Bad U-Joints?

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Old 11-11-19, 02:01 PM
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Bad U-Joints?

92' Ford Ranger XLT with 2.9 V6. I have a kind of 'rhythmic' metallic scraping sound coming from the drive line/drive shaft. I also hear a clicking sound from the drive shaft area. No vibration.

I jacked up the rear tires and listened to the drive line with vehicle in drive. I recorded the noise on my smartphone. Am I able to attach a recording to this website? I can try.
 
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Old 11-11-19, 03:04 PM
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A "scraping sound" sounds more like a loose heat shield or something like that to me, but something that you most likely would have noticed while under there so who knows. With U joints, the first indicator is a "clunk" when you put it into gear. The easiest way to check them, my opinion, is to block the front tires so the vehicle can't roll, put it in neutral, jack up the back end again, and manually rotate the driveshaft back and forth, clockwise and counter clockwise, while watching the joints.
 
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Old 11-11-19, 04:41 PM
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It's definitely coming from somewhere along the drive line. I hear the clicking too. But I don't mind rotating the driveshaft back and forth. I forgot to do this yesterday.

And while I'm under there, I also look to see if the shaft is rubbing against something.

When I do this test.....................what am I looking for with the U-Joints?

I'll see if I can attach the recording too tonight.
 
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Old 11-11-19, 04:45 PM
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Look for any play in joints. If first started might have to disconnect shaft and feel thr movement. Should feel smooth. any clicking feel joint is going bad.
 
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Old 11-11-19, 05:08 PM
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Look for the U-Bolts that hold the ends of the U-Joint to the axle. The round caps that the U-Bolts are around, will have play in them if its bad. Those Caps have needle bearings all the way around the inside of that cap. Those needle bearings wear out or break & fall out. There is grease & a rubber seal that holds in the grease & needle bearings in the caps. After time, wear & dry rot, the rubber seal breaks & falls away sometimes, which allows the grease & worn needle bearings to fall out. When this happens, it leaves a void in the cap which goes over the 4 tips of the U-joint. Therefore, you have slack.
So, look for slack in the area of the U-bolt & the 4 caps on the ends of the U-joint. You can probably search for "Replace U-Joint" on Youtube to get a better idea of what this looks like or what to look for.

This explanation doesn't cover everything & doesn't cover all scenarios & U-joint issues. Its just one thing to look for.
 
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Old 11-11-19, 09:22 PM
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Mine doesn't have U-Bolts. The U-Joints fit into a slip yoke and are held in place by snap rings. I'll crawl under there tomorrow night after work. In addition to checking for excessive play, I'll see if any drive shaft balance weights fell off.

I'll also spray any drive shaft mounting bolts with PB Blaster. I'll follow up in a couple days. Thanks.
 
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Old 11-12-19, 04:05 AM
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I would think if a shaft weight fell off it would show up as a vibration going down the road.
It should be fairly easy to determine if there is any play in the U joints
 
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Old 11-12-19, 07:51 AM
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Oh. That's right. There would be vibration. Some years ago, a drive shaft place forgot to attach a weight and it vibrated badly before they corrected it.
 
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Old 11-12-19, 04:47 PM
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I will follow up Wednesday night after examining underside of truck. Thanks.
 
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Old 11-13-19, 09:27 PM
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I examined the drive shaft tonight.

1. No rust-colored dust at U-joint
2. No play between yokes and U-joints.
3. Minimal up/down and side to side play with drive shaft.
4. I lube U-joints at every oil change
5. Rear axle full of gear oil
6. No 'marks' from weight falling off shaft. I only this one thick button-shaped weight on the shaft

I'm inclined to replace the U-joints. I did hear the drive shaft clicking when raised truck was in drive.

But I would like to check the transfer case for ATF. Driveshaft is attached to it.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 03:39 AM
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Was the transmission in neutral when you checked for play? Sometimes it's harder to spot the U joint play if it's in gear.
 
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Old 11-14-19, 07:34 AM
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I checked for play in both neutral and park. Driveshaft not rubbing against anything either. When I mentioned earlier that I heard 'scraping' from drive line with engine running in drive, that was kind of a broad term.
 
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Old 11-17-19, 08:34 PM
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I drained and replaced the transmission fluid in the transfer case today. It was very dirty. Completely black. I don't know if that hints at any wear inside the transfer case that could cause that noise.

I'm still leaning towards U-Joint. But I better monitor it some more I start taking things apart.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 03:17 AM
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It was very dirty. Completely black
Just black or was it gritty? sludge?
 
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Old 11-18-19, 07:01 AM
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Just black. No grit and no sludge.
 
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