how to replace the u-joints in your 80

Discussion in '80-Series Tech' started by semlin, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. semlin

    semlin rocker SILVER Star

    north of 49
    well I searched but could not find a thread on this getting read to do it, and I would have liked one so I am writing one up. never having done it before the first time I bought a tool I didn't need and wasted a fair bit of time so for those like me who skipped out shop class and for whom each new wrenching area is a remedial learning experience, here's my usual overkill primer on replacing the u-joints.

    1. I had bad u-joints for a while before i realized it. the vibration whining noise and clunking kind of grew on me I guess. It wasn't until I got a nasty butt vibration that I went looking and even then I could only feel the play in the u-joints when I lifted the rear wheels off the ground. With new u-joints the car is night and day in smoothness. really quite shocking.

    2. pulling the drive shaft can suck. I recommend an extra long 14mm wrench and a mallet to break the nuts free at the t-case end. I found an 18" breaker bar would not get the job done. Toyota expects you to make match marks on each flange plate to match the alignment exactly. Also the nuts at the diff end of the drive shafts are serrated lock nuts and you are supposed to loosen and tighten from the bolt side (also the washer goes on the bolt side, not the nut side).

    3. ok so once you get the thing off, you have to take the u-joint apart. First a geography lesson. A u-joint has 4 parts, the yoke (the u-shaped thing on the end of the drive shaft), the flange (the other u shaped thing that attaches to the differential), the spider (the centre cross) and the races (4 round things that are inset into the flange and yoke and hold the spider in place and contain the needle bearings that allow the u-joint spider to rotate). you are supposed to use match marks to ensure that the flange/yoke alignment and zirc location match when you replace everything. Take special note of this as you don't want to have to try and change things once you have pounded the new races in. Be particularly conscious of the zirc location as if you put it in the wrong spot you won't be able to reach it without pulling the drive shaft which will either cause you hassles every oil change or shorten the life of your u-joint a lot.

    4. remove the 4 c-clips that hold the races in place. These are at the end of each arm of the spider flush against the inner surface of the flange and yoke. they are not half way between the cross and the yoke as I assumed (Don't pull the rubber seal off the middle or you will get a handful of needle bearings everywhere).

    5. the c-clips are tightly wedged in a groove. to remove them easily you need to release tension on the groove. to do this you need to hammer the race into the yoke/flange a little bit. To do this you need something like a brass drift or a bushing. I used a 22mm socket which fit just inside the race, and a brass mallet. When you pound on the race to release the tension it doesn't really matter whether the bottom of the flange (the opposite race) is wedged against something or open. Either way pounding on the race a few times should release enough tension to pop the c clip.

    6. to pop the c-clip use two flat head screwdrivers and wedge them against each end of the c-clip and push. no need for a a hammer - they should pop out a little and then you can hook them out with one of the screwdrivers. It should be possible to rotate the c-clip so you can line up the screwdrivers. if the c-clip won't move, you haven't released enough tension. go back to 5. i found cursing helped a little.

    7. once you have removed all the c-clips you need to remove the races. This is the part that confused me. I had read about using a big c-clamp for this and went out and bought a 6 " c-clamp. This was a waste of money imho. what you need to do is set the yoke or flange into a vice so that the opposite race can freely come out of the otherside of the flange as you are hitting this race. Then hammer the race with a brass drift or a 22mm socket or something using a big brass mallet. both races should pop out with one falling out the bottom and one going into the middle of the yoke where it will be wedged against the spider. You then have to remove the spider from the flange or yoke. You may have to remove the zirc or hammer the old race to be able to remove the spider.

    8. make sure you are happy with the zirc and flange/yoke alignment and then reassemble the new spider and start knocking in races beginning with the yoke (make sure spider is inside yoke befoprre you knock a race in). Again, I have heard of using the c-clamp to push the new races in. I found the c-clamp actually started to damage the first race I tried. Instead I gently hammered the race in with a brass mallet which worked really well. I took care to make sure that the spider was completely clear of the race as I hammered the first side in, then on the opposite side I made sure the spider was seated loosely in the race I was hammering and then in the other raced once driven in a little.

    9. attach the new zirc fitting to the spider after installing the first two races. If you wait until all 4 races are in it is difficult to install.

    10, next install the new c-clips making sure the races are sufficiently seated to allow the clips to seat completely into their slots. this took a couple of tries for me.

    11. The Toyota u-joints I used came with grease in the races. I did not add any grease when I fitted the parts but after the whole thing was together I greased both u-joints until a tiny bit of grease started to come out the seals. I have no idea if this is the right thing, but it imade sense to me.

    12. reinstall the drive shaft keeping in mind the specified torque is 65 ft lbs for the rear shaft and 54 for the front, which is plenty of torque for such small bolts so don't rely on a short wrench or socket to get'er done. remember rear drive shaft is in phase (yokes at either end of drive shaft line up) and front is out of phase for 93-97 (yokes at 90 degrees to each other) and in phase for a 91-92.

    wow only 12 steps. I am getting more concise in my old age. this a 2
    :banana: activity IMHO
    yogi man likes this.
  2. Elijah


    slc area
    Nice write-up Semlin, FAQ material IMO. Sure to save some people money. Thanks.
  3. Romer

    Romer fatherofdaughterofromer Moderator

    Centennial, Colorado
    Great write-up. I added it to the FAQ
  4. MaddBaggins

    MaddBaggins Remember the KnightRider!

