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Old 05-19-2015, 11:04 PM   #1
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Default U-joint Failure and Destroyed Carrier Bearing

Took my T/C out on approx 200 miles one-way short camping trip this past weekend and on the return Sun afternoon, about 1 hour from home, a U-joint cup decided to depart the yoke. Big bang and then large vibration, thought i had a tire issue. Pulled to side of the freeway and all tires seemed good shape. Exit was about 0.5 mile up so limped to exit and nearby parking lot, where I found the U-joint with one of the cups missing and carrier bearing with rubber all squished out. My theory is the two bolts holding the cup in the yoke came out, let the cup depart, and then the vibration messed up the carrier bearing. The actual bearing in carrier was OK, just the rubber all distorted and pushed out of the outer frame. I could drive 10 mph without too much clunking and vibration, the driveshaft was still connected sort of with 3 of the 4 bearing cups and 1 loose. It had fresh grease and was not the usual dry dust inside the U-joint like typical failure, just a kind of freak thing that happened, not due to lack of PM.

Since it was Sunday, and all truck parts places closed, had to limp approx 4 miles at 10 mph to a Wal Mart parking lot to spend the night. Had to miss an extra day of work Mon. Found a mobile repair guy Mon morning that was local and he gave me a good deal on the repair, $300 for labor and $322 for parts, and no mileage road service charge. I could not do the repair myself, did not have the tools with me, or any vehicle towed behind to even drive to get parts. Especially no socket for the big nut that holds the carrier bearing.

So in the end, about 24 hours delay getting home, and $622 in repair costs. Found a good repair guy if I ever decide something is more than I can handle at home, he also has a regular shop to go with the mobile truck. I am just glad the damage was not worse or more involved like a damaged yoke or driveshaft letting loose at 70 mph.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:47 PM   #2
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good for you that the damage was minimal.

we often take our jeep/toad even when we don't think we'll need it - i cal it insurance, for exactly the reasons you mention - I figure i can always put the wife in the jeep while i wait for assistance or use it to run/get parts.

we had a similar issue w/ our low milage jeep wrangler / toad - bolts that hold the u-joint on to the output shaft came loose (lost a couple of 'em) and caused some vibration - it was a local trip / we just gone to dinner not far from the house....i nursed the jeep into a parking lot and climbed under it, eventually figuring out what was wrong with it....i nursed it to the home depot that was still open & bought a small socket set & sized a replacement bolt.

our wrangle has less than 10k miles on it (owned since new) - i attribute it to poor workmanship (at the factory)....just a freaky thing & my wife (and i) were glad i could repair it fairly easily....got lucky i guess.

I'm curious what size socket would you have needed for the carrier bearing ?
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Old 05-20-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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The socket for that carrier bearing retaining nut is about 1.375 or 1.5 inches based on visual. Threads are around 1.00 inch diam and fine thread. It is also torqued very tight, kind of like a pinion nut on an automotive size differential.

My wife said the same thing about always taking another vehicle with us to keep from being stranded. I usually do take a vehicle, so this was an atypical case. Of course Murphy always finds those exceptions........
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Old 05-20-2015, 12:13 PM   #4
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i was just asking to see if i even have something big enough....maybe an adjustable wrench.

I know that would be about it, since my Craftsman (263 PC Set) bag of tricks doesnt go that big (although it does have 3/4 drive).

tools were the least of your problems really - since even WITH the tools you were still missing the u-joint cap.

We leave the toad home to...rarely....but of course thats when were gonna have an issue huh
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:00 AM   #5
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An adjustable wrench would not work on the carrier bearing nut. Two main reasons:
1) the nut is located down inside the yoke, so socket is required. No access for other type tool
2) the torque is very tight like 150-200 ft lbs. Add in some road grime and maybe corrosion, and you can see a real socket is required.

On mine, it required an impact gun and some work to get it loose. The U-joint is just small 5/16 or 3/8 size bolts, that could certainly be done in the field with normal tools you carry with you - provided you have the parts of course. The carrier bearing is also kind of press fit for the bearing ID on the shaft, you need a puller or as the guy did for mine, used a cutoff wheel to cut through the bearing.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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i wasn't clear, i agree w/ you - an adjustable wrench wouldnt work, i was simply saying thats the biggest wrench i have in my bag o tricks - sorry i wasn't clearer
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