Drive Shaft U Joint Problems

Has anyone had problems with new drive shaft U Joints? I assembled one yesterday (EacParts branded & repackaged with Jaguar P/N and no country of manufacture). It was binding after putting the clips in. I figured that a roller came out of place during the assembly so I took it apart. Nope - all the rollers were in place. Measured the distance between the caps - 3.250" between all caps on both U Joints, including a brand new one right of of the box. Found a spec that says they S/B 3.219" so I am not surprised they were binding. Went to my local O’Reily, measured a set of their Spicer brand, made in USA, that measure 3.230". Bought them and no surprise they still bind. Returned them, bought a set of Precision brand, made in China, that measure 3.219" and they are OK.

I am surprised that two different brands (different castings - not just same product repackaged) were oversized. Has anyone else found this problem? Anyway if you are buying driveshaft U Joints I suggest measuring them before installing them as there are some bad parts out there.

Dave Christensen
'65 E Type OTS - going back together

Hi David,

I suggest you should also measure the thickness of the circlips as the important distance is the combination of both.
In my experience u-joints have been a little tight when I have assembled them. I always use the hammer to ensure that the cups are tight against the circlips.
For me, tightness caused by a few thou would not concern me as this would ease as the car is driven. (Should the tightness be of concern, I guess one can lightly sand the circlips to take a thou or two off but I would not.)

I would say that the most important to me is to use the Spicer brand and not any others. I have found the others to have much lower quality and thus wear far quicker.

Dennis
69 OTS

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The Spicer U Joints were oversized by about .011" and their clips were the largest @ .060" thick. The EacParts clips were .056" thick and I used them on all the trials. Even with the thinner clips the Spicers were too tight. I could barely move the EacParts U Joints after assembly.

I used a hydraulic press to push the caps in and was VERY careful to push them only far enough to allow the clips to seat.

More times than I care to mention. I blame it (at least partially) on decades of data-base lumping/converting which results in incorrect catalog listings and cross-reference problems.

Cheers
DD

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Me, too, oftentimes

A slight resistance never worried me; it usually eases out as you say.

“Feathering” the joints-- a few medium weight hammer smacks on the yokes----often seems to free things up. Sorta settling things into a neutral position, I guess

When I began using a u-joint press (like a Tiger Tool) I began having much happier results compared to the “pound 'em in” method. Much easier to control what’s happening.

U-joint replacement is supposed to be simple. But, IME, it can sometimes be frustrating as hell.

Cheers
DD

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With a Tiger Tool it looks like you might be able to change drive shaft U joints on a E Type without removing the drive shaft, and IRS cage, maybe.

It’s been a while so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but a lot of the U joints come with different colored clips at different thicknesses.
I’ve also had to resort to using my surface grinder on occasion to get a decent fit.
After installing the clips you are supposed to hammer on the outside of the yolk to seat the clips. That one whack can make all the difference between a binding U joint and one that rotates semi-freely.

Ah, percussive adjustment.

THE sign of a master mechanic…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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The classic line…
Don’t force it, get a bigger hammer!
There’s some truth to this. A bigger hammer will impart more energy it might break it loose. Where a smaller hammer might not break it loose, but just mushroom The part you’re pounding on.
Sometimes one good whack with a big one is better than lots of small whacks with a smaller one.

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I had a similar but I think different problem when replacing the prop shaft u-joints. The u-joint body paired with a “deep” end cap wouldn’t allow me to fully press the cap out (the body would impact the flange before the cap was pressed out far enough). I talked about it, with some pictures here. Was a really frustrating job that I don’t look forward to doing again. I found the Spicer “sealed for life” (non-greasable) u-joints offered a better fit. Again, this was for the propshaft though.

I had the exact same problem when fitting Spicer U-joints to the output shafts on my '69 420G.

We have a Spicer agent in my City, so I rang them and they said this is a common problem.

Advised me to chamfer the clips !

You can do the inside on (my) car without removing much, but the outer ones, I dont think so, they are too close to the wheel rim

I have concluded that it is wise to take a measurement with inside calipers prior to dismantling, as I have found that may mitigate against closing the shaft “ears” up if removing the old uni is stubborn

I do not know why one would remove the IRS to replace a drive shaft U joint with or without a Tiger Tool. I guess maybe if it were really frozen, but apparently mine were not.
Tom

How do you remove the drive shaft without first removing either the rear suspension/IRS cage or the engine and gearbox?

Dave Christensen

I saw no reason to remove the drive shaft. I only repaced the u joint.
Tom

How do you press the U joints out and in, especially the front ones, with the drive shaft in the car? It seems like maybe the Tiger Tool, or something similar, would allow that. The workshop manual says that the driveshaft needs to come out for U joint replacement.

thanks,
Dave Christensen

What you are referring to as a driveshaft is known as a propeller shaft in British speak while driveshaft refers to output shafts on the diffs. They are removable with the irs in place. I agree that the propeller shaft u joints should theoretically be replaceable in the car but it would be tricky.

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Semantics aside, I have replaced U joints on both the prop shaft and half shafts on both E Types that I have owned. If there is a practical way to replace the U joints on either the prop or half shafts, while leaving them in the car, I would sure like to know how to do it.

thanks,
Dave Christensen

David, when I have replaced u joints, I simply drive the cross one way using a hammer and a punch first one way then the other to push out each bearing cup. The front one I did sitting in the driver’s seat with the console and the trans cover removed. I barely even got dirty on that one. Unbolted the flange from the transmission. Supported the drive shaft with some wood and tapped the cross down. Turned half turn and tapped the other way. Removed the flange with cross and then removed the two remaining bearing caps. I remember it was slightly tricky to maneuver the flange and u joint in place to reinstall the last two bearing caps. If the u joint was extremely tight, maybe it would not have come out, I do not know. At the time, I did not know one was expected to remove the drive shaft. I just did what seemed to make sense.
Tom

OK, makes sense if they come out easily. Almost all the U joints I have done needed a press to get them out and the new ones in straight.

thanks,
Dave Christensen

Let’s not forget its cousin, the pressure adjustment.

When I was in 7th grade we went on a field trip (remember those?) to the GM plant in Van Nuys, California. Pressure adjustments were, often, how they made the doors fit. A piece of lumber between the door and body and then pull or push as needed to ‘fit’ the door :slight_smile:

U-joint content: ever done battle with the U-joints that are glued in place at the factory? Oy vey

Sorry for the distraction. But, it’s Sunday, after all

Cheers
DD

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