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HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:22 PM

Double cardan rebuild (writeup w/pics)
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Recently my '95 ZJ developed a whirring on decel. I also heard an RPM-based squeak at low speed. I pulled the front driveshaft and the whirring and squeaking disappeared. I inspected the double cardan joint and found the rubber boot cracked and worn. The joint was very sloppy too with dirt embedded inside the rubber boot. I looked up the PN of my driveshaft and Mopar shows it as '96. The driveshaft has a double cardan joint at the transfer case end, and a constant velocity joint (CV) joint at the diff end.

I found a Cardone reman driveshaft online for as low as $230 + ship. A Mopar replacement was in the ballpark of $470. The local driveshaft shop wanted $280 + tax and my core. Then I found another shop that would rebuild only the double cardan end for $150. I took the driveshaft to that shop and the guy inspected the CV end, and he said it was fine. He was a good sport and told me they were backed up for a week, and that I should just buy the parts and do it myself. He gave me a few tips, and $95.43 later, I walked out the door. This would have been a good time to convert from CV to u-joint, and the guy had the slipyoke in stock, but since the CV was ok, I opted for the cheap fix on my stock UC ZJ.

Here's the parts list, all Spicer part numbers:

211544X CV Kit (centering yoke and spring) $60.79
(2) 5-153X 1310 U-joint (may want to get 3 just in case) $23.72
2-86-418 Rubber CV boot $4.79
(2) flat zercs (the kits come with the ball-type ones)

Other stuff:

Grade 2 lithium grease
needle nose pliers
press and vise
various sockets, one real big
brass drift or punch
wire brush

Start by removing the 6 snap rings using needle nose pliers. You may need to break the snap ring loose with a hammer and punch.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:29 PM

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Press out the bearing cups and remove them. First go one way and then the other. Use a socket or sockets for the pressing.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:34 PM

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Do the front u-joint first, and finish up on rear one. Everything comes apart easily. Man, the cheap little 12-ton Harbor Freight press has served me well.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:38 PM

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Knock the rubber boot off with hammer and punch. It comes off easy. Clean the socket area well. Use a wire brush on the edges. Also use a wire brush to clean the grooves in the yokes where the snap rings ride. Wash it all down with brake clean.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:44 PM

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Install the new boot. Press it on by hand and get it squared up. Then use a big socket or piece of pipe and drive it home. Don't hit too hard because it goes on pretty easy.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 03:46 PM

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Liberally lube the socket area and prelube the needle bearings in the bearing cups with grade 2 lithium grease. Don't install the zercs yet, they go last. Be careful with the needles, making sure they are where they should be when you prelube the bearing caps.

indept 11-01-2007 03:55 PM

Great post:thumbsup:

Did I see some Harbor Freight tools there

gomes512 11-01-2007 04:00 PM

Yeah great write up I was hoping to do this before winter sets in here in Chicago , however, looks like global warming has bought me some extra weekends though so I may be able to do it :rofl:

Writeup will definitely help me out, still from past exprience every u-joint in my Jeep seems to be welded solid... Thanks :thumbsup:

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 04:06 PM

Now is the time of reckoning...put it all back together. Start with the rear u-joint. Steps:
1. Remove all of the bearing cups from the u-joint.
2. Get a bearing cup started. Don't go more than a 1/4".
3. Put the u-joint in the yoke and insert it into the bearing cup you just started. Make sure the needle bearings are proper.
4. Press the bearing cup in a little more. If you go too far, say past the snap ring groove, you will need to press the other way. Unless you are an expert, you'll find yourself going back and forth way more than these steps say.
5. Start the bearing cup on the other side. Press it in making sure none of the needle bearings get crushed. This is an art I cannot describe in text. All I can say is take your time and press slowly. If any of the needle bearings get crushed...YOU WILL KNOW. The bearing cups will not go far enough to get both snap rings on. If you get it right, there is plenty of room, so don't try to torque through this! I had it happen and I removed the cups and found one needle at the bottom of the cup. I carefully placed it back and all was well.
6. Go back and forth lightly with the press and install the snap rings. When you get it right, the entire surface of both snap rings will be flush against the bearing cup.
7. So these steps will take awhile and it make not go exactly like you want. The 3 keys are that none of the needle bearings get crushed, the critical parts and surfaces stay clean and unscored, and the snap rings lay flat against the bearing cup.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 04:08 PM

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Forgot the pics :cheers2:

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 04:18 PM

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I got so much Harbor Freight stuff it's sad. :rofl:

Ok, rear u-joint is in. Now slip the big yoke over the rear u-joint and press in the bearing cups using the steps described above.

Insert the new spring in the centering hole.

Slide on the new centering yoke.

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 04:27 PM

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I didn't take many more pics. I was wanting to get done as I was about 3 hours into this job. The last step is to install the front u-joint. Remove the 4 bearing cups and press the u-joint in using the steps above.

Using a small prybar or screwdriver, pry the yoke away far enough to slide on the other 2 bearing cups. Just finagle with can be done. Of course, check those needle bearings.

LAST...install the 2 flat zercs. You will need the small prybar again, the needlenose pliers, and a bit of finagling. Line up 2 zercs...put them on the same side, so you won't have to rotate the driveshaft when you lube it. Almost forgot...lube the zercs now before you install the driveshaft.
:cheers2: Time for a cold one now!

Katesdad 11-01-2007 06:38 PM

Sweet! I need to get a press. Looks like it went well for you!

zaq123 11-01-2007 06:47 PM

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Great post:thumbsup: , a lot of ppl were asking about it lately on this forum.
I use ball joint press for DS axle shafts rebuilds. But there is nothing that good size press won't do, it comes handy if you do your own differential rebuilds

HighLonesome 11-01-2007 06:49 PM


Originally Posted by Katesdad
Sweet! I need to get a press. Looks like it went well for you!

Writeups can be deceiving! But yea it ended up well and that's why I did the writeup. It's nice that the press is the right diameter for u-joints. Don't have to fart around with sockets on the one end. Makes it way easier than a vise.

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