Model: 2006 Jeep Wrangler, 65th anniversary edition stock, Automatic transmission.
Removal of Drive Shaft:
1 - Place the transfer case in neutral (chock the front tires, both before and aft).
2- Lift the rear of the jeep and place on stands, preferably the axle.
3 - The drive shaft is held onto the differential yoke (at the back of the jeep) with 4 bolts which hold two "straps" onto the yoke. Loosen these bolts just to ensure you can get them to move. They are 8mm bolts and should not be an issue.
4 - At the front of the drive shaft is a rubber boot. This protects the spline side of the shaft from dirt and other such evils. There is a small metal strap holding the differential side of the boot onto the shaft.
Using a pair of dikes, cut this strap off. It is easy to do without damaging the rubber boot. You can use a simple zip tie to replace it during assembly or purchase a new strap. i went with the zip tie myself.
5 - With the strap removed now remove the 4 bolts completely on the differential side while supporting the weight of the drive shaft on that end. Place to the side and now push the shaft towards the front end of the vehicle to separate the shaft from the differential yoke (you may need to tap the differential end with a rubber mallet to loosen). Angle the shaft down and then pull the shaft out of the transfer case.
6 - Carefully place the drive shaft on a work surface and tape the ends of the exposed caps on so that they do not fall off and spill needle bearings every which way.
Here is a picture of what the exposed end of the transfer case looks like after the drive shaft is removed.
In my case I did find a bad universal joint (pictured below). I dropped the jeep, threw it in 4 wheel high, and headed off down the road for parts. I wouldn't drive this way for too long as the exposed end to the transfer case I imagine could get pretty gunked up with sand and other road junk.
Pictures of blown uni joint.
and the caps after I removed the bad joint (the left cap had no needle bearings remaining at all).
There are plenty of write ups on how to remove and replace uni joints. This experience was the same, lots of banging (no special tool here)
, and swearing
. I used the "bang with a socket" method as imaged below.
This was a technically simple job and I hope this write up will give the next newbie the confidence to tackle it himself. Just don't be afraid to break out your man muscles if you come across a bad uni joint cause you are going to need them.