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Changed the drive shaft U-joints today

Toms007

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Well, I know this isn't too spectacular, but I did a job I had been putting off since last September. Last August when Rosie and I were on vacation to Tennessee, one day we met up with Rascal_rascal_99 and he led us on the merry trip down the "Tail of the Dragon". During our run a squeak-squeak-squeak developed. Well we made it all the way home (1200 miles), and as soon as I had time (after school started) I figured out it was half axle u-joints. In the process of getting the u-joints ordered I decided that it would probably be best if I were to replace the drive shaft joints as well, so I ordered them at the same time. I did the half shafts back in September, but the drive shaft joints were going to require me to drop the exhaust system, and (I thought) the "C" beam. The lift at school never seemed to be free when I was able to do it so it just got put off and off and off.

In April I bought a 4 post lift and have spent quite a bit of time "rearranging" my garage. Well I got up this morning (having gone to church last night), and decided "today is the day" to change those u-joints. Having the lift made this job so easy, the worst part was getting the rear hangers for the mufflers removed so I could drop the exhaust off. I did some measuring and found that I did not have to remove the "C" beam, but did have to loosen a bracket for the E-brake. I took the drive shaft down to school so I could use the press, but really didn't even need the press too badly (made it easier, but not required). The U-joints on the drive shaft weren't as rough as the half shaft ones, but there was wear showing, so it was a good thing to have replaced them. Total time to replace them was about 2 1/2 hours.

Later in the day I was able to take her out for a test drive and she ran smooth as silk. Sorry for the long and basically meaningless post but I just thought I tell someone. :D As a side note, there is a down side to having the Vette up on the lift all the time....it's not a easy to get it out and take it for short little drives.
 

LT4man

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Tom, that was NOT a meaningless post. Nice to see you planned for the occasion and got the job done! :upthumbs

I just wish you lived closer to Chicago. I could really use your lift! :rotfl

SAVE THE :w
 
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Toms007

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Thanks Gregory, it just seemed to be something that anybody could do, if they tried. I guess I wanted some of those out there who shy away from doing these sort of maintenance jobs that they can be done by the "average Joe". And a lift is NOT required for this, it just made it much easier.
 
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Hiya Tom...it's about time you get it all fixed!!! :L

Was a lot of fun that day with you and your lovely wife, I know it had you a little nervous when the squeaking happened though. Look forward to seeing ya'll next month in Cleveland!
 

Florida Guy

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Tom,
Got a question for you. I also have a squeak when I make a sharp turn at slow speed. It used to be only when I turned left. Now it happens in both directions. Never happens in straight line driving. The Chevy dealer cannot figure out the cause. Is it a high pitched squeak or screech? What lead you to believe it was half shafts?
 
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Toms007

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Tom,
Got a question for you. I also have a squeak when I make a sharp turn at slow speed. It used to be only when I turned left. Now it happens in both directions. Never happens in straight line driving. The Chevy dealer cannot figure out the cause. Is it a high pitched squeak or screech? What lead you to believe it was half shafts?


Well, mine was a squeak but a screech could be a u-joint too. I had narrowed it down to either wheel bearings or u-joints. I jacked up the car and grabbed the tire (drivers side is the side that was making noise), at 12 and 6 o'clock and tried to move the wheel, no slack there and none when I grabbed the 3 and 9 positions. That pretty much told me it was u-joints. When I finally got the half shafts out, one of the bearing caps was "frozen" and when I turned it (by hand after removal from car) the bearings were just dust and it was just packed in there so tight there could not have been much movement. The other three joints were grooved pretty good as well.

As far as your situation, I'd almost bet it is u-joints. They are not that difficult to replace . Boy my lift would have made it much easier, rather than crawling around on the floor. How many miles on your vette?
 

Florida Guy

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Thanks, Tom. From what you describe I think my problem is u-joints also. I jacked up the rear tires months ago and found no problem when I checked the wheel play. I have about 40K miles on the car. I think I'll replace the drive shaft and half shaft u-joints as you did and be done with it. I recall it being posted on this site a couple of years ago that when something goes in a Corvette rear end that it is usually catastrophic. I have had the problem for years but as you can see I don't put a lot of miles on it. Thanks for the quick reply. I'll post the results of my work. I still don't understand why the dealer couldn't pin point the source of the noise.
 
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Toms007

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I figured that if the half axle joints were bad, the driveshaft joints couldn't be far behind. But I have a habit of overdoing anything. Keep us posted on the work.
 

85dougnash

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1985 Doug Nash Coupe
I want to do that on my '85

My '85 (with Doug Nash) has 30,000 miles so I originally thought u-joint work may not be needed. However, at 70 mph or above a sound from the back (I think) has me wondering about the half-shaft u-joints. It is a sound I would expect to hear from a shaft being pushed into an imballance <sp?> at higher speeds. Am I imagining this incorrectly?
I put it on the lift at work and put it in gear while raised and as the rear wheels are turning there is a constant rattling that I attributed (hopfully) to there being no load against the drive train.
The whole thing has me wanting to do what you did.

Foy
Las Vegas
 

LT4man

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I also have a squeak when I make a sharp turn at slow speed. It used to be only when I turned left. Now it happens in both directions. Never happens in straight line driving.

When was the last time the differential oil was changed?

GM specifies an additive to be installed along with the new fluid to keep the clutch plates in the diff from making noise.

I always use a synthetic diff fluid along with two (2) containers of the additive.

I have almost 100,000 on my LT4 drivetrain. All OEM. Never have changed out even one (1) part yet! :upthumbs

SAVE the gosh darn :w
 

Florida Guy

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'96 Torch Red LT4
Holy smokes!!! My factory manual says the rear spring, tie rod end and the spindle rod mounting bracket have to come out to get the half shafts out. Is that true? Sounds like this will take longer than just a couple of hours. Any short cut? Isn't there a special tool (spring compressor) required to remove the leaf spring? Help!!!
 

jester

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Savage, MN, USA
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1988 35th Anniversary Edition
Holy smokes!!! My factory manual says the rear spring, tie rod end and the spindle rod mounting bracket have to come out to get the half shafts out. Is that true? Sounds like this will take longer than just a couple of hours. Any short cut? Isn't there a special tool (spring compressor) required to remove the leaf spring? Help!!!

I used a floor jack under the spring. Just make sure the spring is protected, so the jack doesn't damage it. The whole spring doesn't have to come out. Just the ends need to be disconnected by the wheel. I was able to get the half shafts out without removing the tie rod ends. It took a little manuevering, but worked OK. The spindle rods and control arms aren't bad to get out. While I had mine apart I put new bushings in the control arms and spindle rods.
 

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