OK, the differential end of the drive shaft was taken care of. Time to see what the CV joint had in store for me. Again, I grabbed the u-joint press and pushed one of the bearing caps out as far as it would go. The yokes on the CV joint are a bit more restrictive (along with the socket yoke in the middle) and so I could not push the bearing cap all the way out. I looked at the factory service manual and they said to clamp the bearing cap in a vise.
OK....so my bench vise wasn't mounted on my work bench right now. Oh, what the heck....it still should work! So, I clamped the bearing cap in the jaws of the vice. A suitable sized hammer was found in the tool box and I proceeded to gently tap on the top of the vice jaw (hitting it right to left in the picture above).
Sure enough....just a couple of light taps and the bearing cap came right out of the yoke. As I mentioned before, be careful here since you don't want needle bearings all over the place.
This is probably a good place to comment on marking the entire CV joint you so you can put it back together properly. By this, I mean put some reference marks down one side of the entire assembly (and the drive shaft) so ensure everything goes back on the same way it came off. This will keep your drive shaft assembled the way it was when it was balanced (before being put on the vehicle). In the photo above, you can see some of the red permanent marker on the yoke assembly. I figured I should mention this hear since the factory service manual commented on it as well.
I flipped the u-joint press over and pushed the remaining bearing cap out as far as I could, then used the bench vise as I did in the above picture. Sure enough the first of the two u-joints in the CV assembly was out. I carefully examined the u-joint and could see no signs of failure or wear. I cleaned it up, as I had done the first one, and set it off to the side. I decided I would be using this one when I assembled the CV joint.
Be careful here....once the u-joint was removed the socket yoke (what I am holding in my fingers) was ready to fall out. It was rather grimey looking, so I did a careful cleaning on it as well. There is a small spring in the middle, so be sure not to lose it. There are also needle bearings inside the hole of the ball so don't drop them out. Take note of how everything fits together, as you clean it up. Again, I could find no wear marks and the ball and socket were nice and tight....no slop there. I decided to recycle this part of the CV assembly as well. I probably spent 5~10 minutes on the ball assembly, first cleaning it and then packing it with grease. I wanted to make sure there would be a sufficient amount of grease in this part of the CV joint.
If you find that the CV assembly is worn out and requires replacement, check out Zach Matson's comments on CV assembly overhaul. Zach put this write-up together when he discovered that his front drive shaft was in need of some work. A big thanks to Zach for sharing his experiences with us!
More Drive Shaft
4x4 Off-Road Homestead Firearms RC Models