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Old 07-16-2015
ob1jeeper ob1jeeper is offline
(Steve) (KG7EWF)
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Wickenburg, AZ
Vehicle: CJ7 - OlBlue
Posts: 1,662
Reputation: ob1jeeper will become famous soon enough
Default Gracie gets the Shaft…


Ladybugs Gracie experienced a rear propshaft rear u-joint failure while in Ouray recently. Fortunately, one of the folks that we were enjoying the trails with had a spare joint, and Gracie was soon back on the trail.

Since this "new" joint had been in the spares box for some time, and it was apparent that the bearing cups had come off a few times, I removed the cups, cleaned them and the rollers, then re-assembled the joint before installing it. It seems that none in our group happened to have a grease gun, so I added a touch of fresh grease to each cup, and we were good-to-go for the remainder of the trail rides, and for the drive home.

Once home, I decided to pull the shaft, and check the front joint, as it too was a "lube-for-life" original joint (with over 100K on it), and since the rear had failed by going dry, I figured there was a fair chance that it too was likely in need of at least being checked for adequate lubrication.

So, I again pulled the shaft, and pulled the first cup off, only to discover that it had plenty of lube, and the seals were good, so I elected to re-install the removed cup and simply buy a spare joint for possible future needs.

That was a GREAT plan, until I damaged the cup seal when re-installing the cup… On to plan "B"… Replace the joint now.

A quick trip to the parts store, and I had a new u-joint in hand. I disassembled the front yoke from the shaft, and began by pressing the new joint into the trans end yoke, then began to assemble that to the main shaft. All was going well, when the first cup into the shaft itself, froze up part-way into the shaft yoke ear.

Hmmm… I pulled the cup out, and discovered it had left a light ridge of marterial in the shaft yoke ear. So I carefully filed the offending ridge with a jewlers file, then attempted to re-insert the cup into the ear. ItThis time it went in approx 3/4 of the way before it froze in the ear…

I again removed it… AND… I did what I SHOULD have done when I first ran into the issue (or better yet when I got home with the new parts, and saw that all 4 caps were not identical, in that two had the cir-clip grooves cut into the inner end of the bearing cups, while the other two had no such groove. BTW: This is NOT an uncommon style of u-joint, so I initially gave it no more thought…).

ANYWAY, I pulled out my trusty dial calipers, and discovered that the offending cup, and the one directly across from it (the grooved ones), were approx 0.015" larger in diameter than the other two cups… No wonder it wasn't going to fit…


And by now, I had damaged the shaft yoke ear, by stretching it to the point that the correct diameter cup would no longer fit snuggly into the yoke ear, but almost fell through the hole it should have been a press fit into…


SO, off to Precision Driveline in PHX (3225 W. Osborn, 602-269-1355), where a new yoke, and a correct u-joint assembly was installed. I am, as always, well satisfied with thier work, and reasonable prices…
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