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For those of you with the Rubicon Express lift (or RE lower control arms), you know they use what they call the "Superflex 2 Cartridge". They provide a fair amount of rotation at the end of the control arm (compared to the rubber bushing at the other end of the arm). As with most items on your TJ, you need to maintain your equipment and the RE c-joints (what I call them) are no exception.
Now, I rarely (if ever) run in the mud.....Arizona just doesn't get that much moisture here on the low desert where the majority of my wheelin' takes place. I have no first hand information as to how these c-joints hold up in a mud rich environment. I can say that they do pretty well here in Arizona.
While I was doing normal maintenance (in this case, it was an oil change and lube), I noticed that I could not get one of the grease fittings on a lower control arm to take any grease. I didn't have time to deal with it right then, so I took my spare set of RE lower control arms and put them in. I would figure it out later.
Later came this past weekend and I figured it was time to take a look in the c-joints and see if anything was wrong. I didn't remember which control arm I had problems with (yeah, I know, I should have marked it) so I simply grabbed one and started working on it.
The first thing I did was to remove the grease fitting. Once it was removed, I hooked the grease gun up to it to make sure it was working correctly.
I should comment that there is an easy way and a more challenging way (if you don't have a good pair of snap ring pliers) to take the c-joint apart. Not having done it before, I did it both ways and caused some extra steps for myself. However, no harm, no foul. I'll show you everything I did and you can decide what you want to do.
Using a standard allen wrench, remove the set screw in the c-joint as shown above. Note that the grease fitting has already been removed.
Here is another view that more clearly shows the set screw in the c-joint. There are 4 of these notched areas. When you reassemble the c-joint, you must align one of these 4 notches so that the set screw can be installed. This is necessary so that the screw in retainer will not work its way loose.
Now common sense there has to be a spanner wrench that properly fits either two or all four of those holes.....but I just didn't seem to find one in my tool box. I decided to use a drift punch to loose the screwed in retainer. It was not screwed in that tightly (after all, the c-joint inner must be able to rotate). I few light taps with the hammer and it came loose. I suppose that if you live in the rust belt, this may be more of a challenge. When I put these back together, I am going to use some anti-seize compound on the threads, just to be safe.
Unscrew the retainer ring and remove it from the control arm.
If you now flip the c-joint over, you will see the snap ring on the reverse side. Since I didn't quite know what I was doing at this point, I decided the snap ring needed to be removed so I could fully disassemble the c-joint. Wrong....I could have gotten away without doing this. Since this is a HEALTHY snap ring, I would not recommend you taking it out if you don't need to.
But IF you were so inclined to remove the snap ring, then you will also want to remove this thick washer that lies right underneath it.
More C-Joint Maintenance