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Thread: U joints, can I do it or is it a PITA?

  1. #1
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    Default U joints, can I do it or is it a PITA?

    So I need new u joints as the ones on the 88 T-bird are shot. They have been going since last summer when the damn clunk when changing gears started. I was driving on the highway the other day and I noticed that the floor, seats, dash, and steering column vibrate at speeds above 70 mph. I jacked up the car and found the the u joints have virtualy no play rotationaly but a bit of up and down play. The disturbing thing is that both the front and rear u joints have lost virtually all of their grease as they are both covered in black caked on grease. They are pretty much shot, which is causing the damn vibration.

    So I need to get the things changed asap. Can I do it at home or am I better off taking the drive shaft in to have it done? Has anyone done it at home and if so do you have any tips?
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  2. #2
    Sduneman3 Guest

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    It would probably be just as easy to take it somewhere to get it done. Unless you have access to a bench press to press the u joints out. Taking it somewhere should cost maybe $50. The joints themselves are pretty cheep.

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    I have the u joints so I just need to get them in. I don't have a press but I do have a really, really, big vice though
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

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    Its not that hard. Ive done it on several cars without a press. If they are rusted up they are a real PITA.

    I set up a little wooden channel that the driveshaft lays in.
    Then i put a large socket under the lower side.
    Match Mark the driveshaft to the flange.
    Remove the retaining clips with vice grips and a screw driver.
    I soak the thing in penetrating oil and then come back a half hour later.
    Then I take a smaller socket and gently tap the cap through the other side.
    Sometimes, if they are stubborn, once I have enough play in the cap being tapped out, I use a small screwdriver to drive it out the rest of the way.

    Re-installation is the opposite. Clean up the flange with a piece of sandpaper.
    Remove the grease fitting (for clearance).


    I have done it this way 2 times and I probably got lucky both times. I would probably recommend having someone else do it though. Its kinda a huge PITA doing it this way and if you bend up your flange your in a world of hurt.

    I am sure I will get pounced on and called an idiot but I have done it successfully this way. I still recommend taking it to a shop to have it done as it should be cheap.

    Here is a good article if your a DIY type.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/how_...e/1272541.html

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    Make sure you check the bolts one at the rear end. You know where the drive shaft bolts to the rear. I had a similar problem and those little bolts had started to loosen up on me. As for the U-joints they are easy. If you can get you hands on a U joint/ball joint press. It looks like a large C-clamp. You can rent them at most part stores. That tool makes it a breeze.
    84 Turbo coupe 2.3T Modded with 88 upper and lower intake, 88 injectors, E6 manifold, T3-4 AR.60 turbo, 31X12X3 FMIC, Homemade MBC , Greddy knock off BPV.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danzajax View Post
    Its not that hard. Ive done it on several cars without a press. If they are rusted up they are a real PITA.

    I set up a little wooden channel that the driveshaft lays in.
    Then i put a large socket under the lower side.
    Match Mark the driveshaft to the flange.
    Remove the retaining clips with vice grips and a screw driver.
    I soak the thing in penetrating oil and then come back a half hour later.
    Then I take a smaller socket and gently tap the cap through the other side.
    Sometimes, if they are stubborn, once I have enough play in the cap being tapped out, I use a small screwdriver to drive it out the rest of the way.

    Re-installation is the opposite. Clean up the flange with a piece of sandpaper.
    Remove the grease fitting (for clearance).


    I have done it this way 2 times and I probably got lucky both times. I would probably recommend having someone else do it though. Its kinda a huge PITA doing it this way and if you bend up your flange your in a world of hurt.

    I am sure I will get pounced on and called an idiot but I have done it successfully this way. I still recommend taking it to a shop to have it done as it should be cheap.

    Here is a good article if your a DIY type.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/how_...e/1272541.html
    im not sure what planet your from but apparently you and i live on the same one.

    A hand sledge to strike as mentioned above will get the caps to come through just fine. Ive never bent a flange but i guess if your careless you can.

    The only thing i would add is you better damn sure make certain your caps are aligned when the new joints go in or you will get a roll pin cockeyed.

    everything you said sounds like what eveyone has done many times,, excluding the "gentle" part.
    there isnt too much gentle when doing ujoints,, just brute force.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcassity View Post
    im not sure what planet your from but apparently you and i live on the same one.

    A hand sledge to strike as mentioned above will get the caps to come through just fine. Ive never bent a flange but i guess if your careless you can.

    The only thing i would add is you better damn sure make certain your caps are aligned when the new joints go in or you will get a roll pin cockeyed.

    everything you said sounds like what eveyone has done many times,, excluding the "gentle" part.
    there isnt too much gentle when doing ujoints,, just brute force.
    LOL finally someone who sees it my way.

    Ive been zapped on here before for suggesting the way I do things.
    I just didn't want him to wack it with a sledge. I get by just fine being careful. I had a friend in high school with a LTD that vibrated like a magic fingers bed because he "bent the flange". I think he just knocked off a drive shaft weight.

    Now that you mention it. I do remember wailing on the first one with some pretty good force. I used a standard hammer though. Nailing away on a cheap socket.

    2x on the alignment. And make 3x positive that all your pins are on the sides of the cap.

    Ive done several the way I mentioned and they all worked fine for me. I have heard tale that heating it up with a torch helps too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by danzajax View Post
    Its not that hard. Ive done it on several cars without a press. If they are rusted up they are a real PITA.

    I set up a little wooden channel that the driveshaft lays in.
    Then i put a large socket under the lower side.
    Match Mark the driveshaft to the flange.
    Remove the retaining clips with vice grips and a screw driver.
    I soak the thing in penetrating oil and then come back a half hour later.
    Then I take a smaller socket and gently tap the cap through the other side.
    Sometimes, if they are stubborn, once I have enough play in the cap being tapped out, I use a small screwdriver to drive it out the rest of the way.

    Re-installation is the opposite. Clean up the flange with a piece of sandpaper.
    Remove the grease fitting (for clearance).


    I have done it this way 2 times and I probably got lucky both times. I would probably recommend having someone else do it though. Its kinda a huge PITA doing it this way and if you bend up your flange your in a world of hurt.

    I am sure I will get pounced on and called an idiot but I have done it successfully this way. I still recommend taking it to a shop to have it done as it should be cheap.

    Here is a good article if your a DIY type.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/how_...e/1272541.html
    Thats pretty much the way I've done it on my vans and cars. I've never had a problem getting them apart.
    I've done it on the side of the road once. Thats when you know they're ready to replace. LOL
    ***** Project "EVOLUTION" 1987 Cougar LS & 1985 Cougar Convertible *****

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    Well I took the easy way out . My uncle has a big ass press so I went by him and we pressed them out 1-2-3. We replaced both even though the rear one was the problem. The front one looked ok but the rear was frozen in one direction. The bearings were just dust in two of the caps opposite of each other.
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  10. #10
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    I did mine in my grandma's driveway with a C-clamp and a big socket...it was pretty easy actually.

    Oh yeah, and I put red loctite on the driveshaft bolts, of course.

    Garrett H.
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