Universal Joints - Part 1: Introduction

John Educator Ogden, Utah Posted   Latest   Edited  

Have you ever taken the time to read the factory technical instructions or service procedures for repair tasks that you thought you already knew how to perform? As an automotive professor, I enjoy doing that very thing because I have found that I was performing many service procedures incorrectly. I could blame it on my mentor when I was a young technician, but the fault is my own, I never bothered to read the instructions for basic tasks. 

Here is one of many examples: Have you ever read the factory service instructions for replacing a universal joint? I have and there are great discrepancies between manufacturers for the exact same universal joint. 

  • Factory service information for Toyota Trucks, you will find highly detailed instructions, special tool usage, specifications, and measurements.
  • Factory service information for Ford or GMC or Chevrolet Trucks, you will find some instructions and special tool usage
  • Factory service information for RAM or Dodge Trucks, just simply tells you to "Replace the universal joint". There are no instructions, tools or specifications!

I knew there must be more to the story than what I was finding, so I spent several months researching universal joint manufacturers, service procedures and special tools. The story of the universal joint is an incredible trip through time involving Mr. Clarence Spicer, the inventor of the self-contained and lubricated automotive universal joint, as well as the founder of Spicer Corporation more than 100 years ago. 

I have documented my research and findings in a 7 part video series with almost 5 hours of demonstrations and details on universal joints. Do yourself and your customers a favor and educate yourself on a topic that is frequently misunderstood. The following video is part 1. There are links to the other parts at the end of each video. youtu​.​be/v0RZVQQVMZs

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill
 

That was an awesome series. I watched them all a while ago. I built a special adjustable attachment that slips into my press for doing U joints now. I can say my U joints have never fit as good as they do now. Thank you. Good stuff.

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
 

Thank you, a good press adapter makes all the difference.

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill
   

It certainly did. Another tool I would like is something for cutting a nice ring groove. Ring grooves that I deal with are dented from rocks,previous repairs and have hard rust preventing proper snap ring fitment. I would like to have a tool that would have a carbide bit that I could use to machine the high spots and rust out with. I don't believe it would be a difficult tool to have my

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
 

That is an interesting idea. I have never heard of one or seen one. It would be difficult to insure each centering and alignment to prevent machining off too much or machining at an angle.

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Bill Technician
Rosetown, Saskatchewan
Bill
 

I agree John, I think you could have sleeves that fit the common size bores to adapt to the tool. Then you could use threads on the outside of the tool to draw it through and spin by hand. I am sure you would be able to feel the high spots as it was eased through and stop when it is consistantly "stopped" on the cleaned surface.

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Matthew Technician
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Matthew
 

John, thank you! This is amazing! It's easy to take certain services for granted. I can't wait to watch the whole series.

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
 

Thank you!

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Sean Owner
Cornville, Arizona
Sean
 

Funny you should mention this topic. I haven't done any in about 9 months, and today I replaced U-joints on two separate vehicles. Both got Spicer joints.

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
 

Thanks, In my opinion they are the very best.

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Steven Mechanic
Spokane, Washington
Steven
 

I get a "404 Not found" when clicking that link for some reason. I used this link instead. Excellent videos by the way 👍

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
   

Thank you very much! I fixed the link.

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Hans Diagnostician
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hans
 

Thanks for the lesson! I've had your channel saved in my youtube list and try to watch when I can! I hope I can make it up there to visit your class one day if you don't mind.

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John Educator
Ogden, Utah
John
 

Thank you, That would be great!

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