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  #1  
Old 11-01-2011, 12:13 AM
safetyfast safetyfast is offline
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Default Should I attempt the axle u-joints and other stuff?

Got a 1996 Ram 4wd a few weeks ago. Driving down the road today, I noticed as I slow down, there is a steady click, click, click. Got under the truck this evening and the passenger side u-joint on the front axle is completely worn out. I can move it back and forth with my hand. Given that the assembly has a nice coat of surface rust and I have a vice, but no press, should I do this job or just suck it up and pay the shop? I don't usually hire stuff done and have done u-joints on a prop shaft before, but it wasn't rusty and this is my first 4wd.

If I replace myself, should I do any other might as wells? I've got a new Moog track bar on my bench to put on too. I jacked it up and the wheels are nice and tight otherwise, so I think my ball joints are in good shape.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:20 AM
Stangshcky12 Stangshcky12 is offline
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Wheel bearings are a good as well to do
You could probably do it with your vise and some sockets. I would grab a can of on blaster and give it a shot
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:30 AM
safetyfast safetyfast is offline
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How do I check the bearings? They aren't making any noise. I noticed in the Haynes manual that it said a special tool was needed for the bearings. What would be the best place to pick up the parts?
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:08 AM
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you can do the u-jopints with your vise. when i worked at the dealership i had my left front u-joint done there and the tech used a bench vise and had it done in a couple hours
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:25 AM
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I would think that if you have a bit of mechanical ability, you should be able to tackle the u joints. If once you get the axles out, and find that it is above your knowledge, you can always take the axles into a shop and get them to install the new joints and then you can install the axles in yourself.

Give it a go.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:57 AM
safetyfast safetyfast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutger34 View Post
I would think that if you have a bit of mechanical ability, you should be able to tackle the u joints. If once you get the axles out, and find that it is above your knowledge, you can always take the axles into a shop and get them to install the new joints and then you can install the axles in yourself.

Give it a go.
Sounds like a plan. Thanks. That Pavement Sucks site has a great tech article on it. I didn't see anything on the bearings though. Is there anything unusual about the bearing replacement?

Last edited by safetyfast; 11-01-2011 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 11-01-2011, 03:38 PM
Stangshcky12 Stangshcky12 is offline
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As far as I know on the Dana axles the bearin is basically an assembly that you comes packed and greased you just bolt it on. I think on the 44 it's just three bolts to the axle tube. That's usually the easiest way to pull the axle shaft as well.
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Old 11-01-2011, 04:10 PM
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as far as wheel bearings go the way to check is to jack the front of the truck up and wiggle the tire up and down...if theres alot of play then wheel bearings are needed..left to right wiggle will test the tie rods and ball joints. i asked the same question on r&r wheel bearings and someone gave me this link http://www.pavementsucks.com/tech-article-5.html answered my questions and solved my problems.. good luck and keep us posted :P
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:42 PM
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I think that the others have stated the ease of the bearings as well. I think that most do it yourselfers can tackle this type of repair.
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Old 11-01-2011, 10:34 PM
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I just did the bearings for the 2nd time in the last 5 years, along with my ball joints. When I did them 5 years ago, I replaced the axle U-joints and they were still good partially because I could grease them.

The first time was done in a apartment building parking lot. I and another more experienced friend did the job in a day, most of which was spent pounding out the rusted wheel bearings. We also broke a 3/4 breaker bar getting the hub nuts off.

We had to bust the hub mounting bolts loose with a 14mm wrench and 24 oz ball pien. I pretty much exhausted my vocabulary of under the breath cursing and invented some new terms as well. Thankfully my wiser friend brought lots of never sieze, which we coated upon every mating surface and bolt thread.

Present tense...I started 4 days early by pulling my caps off and spraying down my hub nuts and most everything else.
This job was done in my driveway. The new hd air wrench zipped off the hub nuts with only a bit of protest. I had plenty of jacks and stands and room to work.
The air wrench zipped off the hub bolts and and everything pretty much popped out in my waiting hands, thanks to all the never sieze. Unlike the parking lot where I had to hurry I proceeded at a leisurely pace, always rechecking my work, because I had no help...and I'm a whole lot older. I also changed out all the front brake system and had to wait for parts.
I torqued everything back into place as required, and painted a few parts and tapped the steering stop holes...but I degress.
My point is, there are two ways to do this job. If you don't have the proper tools lined up or have to do it by hand it is a difficult process, especially if you've never done it. But it can be done.
On the other hand, having a few luxuries can make the job easy. Especially if it was done right the first time.

I woiuld test your ball joints by prying on your spindle casting to check play. If there's any movement you can see they are toast. You can knock off your spindle and if you can rotate or easily move your bottom joint shaft around your lowers are toast. Remember they are holding the entire weight of the trucks front end on them!

Wheel bearings can be checked while the tires are on. Before removing the tires, grab them at 12:00 and 6:00 and try to wriggle them. If you can move them more than a hair, your beairngs are on thier way out. If the tires yaw and weave more than a 1/16 inch, I'd replace the bearings.

Last edited by Okiespaniels; 11-01-2011 at 10:41 PM.
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