07-13-2010, 10:05 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cordelia, CA
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.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock
Last edited by VaderSS; 07-13-2010 at 10:09 AM.