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Just a little mechanicing story.....


NAXJA Member
I figured I'd post this here, instead of OEM tech..... as it's more of a rant rather than a direct XJ issue.

Since I've been working on my own XJ, I've also been helping a few friends with theirs.

A friend with an XJ asked me a few weeks ago about a clicking noise in the front end that got worse in 4wd. Almost certainly u-joints, not that difficult to fix, says I. Here's what to look......

He comes back and say, yeah, the u-joint in the passenger side knuckle is toast. How do I fix it? Get a Spicer 260x replacement u-joint (it's a 92 non-ABS) and we can do it some weekend.

So, yesterday I show up at Kris's place, and we start working away at it. The axle nut comes off okay. First clue that this has been apart before is the hub bolts comes out fairly easily, and they've been greased. The knuckle takes persuasion from a ford wrench and comes out.

Next clue is that it's a greasable u-joint. Definitely not stock. Hold it..... there are only 3 circlips here.

The kicker is that one of the bearing caps has a chunk missing where it contacts the seal! Somebody fubared the u-joint putting it back together!

Wait, it gets worse........ I started on the inner shaft with the new u-joint. No way am I going to get both circlips in. Not only did someone smash the u-joint, they collapsed the yoke, and simply didn't put the last circlip back in.

:mad: Doggone fumble fingered idiots..... Kris & his wife got this XJ from her dad, and Dad apparently was convinced that he had good mechanics working on it. I don't think so.

Fortunately, I'd grabbed my spare parir of axles shafts. I threw one in, and told him to replace the inner shaft (he's got an 86 he's getting ready to part out) sometime over the summer.

I think I'm just glad that bearing cap didn't come out completely.

Just count your blessings that you had the spare parts handy. Imagine trying to get a new axle shaft on a sunday :(
Do you have any idea how hard you have to hit one of those yokes to bend it? And then just to sneak it back together without a clip?

I somehow suspect that "doggone" wasn't exactly the adjective you used at the time....
Actually, I've got a pretty good idea of what it takes to bend a yoke. I grew up maintaining and replacing u-joints on the farm. I doubt you could do it with hand tools, but you can do it with a hydraulic press.

"Doggone" was rather close to the words I uttered, as Kris's kids were in earshot. It was certainly NOT the word I was thinking.

Oh, I broke a cheap vise like that, was replacing the universals in my S10's drive shaft, blond moment, socket in vise to squeeze the spicer out and next thing I know I'm hopping around the cellar with four mushed toes and half the vise on the floor. I never forget c clips after that.... course I bought a pair of redwing steel toes after that too...