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Thread: Propeller shaft universal joint replacement how to - Dial up Beware!

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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Default Propeller shaft universal joint replacement how to - Dial up Beware!

    This project is still in the works, so not all the photos are taken or available yet. The job would have been done but the needle bearings fell when installing the second u-joint and they got crushed.

    I'll have to call http://www.rockforddriveline.com/ on Monday to order another one. The part number for the 1997 - 2001 CR-Vs is 430-9B, 2002 - 2006 CR-Vs is 430-9A.

    First off, how do you know they need replaced? Typically, you will get a grinding noise or a vibration when they are going bad. In my particular case, it made the grinding noise you hear when a bearing is going bad.

    To verify, simply drop the shaft and articulate the u-joints. If notchy, they are bad and need replaced. You can drive for quite some time without the shaft installed, so don't worry about it if you can't get to it right away. Naturally, your available traction will be less since you will only have front wheel drive.

    I didn't get pictures when dropping the shaft, so those will have to wait until the new u-joint arrives and is installed but here is how the procedure goes. Bolt sizes will be provided later with the pictures.

    1. Unbolt the shaft keeper rings.

    2. Unbolt the rear flange attached to the rear differential first. The rear differential is free spinning and will give no resistance if you wait to do it last.

    3. While providing some support to the rear portion of the shaft with something, unbolt the center support bearing. It doesn't matter what, a box, jack stand, whatever is handy. You do not want to over flex the center joint, otherwise you could stress it and then you will need to get a whole new shaft.

    4. Unbolt the front flange attached to the power take off shaft on the transmission.

    The OEM u-joints are pressed in and the flange is then struck to create "ears" that hold the bearing caps in place. Also, the u-joint caps are smaller than standard, so any tool you get will need to be modified to fit the smaller size.

    I have a press from http://www.harborfrieght.com/ that worked well for replacing my ball joints and is also designed to work on u-joints.



    Now, since the CR-V u-joints are smaller than standard, the pin had to be ground down to fit. This means, I'll probably will have to buy a new kit if I need to replace the ball joints again but at $29.99, it won't kill me.




    The original joints did not appear to be bad but moving it around told me otherwise.


    Notice how I have the press in a vise. Breaking the ears so that the old joint will press out will take some force, so it needs to be held in place securely to keep the press from spinning. Again, support the other end so that the center joint doesn't over flex.



    The clearances are quite tight even after pressing the joint out of the one side of the yoke. You will need to cut a notch out of the bearing cap wide enough to allow the cap to slide out after removing the needle bearings. I used a Dremel type rotary cutting tool with diamond coated cutting wheels to complete the job. Make sure you wear at minimum, safety glasses but a face shield would be better just in case the cutting wheel shatters.
    You will also need to hold the bearing cap in place to keep it from spinning while you cut it. Needle-nose pliers worked for me. They keep your hands out of the way and keeps you from getting burned. There will be smoke from melting and burning grease.





    Once you have the cap removed, it will be easy to slide the u-joint out. The remaining cap can be knocked out with a hammer and a drift pin or a punch.

    The removal the other portion of the u-joint is the same but would recommend putting the flange in a vise to hold it steady since one hand will be holding the pliers and the other the rotary tool to cut the other bearing cap.

    There will be remaining metal left from where the strike points were and will need to be cleaned up before installing the new joints. A rotary tool with a grinding stone works well. You just want to dress it up and make it smooth. Don't remove anymore material that necessary to do this. You want the new bearing caps to be tight after installation.



    The new u-joint, clips and grease fitting plug. The clips go on the inside of the yoke to hold the caps in place. One cap will be drilled and tapped to receive the greese fitting plug (zerk fittings will be needed to service the joint after installation and later down the road).
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Default Installation

    Just like the OEM u-joints. Fitment is tight. The bearing caps will need to be installed from the outside of the yoke. Be careful make sure the needle bearings are in place before pressing the cap in. The only way you will get the cap back out otherwise is to cut it like before.



    My boo boo u-joint. Notice the clearance between the cap and yoke ear.


    New u-joint installed.

