Replacing The Rear Universal Joint On Your Passenger Truck Or SUV

Automotive Blog

If your vehicle has that tell-tale vibration and clanging noise that signals a universal joint failure, then you will be happy to know that this is a repair that you can easily make in your own garage. Even if you do not have a lot of mechanical skills, universal joint replacements are fairly straightforward.

To replace the rear universal joint on your truck or SUV, you will need the following:

  • an appropriate size socket and ratchet
  • a replacement universal joint
  • a rubber mallet 
  • a pair of needle-nose pliers
  • a stick of white chalk

In addition to the above, you will also need a vice to set the drive shaft on while you work to remove the universal joint.

Follow these steps to replace the faulty universal joint in your vehicle:

Step 1: Before you remove the drive shaft, first run the chalk down the drive shaft, across the existing universal joint, and across the flange at the back end that connects to the rear axle. This is necessary because the drive shaft is specially balanced for your vehicle, and it needs to be put back in place in the same orientation that you removed it.

Step 2: Using the ratchet and socket, remove the four bolts that hold the drive shaft in place. If the bolts are stuck, you can apply a small amount of brake cleaner to help lubricate and loosen the bolts.

Step 3: Once the bolts have been removed, then you can slide the drive shaft toward the front of your vehicle and lift it out. If the drive shaft is stuck in place, hit the flange area with the rubber mallet, and it will loosen.

Step 4: Place the drive shaft on your table with the universal joint resting on the vice. Using the pliers, remove the clips that hold the universal joint's caps in place. Save the clips because you will need them for the new part.

Step 5: Place your socket up against one side of the universal joint and hit it with the mallet. This will remove the cover. Do the same for the other side, and it will free the joint from its place.

Step 6: Replace the universal joint with the new one and place the clips back in the same position as they were on the one that you previously removed.

Step 7: Finally, replace the drive shaft back on your vehicle, making sure that you line up the chalk line to ensure that it is in the proper position. Replace the four bolts for the drive shaft.

For more information, contact Import Automotive or a similar location.


22 September 2015

About Greg Chapman

When I was little, I'd watch old movies with my grandfather. One of my favorite scenes was when Steve McQueen tried to jump that big fence on his motorcycle in "The Great Escape." After I saw that, I just wanted a motorcycle. I was obsessed with them! My grandpa knew that, and he helped me build one for myself. He took me shopping for all the parts, taught me about the mechanics of it all, and walked me through all the building and repairs. Since then, my love has expanded to all things that run with a motor, including cars. Even though I'm not a professional, I'm quite skilled, and that has proven handy when it comes to my own repairs and the simple enjoyment of riding my bikes. Check out my blog!