Replacing a Universal Joint

If this site has helped you consider a Donation. Donation Info

Ujoint I've never had good luck removing drive shafts and this was no different. I was installing my nice new rear Detroit locker which requires removal of the drive shaft. Removing the drive shaft. means you have to unbolt the U- joint end cap clamps. Every time I do this I always end up dropping one of the caps and spilling the needle bearings; and this was no exception. Since I was putting in a brand-new differential I figured it couldn't hurt to replace the universal joint.

The bearing caps use a 8mm socket. You will also need an 11/16 socket and a 1 1/8 socket.

The U joints are Spicer 5-213X or equivalent. 15.00 ea. New joints come with a grease fitting and new snap rings.

The Universal joint or U-joint is made up of the cross, end caps with needle bearings, a strap kit consisting of the 2 bolts and steel strap and the grease fitting. I use the terms U-joint and cross interchangeably in the directions. The end cap is also called the bearing cup. If you lose one of the little bolts you should be able to pickup a strap kit at a good auto parts store.

Note exactly which side of the cross the grease fitting is on before you take the U-joint apart. If you put it on wrong it may be difficult or impossible to get a grease gun on the fitting. On the rear drive shaft the grease fitting points toward the center of the truck.

Ujoint Cross
Cross shown with end caps removed. Remove the grease fitting

Remove bearing caps Remove the the 2 bearing caps from the cross.

Remove the 2 snap rings from the drive shaft yoke ends.

Support the drive shaft so it's sitting level with the 1-1/8 socket facing open side up on the bottom. Place the 11/16 socket on top of the bearing cap and tap it down until the cross contacts the bottom of the drive shaft yoke.

You can press the bearing out in a vise that has a very wide opening jaw. My vise wouldn't open wide enough so I used the big hammer technique.

End cap pushed down
Showing the end cap pushed down from the top

Cross pushed down
Showing the Cross Pushed Down as far as it will go Pushing the Cap out the Bottom

Cross pushed down
Use a pliers to finish removing the old bearing cup