Changing a universal joint

In this week’s show a caller had an issue with a defective univeral joint. Tom and Ray gave advice in removing a one piece drive shaft, and there was some mention about a hammer being used to replace the universal joint. I suggest that a vise, large c clamp or hydraulic press be used instead to avoid damage to the yoke and bearings. Using a hammer will result in needle bearings falling all over the floor.

I was surprised they told the caller he could do it himself, when he didn’t even know what a driveshaft was! While straightforward, if you know what you’re doing, replacing U joints is not something for the mechanically inexperienced to do on their own. And yes, a hammer is not the tool to use.

A large vise is a great aid in doing this job. I particulary like it when the vise is mounted on a pedastal and that pedestal is mounted to a large truck tire and rim and the tire is filled with concrete. This make a real stable platform that can also be moved when it is in the way and moved when the overhanging driveshaft hits something.

While it is possible to replace U-joints with a hammer and appropriately sized socket, it is risky behavior and I would not advise doing it, especially if one is not familiar with how the job is supposed to be done. I watched my father use this method a number of times when I was a kid, but I have never used this method myself and never would. My father was also doing this to old iron from the '70s and, at newest, early '80s. Aluminum driveshafts probably wouldn’t hold up as well to such abuse. Tom and Ray may have had a bit of a nostalgic moment, if you could call it that.