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How to know when you need a new axle u-joint.

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Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
One method is to compare your u-joint to mine in the attached photo. Yep, needs replacing. Like me, you can achieve this level of destruction on your local freeway, or heed the excellent advice found in recent u-joint threads. Thoroughly check those joints often. I felt that I had inspected mine... several times a year in my daily driver. I would raise the Spit, crawl under, turn the axles by hand, poke around... apparently I did not inspect well enough. There are some excellent threads on how to do this, so I will not be offering any actual tips.

I tend to average 10 miles a day, occasional trips of 50 miles. No funny clicking or noise in the drive train. Several weeks ago I head south to Lancaster to visit my wife who has been down there helping her dad with stuff. 220 miles each way, did this all the time in my first Spit as a much younger man. Heck, I can still do 440 miles in a day.

Well, the first 370 miles were awesome... headed out of the great Central Valley, through the windmill covered Tehachipi mountains, and into the Mojave desert. So beautiful with the top down, average speed 65mph, desert in bloom, I had forgotten it does this in the Fall.

Return trip, going great, I got to amuse everyone at the truck stop in the town of Tehachipi... my inner door handle broke the morning of the trip... no problem, step over the door onto the seat, you get the idea, me a grey hair geezer of 58 with a cane, should have had video. Back on the highway, south on 99, pass the town of Tulare, 50 miles to go in the crisp night air. While at 70mph, 4000rpm, felt a power loss, thought the engine died, approximately 1/10 second later had hellacious noise coming from behind me, car got a little squirrley, kept gentle pressure on wheel, coasted to the side of the freeway, foot off the brakes. 50 mile tow, interesting driver, glad I got AAA Premium.

Saved up my nickels and bought a beautiful Axle from upstate New York (ebay, same seller and car I got my diff from 2 years ago). While installing it yesterday, I got a good look at the other axle and it's bearings are visibly trashed. At least it's yoke is in great shape. May be a few weeks to make time to repair it.

So, get out there and check your u-joints, preferably in your garage and not on the freeway. john

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IMG_20171107_150429.jpg

carChips Avatar
carChips Victor Harnish
Kelowna, BC, Canada   CAN
1933 MG Magnette
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Chip"
1989 GMC Sierra 1500 "Bush Truck"
No clicking, just sudden banging!



'S all for now
Vic

grubscrew Avatar
grubscrew grub screw
The suburbs of, Winfield, Maryland, USA   USA
Best one yet!



Dave
1970 Spitfire Mk3
FDU 78359L
34/11 (Jasmine yellow/Black interior)

1962 Triumph TR3B
TCF 575L
Signal Red/Red interior

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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
That must have been knocking before letting go?

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
At least you didn't pole vault into a bus stop.

The replacement is sold as a unit shaft and yoke. You can drive out the pin and put the new yoke on the original shaft but I would recommend touching it with a welder to secure it. This way you aren't trying to split the hub which we all know has been the cause of many a tow.

Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496681 by grubscrew Best one yet!

Hey Grub screw, is there a prize? john



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-11-08 11:29 PM by Spity.

grubscrew Avatar
grubscrew grub screw
The suburbs of, Winfield, Maryland, USA   USA
Just braggin' rights!



Dave
1970 Spitfire Mk3
FDU 78359L
34/11 (Jasmine yellow/Black interior)

1962 Triumph TR3B
TCF 575L
Signal Red/Red interior

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Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496688 by Tonyfixit That must have been knocking before letting go?

Hi Tony, No Knocking at all. I had been enjoying the engine sound every time I went under an overpass… that 1500 always sounds so sweet at freeway speed when under an overpass. When I left Lancaster I had about ½ mile drive thru dad’s neighborhood and then on to the freeway. No unusual sounds. The rest of the trip was at 65 to 70mph so it must have happened fairly quickly while at speed. No unusual sounds leaving the truck stop either, other than surprised exclamations of people seeing the cute little car.

In my defense, I do have a fairly loud Monza. Two days before this unplanned trip I noticed some extra exhaust notes behind me. Had planned on checking the exhaust system over soon. See the attached photo … this is what I found when inspecting the axle. Funny thing is that the exhaust was not much louder than usual, which says something about the sound damping ability of Monza. The car came with the Monza. I will make a repair and at some point put in something else.

A couple years ago the rear u-joint on my driveshaft loosened up, so I do know what bad joints sound like. I must have missed something this time! john


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exhaust.JPG

Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496707 by Doug in Vegas At least you didn't pole vault into a bus stop.

The replacement is sold as a unit shaft and yoke. You can drive out the pin and put the new yoke on the original shaft but I would recommend touching it with a welder to secure it. This way you aren't trying to split the hub which we all know has been the cause of many a tow.

