I recently took apart my rear axle half shaft U joints to replace them and the first one was rather difficult. I eventually worked out a quick way to do it that takes maybe 20 minutes per joint.
I didn’t see anything here that really worked for me and YouTube wasn’t super helpful, so I figured I’d lay out my method here just in case anyone else ends up in my position.
Now I used a press to push the the u joint down with a larger socket on the other side to catch the cap, as anyone would (there are various other methods to make this happen), but I found that the cap wouldn’t come out no matter what I tried to grasp it with. It was out about a 1/4 inch and that was as far as it would go.
The YouTube videos make it seem like the cap just pops out no problem… not in my experience after removing 4 U- joints.
So I used a hammer to tap on the shaft in order to push the spider in the other direction, leaving the cap where it was (sticking out the end). I ended up with caps on both sides sticking out about 1/4 inch. This creates a lot of play, but not enough to get a rod or anything in there to tap it out from the inside.
The stroke of luck came when the needle bearings started to fall out. When they settle into the bottom of the cap, the spider no longer bottoms out on the yoke. This way you can tap on the shaft again to get it to push out a little more.
If the cap doesn’t fall out outright you can stick some more needle bearings in there (you will find plenty around your feet), or get enough play to stick a rod down into the cap and tap it out that way.
It took me about 40 minutes to get the last two U-joints out this way.
I’m just an amateur trying to take care of my jag, so this might not be that amazing to many of you, but this forum has gifted me with so much sage advice that I figured it was about time for me to contribute.
This is part of a larger project where I’m refurbishing the rear drivetrain and suspension, getting rid of rust, painting parts, and replacing bushings, bearings and struts. Feel free to ask me if you think I might be able to help with something.