U joint replacement:

Replacing U joints is a great Saturday afternoon project.

With the proper universal joint pressing tool, replacing these joints is a fairly straightforward job.

Some driveshafts are two-piece units that have a center support bearing secured to a cross member in the center of the vehicle. Disconnect the center bearing, remove the rear U bolts and you can slide your driveshaft out from under the car.

Some automakers use polymer resin to retain the universal joints. If that’s the case, be prepared to use extreme pressure to press them out. Heating may be required.

If not permanently greased, grease properly and they will last for thousands of miles. Keep in mind that super joints are permanently greased, but non-greased joints are stronger.

Why it’s so important to replace your U joints:
Worn universal joints can be a real aggravation. They clunk when you let the clutch out or pull the transmission lever into drive. They also clunk each time you get on or off the throttle. Even more irritating is the vibration that increases with vehicle speed.

If not replaced, worn universal joints can come apart, spitting your driveshaft into the street. These joints are relatively inexpensive to replace – driveshafts, on the other hand, are very expensive!

U joint replacement – here’s what you’ll need:

  • Hand tools
  • U joint pressing tool
  • Grease gun
  • Spray lubricant
  • Shop rags
  • New U joints
  • Jack
  • Jack stands

Do-it-yourself difficulty guide for a U joint replacement:

Estimated time required - 2 Hours

How to change U joints: save money by doing it yourself with these directions.

To begin, purchase or rent a universal joint pressing tool. Then follow these step-by-step instructions on how to change U joints.

  1. Mark the shaft for reinstallation. Remove the U bolts, then slide the driveshaft forward into the transmission with a large screwdriver. It should slide forward enough to drop down clear of the pinion yoke.
  2. These particular universal joints are retained by internal/external C-clips instead of the injected ring of polymer the factory uses. If your vehicle's joints are retained by factory sealant, just press them out.
  3. Press the U joint out one side of the shaft. Remove the bearing cap and then press the joint and bearing cap out the other side.
  4. First, stop to compare the old part and new part. Then, reinstall new joints by removing the bearing caps and needle bearings. Carefully twist the cap back and forth to remove.
  5. Slip the universal joint cross into the driveshaft bearing loops. It takes a little finagling to get the joint into position.
  6. The new bearing caps are then pressed into the driveshaft with a universal joint press. Make certain that the joint cross is aligned with the caps while pressing in place. Be careful not to allow bearings to shift.
  7. After pressing in the new joints, the snap-ring C-clips are pushed in place by hand. The universal joint must be perfectly centered in the driveshaft to install the C-clips.


If applicable, screw in the grease fittings that will enable you to grease the universal joints before driving the vehicle. Lubricate the slip yoke before sliding it back into the transmission.

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