Hello Doug, I had not thought of that. My old axle still has good bearings. It is worth saving... perhaps I can find a used yoke in the future. john

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spitfire50 Avatar
spitfire50 Paul Mugford
Rochester, N.H., USA   USA
John,
Suggesting that it is a good idea to save removing the hub flange and bearings by swapping the yoke is not sensible. The effort to remove that yoke puts removing the hub to shame. The pin is only there to give someone comfort that if the splined joint comes loose something will hold the shaft in the yoke. Reality is: if the yoke will move it will shear that pin too.
All the best,
Paul

SpiTazz72 Avatar
SpiTazz72 Bryan H
Magnolia, Texas, USA   USA
Huge rear tires and 1000ft/lbs of torque will do that! Glad nothing else was damaged.

Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
Thank you Paul, glad then that I followed my first choice of finding a nice used axle. I will be good to go once I swap u-joints on the other side. John

In reply to # 1496859 by spitfire50 John,
Suggesting that it is a good idea to save removing the hub flange and bearings by swapping the yoke is not sensible. The effort to remove that yoke puts removing the hub to shame. The pin is only there to give someone comfort that if the splined joint comes loose something will hold the shaft in the yoke. Reality is: if the yoke will move it will shear that pin too.
All the best,
Paul

Herald948 Avatar
Herald948 Andrew Mace
East Nassau, upstate NY, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496859 by spitfire50 John,
Suggesting that it is a good idea to save removing the hub flange and bearings by swapping the yoke is not sensible. The effort to remove that yoke puts removing the hub to shame. The pin is only there to give someone comfort that if the splined joint comes loose something will hold the shaft in the yoke. Reality is: if the yoke will move it will shear that pin too.
All the best,
Paul
Been there, done that...once, many years ago. Never again!

It will take, at the very minimum, a 12-ton press, some serious heat (no butane, propane or even Mapp gas torch is going to do it; we're talking Oxy/Acetylene), concentration, a vocabulary that would make most sailors blush, and just possibly some Divine Intervention. Oh, and unless someone just happened to have a loose yoke worth swapping on, you'll be doing the above TWICE.

Good luck; you'll need it.

Oh, and I've also been there,done that on breaking a u-joint at speed. Not fun, but my own fault for hoping I could just get a few more miles before tending to the job I'd been putting off. (I was younger and poorer at the time, not to mention almost as dumb as I am now.) Worst part of it all was that the incident rendered the car immobile, even in my driveway, as in I could barely push it...until I discovered that the flailing axle end had seriously bashed the handbrake cable guide and cable, locking the one wheel very tight! (Took a lot of work to straighten out that guide bracket sufficiently!)



http://www.fairpoint.net/~herald948/database/

Spity Avatar
Spity John Biek
Fresno, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496914 by Herald948
In reply to # 1496859 by spitfire50 John,
Suggesting that it is a good idea to save removing the hub flange and bearings by swapping the yoke is not sensible. The effort to remove that yoke puts removing the hub to shame. The pin is only there to give someone comfort that if the splined joint comes loose something will hold the shaft in the yoke. Reality is: if the yoke will move it will shear that pin too.
All the best,
Paul
Been there, done that...once, many years ago. Never again!

It will take, at the very minimum, a 12-ton press, some serious heat (no butane, propane or even Mapp gas torch is going to do it; we're talking Oxy/Acetylene), concentration, a vocabulary that would make most sailors blush, and just possibly some Divine Intervention. Oh, and unless someone just happened to have a loose yoke worth swapping on, you'll be doing the above TWICE.

Good luck; you'll need it.

Oh, and I've also been there,done that on breaking a u-joint at speed. Not fun, but my own fault for hoping I could just get a few more miles before tending to the job I'd been putting off. (I was younger and poorer at the time, not to mention almost as dumb as I am now.) Worst part of it all was that the incident rendered the car immobile, even in my driveway, as in I could barely push it...until I discovered that the flailing axle end had seriously bashed the handbrake cable guide and cable, locking the one wheel very tight! (Took a lot of work to straighten out that guide bracket sufficiently!)

Hi Andrew, well that explains why there are not dozens of used yokes waiting to be bought, not to mention no brand new yokes unless they are attached to an axle. I guess the yokes on mewinking smiley.

My car was also no longer mobile after I coasted to the side of the freeway. The tow driver did some fancy stuff with the flatbed to get Spitty onto my driveway. I will check out the hand brake next time I crawl under there. My work is quite seasonal, portrait photographer, and along with running back and forth quite often to Lancaster to help dad... more repairs to Spitty will have to wait. I am already suffering serious sports car withdrawal symptoms (scsws) ... glad I do not live in the frozen North like many of you and only get to drive 8 months of the year. Will be driving around in my t-shirt by January, yes it will be 35F but it makes the locals laugh. john

Doug in Vegas Avatar
Doug in Vegas Douglas D
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA   USA
In reply to # 1496859 by spitfire50 John,
Suggesting that it is a good idea to save removing the hub flange and bearings by swapping the yoke is not sensible. The effort to remove that yoke puts removing the hub to shame. The pin is only there to give someone comfort that if the splined joint comes loose something will hold the shaft in the yoke. Reality is: if the yoke will move it will shear that pin too.
All the best,
Paul

Which is why I recommend a touch here and there with a welder. That was the way I went back in 1996 and it's still going strong.

Then there's the advantage of having a spare shaft to pack away in case one of the rears does go out in a few decades.

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