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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all! 1987 auto coupe with 92,000 miles.

A while ago I posted about a few noises I heard in the car where I asked for opinions. The results of everyone's opinions were to change the U joints on the half shaft for the first noise and to change the drive shaft U joint for the second noise.

Now, that said, I like to work on my car and have basic tool and mechanical skills, but I tend to stay away from the big stuff. I'm by no means a professional mechanic, but I'm not afraid of cars either. I asked my mechanic to give a quick estimate on making these repairs. He said the parts are about $180 and labor was the killer at about 9 hours (by the book) at $75/hour, making the total around $850. I hate to say it, but I don't want to spend that much on the car. Especially knowing the parts are under $200.

So, that brings me to my questions. Someone graciously posted a link on how to replace the half shaft U joint. However, I'm not really into replacing stuff that isn't broken. I have not checked the wheels for movement to even determine if the half shaft U joints are bad. How much movement is considered "too much" and a sign that this definitely needs to be replaced?

My next question is about the drive shaft U joint. Does anyone know where I can find instructions on doing this job? My Haynes manual doesn't really go into detail on this one. Also, how can I tell if it needs to be replaced for sure?

Keep in mind, I don't have a lift. Everything I do is with the car on jack stands and me on my back sliding around on a creeper. :)

Thanks everyone for all the help you've been! I appreciate it!

Mike
 

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Haynes pg 8-8 covers how to inspect the driveshaft, remove it and replace the u joints and you already have a link on how to do the half shafts. As far as inspecting the u joints, your have to get under the car and grab the appropriate shaft and turn it back and forth while watching the appropriate u joint for play. You can not merely turn the wheels to check the u joint play because of the play in the rear end. U joints should be tight with no play in their needle bearings. A worn out u joint will be obvious to you when you move the appropriate shaft.

Also, to R and R the u joints you must have a suitable big vice, or press and appropriate tools. If you have these it is an easy job............and can be done in a couple of hours or less.

Also, u joints are cheap, I always replace them using ones that have grease fittings: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/search/Universal+Joint/01462/C0362.oap?make=Chevrolet&model=Corvette&year=1987&vi=1041220
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fantastic! Thanks for the heads up. I don't have a big vice or press or probably the appropriate tools. But that's nothing a trip to Sears can't fix.

Thanks for the help!
Mike
 

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I've done 'em on the side of the road w/o a vice , press or any of the nice stuff....
 

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I prefer the Spicer or Neapco solid joints (non-greasable). First off they are stonger, secondly getting a grease gun into the half shaft joints will be very difficult. Instead of buying a large vise and the collars or sockets go to Autozone and get the proper tool from their free loaner selection. It will work a lot better than a vise anyway.
 

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Disagree, using a vice is a piece of cake because the vice gives you a steady platform to work with and unlimited pressing power.........
 

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A press is the way to go. You can pick one up at HF for less than $100. Be very careful using it though, the chineese guys DO NOT know how to weld.

I've always used a vices or press. A hammer and a socket on roadside repairs :)
 

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Done mine not too long ago, I think I only paid around $60 to $80 for the best I could find, Neapco I think. Don't know where he gets $180 for parts.

I wedged the drive shaft out between the floor and the toque bracket. Would of been a major operation to drop it. Google half shaft removal. There are good write ups on marking the adjustment bolts and what not for removing them.

But your biggest worry though will be getting it off the ground and then keeping it there. Be real sure about your jack stand placement and leave your jack/jacks in place if possible. There are no really good points under it to place the stands, not like a regular car anyways, and it being made out of fiberglass, if the stand slips off the frame it'll go through the floor like paper, thus putting the car on you. I had every stand I owned under mine, 7 of them.
 

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I've done 'em on the side of the road w/o a vice , press or any of the nice stuff....
Boy that bring back memories..I once changed out a u-joint in a gas station parking lot ,in the dark, in a pouring rain! with a socket and a hammer!After having a Taxi deliver the new joint to me,, AAHHH! GOOD tIMES! ...... But if you got a vise, it sure is easier.
 

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Boy that bring back memories..I once changed out a u-joint in a gas station parking lot ,in the dark, in a pouring rain! with a socket and a hammer!After having a Taxi deliver the new joint to me,, AAHHH! GOOD tIMES! ...... But if you got a vise, it sure is easier.
You guys are killing me! It sounds like we all have had that awesome experience. :smilielol5:
 

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Every-one is covering the 1/2 shafts...But i have a place that i buy my u-joints from press in the new ones...look for an industrial brake shop that sells the u-joints, or any machine shop should do it for about $10 per shaft if you buy the parts through them. Grab a phone and ask.

