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Old 07-13-2010, 10:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default U-Joint install issues

Last Friday, I decided to replace the U-Joints on the shaft that runs from the transmission to the transfer case. I had already replaced the joints on the rear shaft with no problems. I used a Harbor Freight U-Joint press.

I replaced the joint on the front of the shaft, where the shaft slides into the transmission, with no problems as well, and sucessfully installed the joint in the rear of the shaft, but hit a snag when installing the the rear yoke/flange that bolts to the transfer case. Removing the caps from this yoke had taken a lot more effort than any of the other ones, and it seems I crushed the "ears" of the yoke together while removing the caps, using the press. I also had to go get a bigger set of vice-grips to remove the caps on this yoke. They were really in there.

So when I went to install the new joint and caps, I could not get the caps in far enough to put the clips in. At first, I thought I had gotten a needle bearing jammed or something, then thought that maybe the u-joint was oversized, but finally came to the realization that the ears of the yoke were closer together than they were supposed to be.

I contacted Suzuki John and he sent me a replacement yoke out on Saturday, which I received last night, and the Samurai is now back on the road.

Has anyone else ever had this happen? I have replaced a few U-Joints in my time and have never had this happen before. I managed to do 7 out of 8 pairs of caps (3 and 1/2 u-joints) on the Samurai without issue as well.

Well, at least my driveline shudder from 10-20 mph is now gone. The new rear joints reduced it, and the new center joints eliminated it.

The rear most joint on the rear shaft was pretty loose. The other 3 u-joints actually had very little play, almost non-existant, and the joints flexed smoothly under hand pressure, but dissassembly showed that the needle bearings had formed grooves in the bearing surface, meaning that the u-joints would not flex smoothly under load. The only symptom was the shudder while accelerating hard in high range, between 10 and 20 mph. It would not shudder when accelerating hard in 4wd low, even with the hubs unlocked. I'm guessing due to the load on the joints being reduced due to the better gearing.
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Last edited by VaderSS; 07-13-2010 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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When I first started taking my first Zook out and thrashing it, I would always be replacing ujoints. But that was usually because I would wack the shafts on the rocks. It would definately bang up the yokes when that happened. I learned to keep half a dozen extra in the garage so i could patch the rig up to drive it to work on Monday. When replacing the ujoints I could re-align the ears if they weren't too thrashed, but I knew once they were bent the shaft would only be good for the trail. I still have stock shafts on the street Zook, but for the trail Zook I swapped over to Tom Woods shafts. In the past 12 years I have only had to replace 2 ujoints on those shafts. (can you say Beefy? ... I knew you could)
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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ahhh the u joints! sounds like what happened to me except i didnt have a press! i used a big clamp and a hammer! i spent i think a full day or 2 full days replacing just my rear drive shaft u joints. i think i messed mine up too and bent it cuz i was barely able to get those snap rings in i had to use a smaller snap ring on a couple sides. i jammed one of the needle bearings, and had to redo that too, this was a mess. i have to do my mid-shaft now as well and im taking it to a machine shop this time!
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Every-time I had changed mine I had my mechanic do it he would hold the offending Joint in hand. Then it is like whack turn , whack turn , whack turn and whack and all the Cups on the U joint would pop out half way...of course c clips removed first.

Then he would press in all the new cups with a vice and some sockets and whack the ears of the joint will pop back into place and good to go. And I am like every time. You know I think I have some U joints to replace on a loaner so I am vid tape the session and place it on boob tube
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Old 11-18-2011, 09:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When I replaced my joints, I put AC Delco joints in and the rear most joint was failing in under 20k miles. I went back with Suzuki joints and just used a hammer and sockets this time. It went much smoother and no parts were damaged.

The Suzuki joints are MUCH better built than any other U-Joint I have ever seen. They have both a "dust seal" like most joints as well as a precision bearing type seal. That one feature should help them last longer, but they also feel heftier too.
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Old 11-20-2011, 07:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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With no exception, OEM parts for the Stock Sammi are the best choice.
Since I cannot afford OEM ;( for U joints I use GMB from Japan. Once you pump some grease into the every couple of months the last real long.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I replaced mine back in spring and im hearing a "clang" when I take off for the past few months.Not sure which one but sure sounds like a "U"....When I replaced mine The rear shaft kicked my butt then I decided to smooth out the yoke's inside with a scotch brite pad then put a light coat of oil around it..The next shaft was a breeze doing it like this...
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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did you check drive-shaft angles?

Last edited by Suzuki_Samurai_87; 11-26-2011 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebattleon View Post
With no exception, OEM parts for the Stock Sammi are the best choice.
Since I cannot afford OEM ;( for U joints I use GMB from Japan. Once you pump some grease into the every couple of months the last real long.
How about $20 for OEM?
Factory U-Joints
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaderSS View Post
How about $20 for OEM?
Factory U-Joints
Have you actually bought any of these? They are more than 60 % off dealer prices...its too good to be true.
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Last edited by ebattleon; 11-30-2011 at 01:49 PM.
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