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Front Drive Shaft

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Dondo, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    The universal joints are bad on the front shaft of my 1989 K5. I'm stuck behind my desk and they are calling for 3-6 tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll be able to get them installed before the flakes start falling. Can I just take the front shaft out and plow around in Rear Wheel Drive?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    I plowed a whole season on bad front u-joints on my 99 Tahoe. Not a good idea, but she held up.
     
  3. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    These things are really shot. I'm afraid of plowing with it and them failing and the shaft drops out when driving. I normally only plow in 2 wheel and use 4 wheel when stacking. That's why I was thinking of just removing the shaft for this storm. Just not sure if I can do that.
     
  4. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    What I'd do is unlock your hubs(solid axle, right?), plow in 2 wheel and only use the 4 wheel when you really need it. If you take the front shaft out, and find yourself in need of quick traction, you'll be screwed. Leave the shaft in, its there if you need it.
     
  5. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    That's good thinking... I could always get underneath her in one of the lots and remove it if I have to.

    I'm just worried that it will drop when I drive. But if I keep the hubs unlocked the shaft doesn't spin in 2 wheel? Is that what you are saying?
     
  6. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    It shouldn't taken more than 30 minute to change them out
     
  7. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    It's not that... I'm stuck at work until 8 the part store closes at 7:30 and the truck isn't at the house. I left it at my buddy's shop after the last storm to do the u-joints but one thing turned to another and I never got around to it. If I can run to the store quick before I get out. Do the front joints need to be pressed in? or are the bolt in's. I've only changed the rears before.

    Thanks!
     
  8. 2006Sierra1500

    2006Sierra1500 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,758

    I'm fairly certain that when the hubs are unlocked, and the case is in 2 wheel drive, the front driveshaft does not spin.
     
  9. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    It makes sense to me too but I wasn't sure and with out a solid front axle here to check I couldn't verify it. Thanks again for your help!
     
  10. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    Youre right.

    Because if the front axle is spinning, Thats spinning the front diff.

    You don't want that spinning unless your in 4wd
     
  11. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    That's what I'll do then is only put in 4 wheel if needed. It's supposed to be light and fluffy snow so I shouldn't need the 4 wheel to stack.
    It's actually starting to slow up a bit at work so I might be able to run and pick up the u-joints tonight after all. If I can get out of here to get them then I'll try and swap them tonight. Do you know if these are pressed in joints? Because I'm not sure my buddy has a press at the shop.

    Thanks guys for your input and help! This is why the site is so helpfull!
     
  12. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,402

    I use a ball joint press
     
  13. myzx6

    myzx6 Member
    Messages: 90

    I use a bench vice, does the transfer case side have the pain in the ass cv style joint with 2 u-joints, I kinda remember my 87k5 having that style. If so they can be tricky cause there's way less movement and if not the whole job is a breeze.
     
  14. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Good News: The U-Joints on the front and rear drive shafts are in and now working perfectly!

    Bad News: The U-Joints are the axle ends are bad too! If I'm going to break everything down to replace these U-Joints I'm not going to put the old ball joints back in. The snow is flying already so I'm just going to nurse her through this storm and do the front end after.

    I just don't have the guts to start a job like that with the snow already sticking....
     
  15. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Yeah... I found out the hard way that doing the front drive shaft in these is nothing like doing the rear. Talk about impossible to do on your back... It's nice to have friends with a lift that you can call on a Monday night at midnight and they have no problem getting out of bed and pulling the truck in to help out. It just sucks that my issue was more then just the drive shaft u-joints.
     
  16. Dondo

    Dondo Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    The truck made it through in one piece. I left it in 2 wheel the whole time and only needed the 4 wheel a couple times when back dragging a loading dock up a slight incline.

    Plowing in 2 wheel wasn't bad since the snow was light and after a couple feet the rear tires are on clear pavement... but man was it was tuff trying to drive around to each lot on the route. The truck was all over the place on the roads.

    Tonight I start to break down the front end for the new front axle u-joints, ball joints, and bearings.