    Last edited by sgtsandman; 07-11-2009 at 02:43 PM.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Senior Member HondaSUV Elder 'Curly Q Links''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtsandman View Post

    I used a Dremel type rotary cutting tool with diamond coated cutting wheels to complete the job. Make sure you wear at minimum, safety glasses but a face shield would be better just in case the cutting wheel shatters.
    Absolutely! I once exploded a Dremel tool carborundum disc and a crescent-shaped chunk of it imbedded in my cheek (of my face)

    Could have just as easily been my eye.

    Stay safe.

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    Well, well, I thought Dremels are only for cutting through sheet metal to put in side markers-repeaters....I was wrong!!!!

    Nice write up though!
    [B][I] 2000V pushing 161K

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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mandyfig View Post
    Well, well, I thought Dremels are only for cutting through sheet metal to put in side markers-repeaters....I was wrong!!!!

    Nice write up though!


    Rotary tools are for all kinds of neat stuff! Mine is actually made by Chicago Tools, so it is a Dremel like tool and not an actual Dremel. They want too much money or the name.

    Thanks for the kudos everyone. I ordered the replacement for the replacement u-joint yesterday. The sales rep said not to feel too bad, they have people who have worked on u-joints for years that have run into the same problem. So apparently, I have some elite company. It was $43 this time instead of $37 (big jump since January), including the $12.50 for shipping and handling.

    In any case, Rockford was pretty fast before, so hopefully I'll have AWD again before I go camping next week. Some of those camp site entry ways are pretty steep and I would hate to get stuck trying to pull the trailer back out.

    Depending on timing of delivery and installation, the final pics may be a bit delayed.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Nice write-up Mike!

    The term for Honda's u-joint "Retaining Method" is "staked"...the bearing cups are staked into place. This is cheaper for Honda than the additional machining of retainer clips, I guess.


    I use my own Dremels (I have two) quite often. One is the genuine article, the other is a clone. But they have proven indispensable time and time again.

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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbuff2 View Post
    Nice write-up Mike!

    The term for Honda's u-joint "Retaining Method" is "staked"...the bearing cups are staked into place. This is cheaper for Honda than the additional machining of retainer clips, I guess.


    I use my own Dremels (I have two) quite often. One is the genuine article, the other is a clone. But they have proven indispensable time and time again.
    Thanks, normally, I would remember the staked term but it has been a very busy week with long hours. Too many things to going on and not enough time to fit them all in, so sleep has been the victim.

    Thanks for the kudos on the write up too. I ordered the replacement, replacement joint on Monday. I hope it comes in on time for a Saturday or Sunday installation.

    The camping site I reserved is pretty flat from what I remember, so I think I'll be okay without AWD but that's not the point.
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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    Great write-up and pictures...

    Did you have to grind down the stakings before pressing- or did you just press the caps thru the stakes?

    - after popping out the first cup, instead of using a dremel to cut the remaining cup - couldn't you just push the remaining cup back in (giving you more clearance to remove the joint) and then press the cup out?

    Also- to prevent needle bearings from falling out - would a good dollop of grease hold them in while you are lining everything up?

    I've had front wheel drive's for so long I can't remember the last time I had to replace a u-joint on a drive shaft. I think we used to just use a bench vise with appropriately sized sockets on either end ( a larger one to catch the cup being pushed out and a smaller one on the other side to push the cup through). But the harbor freight press looks like the perfect tool for the job.
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    Senior Member HondaSUV Elder 'Curly Q Links''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06whtcrv View Post

    - after popping out the first cup, instead of using a dremel to cut the remaining cup - couldn't you just push the remaining cup back in (giving you more clearance to remove the joint) and then press the cup out?
    I did it that way just yesterday, it works fine (Rockford's diagram is a bit erroneous) and you have to yank out or destroy the cup's seal before the spyder will turn sharp enough to come out.

    Now I've got to find a cheaper supplier. I still think $52 CAN (each) is too steep, especially when I live near a large city like Edmonton...

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    Moderator HondaSUV Elder sgtsandman's Avatar
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    I couldn't see a way to press the cap out the other way. With the grinding tips I have, I couldn't get in there well enough to grind the stakes before hand, though I did try.

    As far as the repair goes, it's still on hold. Rockford is on back order for the u-joints. Apparently, many are going this route instead of replacing the entire shaft....
    Mike: Sgtsandman's 'V
    2011 Ford Ranger XLT, 4X4 5 MT


    1999 Honda CR-V EX RT4WD 5 MT



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