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Bad Front U-Joint?

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by DeereFarmer, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I'm getting a pretty good clunk on my '02 2500HD. In only happens in 4WD, not 2WD. When turning left tightly and changing from drive to reverse (or reverse to drive) I get a bad clunking noise from what seems to be my front left every once in a while. It's to the point where you can almost feel it in the steering wheel. It started prior to the latest storm here. The truck worked fine during the storm and it seemed like the clunk went away a little when there was a lot of slush splashed up under the truck (I might be crazy because I had been in the truck for a long time) My first asumption is a bad u-joint. Am I correct or way off base?
     
  2. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Forgot to subscribe...:realmad:
     
  3. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,361

    I'm no expert- but my truck makes a bit of a "clunk" while going from D to R or R to D, I always assumed it was normal...

    Perhaps someone else can chime in with the symptoms of a bad U-Joint? I know when my back ones were bad when I first bought the truck, it made a godawful squeaking noise while driving...
     
  4. nrplowguy

    nrplowguy Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    you don't have "u-joints" in the front end in an 02 you have CV axles I could be your front diff getting loose, if it was a drive shaft u joint you really should not be able to feel it in the wheel... just a thought .... I have and 02 D-maxx and i haven't heard anything like that from up front and it has over 161000 on it
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  5. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I had the back u-joints done this past spring (because they were squeaking like crazy), so they should be good and the clunk comes from the left front for sure, only in 4WD. It only clunks when shifting gears while in 4WD too. In 2WD it's fine. I'll have to get it on the lift and see if I can figure it out.
     
  6. Mark Witcher

    Mark Witcher Senior Member
    Messages: 604

    Most of the time the boots will be torn on the axles, that what starts the joints going out, lack of grease. Could also be a ball joint.
     
  7. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Would a ball joint only act up in 4WD?
     
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    You can feel a bad front driveshaft in the wheel if it's bad enough, but usually as a vibration at higher speed. Ball joint is a possibility. When you are in 4wd you put torque on wheel and knuckle which could be doing it.
     
  9. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Yeah there is no vibration as far as I can tell at any speed, just the clunk. There might be a vibration while in 4WD but its hard to tell because I only use the 4WD when the roads are snowy and packed.
     
  10. mossman381

    mossman381 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,410

    We had an older chevy truck that made a clunking noise when we would go over big bumps. We couldn't ever tell what the problem was. But after awhile we found out the upper ball joints were worn out badly. The lower ball joints were in good shape. Take a good look under your truck. It could be a few different things. Might even want to take off your front tires to get a good look at everything. Good luck
     
  11. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    I thought B&B explained this pretty well but when going from forward to reverse, your auto hubs will disengage then quickly re engage making that clunk. He said that switching to a manual locking hub is the only way to get around this.

    Maybe that is not right but it sounded like the last complaint I read and this was the problem.

    The reason I opened the thread was because I saw the thread title and then the forum its located in so I ha to open it, LOL. But your dont have axle joints (commonly called u joints (same thing, just a different location)). The only front Ujoints you have are on your front driveshaft.
     
  12. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    My assumption is that it is one of your front CV joints. There really is no good way of feeling them out like you can with a u-joint or ball joint. If it is higher in miles or has been used a lot in 4wd it may be more likely. I think plow trucks put more wear on these because of the increased use of 4wd & extra weight on the front - especially turning on hard surfaces in 4wd.

    Fortunately, the whole 1/2 shafts are surprisingly affordable at aftermarket auto parts stores. Usually $70-80 per shaft.

    Here is another thread on a similar issue:
    http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=91538

    Good luck.
     
  13. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    Also, you can easily check your u-joints in your drives shafts (from transfercase to front & rear differential) for free play or clunking. Just block your wheels. Put your truck in neautral (or transfercase in neautral). Crawl under there and grab your driveshafts with your hands. Wiggle back and forth. If you feel, hear, or see clunking it should be easily identifable in the u-joint.
     
  14. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    That was as an older Solid Front Axle truck. His 02 does not have switchable hubs of any kind.
     
  15. nrplowguy

    nrplowguy Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    the only think that sucks with having the cv shafts and not to good ole way they used to be you cant put manuals on them
     
  16. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    Darn, I tried to be helpful. Least I know now!
     
  17. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    You guys are a HUGE help. I really appreciate it. I have some things to start checking for now.