If your truck has started to show the signs of universal joint failure, then you will be happy to know that this is a repair that you can easily complete in just a couple hours of time.
The tools and supplies you will need to complete this repair are:
a socket set
a replacement universal joint
a propane torch
a mallet or hammer
In addition to the above, it is helpful if you have a vice to set the drive shaft into while you are working. The vice can also be used to install the caps for the new universal joint into the drive shaft's holes.
Follow these steps to replace your truck's failed universal joint:
Step 1: Jack Up the Truck, Block It, and Set It on Jack Stands
To easily access the drive shaft of your truck, you will need to jack it up with a hydraulic jack. Once it is in the air, you should place safety blocks behind the rear tires and place jack stands under the rear jack points.
Step 2: Remove the Four Yoke Bolts on the Rear of the Drive Shaft
Where the drive shaft enters the differential yoke, there are four bolts. Using the ratchet, remove each of these bolts with an appropriately sized socket.
Step 3: Remove the Drive Shaft
Once the bolts are removed, push the drive shaft toward the transmission and remove it. If the drive shaft is stuck in place by dirt and grease build up, then you can spray it with some brake cleaner and pry it out using the end of your ratchet.
Step 4: Remove the Nylon Pins
Using the propane torch, melt out the nylon pins holding the universal joint caps into the drive shaft. Hold the torch over the metal and allow it to heat. As the metal becomes hot, the nylon pins will melt and extrude out of their holes.
Step 5: Remove the Universal Joint Caps
Using a socket that is just a bit smaller than the universal joint's caps, place it on the caps and then hit them with a mallet or hammer. You can place the drive shaft on the vice to help hold it in place. Do not close the vice on the tube of the drive shaft because it can be easily damaged. Once the caps are free, then you can easily slide out the old universal joint.
Step 6: Replace the Universal Joint
Place the new universal joint into the drive shaft and either use a socket and mallet to seat them in place, or use your vice. You can place a socket in each side and press the new caps together in the drive shaft's end.
Step 7: Replace the Drive Shaft
Finally, replace the drive shaft into the transmission and replace the four yoke bolts on the differential.
For more information, contact a mechanic in your area.