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How do I know if my u-joints are bad?

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Old 09-17-2010, 03:29 PM
Fubba Fubba is offline
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Default How do I know if my u-joints are bad?

I have a 96 with a 5.2l. Between 15 and 30 mph, there is a clicking and vibration coming from the front wheels on both sides. It doesn't stop or change when I apply the brakes, and it doesn't change when I turn the wheel. I put it on my lift two weeks ago and wiggled the tire up and down and left and right, but I didn't have any bearing or ball joint play. Is this noise coming from my u-joints or is it something else? Is there a way to check if they're bad? I should also note that when coming to a stop, when the weight of the vehicle is pushed toward the front of the truck, the clicking is louder and the vibration is worse. Any ideas?
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:40 PM
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aim4squirrels aim4squirrels is offline
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if it's a 4x4, I don't know that you can check the front u joints. Grease leaking from the cap near the seat or a small gap in the cap is usually a sign.

the driveline u joints in the driveshaft can be checked by elevating the wheels and putting the truck in neutral. Grab the driveshaft and rotate by hand and look for play in the U joint.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aim4squirrels View Post
if it's a 4x4, I don't know that you can check the front u joints. Grease leaking from the cap near the seat or a small gap in the cap is usually a sign.

the driveline u joints in the driveshaft can be checked by elevating the wheels and putting the truck in neutral. Grab the driveshaft and rotate by hand and look for play in the U joint.
It is a 4x4. So what do you recommend me do? Should I change them anyway? What else could be making that noise?
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:15 PM
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Well, the reason I don't know if you can check them is that I have a 2wd and can't look under the truck to verify myself, LOL.

if you can see them, try to wiggle the body of the u joint. if it has play, they need replacing.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:20 PM
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Check the sway bar links!!
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:24 PM
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Check the sway bar links!!
How so? Just by grabbing the sway bars and trying to move them?

I really appreciate the responses here guys. If I can get this front end squared away, it'll be great to drive again.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:55 PM
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Yep, visual inspection, and the 'shake' test. Should be able to get a few fingers on the front u-joints.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:28 AM
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Thanks. I'll give it a try in the morning.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:01 AM
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front u-joint is pretty easy to check. since the tire side is stationary and the axle is free to spin, you can grab ahold of the axle half and twist back and forth. if it moves any and/or makes a click or clack sound, its bad. replace with Precision brand super strength 377 greasable from napa. $29/ea, but you'll be impressed with their bulk.
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:57 PM
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U-joints are really bad. REALLY bad. There's a lot of movement and noise when I shake them around. Now I just gotta find a 1-11/16" socket somewhere...none around here. Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 09-18-2010, 05:57 PM
 
 
 
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