U-joint removal - Hammer and Vise method (no sockets involved)

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
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Dexter
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MI
#1
I've made reference to this method for removing u-joints on here many times over the years since I originally read Big_Mark's post 14 years :eek: ago. He added some photos to illustrate it that are now gone and I thought it was worth reposting with video.

Here's the original thread where he posted it (not a lot of use without pics to explain, but as credit where it's due):
https://www.cj-8.com/threads/article-u-joint-replacement-procedure-go-to-thread-for-pics.6744/

Here's a non-Jeep video I found that shows how to do it. I have been able to remove every joint/cap in minutes, even some where other folks had failed with pressing them out using the sockets/vice "press" method and were ready to give up.

The key part starts at 1:51, where he shows which part of the shaft to hit while resting the ears of the other side of the shaft or the ends of the u-joint cross on the vice. You're hitting down on the shaft/ear (start really easy--I think he hits it too hard to start) to pop out the top cap. The video shows it really well other than he goes at it pretty hard straight off.


Here are my comments to supplement this:
-You can use rocks/wood/etc to support the ears on other side of the shaft or u-joint cross (be careful and sensible), so this is great for trail repairs. Just be sure the ear on the underside of the shaft you're hitting is hanging in space and not resting on anything.

-IT OFTEN DOESN'T TAKE MUCH FORCE - START EASY, there's no reason to beat the hell out of the shaft if it's not needed, a bigger hammer and less force is ideal IMO. The impact load makes all the difference in this method over pressing them out slowly, so use that to your advantage and only use the force needed. Once the cap moves even a fraction, it usually pops out from there very easily.

-If you have to reuse the u-joint for some reason, this may not be the way to go for the second set of caps because you have to rest the u-joint cross on the vise/blocks (2:03 in the video). If the caps pop out easily, you won't do much visible damage to the bearing surfaces of the cross, but I'd consider it an emergency-only way to go. I'd probably try supporting the shaft on something and then putting a socket on the top cap to hit to drive out the bottom cap. (You can use this for all the caps, but I don't think it works as well/easily if you don't need to worry about reusing the joint.) This video shows the hammer and socket version at 1:33 -

-Watch the needle bearings carefully if you have to reuse the joint--if there's not much lube in the cross, they could scatter when the cap pops up or when you remove the cap from the shaft ear. Doing this over a clean towel or tarp is a good idea (a shirt works in a pinch).

-If using a vice, I try to put a towel on the vice under the shaft just in case it slips through

-Once the new joint is installed, you can use this method LIGHTLY to "seat" the caps back in the ears. (He sort of does this at 13:06, but you can see his tapping doesn't really free the u-joint up enough.) When all clips are in place, you can tap the shafts to push the caps back into the ears so that the cross isn't bound up at all to allow the joint to move as smoothly as possible.
Sometimes you can manage to get the clips in but the cap is pushed against the end of the cross tightly enough to cause interference, so the joint won't feel "smooth" (as you can see in the video around 13:06.) Putting all the ears of the finished shaft back in the vice with a couple VERY, VERY LIGHT taps on all ears will push the caps back and free it up. Even if the joint feels smooth, I like that doing this seats the caps against the clips as well as possible to help ensure the clips stay in place.

Hope this helps folks. I have thanked Big_Mark in my head dozens of times over the years for making me aware of this method and owe him many, many beers in gratitude (he sold his Scrambler and hasn't been on in years.)
 

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Ashburn
State
VA
#2
arghhhh. What happened here? I was interested in this as I just had to
Replace
Three on a trail.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#5
When I lo

When I looked yesterday, the print was all on top of itself. And it was a 404 error rather than a video.

Today all is fine. So, ....... nevermind. :-)
You drinking too much brown liquor there man? ;)
 

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
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Ashburn
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VA
#6
I wish. I should have taken a screenshot to prove I wasn’t dilerious (or drunk). Or I could have said nothing and checked again today.
 

Cmath

Scrambler Enthusiast
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Woodstock
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Ga
#7
I wish. I should have taken a screenshot to prove I wasn’t dilerious (or drunk). Or I could have said nothing and checked again today.
The video was the same for me yesterday. 404error and a jumbled mess of characters. Good today though.
 

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Ashburn
State
VA
#9
OK. Just watched the BleepinJeep trail video. Glad to hear that I pretty much did this a number of times on the trail om September. I will say that I used a larger socket to "catch" the cap that was being pushed out. And after installing the u-joint, if the swivel motion is not super smooth, take the hammer and tap the fat part of the drive shaft end (below the ears) and it should free the joint up. Oh and I like to support the other end of the drive shaft with a block so that the drive shaft is as parallel to the ground as possible when striking the socket. Helps it go in straight.
 

wm69

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
God's Country
State
AR
#13
And after installing the u-joint, if the swivel motion is not super smooth, take the hammer and tap the fat part of the drive shaft end (below the ears) and it should free the joint up. .
Trying to picture exactly what you're talking about here. I did my rear driveshaft on one of my '7s last year and it wasn't smooth, but I figured I'd put it in and it would loosen up with use. Jeep has a vibration at about 50mph, but only when it's cool outside. Only thing I can think of is that Ujoint is binding up a bit.
 

LetchcoreCJ7

Legacy Registered User
City
Nashville
State
TN
#15
Good stuff but most ujoints out of the north east or that have sat for many years are not coming out like this. Even a unoint tool will struggle on those.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
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Dexter
State
MI
#16
Good stuff but most ujoints out of the north east or that have sat for many years are not coming out like this. Even a unoint tool will struggle on those.
I would challenge you to try it, remember, I’m in Michigan at the north end of the rust belt.

You wouldn’t believe what I’ve seen come right out doing the first method. Impact loading versus trying to press them out basically statically makes a massive difference.
 

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Ashburn
State
VA
#17
Trying to picture exactly what you're talking about here. I did my rear driveshaft on one of my '7s last year and it wasn't smooth, but I figured I'd put it in and it would loosen up with use. Jeep has a vibration at about 50mph, but only when it's cool outside. Only thing I can think of is that Ujoint is binding up a bit.
So after the u joint is installed in the end of the drive shaft, but before connectingnit to the yoke, if the joint does not swivel smoothly, I learned to take a hammer and give a light smack to the part of the drive shaft end that has the ears on it. But smack it at the thick part where it is going upward to become one of the ears. Say at the part that is the upward angle, the 45* angle section. The shock seems to free up any binding. A mechanic who was with me on the trail when my 3 joints failed taught me that when we were doing the repair in the parking lot after getting the 2 new u joints.
 

LetchcoreCJ7

Legacy Registered User
City
Nashville
State
TN
#18
I would challenge you to try it, remember, I’m in Michigan at the north end of the rust belt.

You wouldn’t believe what I’ve seen come right out doing the first method. Impact loading versus trying to press them out basically statically makes a massive difference.
I have some to do soon I will give a try. I did look today and the dana 30 front have a lip on them that will make smacking it with a big hammer a little tricky.
 

Belizeit

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
River Ridge
State
La
#19
Bought this tool a little while back for taking the u joint apart. Haven't had a need to use it yet, but the video I watched made it look real easy image.jpg
 
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