U-Joint Tool Set
The U Joint removal / assembly tool set was designed to enable a single person with a minimal amount of equipment to safely and easily remove and replace the U-Joints in a Corvette. A primary concern was to eliminate cosmetic damage to the half shaft and bearing cap support structure and the companion flange.
The problem with the Corvette U-Joint, and especially the drive shafts and half shafts with the heavy duty U-Joint, is that you cannot press the bearing cap all the way through the yoke.
The U-Joint Tool Set was designed to enable a single person with a normal set of hand tools and a bench vise or press, to replace the U-Joints in a Corvette without damaging the half shafts or the companion flange. A puller, a donut, and a plug are included in the tool set to enable pressing out the U-Joint bearing cap and removing a U-Joint. A self centering donut and plug are used to press the bearing cap out or until the U-Joint bottoms out on the half shaft. Using two sockets for this operation requires a large vise and I have seen several sockets explode or deform in the process. The bearing cap clamp with a slide hammer ismmer is used to pull the bearing caps out. Vise Grips and Slip Joint pliers have been used but a limited number of bearing caps will not yield to these tools. These usually require prying under the pliers with a small "crow bar" etc. and some times it just will not budge. The bearing cap clamp and slide hammer never fails to remove the cap and it never nicks or marks your half shaft. The outer U-Joint presents more of a challenge because the companion flange companion flange has such a thin cross section. When pressing out the U-Joint, the flange distorts and clamps the bearing caps tighter, and more pressure results in a damaged companion flange at $100 each. A separate tool is the Companion Flange Reinforcement Plate, which prevents this problem.
Directions for use of the U-Joint removal tools.
- On a stable surface, jack up and support your Corvette at the factory hard points. Give yourself an adequate amount of work space.
- Remove the rear half shaft by removing the bolts at the differential mounting flange, and the bolts at the axle mounting flange.
- Remove the drive shaft by pulling the top of the tire outward.
- Remove the snap rings from the ends of the U Joint bearing caps.
- Soak the bearing caps with a good penetrating oil.
- Open the vise or press and insert the half shaft with the donut and plug over the bearing cap.
- Press out the out the U-Joint or until the cross bottoms-out against the half shaft bearing support structure.
- Remove the half shaft, plug and donut from the press or vice.
- Install the bearing cap puller over the exposed bearing cap and tighten the socket head cap screws.
- Use the slide hammer to pull the bearing cap out of the yoke. Repeat for the opposite cap.
- Clean the half shaft bearing cap structure and the companion flange with a wire brush, steel wool etc.
- Make sure that the retainer groves are clean and burr free.
- Soak the end of the half shaft with penetrating oil.
- Install the U-Joint into the companion flange first.
- Install one bearing cap about 1/2 way being careful not to loose the needle bearings.
- Insert the cross into the bearing cap and press the bearing cap in.
- Install the second bearing cap making sure that the bearing cap aligns with the cross. Failure to do this will destroy the needle bearings.
- Using the plug press one of the bearing caps into the companion flange or half shaft so that the snap ring can be installed.
- Install the snap ring in this side.
- Using the plug press the remaining bearing cap into the companion flange or half shaft to a depth allowing installation of the second snap ring.
The plug and donut are made of a medium hard steel and designedel and designed to deform, protecting the bearing cap and half shaft. These are considered perishable and are available as a replacement part for a very reasonable price.
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