How to Install a U Joint on a Drive Shaft
U joints or universal joints are located at both ends of a drive shaft and serve the purpose of transferring engine power and torque from the transmission to the drive wheels. Even the toughest U-joints can wear out and show symptoms like clunking sounds when the vehicle is put into gear, as well as vibration. To avoid a catastrophe, install new U joints by following these easy steps.
Step 1: Disassembly of the Driveshaft
First, protect your hands from transmission fluids and other things by wearing protective gloves which may be preferably of plastic or rubber. Lift your vehicle and place on jack stands with elevated back end to avoid flow of fluids when you remove the driveshaft. Indicate the position of the driveshaft to conserve its balance during reinstallation. Disassemble the driveshaft.
Step 2: Removing Caps
Unfasten the four holding clips on the caps. Your new U-joints may have come with new holding clips, if so you do not have to show caution or be gentle. Align your U joint tool with the yoke and twist the bolts until the cross and caps are at a distance which will enable the parallel cap’s removal. Be careful not to drive the cap being used to apply pressure into the other side of the yoke. Separate the yoke from the U- joint tool and the cap that has been pressed through.
Step 3: Use a socket
Use a socket for centering the cross while the pressed cap is being pushed back from the other side of the yoke. Choose a socket of a smaller size than the cap so that it easily transfers to the other side of the yoke.
Step 4: Pushing Caps
Reinstall the U joint tool and twist the bolts until the left over cap is pushed to the other side of the yoke. It may be tough to remove some inflexible caps as the grease causes the bearings of the needle to hold. Ensure that your new caps also have enough grease to keep the bearings in position.
Step 5: Install New Caps
This process is exactly the opposite of removal and is just as easy. Ensure that the cap and center are aligned with the yoke ahead of pressure being applied to the tool. Express caution when lining up all the needle bearings. Position your U joint tool as you did in the removal process, to set your caps into position. Twist the screw until the cap is pushed enough to go past the holding clip furrow.
Step 6 Repeat Procedure
Repeat this process for each cap until all the caps and cross are aligned with the yoke.
Step 7: Re-installation and Check
Use your fresh holding clips and install them to the caps. Re-assemble the drive shaft. Lower car and test drive. Now your car should not make clunking noises when changing gear or vibrate with the speed of the transmission output.