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Front Drive Shaft Repair Tips

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Old 11-11-2010, 07:08 PM
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Front Drive Shaft Repair Tips

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!
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:25 PM
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I found that mine is bad yesterday.
The centering ball, all three U joints and the part that couples with the centering ball are all worn out.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:13 PM
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The centering ball is $125 and the Part that couples with the U joint is $61 from my Car Quest.

How are you getting them so cheap?
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:40 PM
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Resurecting from the dead
Do we have a part number on the centering ball?
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:13 AM
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I'll dig around and find the part number this evening... it was definitely not $125 and I'm nobody special so i dont know what's up.
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