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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got my 97 chevy back from the tranny shop yesterday, about $1,000 later, which stinks since I was going to sell the truck. The tranny guy tells me that both U joints on the back drive shaft seized and caused over time enough vibration and wobbling in the driveshaft that it tore the transfer case apart.

Here's the rub.... the U joints were factory original (60,000 miles). Which isn't bad, considering it's plowed five or six winters since I bought it new. I didn't think about it, but the U joints didn't have grease fittings, so he tells me. They were "permanently" greased according to GM.

The replacements now have grease fittings. My question is this... did GM install U joints without grease fittings? Are they still doing this? I'm going to crawl under my other trucks to make sure. It's one thing to have your u joints go bad, for a buck or so you can swap 'em out. But to ruin your transfer case over U joints is no way to make money in this business.
 

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My son's 97 did the same thing. U joint siezed and the forces imposed actually cracked the transfer case tailshaft housing.

Yes, GM, and I think all others, use non greasable joints. The thing I can't understand is that once hte factory ones go out I've never had a replacement joint last as long, greasable or otherwise.
 

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Use the OEM Dana or Spicer sealed u-joints and they will last.The parts store brands just don't cut it,greasable or not.
 

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OK Chris, were can we find these U-joints at?

Chuck B.:D
 

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Some parts stores can order them,they just don't usually stock them as they are 2 to 3 times the price of the cheap ones.

Driveline shops or 4WD specialty shops usually have them as well.

You should also be able to do a yahoo search as find some places online.

As a last resort,you can get them from your local dealer,but be prepared to pay through the nose.Some joints are over a $100 from the dealer. :eek:

Don't add any grease to them when installing either,as they already are full of good synthetic grease.Take extreme care in keeping them free from dirt,rust and debris when installing,or they won't last.The other secret is to have a pro install them,or make sure you have the right tools for the job.Beating them in with a hammer and sockets will just distort the ears of the driveshaft and yoke.They will fail pretty quick then.

On most GM's,they use fiberglass to retain the cups.While you can beat\press them out,you will just distort the ears.You must burn out the fiberglass with a torch (propane will work,just not as fast as oxy\act).Wear goggles and gloves,and do it outside,or where you have lots of ventilation,as it's smelly and dirty.Heat the ears until the fiberglass stops oozing out of the little holes.Don't get it too hot,and just let it cool naturally afterwards.You can them press the cups out easily with no damage.
 

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Boy it must be a common thing in these trucks for that to happen. I was on a trip to the coast going 130 km an hour on the Coquihalla Highway and my t-case split in half. It too was caused by a slight vibration in the front u-joint on the rear driveshaft. It must have been really slight too beacuse I had no idea. I'll try find a pic of the carnage, because that thing was mangled. I was lucky and got a totally rebuilt transfer case for $600.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Misery loves company I guess. I don't think knowing that others having the same problem makes me feel any better about dropping a grand into the truck. Oh well. Poor engineering I guess. Or, it's like anything else, you replace it before you think its going to go bad. Much like oil/tranny cooling lines. They rot out at about year four. Replace them before they do for sure in year five and you won't loose an engine or tranny due to broken lines that you didn't know about until it was too late. Yup, lost an engine due to it. Since then I've caught the lines leaking on two other trucks before any damage was done. Now I'm just going to change them out in year four of the truck (only to sell the truck when it's five years old!).
 

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Had a good friend replace his tranny last year, only to have the T CASE lock up on him on a trip to Maine. New factory tranny cost him 2K, and used t case was 800.00. Vibration seemed to have caused his dimise as well.
Dino
 

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on the subject of u joints i agree with Chirs and you should only use good high quality joints, the ones with the grease fittings in them are weaker for they are cross drilled for the grease to pass through
 

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Funny, my rear end blew out caused tranny to go to, nothing to the T case.

Total repair bill was over $8k. Had to replace the axel housing, and tanny case.
 

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All this cause no one could figure out the carier bearing on the ring went bad, and Dodge dealer took the back caps off and put them on worng, dealer reinbursted me for the repair.

Notice the wear on the side of the housing also. The bearing spun into the side of the housing and it could not be fixed.

Was going to get rid of this truck also this Fall, but with almost a completely new drive line why bother yet. One more seaon:D .

While doing all this, I put all new rotors, calipers, drums, wheel cylinders, pads, shoes, and dust covers on.

Good thing I had a spare truck, this one was down for 5 months.

ALso put new beaerings in the back while we were at it.
 
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