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Drive Shaft Install TJ Rubicon

Note the bright metal, and wear from the cap rotating 

Cap rotates sure sign of failing u joint

Note  wear on trunions

CV is ok

I removed the Alum spacer

Spacer cleaned

DO NOT Forget the Loctite

Note the NEW straps and bolts

Grease & exercise the u joint

New DS Installed TC end

New DS Installed Pinion end

New driveshaft from J.E.Reel Drivelines and a new hat to boot, Thanks J.E.

As I drove down the road yesterday I kept hearing the sounds of sparrows chirping. This is of course the warning call of a driveshaft that is on it way to happy valley.

This am I dragged myself under my Jeep to check out the rear DS. Yep, the clear signs of a DS beginning to fail. What I was looking for was any “bright metal” or looseness in the shaft.

TIP: Keep you undercarriage clean and regularly painted so any “bright metal” will shine and be easy to spot.

Like any good wheeler I just happened to have a spare Tom Woods> DS laying around for my rig.

I knew that sooner or later I would need to replace the DS which has served me faithly for over 5 years and 60k miles.

Knowing I would need a Spicer strap kit, I called my good friend Cole at 4 Wheelers Supply>  and ordered one up.  Cole said he had them in stock and to just swing on by.  After many purchases from Cole at 4 Wheelers I have to say that if they do not have your Jeep part in stock, you probably don't need it.

After I installed it I took my rig on a good high-speed run down the freeway to pick up some steel for another project I am working on. The Jeep was as quite as a Jeep can be and ran as smooth as a church mouse walking on cotton.


1) Jack up you’re the rear of your rig and place it on jack stands. Don’t forget to put some stops on the front tires so it will not roll on you.

2) Assemble your tools and new DS so everything is at hand. This really helps if you are doing this by yourself

3) Place the transmission in neutral

4) Remove every other strap bolt from the pinion side, this is 2, 5/16th bolts, 1 from each of the 2 straps

5) Remove every other 5/8 ths bolt from the transfer case side; this is a 2, 5/8 ths bolts. NOTE: I have a Rubicon and the TC side is held on by 4 bolts into a Aluminum spacer, which is held on by 4, 10 mm Allen bolts. You do NOT need to remove the aluminum spacer. I did for purposes of cleaning it up.

6) Now begin to loosen each bolt on either end, using the alignment bar or long screwdriver to hold the DS in place while you apply torque to remove the bolts.

TIP: Prior to installing the new (or rebuilt) DS you should grease it. Do so by first exercising the CV and u joints on the new DS. I use “Green Grease” on DS for its waterproof and synthetic properties.

Grease and exercise until you are sure that all of the u joints and CV are as full of grease as you can get them. If you do this now you will not need to grease your DS after you install and drive it.

It is very possible that there are air pockets in the grease spaces of the joints and by exercising and greasing you will eliminate this issue. Also you will never get a better and easier opportunity to grease your CV joint itself as you will when you have the DS laying on a work bench.

7)   Install the DS by using the reverse of above.

TIP: To make this a bit easier, install 2 bolts each opposite of each other in the front and 2 bolts, 1 in each strap in the rear. Tighten to just barely snug. Now install the rest of the bolts using Loctite.


* Locktite>

* 5/16th socket w/ ¼ in ratchet drive 

TIP: I like using a ¼ in ratchet drive on small stuff like this because it help to keep you from over torquing the bolts.

* 5/8th open end wrench for the bolts on the CV to the spacer

* 10mm Allen drive for the spacer between the CV and transfer case

* Long screwdriver or alignment bar to hold the DS and keep it from turning

* U Joint Bearing Strap kit, Spicer: 2-70-18X to replace the straps that hold in the u joint to the rear axle pinion.

Cost: Spicer Strap kit about $6.00

Time: About 2 hours unless you have a helper which can save you a good 30 min

Lubrication of u joints and operating angles:

Rear drive shaft, u joint and nose pinion angles:

1) Rear axle pinion nose angle (Dana 35/44): Approx +16 degrees from ground plane...MAX. Oil starvation is the problem here.

2) Rear axle nose pinion-u joint-drive shaft angle: This angle needs to be approx -1 -2 degrees from negative from a 0 degree line from the axle nose pinion thru the rear u joint and the drive shaft.

WHY? Upon acceleration the axle want to 'wrap up' (yes, even on coil springs). Tthe best angle is '0' degrees. In order to get that '0' degrees you have to compensate for the twisting action of the axle. Therefore a negative angle of 1-2 degrees +/- .5 degree will allow for the upward movement.

3) Drive shaft/u joint lubrication. Other than the improper angle the killer is lubrication or the lack thereof. Before you install your DS or on an annual basis (here in AZ, more if in a wet area) you need to lube your DS/u joints by exercising them.

Get you a helper or a large vise as you need 3 hands for this to do it easy. Pull your DS complete out of your rig. Grease each fitting until fresh, clean grease come out. As you are greasing, slowly exercise each component to the extreme of its movement. This insures that grease gets into all the areas that it often does not due to internal air pockets and tight clearances.

You will need a pointed tip greaser on your grease gun. $3 at most auto parts stores, Wal Mart etc. This is typically what is used to grease the CV joint. Here it is especially critical that you 'exercise' the CV joint while you are greasing it.

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