U Joint Replacement - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum



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  #1  
Old 11-17-2009, 10:50 AM
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Exclamation U Joint Replacement

Hey All,
I need some help in replacing my U Joint. I have a vibration in my truck around 25-35 MPH. I've done everything else: alignment, yesterday got new tires and balancing, replaced hub bearing. Still have the vibration.

Anyway, my next step is to replace the U Joint. Anyone have a how to or pics? Pics would really help. How to is great too. I'm going to attempt it this weekend, please help.

PS: I already read this forum, good starting info, but I'm looking for more detail: http://forums.trailvoy.com/showthread.php?t=48927
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2009, 12:06 PM
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If the U-joint needs replacement, it will rattle when you move the drive shaft left to right (or up and down) by hand... if not, more than likely keep looking before you start throwing more parts at it...

Mike
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:40 PM
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What else could it be?

I had the passenger side hub and bearing replaced at 90K and I replaced my driver's side last weekend. Vibration was prior to this replacement. The driver's side was bad anyway, I thought it would cure the vibration as well, no luck.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:16 PM
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I just replaced my rear axle bearings (95K miles and heavy trailer towing) and my rumble disapeared.

Could be u-joints also.

I'll have a write up with pics for the rear axle bearings, rear brake job, and a stuck spare tire winch in the next day or so.

U-joints are easy -- but hard work, i.e., mechanical ability is low, but it takes hammering or pressing, plus wrench turning. You can use a ball-joint press like this (OFTEN on sale for $29.95) or a full-size shop press if you have one, or again, just a hammer and a proper size punch or even a big bolt. Some times a big bench vise also works, especially for installing the new joint.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=38335

Start by removing the straps that hold the driveshaft in place. Pull the driveshaft. Test the u-joints by hand by simply turning the caps and moving the joint. It should be butter smooth. ANY hint of notchiness or drag and they are bad. Any sign of rust around the edges of the caps, same deal. Also, they should not flop, but rather take just a bit of force to move.

To remove the joint, pull off the two caps (with their bearing pins) and set them aside. Take a small torch (propane) and heat the two aluminum ears until the plastic locking ring squirts out of the holes, releasing the u-joint lock so it can be pushed out. Don't heat it any more than is needed to melt the plastic -- NOT red hot or you will ruin the driveshaft. Keep the torch moving and just warm it up. Push on one cap, using a press, or hammer and punch until you drive the opposite cap all the way out of the aluminum ear. Pull off the cap and bearing pins. Turn the shaft over and repeat, driving the other cap through the opposite side. Pull it, then remove the u-joint cross.

Replacing the joint is the same -- CAREFULLY, so as to not mess up the bearing pins, pull off the two caps that go into the ears of the driveshaft. Insert the cross, then place one cap into the bore. Make sure that the bearing pins stay all lined up! Press the cross into the cap, hold it there and drive the cap into the ear of the driveshaft. Tap the opposite side in place. Bolt it back into the car.

Here is a good article with a few pics:
http://www.automedia.com/U-Joint_Rep...cr20050301uj/1
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glfredrick View Post
I just replaced my rear axle bearings (95K miles and heavy trailer towing) and my rumble disapeared.

Could be u-joints also.

I'll have a write up with pics for the rear axle bearings, rear brake job, and a stuck spare tire winch in the next day or so.......
glfredrick, thanks so much for the write up. I actually found that automedia article this morning, I printed it out...doesn't say anything about a propane torch...

This is why it's good to get input from other members. OK, can't wait to see your other write up with pics.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:18 PM
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The plastic seal is sort of a new thing. You won't find that on most u-joint instructions. You can press the joint without melting the plastic, but it WILL be difficult and you run the risk of bending the aluminum ears on the driveshaft. Someone did that to mine (I was working on the front end and it was too late by the time I noticed.) now the joint is stiff on that side. It will eventually find its original shape, but the ear could have broken right off!

Oh, and the new joint will probably have a more typical spiral or e-clip to hold the caps in place -- MAKE SURE you install them according to the instructions in the u-joint box. If you spit out a cap, the joint and the driveshaft are junk.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:29 PM
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When that time came for me (and my shaft was bent from kissing too many rocks), I just ordered a junkyard driveshaft. I think it was only $60 shipped, off Ebay. Took only ten minutes to install, a lot less time than doing the bearings. And if it only lasts a year or two, it will be because I've bent it again, not that the bearings are worn out. Not a tactic everybody will adopt, which is why I haven't posted before.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:27 PM
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U-joints are not that hard, especially if you get one of those cheapy ball-joint presses. Makes it really simple.

Bent drive shaft is another story. i've seen them twisted beyond recognition on the trails.

I've replaced u-joints in almost every conceivable position, from hanging off rock ledges to the comfort of my garage with a nice 20 ton press at hand. Like the Nike commercial, just do it...
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:38 PM
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My friend whos a ASE, GM Tech and works at a GMC dealership said that he would never want to replace Ujoints on my trailblazer because you literally have to get the real deal cutting torch that uses ACELYTE or something like that with an oxygen mix that u could cut steel with and get the ujoint glowing red and then bang the **** out of it with a hammer till it comes loose
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:54 PM
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I jacked the car up and took some pictures. I need to mentally prepare before I take on a brand new project. I just did a little recon tonight and I will fix it this weekend. There's a little play up and down, nothing side to side.

It looks really rusty...if that's any indication.

Comments are welcomed.
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