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Hagerty Employee

Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Replacing U-joints without a shop press

Some people will tell you that you’ll need a hydraulic press in order to replace U-joints—those people are wrong. Here at Wrenchin’ Wednesday, the MO is to distill shop techniques and tools into something the home-gamer can do, and we’re going to pull back the veil on driveshaft service. Whether you’re chasing a mysterious vibration at higher speeds or listening to those poor needle bearings chirp in the morning, U-joints are a wear item that can sneak up on you and fail at the worst of times, putting your project out of commission and risking substantial damage from a newly liberated driveshaft once the joints catastrophically fail. On a typical labor book, a U-joint replacement is one or two labor hours, meaning that a $25 part can cost exponentially more once someone else installs it for you and charges around $100/hour.


The truth is that with a few sockets you probably already have in the toolbox, a hammer, and a basic bench vise, you can easily knock out worn U-joints and wrap up the repair as an afternoon project.


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Never used a press on any U joint. Sockets were how I was taught. 

New Driver

Yep sockets, vise , hammer and occasional torch for those older gm joints with plastic retaining them


I realize that you have to use the tools that are available, but one should NEVER hit a screwdriver with a hammer. I'm sure that if you looked around, you could find a an old rusty bolt or even a wooden dowel to perform that task. And since Christmas is coming, maybe Santa could bring you a nice set of chisels, drifts and punches so that your other tools won't suffer...

Intermediate Driver

A screw driver is not a prybar, a punch or a drift. Buy the correct tools.


Take the $100 you saved and buy an old, used, hand press if you're going to do simple jobs like replacing u-joints.
Pit Crew

A screw driver is perfectly acceptable to use here with a half-pound hammer. In case you skipped the text, this is about working with the minum.