Shafted

Busy day today. Blew a U-joint some time ago on Big Iron … my 400hp V-10 Dodge 4×4. Of course, it couldn’t be an easy U-joint…it had to be one between the passenger side front wheel and the axle. It had started to rattle around pretty solidly over the last few weeks.

Big Iron--my 400 HP V-10 Dodge Pickup  (a cage may as well be fun, yes?)

Big Iron--my 400 HP V-10 Dodge Pickup (a cage may as well be fun, yes?)

I figure since I really should fire up (and actually drive around) these “cage” thingies every once and a while, that I really should get around to fixing it. Considering we may actually have a day or two of winter this season (tentatively scheduled for February 15th and 16th), I might actually need to drive it, and well….let’s just say it pays to have lots of drive wheels when you have 400 hp to play with.

The part’s stores don’t make it any easier either. The books list 2 possibles…I had to measure the bearing size on the existing one first. Then the book lists two possibles with that size bearing…and THEN, when we narrowed it down to one part number…there were two different U-joints to be found with the same number!

Sheesh.

Anyway, you know you’re fixing to have an interesting day when your first errand is to pick up something like this (2-1/2 foot, 3/4″ drive breaker bar). I strapped it down under the bungees on my back seat and headed home. The conversation (a short time later) involved phrases such as, “No officer. It’s not a club.” and, “No officer, I’m not a gang…” and, “If I wanted to carry something around to bash heads in with, there are LOTS of cheaper things I could get.”

Then as he’s holding it (considering whether to take it for himself or not), I kind of smiled at him and told him I just had a good friend (wink, wink) that had an anal tool fetish. “See, he borrowed this some time ago and I was just getting it back. He really likes that vanadium chrome…smooth I guess…”

Finally on my way again, I could now get some work done.

You are going to have an interesting day if this is on your 'to get' list...

You are going to have an interesting day if this is on your 'to get' list...

Next I had to take the dratted truck apart. Ugh! The axle-nut was so tight that I couldn’t budge it, even standing on the end of the breaker-bar and jumping up and down. I ended up having to use the weight of the truck as leverage by propping the end of the breaker bar on a jack-stand and letting the jack down. One HELL of a cheater-bar, yes? I could see the breaker bar bend…at that point I whaled on the socket/nut with a hammer to help loosen things a bit (already had tried some lube, and a torch, and more lube).

Finally…”POP”…it loosened off. The whole driveway shook. Phew! Not sure why it was so tight…it was not corroded, and the book calls for 150 foot-pounds of torque.

Lots of leverage. I figure it was about 2000 foot-pounds...

Lots of leverage. I figure it was about 2000 foot-pounds...

Here we are all apart.  It takes some big half-shafts and other components to firmly attach 400+ horsepower to the ground.

Here we are all apart. It takes some big half-shafts and other components to firmly attach 400+ horsepower to the ground.

Another hour or so of beating the old U-joint out and pressing in a new one, and all together we went.

Then it was off for the test-ride. I’m not yet sure how to explain to the wife the need for test riding the Valkyrie after working on the truck….but I’m sure I’ll think of something…..

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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