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Drive Shaft ?

1951 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  f9k9
So I have Tom Wood's Driveshafts F&R . . . had the center ball replaced on the rear shaft Dec 2009. Rubi 4" lift 33" tires, Double Cardan Rubi DS. Noticed a noise tonight that reminded me of the noise my Rear DS made last year before the center ball went bad . . . so I turned around headed home (drove less than 5 miles) . . . it was only making the noise upon deceleration and under 2000rpm. I yanked the rear DS and drove around in 4x4 and sure enough the noise was gone. I didn't notice any play in the DS when on the Jeep or in the CV joint like there was last year when it went bad so I greased up the CV real good, sprayed some WD40 in there figuring perhaps some grit or something might have got in there and then greased it up a bit more, threw it back on the Jeep, greased the U Joints and Splines and the noise is gone.

So here's my question, what are the odds that I caught the issue in time and perhaps it was just a bit dry and needed some grease or some grit was in there compared to the odds that it's shot, will need to be rebuilt, and all I've done is temporarily masked the issue?
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just drive it as is and see what happens. It was probably dry like you thought.
Here is a lesson that I learned. When greasing the CV it's best to take the DS off the Jeep. Grease the crap out of the CV. Move the CV around in a full range of motion. Grease the crap out of it again.

I think you are probably right. You probably caught it in time if the noise was just starting.
Thanks guys . . . so far so good, about 40 miles and the noise hasn't returned. I pulled the front DS and greased it up real good tonight too. The crappy part is now I'm paranoid listening for any type of noise and being a Jeep there's always something making noise. I'll just keep listening and checking for play . . . will there be noticable play before the thing gets to the point of snapping on me?

Last year when it went bad on me I didn't know what I was hearing and drove home about 300 miles after the holiday pretty much all freeway and didn't notice anything at first but when I got to the grapevine I noticed a slight vibe . . . when I exited the freeway by my house, the thing was flopping all over the place, didn't break, but was making awful racket and I could move it around by hand. Felt really lucky the thing didn't snap on me and cause all sorts of damage. I don't want to let it get that bad again.
schmojoe said:
Thanks guys . . . so far so good, about 40 miles and the noise hasn't returned. I pulled the front DS and greased it up real good tonight too. The crappy part is now I'm paranoid listening for any type of noise and being a Jeep there's always something making noise. I'll just keep listening and checking for play . . . will there be noticable play before the thing gets to the point of snapping on me?

:rotflmao: :laugh: I hear you on the paranoid thoughts and listening for junk... about like listening to a mouse fart in the middle of a metal factory :laugh:

I have been through this, and when I got home finally there was NO driving the jeep until it was fixed. But the noise was present for a long time and at the time I had no clue what it was since that was many years ago and I didn't even know that there was such a thing as a centering ball. Oh how we learn quickly :laugh: When it gets real bad, YES there will be noticable play in the shaft while it is bolted up to the jeep and there should be NONE. If there is even just the slightest bit... dont automatically think it is the centering ball cause it could also be a U joint if the movement is very small and slight. Also when there is noticable movement while it is bolted to the Jeep and it IS the centering ball, you will DEFINATLY know that something is about to head south quick! There will be noise and vibration.

Also FWIW... I have found in my experience that the grease you use makes a huge difference. I use to get whatever met the specs and was cheap or around. That was a lesson learned! There are differences in what you pay for. What I have found to work VERY WELL in my front and rear TW DS is Green Grease. It is a hair more expensive than some, about $9 per tube where I am. But this stuff has held up VERY well. It is so tacky and sticks so well that it is almost like the crap jumps on you and wont let go :laugh: It has made a believer out of me, and it is pretty darn waterproof, you'll find out when you get some on your hands... and if your like me, you will get it on your hands no matter what. I first learned about it here on ROF and I am very glad I tried it, now it is all I buy.
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this is what happens when the front shaft lets go, daughters Jeep

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dammmm looks like you got a little project to take care of..that sucks man
New Question . . .

I noticed what seems like a bit of play in the U-Joint on the Front Drive Shaft at the diff. Play might not be the best word as it's not loose where you can rattle it around, but it seems as if the center of the U-Joint is able to move a tiny bit side to side in the yoke of the DS (doesn't seem to do it on side of the U-Joint that attaches to the diff). Hard to explain but it seems as if there is a little space under the cap of the U-Joint and you can move the center part of the U-Joint in and out of the cap a tiny bit, you can't twist it, the caps are tight in the yoke and on the U-Joint but are able to slide the center of the U-Joint between the two caps a tiny bit. Is that normal?

