Front 4x4 u-joint advice
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:39 AM   #1
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Default Front 4x4 u-joint advice

Ok all, I have a '86 chevy 4x4 and I think the front passenger u-joint is starting to go (makes a wa-wa sound when I turn). I have replaced ones for the rear and front drive shaft before but not on the front wheels.

About how different is it to do by comparison from the drive shaft u-joints? Also I have a canoe trip this weekend and need to take the truck for all the gear. The canoe trip is about a 3 hour drive each way. Do you think it would be alright? What's the worst that can happen if I take it? I would like to of had it done before the trip but work and working on the wife's car took priority.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, I am more of a motor guy than a suspension guy. The u-joints are all stock except for the ones on the drive shafts I have replaced. So I cant complain, it's a great truck! But any advice would be nice!
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:08 AM   #2
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The front drive shaft shouldn't move unless it's lock in 4x4. Did u hear that noise while it was in 4x4?
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:10 AM   #3
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I'm sorry I read that wrong. Your talking about the ones in the axle?
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:22 AM   #4
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Yeah the ones that let the tires move freely. Not the ones for the 4x4. The hubs are new and the u-joints on the 4x4 system are fine. It is the u-joints that are on each front tire, that allow them to turn since the truck has a live axel in the front.
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:33 AM   #5
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Those are commonly referred to as "CV" joints or outer axle U-joints.

Does your truck have a NP 203 full-time transfer case? If it does the joints are always rotating with the rest of the drivetrain regardless of whether or not there are unlockable hubs at the wheels. if this is the case I would replace them as soon as they start making noise. BUT! They will *probably* not cause you much trouble by driving it on the camping trip. I drove my Bronco for quite awhile with a broken joint and it caused no trouble to speak of.

When replacing them I would recommend using forged Spicer joints that do not have a grease fitting if you can find them. Much stronger as there are no grease galleys running through them. If you rarely use the 4X4 then don't worry about it.
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:36 AM   #6
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PM Rockratt, sounds like a good question for him....
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:18 AM   #7
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an '86 Chevy should have U-joints in the front drive axle. i think '88 and above started using CV joints in the front axle. IIRC, even if the u-joint did fail, you would just lose pulling power on that particular tire and wheel.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axxe55 View Post
an '86 Chevy should have U-joints in the front drive axle. i think '88 and above started using CV joints in the front axle. IIRC, even if the u-joint did fail, you would just lose pulling power on that particular tire and wheel.
If one joint fell out of the truck you would lose drive to both front wheels unless you have a locker (never offered in a stock truck on the front axle).
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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It has u-joints not a cv joint. I just want to know if the wheel can come off going down the highway. I will not need 4x4 on this trip. Just don't have the time right now to fix the u-joint and want to make sure it is safe to take, then I can fix it when I get back. The u-joints are only 10 bucks.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:43 PM   #10
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I have done about a gillion of em it is actually fairly simple, here is about a 10 min. vid, anyone can do it if they have a fairly good tool set............
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