    In the Middle of the Street
    The 12 step program with Semlin
    I have some new u-joints I was planning on installing this weekend when I install my aussie locker. Thanks for the write up:cheers:
  5. Gumby

    Gumby Supamod Staff Member s-Moderator

    Knee deep in hookers and gin
    That's not how I remember step #6

  6. aamiggia


    Moncton, NB
    Good stuff, Semlin.

    I'm not sure how you were using the C-clamp, but the way to use it is in conjuction with some shallow sockets. 1 socket larger than the bearing cup and 1 just a bit smaller. This procedure is stolen from here.

    3. Place U-joint in a vise.

    4. Select a wrench socket with an outside diameter slightly smaller than the U-joint bearings. Select another wrench socket with an inside diameter slightly larger than the U-joint bearings.

    5. Place the sockets at opposite bearings in the yoke so that the smaller socket becomes a bearing pusher and the larger socket becomes a bearing receiver when the vise jaws come together, Figure 4. Close vise jaws until both the bearings are free of yoke and remove bearings from the cross or spider.

    6. If bearings will not come all the way out, close vise until bearing in receiver socket protrudes from yoke as much as possible without using excessive force. Then remove from vise and place that portion of bearing that protrudes from yoke between vise jaws. Tighten vise to hold bearing and drive yoke off with a soft hammer.

    7. To remove opposite bearing from yoke, replace in vise with pusher socket on exposed cross journal with receiver socket over bearing cup. Then tighten vise jaws to press bearing back through yoke into receiving socket.

    8. Remove yoke from drive shaft and again place protruding portion of bearing between vise jaws. Then tighten vise to hold bearing while driving yoke off bearing with soft hammer.

    9. Turn spider or cross ΒΌ turn and use the same procedure to press bearings out of drive shaft.

  7. semlin

    semlin rocker SILVER Star

    north of 49
    aamigia, yup I can see how that would work and I tried it. I had 2 problems. First, the 80 has a big u-joint and even a 32 mm socket does not fit comfortably over the race hole so you have to keep checking to see if the lip of the big socket is blocking the movement of the bottom race. a bigger hub socket would work but my 54mm hub socket was too big to fit inside the jaws of the c clamp and you might need an 8" c-clamp instead of 6" to get it down. Second, the c-clamp just didn't move the races. nothing happened when I tightened even using a pair of vice grips to tighten the clamp handle, compared to pounding the 22m socket with a brass hammer which took about 20 seconds a side to get'er done.

    Anyway, didn't work for me but I can see how it would work, especially if you have the better kind of c-clamp with a six sided end to the threaded rod so you can tighten it with a wrench.
  8. rockclmbr


    Bay Area
    I helped Darwood replace his U-joints a few months ago. We used this tool from Harbor Freight which made the entire process much easier (similar to using a c-clamp)


    ITEM 38335-0VGA

    I picked this up at my local HF for $19 when on sale.
  9. Gumby

    Gumby Supamod Staff Member s-Moderator

    Knee deep in hookers and gin
    Semlin - you bastid.:flipoff2:

    You post this. Same day I get a noise. Checked it out today. Rear u-joint toast.

    i replaced all four, but I figure you owe me for the rear one at least for posting a jinx thread. :D

    I use the BFH and BF vise method.
  10. semlin

    semlin rocker SILVER Star

    north of 49
    you can have my old u-joints if you want em :flipoff2:
  11. beno

    beno 33030-60450 Moderator Supporting Vendor

    Covington, GA
    Real nice write up--definitely a bookmark for that one.

    This is also a good write-up for those of you who need a bit more visual representation of the task at hand:

    I used this one to rebuild the extra set of drive shafts I now carry in the rig.

    Akron, OH

  12. pound3151


    Very important step to remember is to mark the zerks with something that won't rub off. If you lose your marks, remember that the zerks are not 45 degrees between the u joints, but off centered slightly. If you put them in incorrect you will not be able to grease them, probably not even if you drop the driveshaft. You will then have to pop the u joint out and give it a 1/4 turn and ponder whether you should re use the snap rings. Don't ask me how I know this.:censor:
  13. tres0422


    Dallas, Texas
    I am just going to say that step 7 didn't go that way at all. I followed the method. Well I pounted and pounded to get those guys through. No way that a pair of channel locks could be used to remove the cap on the first race to remove it.

    What brand of u-joints did you guys use?

    Pound3151 how did your removal go?
  14. reffug


    'in dat der briar patch'
    all I want to say is nice use of the search function.

    very much appreciated.
  15. mr jits

    mr jits SILVER Star

    Tualatin, Oregon
    I used a bottle jack, a couple of sockets, and the frame of the truck to press out the braces and seat the new ones. I figured this would help me save time if I were ever to break one on the trail, but I tried it in the garage first.
  16. There was no way I could possibly pull the bearing caps out with vise grips once they were protruding. I hammered on one side until both caps were clear of the yoke/flange then I ended up having to grind a significant chunk off the one cap still on the inside to clear the yoke/flange for removal of the spider.

    Otherwise, great write up - very helpful.

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