U-Joints............what are these things made of....?

flintknapper

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I'm at 328K miles on my 97 model. Still have the original U-joints and I can find no perceivable movement in them (wear).

Yes, I keep them greased. I've had the vehicle for 21 of its 24 years and do all the maintenance....but it just seems incredible to me that they are still holding up.

Is is just me.......?
 

devo

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My story…. At 285K on my ’97 I thought I would do some easy PM. With no play or obvious issues I thought I would change out the U-joints just for the heck of it. I mean they were old with a ton O‘miles!
Worst decision ever!!! Used a professional drive line shop to press in the joints and rebalance the shafts. It was never as good as the old used stuff. To the point were I bought a brand new rear shaft from Mr. Toyota. Could also be that the professional drive line shop screwed up but even on a redo it was never right.

I’d say don’t do it but the other part of responsible PM is to change them so that they don’t blow out on the trail ?




devo
 
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Not just you, mine are original too, no play after 25 years. Well, they were original. I put on brand new genuine front and rear prop shafts a few weeks back. Figured I'd do it while they were still available, and now I have some good spares I can clean up and swap in if I ever need to rebuild.

Well there was one issue actually I just remembered. The press-fit zerk in one of the front u-joints fell out last time I greased it. No easy fix, needed to be replaced. Mine's a part time model though, so I didn't fuss about it at the time as the front prop shaft doesn't even spin unless the hubs are locked and I'm off road.
 
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Dec 10, 2007
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373,000 miles on my 96 model FZJ80 with original rear U-joints but they do sling out their grease more quickly than my 97 model with less miles, most likely due to old/hardened seals. Now and then I can hear a slight metallic "tink" when I shift into reverse if I haven't greased those joints in ~ 5000 or so miles which is about how often they've gotten greased over the past 20 years. I switched from using Mobil 1 synthetic grease to Valvoline Palladium (3% Moly) maybe 50,000 miles ago. No driveline vibrations. FWIW
 
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A lot of them are (were ?) 1145 steel. At least American. Not sure on Japanese stuff.
 
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Nov 18, 2019
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Albuquerque NM
I replaced mine at ~225k miles and saw some minor brinelling on the u-joint crosses.

Resized_20201121_141009_9437.jpeg
 
Last edited:
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Toronto, NSW, Australia
I don't have the right setup to do uni-joint replacements myself. I tried once, and buggered it up.

What grease do people use for them - moly (grey) or lithium (high temp bearing type)?

I use moly for the tail shaft slip joints.
 

flintknapper

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I don't have the right setup to do uni-joint replacements myself. I tried once, and buggered it up.

What grease do people use for them - moly (grey) or lithium (high temp bearing type)?

I use moly for the tail shaft slip joints.

Don't know if this is correct for the application, but I've been using this for years on all my vehicles and zero turn mower.

durablend grease.jpeg
 
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Tennessee
341k miles on mine, original rears. Removed them to replace them but accidentally bought 2 front sets. (fronts were also fine, but replaced to try to eliminate vibration after OME lift...which didn't eliminate it). Needle bearings were still clean, so I just put them back in. Still going strong, no play, no noise. Really amazing.
 

flintknapper

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341k miles on mine, original rears. Removed them to replace them but accidentally bought 2 front sets. (fronts were also fine, but replaced to try to eliminate vibration after OME lift...which didn't eliminate it). Needle bearings were still clean, so I just put them back in. Still going strong, no play, no noise. Really amazing.


Dang....well I guess I'm good then. Not all that unusual it sounds like.
 
Joined
May 15, 2005
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Ladysmith
I cut a single cheap MOOG u-joint into a cross section. It is somewhere on the 60 series forum
but I got lots of feedback. They are Not all made the same. Original Toyota stuff is very high quality.
Aftermarket discount - So much cheaper! That’s why we buy it - is real crap.
The cross sectioned u-joint one of the grease channels didn’t even connect. Two were almost through
but only allowed marginal grease and as usual only one channel actually allowed grease to the caps.
It’s common enough I’ve just accepted it over the years. I just replaced another, it was a higher quality
joint but after 120000 kms it shouldn’t have failed. But it had failed.
 
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Provo, Utah
Vice, brass hammer, grease gun, punch, and grinder (preferably 7") is all you need to do a good job. Plenty of Youtube videos on the process (I prefer the crotchety old Aussie farmer videos). Not too bad.
 
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sacramento
My Dad tought me how to change them, about a million years ago, we used a couple different sockets, a big C-clamp and a hammer.
Sounds like what I did, kinda. My guy at the NAPA machine shop didn't flinch pressing all my suspension bushings, but wasn't thrilled about doing the U joints. So, I did them. Not that bad, really. Just take the time to make sure the clips are seated.i did mine at 372,000 miles. They seemed okay. Replaced with OEM. I too got an extra pair of fronts, cause I thought that they were the same as the rears. I'll sell 'em if anyone is interested
 
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Denver CO
230,000 miles on original fronts and rears on two 80s for me. No vibes. Just had a driveshaft guy look at one of the fronts and he said no need to replace joints. Greased every 3-5,000 over the last 100,000 miles.
 

lp2k

Had a couple of drinks.. saw a couple of things
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Confirmed tool :

Tiger Tool U Joint Pullers (Automotive (Class 1-3)) | The Original Inventor | Made in North America​


that will fit and press the old ones out. Just got mine from Amazon. Looking forward to changing mine out when my back is better.
 
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230k miles on mine, no vibration, no rattle, etc. Honestly doubt that the PO ever greased them in 150k miles - he just wasn't that kinda guy. I have a set ready to go whenever these fail, but I'll keep pumping with Palladium and humming along until that day comes.
 
Joined
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Mine are original and have 256K on them, I pump them with Valvoline Palladium (which I believe is 3% moly) at each oil change (which is 5K even though I am running Valvoline fully synthetic 10W-30 motor oil). I've thought about replacing the U-joints, like the OP, just because I feel like they should be worn out, but I'm trying to fight that urge.
Land Cruiser for the (longevity) win!
 

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