The main drive shaft is harder. You have to remove the torque beam (c-beam) that is around it. Usually the exhaust from the headers back needs to be dropped. But as soon as you get the bolts to the torque bar loose you have to suport the engine/trans. in place...it will roll backward in it's mounts. Before starting remove the distributor cap and carefully wedge a 2x4 between the fire-wall and distributor body to prevent anything getting smashed in there. You will have to have at least 4 stands and place them out of your way while under there. Good-luck and take care as you go.
 

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Oh yea.. Forgot about the exhaust. But at the time, the whole project started out as just changing the rh o2 sensor. Ended up doing shorty headers (found a great deal on ebay), gutting the cats and installing a shift kit. Plus of course the U joints. It was such a pain to get off the ground that I didn't want to have to do it again any time soon. I did start to remove the toque beam, but it was such a pain, I googled the best way to remove it and found that most were not when removing the drive shaft. The shaft came out and went back in easy enough, but you are suppose to remove it..... your call.... good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the great advice everyone! I think I'm going to start with the half shaft joints first and then tackle the drive shaft joints later. As I read up on this, it seems that most of the noises I hear are symptoms of the half shaft UJ's going bad.

I like the idea of removing the shafts and taking them to someone to press in the new joints. I'll probably tackle this in a month or two. The car goes in for PA state inspection next month, but I don't think something like that would keep it from passing, so I have a little time. But I sure don't want to be doing the roadside repair some of you describe! :)

Thanks again for all the help! The friendliness and advice here is amazing and second to none, as usual!

Mike
 

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Mike,
I can't promise you that i will be available. The last couple months i have been fighting a strange flu/strep like illness that just won't go away. They found a couple of masses in my right lung and i am still in limbo on getting a diagnosis on what they are exactly...doc couldn't reach the masses durring bronchoscopy so i am on massive drugs to see if that makes them decrease/go-away. If not they will be cutting my chest open in a few weeks to get at them...This is why i have had a pissy attitude toward some of our hacking lurkers lately...quitting smoking has also left me short tempered as well...

The real B!#(& is the drive shaft...Best advice is pick up a book and read the proceedure a bunch of times...just remember it holds the tranny and engine up BEFORE you pull those bolts holding the cbar in place. A 12-14" peice of 2x4 wedged between the rear of block and fire wall can prevent a lot of damage...the dist. body is strong enough to take some weight but the cap will crack instantly if not removed. A 12"x12" peice of plywood between the trans pan and a floor jack will give you control of lifting the rear to meet the c-bar install/removal w/o hurting the trans.
The half shafts are easy compared to that. Take off rear wheels and reinstall a couple of lugs to hold rotors on. Raise the ends with floor jack under the rotor (catch the cooling vanes with jackpad lip) and remove the spring end bolt once pressure is off of it. Before lowering the end remove the cam bolt (after marking it's setting/location to get it back right) from the strut rod and remove the shock from lower mount. This will allow you to get at the u-joint cap bolts (you will have to turn the shafts to reach different ones) and barely squeeze the shafts out w/o removing everything else. Good luck and pay attention to angles they come out at to reinstall them. A screwdriver placed in the rotor vanes will hold rotor from turning against the caliper while removing the cap bolts and jacking the ends...only use 6 point socket on those cap bolts or they will just get rounded off. They are 8 or 9 mm (if i remember right) and 6 points are hard to find that size. A 1/4" breaker bar will become your friend there also. Forget ever getting the torque right...just get them back in very tight. Hope it goes well for you. The half shafts are balanced so return them to their correct sides and use nail polish on one lobe of each end to get them oriented to the wheel bearing and center out-puts right also. A lot of people seem unaware of this and wonder why the u-joints go out again in 10-15K, by that time it is impossible to tell how they were originally aligned.
Concidering the work involved spend the extra cash to get non-zerky HD joints...You can't reach the zerkys once completely installed to greese the other types anyway....so better off w/o them.:thumbsup3:
 

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As a reminder, inspect all the u joints for play before you remove them. If they do not have any play per my first post they are fine. There are a lot of other things in the drive train and suspension that can cause noise.
 

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Just remember that the half-shaft u-joints can fool you by being tight in most positions while tires are off the ground so rotate the tires while pushing and pulling on the shafts at MANY different angles. If any one of them wiggles at the joint REPLACE soon. If they come apart while going down the road the shafts will flail about damaging other parts and causing even more work with higher parts costs.
 
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