By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

What was the experience like the last time you tried to change a u-joint? Where you at home? In the shop? On the trail? Did you have everything you needed? How much hammering and cussing was involved?

We've done it the hard the way in just about every situation imaginable but changing a u-joint on the trail is probably the worst place to have to do this nasty task. You have uneven work surfaces covered in dirt and mud and you usually have to improvise the parts and tools you need to get the joint out. I usually have a pair of plyers, a hammer, a set of Vice Grips, a metal ring to set the joint over, and a cross shaft out of an old locker to hammer the joint bearings out with.

I would usually lay the bottom bearing cap over the ring so when I pounded the cross shaft against the other side, the bottom bearing could come out and inside the ring for removal. Once it was far enough out, I would use a Vise Grip to then pull the bearing out from the yoke.

Removing U-Joints the Old Way
Removing U-Joints the Old Way Removing U-Joints the Old Way

Recently, John Henry of the U-Joint Tool Company, Inc. gave me a holler and asked if I'd give his U-Joint Tool a try. "Sure," I said, always eager to try new tools and toys out. What arrived was a plastic case with a work of art inside. When you open the case up, the U-Joint Tool is sitting securely in a form-fitting case just waiting to be used. "But how" I thought. Staring at the tool, I was confused. How would this thing attach to a u-joint and do all the hard work for me?

I looked over the instructions but just couldn't picture it. It was a simple enough concept, yes, but how exactly did it work?

So out to the workshop I went. I had just removed a Tom Wood drive shaft so it was the perfect time to try the U-Joint Tool out. The driveshaft was easily removed from the Jeep by unbolting the straps on each end of the shaft. It's a whole lot easier to do the work with the shaft off of the vehicle.

The first time I tried to remove a u-joint with the tool, I was a bit confused and perplexed, but once I understood what each piece did and what the overall concept was, it began to make perfect sense. After I did it once, I tried it on another driveshaft. I had the u-joint out of the shaft in about 2 minutes with NO HAMMERING and just a bit of arm strength. It was a piece of cake! I mean, if I practiced, I could probably remove joints in a single minute with the tool. It's really that simple.

Removing U-Joints the New Way - With the U-Joint Tool
Removing a U-Joint with the U-Joint Tool Removing a U-Joint with the U-Joint Tool

The U-Joint Tool can also be used to put the joints back into the shafts. For me, it was really almost easier to just tap the caps in with a hammer the old-school way. However, I'm sure using the U-Joint Tool would put less stress on the bearing caps and give the u-joints a longer lifespan.

The U-Joint Tool is probably one of the best-engineered tools we've come across and for someone who does a lot of four wheeling, it could save you a lot of time and trouble. The tool is for use with u-joint caps that range from 15/16" to 1-1/8". The kit also includes an adaptor which may or may not be required when using certain driveshaft parts. Our application did not require the adaptor.

Probably not everyone will want to buck up for the U-Joint Tool, but if you have a club, it's something your club should consider having in the community toolbox, especially when hosting events and leading trails. It could keep your groups moving along the next time someone breaks.

If you own a shop, the U-Joint Tool is a must-have. The time and effort you'll save by using the tool will more than pay for it and you're customers will hear a lot less cussing coming from the shop floor.

Follow along as we walk you through the process of removing a u-joint with the U-Joint Tool.    --->>>

U-Joint Tool Company, Inc.
12759 Foothill Blvd. Suite C-390
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Phone: 909-350-9373
Fax: 909-350-9474
Email: ujointtool@iol7.com
Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts
2147 N. Rulon White Blvd.
Building #1 Suite #103
Ogden, UT 84404
Phone: 877-4X-SHAFT
Fax: 877-4X-JOINT4
Help spread the ROCKCRAWLER world!           Share on Facebook

©1997-2015 ROCKCRAWLER 4x4 and Off-Road Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

RockCrawler.com   -   IH8MUD.com