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Old 07-07-2009, 06:18 PM   #1
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U joint problem? On the road help.

We are on a long road trip right now, currently in Willapa Bay Wa. Anyway about 10 miles back we were going about 60mph when we had a sudden vibration that came and went with power application. Once we got to the campground I could heara popping/pinging from the driveline area when going from forward to reverse/neutral. Is this a bad U-joint perhaps?
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:56 PM   #2
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

It certainly could be a u-joint. If it is, you are in luck because it is relatively easy and quick to fix. Most any local mechanic could handle it.

Crawl under the van (lay down a rug or newspapers first) and grab the driveshaft near a u-joint. Try to move it up/down/sideways. It should have no play. Repeat for the othe u-joint.

Mike
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

Driveshaft u-joints problems typically manifest themselves as vobration upon deceleration.

That said I would get under the van (trans in Park, parking breake on, wheels chocked) and see if you can wiggle the ends of the rear driveshaft - assuming you've been in 2wd. The driveshaft u-joints should be pretty tight.


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Old 07-07-2009, 08:06 PM   #4
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

I had to replace my u-joint about a year ago. When it was going bad I had exactly the symptoms that you describe. Mild vibration and a slight ping sound when shifting between drive and reverse. Good thing you were able to reach the campground.

It was a quick and relatively inexpensive fix done at SMB west, where they caught the problem when doing some other work.

My problem was due to lack of regular greasing. When dry, they fail a lot more often.

Mine was replaced with a new design that does not require external greasing. I guess the bearings are sealed.

Good luck and hope it does not disrupt your trip too much.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #5
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

Thanks for the quick replies! Crawled underneath earlier and couldn't get any movement from the driveshaft. I still suspect the u joint though. I can't find anything else that would have similar symptoms. If anyone has any more experience with this please chime in. I have tools and am pretty handy and quick fixes.
Thanks
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:36 AM   #6
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

You might have to put a big screwdriver in and pry a little to check for movement. sometimes the u-joint is still tight enough that its hard to move by hand but is still bad
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:17 AM   #7
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

I agree with all of the above saline. With the vibrations and clunking you describe, it sure sounds like u-joints. You can also grab the driveshaft and try rotating it back and forth. Again, shouldn't be any play in the u-joints. It doesn't take much to cause the problem. Even the tiniest amount of play will cause the problem and and if it is a u-joint, it won't last long at high speeds. Losing a u-joint at speed is NOT something one wants to experience. If all else fails, you might have someone (you trust) get in the rig and move it back and forth very slightly while you're under and beside it and look and listen for the offending movement and noise. Good luck on this and let us know what happened,
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

You probably need a U-joint press to change the U-joints. Why not get MOOG or Spicer joints and just replace both? Should fix the problem, and if not you have new U-joints and a bigger problem.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:38 PM   #9
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Re: U joint problem? On the road help.

Thanks for the help guys. We were able to limp about 20 miles to Raymond Wa. The rear ujoint was toast. I went ahead and had the shop replace both u joints on the driveline while they had it out. I could have done them myself but doing it without a vise would have been a pain. Plus it was raining. $130 for them to do it aisn't too bad I suppose.
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