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Old 05-23-2007, 07:02 PM   #1
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1/2 Shaft U-Joint install

Ok, I like doing this post because I get to show that great USA made NAPA zerk joint that cracked in 1/2 after 18k miles on a 350-300 336 vette. No hard abuse and it cracked shifting into 3rd gear at 3,000 rpm on the highway!
This is a pre-chinese junk part as well.







These are all I install on my vettes now. Spicer solids. I had a set of TRW zerks on my 72 for 800 miles and tossed them out and put these on.



RIP- here is the tool for the flange. I tapped the 4 holes 3/8-16 and just bored the face so the flange sits flat.




Here is the flange bolted to it. I cut the old joints out with a torch but you can use a cut off wheel as well. I don't use a bench vise or a press to remove them. Always use a bolt on tool before working on these. The flange will bend very easily if not. You can tell if a "hack" worked on them before- look at the tube near the yoke for flat spots. That means the tube was crushed in a vise, something your more experienced vette dealerships were fond of doing.



Once apart, I clean,blast, paint them with POR15 and a top coat.



Clean up the bores but don't make them sloppy. I like a snug fit. I used to use never-sieze on the caps when installing but an old time driveline guy told me it retains heat and to just use a little oil. Ok, either way works for me.



Here we have a Spicer and typical cheapo " as good as spicer" joint. You can decide what you want to use on your car.



I use the vise to install the new joint as there should not be any load on them. Be sure you fit the caps so the needles don't fall in the cap. If it stops before the groove lines up- stop and see why.







Ok if you do use spicers watch this black plastic pre-load cap. If you over press it then you'll break it. I've seen some vendors call these joints bad because of this but once you understand them you should be ok. If the joint comes out of the box with the rings loaded then hold the cap in a vise and pull/twist the cross off and it should not break. I do have extra rings I got from Spicer though- just in case.
NOTE: These have been replaced by white caps which are more pliable and won't break like the black ones.



If the flange is or was bent then these joints are not going to fit. They are a tight fit but will work.

Since they are larger I usually have to put a small radius in the yoke to fit them. Check yours before you start to assemble or you'll be cursing very quickly. The new flanges usually do not require a radius,and this one is a little too much but I used it to show what area to radius. Sometimes you only have to do one side too.



I like to witness mark them. Probably no good reason other then to see if the clip ever moves. I like the look- what can I say!



When done the shaft should move with no binding. If you loosen the 4 bolts and it binds then the flange is bent and cap failure may be a nasty result.


Tape the caps until you install them.

I use a very good quality French lock. Torque them to 75 ft/lbs


Replace all 4 at a time too. Good luck - you can do it.

Last edited by gtr1999; 08-31-2016 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:07 PM   #2
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Great write up and pics. I did my own on my '77 some years back. For those of you who haven't replaced your U-Joints ,you will be doing it sooner or later.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:39 PM   #3
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Good stuff Gary...thanks. When the time comes I can get the dimensions from my flange and make one up.....if I can get back into the shop. .......if not I have a buddy that can do it for me.

I've toyed with the idea of making a pin gauge to check the old flanges for warpage. Maybe a pin with an O.D. .001" under the O.D. of the U-joint and long enough to go through both sides of the flange. The gauge would go through one side and should (if the flange isn't warped) slip through the opposite side. If it misses the other side by very much it would indicate a warped flange. Just a thought......

Thanks again for the write up.

Rip

Last edited by Rip; 05-23-2007 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:49 PM   #4
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Great write up!!!!

Thanks!
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:59 PM   #5
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Also, don't forget to put the zerk fitting on the compression side of the joint. A little more insurance to avoid premature failure
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Torch View Post
Also, don't forget to put the zerk fitting on the compression side of the joint. A little more insurance to avoid premature failure
Gary does not use the "zerk" style. Neither do I.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info Gary ....that will save many people hours of head aches and broken parts...
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:01 AM   #8
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Cool, Gary--My diff is on the work bench as we speak. I'll be in touch shortly for all the stuff between the tranny tailshaft to the trailing arms.....
I would not have dared tackle this without the help & confidence you have given me.......
Thanks,
John
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:07 AM   #9
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John, Since you have the diff out there are some things you can do to beef it up or just check it. The post on diff's I have going (where I used to post pictures) has got all the info in it. I know a lot of guys have copied it so if you can't find it there you should be able to get it before I can write a new up for here. That may be one of the last ones I write due to the involved procedures. Regardless if you have a question or need help let me know. I've walked a few guys through them in the past as well.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:26 AM   #10
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Geez....that USA part cracked right in the "A".

Awesome write up!!! Sure glad you came over here!!!!
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big2bird View Post
Gary does not use the "zerk" style. Neither do I.
Gotcha, Thanks
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:32 PM   #12
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Don't know if these have been mentioned here before, but these two tools from Volunteer Vette are helpful too:

http://www.volvette.com/page/VVP/PROD/tools/TL30

http://www.volvette.com/page/VVP/PROD/tools/TL35
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:00 AM   #13
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Those will work. The plate looks like mine only not as thick. The other tool I wouldn't use as I use a torch to cut out the old joints. Works the best as it doesn't bend the flange.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:14 PM   #14
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They also have this "professional" version of the plate (looks like it might be thicker plate):

http://www.volvette.com/page/VVP/PROD/tools/TL30A

The other tool looks like it would work well for those of us who don't have a cutting torch.
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:40 AM   #15
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Working on some 3" shafts today. They were a bit rusted in the caps/rollers. When you have some like this one, cut them out otherwise you'll distort them in a press. Then bolt the flange on the plate and drive out the caps.




Last edited by gtr1999; 01-12-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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