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  1. #1
    Sr. Apprentice CowsPatoot's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Wilkesboro, NC

    Default U-joint issues - 2001 Z71

    2001 Silverado Z71...regular cab short bed...5.3, auto, 3.73 gears with a rear limited slip. Completely stock.

    The truck now has 190,000 miles on it. It has worn out it's fourth U-joint at the rear axle (other U-joints are original). Couple questions here.

    1. Why does this truck seem to eat U-joints for breakfast? They have been changed at 40k, 80k, 120k, and 160k. Was consistent until this one went 10k early (but I have been doing more towing lately). I can't believe this is normal....but can't imagine what could be causing them to go.

    2. I am tired of changing them....the difference between a cheap one and a good one is minimal, so....which is the best one to replace it with? I picked up a "Brute Force" U-joint from Advance Auto (best one they sell)....but would happily return it if there is a better choice.

    3. Pulling the drive shaft is no big deal...but I don't have the press that I need to put the new joint in. If I pull the rear drive shaft, can I drive it on the front axle into town where I can get the new one pressed in? Or should I just break down and buy a good bench vise that I can use to press it in? Money is tight right now, so I wasn't really wanting to buy a vise right now.

    Thanx in advance for any advice you can give. Having a shop do the work is not an option....nobody touches my truck but me.
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  2. #2
    stephan's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Far West, Oregon USA,
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    A good bench vice will certainly do it, plus the money you would have to pay the shop would make a nice down payment on one. I have replaced a U joint with a good quality "C" clamp when I was stuck on the side of a mountain a few years ago, so that is an option. You really don't need to take it to town to have it done. If you can pull the driveshaft, you can do the U joint.
    As far as why the joint went out early.. Have you put a lift kit in it?? Done anything to change the U joint angle??
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  3. #3
    Sr. Apprentice CowsPatoot's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Wilkesboro, NC


    Truck is 100% no changes in angle.

    Hadn't thought about the C-clamp...thanx.

  4. #4


    Check the angle of the differential, it should match the angle of the transfer case, where the yoke is. Is the U-joint seating completely in the yoke? Clean the yoke and check it for any burrs or damage. Buy greasable u-joints, and keep them greased. I like Precision Brand U-joints, myself; but buy quality in whatever you buy. There is a portable tool built for changing u-joints, made like a large c-clamp, but with a hole in one end to press the cap out, but it is expensive. I don't know if discount tool places like Harbor Freight has this tool or not, but is worth checking to see if they do.

  5. #5


    Also are you buying ujoints with grease zerks? My stock ones didn't have them but my do ones do now so I can keep them lubricated.

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  6. #6


    I always wonder'd why the stock ones are not greasable..mmhhhh ..

    need to change mine soon..220 K miles never

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  7. #7
    Sr. Apprentice CowsPatoot's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Wilkesboro, NC


    Thought I would give a quick update on this...

    Just as I was about to clamp down on it with the C-clamp, a friend of mine walked into my garage and asked "wouldn't that be easier with a bench vise?" So...I informed him that he just volunteered to drive my driveshaft and I back to his house to use his vise. We also stopped at NAPA and picked up a U-joint WITH a grease fitting. Apparently I have been buying them from the wrong place all along and have been told that they don't make them with grease fittings. make a long story short, it is back on the road with a new U-joint WITH a grease fitting....lets see how long this one lasts.

  8. #8


    I use a balljoint press all the time, and its super easy !!! if u dont have one, autozone or such rents them out !!!!!!!!

    Just thought it helps others to know !!!

  9. #9


    X2 on the balljoint press, works well. I think your problems will end with the greaseable u-joint, if you remmember to grease it.LOL.

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