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Left front axle U-Joint

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Old 07-11-2009, 10:15 PM
programmertim programmertim is offline
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Default Left front axle U-Joint

1999 1500, 4x4, 5.2L.

This u-joint is completely shot. Loads of play, to the point that it looks to have busted the inside ends of the bearing caps. I have removed all four retaining clips and taken the entire assembly off of the truck. Per my chilton manual, I put it in a 6" vise with a socket larger (I'm positive it's plenty larger) than the bearing cap on one side and a socket smaller (again, positive it is plenty smaller) than the bearing cap on the other side. I bent the handle on my vise. Then, I decided to use a poor mans press. Put the same setup on top of the jack and tried to jack the truck up. I was jacking against the frame basically in the middle of the truck and got the rear tire off the ground and still the bearing caps didn't move.

Is this just a sign of a totally screwed shaft and I need to replace the whole thing, or am I missing something? I've replaced bearings and cv joints, but never a u-joint, so I have no experience with these issues.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:55 PM
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A jack? Forget that, just use a hammer. It will come right apart.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:39 AM
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Nope. The hammer doesn't do any good.

And by hammer, I mean sledge hammer. Nothing. When I say I bent the handle on the vice, I'm not saying it is a weak vice. I put a 3ft cheater pipe on the handle to get enough leverage. It had enough force to deform the end of the small socket. If I didn't know and hadn't gone back to count them and double check, I'd say I didn't remove a retaining clip, but that's not the case.

Last edited by programmertim; 07-12-2009 at 01:06 AM.. Reason: Expansion
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:23 AM
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Gosh I don't know, it can't be that bad, or maybe it can...
They make a tool called a bearing puller but by the time you pay for that...
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:55 AM
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i had the breakage issue with my driveshaft a couple years ago. i broke a 9" c clamp and a big vise trying to get the u joints out. what did it for me was when i got ahold of an arbor press, if you know someone that has one of those then you will be set.

are you using any penetrating fluid or is it bone dry?
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:05 AM
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Tap the ears on the yokes with a hammer while you apply pressure to the cap.
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:46 PM
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Tapping the ears didn't help, and I've got as much wd-40 on it as I can get without soaking it in a bucket of the stuff.

I'm having oreilly's get a price for the shaft and all on Monday. I think I'm just going to have to replace the whole thing. The other side is shot too, although nowhere near as bad. But I don't have room on that side of the truck to pull the shaft until I get the left side fixed so I can turn the truck around. (It's way too hot to be doing this out in the driveway.) I'm hoping I can just replace the u-joint on that side. Is that going to be a bad idea if I have a new shaft on the left?
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:02 PM
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I think you are doing something wrong sorry to say. But if you don't think so , well , whatever. This would be the first time I've heard of a joint being that stuck on any vehicle.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:39 PM
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I agree with Z, somehow the joint has to come off. No way would I go buy a new shaft... that would be ridiculous.

A simple way of doing it is to rent a ball joint press from Autozone (its free over there). I have used it before and it made short work of the cap removal.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:44 PM
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Also, while a vise usually works just fine, what really talks is shock load. Jacking up the truck with the socket/jack setup wont do diddly. Put that setup back in the vise, tighten it as tight as possible, and then smack the side of the vise with a big hammer... tighten some more, and repeat. It is bound to come off.

Good luck man, I know exactly how stubborn stuff like this can make a quick/easy job a real pain in the @ss.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:44 PM
 
 
 
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Tags
1500, 1999, 4x4, 99, axle, change, dodge, front, front axle, joint, joints, ram, replacing, u-joint, universal joint

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