1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Virginia Beach VA

    Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement

    If your Jeep sees a good amount of 4x4 time then you’ll most likely have to replace your front axle u-joints at some point. I replaced the u-joints in my 2005 TJ (with a Dana 30 front axle) after 115,000 miles, and they likely had some life left in them. It isn’t a hard or expensive process, so if you have any question about the condition of your axle u-joints then I would suggest changing them out.

    If your axle u-joints are really bad then you’ll be able to see some slop in them when you spin your tire forwards and backwards. Mine were not this bad – I noticed something was up when I went offroad and got a loud and annoying “squeak, squeak, squeak” from the front end the entire time I was in 4wd.

    Replacement parts:
    I replaced my axle u-joints with some Spicer 5-760X U-Joint Kits that I purchased on amazon. At less than $25 per u-joint the price isn’t too bad. Here’s what a new axle u-joint looks like:

    Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_01.jpg

    Replacing the joints.

    1. The first step to replacing your axle u-joints is to pull out the axle shafts. You can see how to do that in a previous how-to here (Jeep Wrangler Ball Joint Replacement).
    2. Next, you’ll need to remove the clips that keep the old u-joints in place. You don’t need a special tool for this – I use a wood chisel, but I’ve seen others use pliers. The idea is that you just pop off the clips. The clips actually come out quite easily.

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_02a.jpg

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_03.jpg

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_04.jpg
    3. Now, we’re going to drive out the u-joints. There are a couple of ways to do this. I decided to support one half of the u-joint, then hit the other side with a hammer, in a downward motion. You can see in the photo below that the cap has popped out of the axle.
      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_05.jpg

      You could also use a vice to press out the u-joint. Just put a large socket over one side (the u-joint will pop out into this socket), and a smaller one on the other side to press the u-joint in. This method of using sockets will also work by just using a hammer to pound the caps out.
    4. Once you have the old u-joint out, you’ll need to put the new one in. You’ll want to remove the caps from two opposing ends of the new u-joint (keep track of what cap goes where – they are machined specifically for that spot, and shouldn’t be mixed up). With the caps off it will easily fit in the yoke. Then carefully put the cap on one end, and tap it into place with a hammer.

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_06.jpg
    5. Then do the same for the other side.

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_07.jpg
    6. Remove the other caps, and do the same as before, putting one cap on at a time.

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_08.jpg

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_09.jpg
    7. Finally, put the clips back on. These actually go on quite easily with just your hands.

      Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement-wrangler_axle_u-joint_replace_10.jpg
    8. Reinstall the axle and you’re done.
    Last edited by TerryMason; 06-11-2014 at 04:41 PM.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    “He who is without oil shall throw the first rod.” -Compressions 8.7:1

  2. #2

    Re: Wrangler Front axle u-joint replacement

    Make sure the ujoint operates easily with no binding. If it's stiff you need to hit outward on the yoke ears with a hammer to loosen the binding on the ujoint.

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