Replacing your Front

Axle U-joints

 I decided when i replaced my front axle u-joints again that I would take pictures and explain how it is done because a lot of people do not know how to replace them and it is very a important thing to know how to do on the trail. I could of used my press and other fancy tools to get this done, but i did it how you would do it on the trail, with a hammer a screwdriver and a block of wood (not counting the other tools you need to remove your axles, that was done before and is very easy so i did not take any pictures)
We volunteered Dave's Axles to do this because they were already out and about 30 years old so they need replacing


First Scrape off the grease/rust crap or what ever and locate the small c-clips on the inside of the axle

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torch.jpg (61694 bytes)  Tap the End of the clip with your screwdriver and hammer so it just sticks out enough so you can pry it out, you have 4 of them on each U-joint, and you must remove them all
 Lay the Axle on your block of wood with one of the yokes flat with the wood and the other hanging off the wood as the picture shows. Here you will hit the yoke with the hammer, this in my opinion is the best way to remove u-joints, you need to hit it right behind the cap, and sometimes you need to hit it hard

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measure.jpg (53883 bytes)  After hitting the yoke, the Cap will start to pop out the axle, When it is out of the axle enough, grab it with some channellock pliers and pull it the rest of the way out, Flip it over it and continue to the other side
 After Both caps are out on the Short side shaft, separate the shafts and place the joint on the block of wood as shown in the picture and hit the axle again to get the u-joint cap to pop out

tack.jpg (51263 bytes)

Remove the U-joint caps from the new joint and place the U-joint inside the axles first, then place the caps in the yokes from the outside and tap them down with a hammer softly until you can get to the groove where the clips go in, and then tap the clips in

The #1 reason for u-joint failure (besides age) is the U-joint caps walking themselves out of the yoke. This can be cured by machining the axles to use a full circle snap ring, buying after market shafts like Moser's and Warns's, or by tack welding the caps of the u-joints to the axle. Now none of these are a "have to do" thing but if you want to get the most time out of your U-joints it is recommend. Tack welding them is what i choose because we are still using our 30 year old axle shafts and it does not seem worth the effort to machine a new snap ring groove in and new axles were out of the question because we did not have the money
I followed my "on the trail" repair and used my Ready Welder to tack the caps on there. When welding the caps, you need to have the heat down low and make small tacks then allow plenty of time for the joint to cool so you do not burn the grease out. Slap them back in your truck and your are ready to hit the trails again

-Mark Harris