a little while ago i replaced the rear u-joint on my 2000 2wd 5sp Ranger.at the time, the truck had 100k miles on what i believe were the original u-joints because they didn't have grease fittings. but when going to put the new one on, i had to strike the caps fairly hard with a hammer just to get them all the way in and seated. in the process, i ended up breaking a few of the roller bearings, not to mention bumping most others out of place. i put them back in assembly, but for the 2 or 3 that broke i salvaged some from the old u-joint after wiping off the dirty grease and regreasing. it took a hell of a lot of banging just to get the old u-joint out too.
so if this sounds like a shoddy job then it is. what i'm thinking of doing is taking the u-joint back out and lightly sanding the steel rings that the caps fit into to make the u-joint goes in a little easier without having to bang the cap and displace the roller bearings. i would just have to take the $18 hit for a new u-joint and probably replace the front one while the driveshaft is off the truck.
anyone had this problem before? any better suggestions for properly putting in the u-joint? i'm just hesistant to do anything that could potentially drop the u-joint when i'm driving.
I always clean the yoke before putting new U-joints back in. I use pb-blaster and some fine emery cloth I don't get over zealous about it just knock the road crud out. To install I now use a ball joint u-joint press from Harbor freight
$39.99. Before I got that I used my bench vise and sockets to push the joints back togather. I always put extra grease in the cups and press it into the needles to help make them stay put. The biggest thing is to get the cups started straight. I do them one at a time. I take the first one put the bearing stud through the yoke and then put the cup on, start it in the yoke and push it past where it is supposed to be that gives me more bearing stud to work with on the other half. Try to keep the bearing studs engaged with the needles as much as possible. And yes occassionally I will knock a needle out but I rarely destroy one anymore due to using the press if a needle is out it won't let you put it togather enough to get the clips in. Just don't get wild about pressing it togather if you drop a needle then take it back apart and put it back in with more grease and try again.
The bearing fit is properly termed "press fit". This means it is supposed to fit very tight. Pressing them in & out is the proper procedure (using the proper tool). If you're using a hammer, you're doing it wrong. Do not sand the parts to make them fit easier. A moderate cleaning to remove rust using Scotchbrite would be OK, but don't carry it too far. Remember, it's supposed to be a press fit.