( < + > ) - Visual . . . ( = the caps, + = the center of the U Joint, <> = the movement sliding the U-Joint back and forth in and out of the caps.
Believe it or not, it might not be the U joint. There are numerous stories you can read about the front DS splines. These are alleged to also cause a loose symptom. If you feel you have isolated the "loose feeling" to the cap and the center of the joint then I would replace it.
I'm going to check again to see if I can isolate the movement, I'd felt a bit of movement in the spines but was told that is normal . . . is that right?
Pulled the shaft and there is definitely movement in the U-Joint . . . it's tiny maybe 3 hairs next to each other, but there is movement. With the shaft off, you can move the middle of the U-Joint back and forth in the yoke, the caps don't move in the yoke just the middle part of the U-Joint will a tiny bit back and forth in and out of the caps. The yoke looks fine, the clips on each side appear to be secure and in place, even the U-Joint looks fine with plenty of grease. I don't know if this is just something simple and routine and the U-Joint was just bad or wore faster than usual or if it isn't seated properly or if the yoke is a tiny bit too wide creating a tiny bit of space. I guess I'll call Tom Wood in the morning, but I'd really rather not have to deal with the hassle of shipping the driveshaft out to UT or wherever he is if it's just something normal and simple. Still a little frustrated to have to deal with this seeing how I just bought the front shaft in Jan and have only put 4000 miles on the Jeep. I probably wouldn't have noticed but after having the issue with the Rear which I had rebuilt a month before getting the front, I figured I'd better rip it off and lube up the center ball . . . the U-Joint that's got the play is the one that has a zirk and is easy to get to and got plenty of attention . . . go figure! I've put about 250 miles on the Rear shaft since having that noise and lubing up the center ball, the noise has not returned and I do not feel any play in the shaft, but I don't know if I'm out of the woods on that one, and now I'm driving around without a front DS, which was my insurance plan as I figured I could take off the rear shaft and just drive home in 4x4 if needed, I guess AAA is my only insurance now.:bad-words
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Well I called TW this morning and basically they guy told me that the play in the U-Joint is normal and that I shouldn't be concerned unless it's a large amount of play like 1/8 of an inch or if I'm feeling a vibe. It's no where near that much play, so he advised that I tap on the snap rings to make sure they are seated properly and throw it back on. He also gave me a glimmer of hope on the rear shaft and mentioned that there is a possiblity that some grit or something got in there and caused the noise, but I'll just have to keep an eye on it, but he said there should be noise, vibe, play in the shaft prior to a castistrophic failure, so hopefully I can just keep a close eye on it and get somemore time on it before it needs a rebuild. Time will tell . . . I'm sick of messing around with Driveshafts, but have become pretty proficient at removing them!
Nice. Tom is a good guy. I'm not sure about you but I'm left handed. The front DS is no fun for me, even with a 1"BL. Guess if I really wanted it easy I would drop the skid.
The first time I really struggled with it, but it's getting easier and easier each time . . . but I was still cursing up a storm last night pulling it off and will probably do the same tonight putting it back on, it. Light is the biggest thing as it makes it much easier if you can see it. I broke the bulb on the little light I use in the garage the other night on the skid plate (now have sharp pieces of glass in my belly pan which feels nice on your arm/hand when attaching the DS to the TC) and trying to use a flashlight was a real pain in the ass. I wonder how long that rear shaft is going to last . . . the guy I spoke with at TW mentioned that usually if you let them go to the point they make noise, it's too late and damage has been done . . . he did say though that there would be a chance that some grit got in there somehow and if I washed it out and lubed it up it might not have done damage. We'll see I guess. 4000 miles was all I'd put on it and less than a year, since it was rebuilt by TW . . . I had a lot more miles and time on the last one before it made any noise so I'm hoping that maybe something just got in there.
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I little off-topic but, I carry one of those LED headlamps which come in handy for working on the heep. What type of belly pan do you have? I have a AEV/Nth TT and it has an access hole that works well to tighten or loosen those bolts with a ratcheting box end wrench. I leave the axle end of the ds loose but, tied up and toss it in 4 hi when I need resistance.

I've had my front ds on and off so much that, I don't even sweat it anymore. I have been chasing a noise similar to yours for months to no avail. I was running it discoed and tied up until I got to the trail head and it became part of the airing down ritual. Now, I just leave it connected and wait for something to happen like in the photos above. I refuse to chase the noise anymore or let it consume my every waking moment.
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