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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a 97' reg cab long box with a 3.9 5 speed 2wd. Theres been a lot of clunking noises coming from the truck, I've been told it's the driveshaft u-joints (theres three of them) from the transmission to the rear diff along the shaft. I've got a bit of mechanical experience, but nothing major. Just wondering if anyone can give me some pointers about the process of replacing the u-joints. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I really don't want to drop several bills at a garage if its something I can handle. Thanks in advance, Jerrot!
 

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Its not to hard iv done it on a few different vehicles. Put it up on stands unbolt the shaft from the axle usually 4 bolts, slide it forward away from the axle then pull out of transmission. The u-joint may fall right out or it may need to be pressed out. I usually take mine to a local shop that all the do is drive shafts, and have them press it out and press a new one in. The part is a cheap part most the time labor at a shop will cost more local shop here usually charges me around $30 - $40 to do everything including a new u-joint.
 

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clunking doesnt mean shit. it can be anything...what i need to know before you go tearing into a driveshaft:

when do you hear the clunking: is it during constant accel. or coasting(no throttle or braking)
under acceleration or braking
turning corners or bumps

cuz u-joints is a vague diagnosis..yes it could be a worn joint..could be ring gear lateral play, worn spiders or pinion thrust. or even just a trans mount bushing. just need to know all driving conditions to help ya better rather than wasting money on parts u didnt need
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had a mechanic friend of the family briefly look it over, he said hes about 99 percent sure its the u-joints.. usually I'll hear it when im shifting in low gears at a lower rmp. Im doing the shocks in a day or two, should be able to get a better look at everything over all with it in the air and the tires off.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
So I went underneath a few minutes ago, should have done that earlier I suppose.. But it is the rear-most u-joint that is completely shot. There is also a fair bit of differential fluid leaking where the two meet. My guess on that would be the pinion seal is the result of the leak? Any ideas or help on how I would go about doing the job would be greatly appreciated! I plan on tackling this all on Thursday, thanks again in advance!
 

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pinion seal..correct

kinda a pain, cuz you need to break the nut free and after replaceing the seal retorque it exactly to the spec. if you loosen or overtighten then you pinion end play will be mes up resulting in wear or premature damage to the ring and pinion. this is a job i typicaly recommend a shop to do, cuz most people mess it up and result in 500$ in damage/labor
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah I imagine it to be one of the more tricky things I've done so far, but I've done a fair share of reading and watching videos on it and the impression I have is as long as I make a mark on the bolt and the yolk and count the threads I should be fine? Also, when I have the drive shaft detached from the differential will the whole thing just pull out from the transmission? Thanks alot for the help with this!
 

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if it is a one piece shaft yes. it'll just slip rear-ward and the front slip yoke will come out of the trans..have a drain pan under the tail shaft cuz u'll loose a lil fluid

two piece shaft the carrier bearing is bolted to a crossmember two bolts and thats it then slide rear like a one-piece
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah its the two piece, doesn't sound too overwhelming aha. If I end up getting stuck with something on thursday I may send you a message if that's alright by you. Any other tips I should be aware of? Thanks again!
 

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the slip yoke between the 2 drive-shafts (your middle joint) DO NOT seperate these..the inner spline has a thick teflon coat that if removed will not go backtogether right. all it'll do is pull the coating off and creat lash, dealer charges too much for this coating

thus only touch the u-joints if possible. also when its apart check for any play in the middle carrier bearing
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
So just to clear the air, and make sure i have this all right.. I unbolt the drive-shaft from the yolk on the differential, unbolt the two nuts holding the carrier bearing to a cross member; being careful not to let the slip yolk between the two pieces of shaft come apart. Then the whole drive shaft will pull right out. Then press the old u-joint out, and replace with the new one and reverse the procedure to re-install. Sound easy enough when put like that
 
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