this  :rotflmao:  BTW my TJ has 5/16" on the T-Case side...

I was going through a stack of receipts the previous owner had and it turns out we did Ball Joints, Unit Hubs, and Axle U-Joints at a Wrenchfest at your place back in 2008  :eek:
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Offline Right Wing Curmudgeon!!!

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2017, 10:21:43 PM »
Makes sense, you have a 1310 front DS, i have a 1330. :mrgreen:

i kinda remember now.  Not our first set of ball joints!  :rotflmao:

Damn I really miss the shop. :cry:  Mary asked me why I was so crabby after removing my front DS yesterday.  :rolleyes:
03 Rubicon, 4 inch Clayton Short Arm Lift, Rokmen TT and Gas Tank Skids, TW DS front and Rear, 1 inch Daystar BL, 35x12.5-15 Cooper STTs, Warn 9.5ti winch.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.(George Patton)


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Offline RedJeepster1

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2017, 05:44:17 AM »
I usually use 13mm on the bolts. I have had the best luck with a closed end wrench and a rubber mallet to break the bolts free. If they have't been off in a while they could put up a good fight.
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Offline Horn

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Re: Axle U Joint?
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2017, 09:40:13 PM »
Any good tricks for getting C clips off? I had no problems until now. Used the steering trick to pop the rusted hub loose. But I can't get the C clips off the joints yet.