Finally got around to dealing with my front driveshaft today, and there were quite a few things I learned so far that should be common knowledge for a lot of us and I'm not sure are, thus I'm posting my findings.
As most of us know, our front drive shaft contains 3 sealed U-Joints. 1 at the axle end, and 2 at the transfer case end inside a double cardan joint. However within the double cardan joint (inside the casting, between the 2 u-joints) the is a centering ball... essentially a mini-ball joint with needle bearings inside it.
From all the shops I talked too today, 9/10 times when people believe the u-joints in the front drive shaft are shot, it is ACTUALLY the centering ball that is bad. In my case the centering ball and 2 u joints were toast.
Now, coming across a new centering ball isn't the easiest part to come by. The only people I know to stock it are Napa and Car Quest. I picked one up for $36 and change, despite local repair shops wanting around $70-100 for it.
However replacing the centering ball is not the easiest DIY job, and should be taken to a place with a machine shop... your average muffler man, belle tire, etc. DO NOT have the capacity to change it... whether they know that or not is a different story. Just save yourself some time and either go directly to a driveline shop or an auto shop with a full machine shop. I got quoted today that if I furnished all parts (which I did) it is about $30 worth of labor with the right tools. The other shops capable of changing it wanted to charge me 2 hours labor to change it and the U-Joints... which results in $100-$200 labor bill depending on the shop.
So if you need your front driveshaft repaired, a little bit of shoppin around will pay off big. Try to find an old timer who's used to old trucks and they wont charge too much at all!
Resurecting from the dead
Do we have a part number on the centering ball?
Steve ***-2003.25 F-250 CC 6.0 FX4 King Ranch
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