How to Install U-Joints on a Dodge Ram 1500

by John Stevens J.D.

The Dodge Ram 1500's driveshaft operates to transfer the power produced by the engine and the transmission to the rear wheels, as the Ram is a rear-wheel driven vehicle. The back of the driveshaft attaches to the differential with one U-joint; the front of the driveshaft attaches to the back of the transmission at the transmission's yoke. Unfortunately, U-joints require periodic replacement, as worn U-joints can result in a noticeable vibration when the truck is operated.

Remove the driveshaft from the differential and the transmission. The driveshaft must be removed from the differential first. The driveshaft is attached to the differential with two U-bolts. Each U-bolt has two nuts located at both tips of each U-bolt, which can be removed with a wrench. Once the U-bolts have been removed, pull the driveshaft away from the differential, then pull it towards the back of the truck to remove the driveshaft from the transmission.

Remove the snap-rings from the sides of both the front and rear U-joints. These snap-rings hold the U-joint's bearings into place. The snap-rings are located in the sides of the U-joints, and can easily be removed with snap-ring pliers.

Remove the bearings for each U-joint. Use a large punch to drive one side of each U-joint bearing towards the center of the U-joint, which will push the bearing on the opposite side of the U-joint out. When the bearing on the opposite side of the U-joint is exposed, grasp the bearing with a pair of pliers and pull the bearing out and away from the U-joint. Drive the free end of each U-joint in the opposite direction, and use the pliers to remove the remaining bearing.

Clean both sides of the driveshaft where the U-joints sit to ensure that no debris are present.

Insert the new U-joints into the driveshaft, then install the bearings onto the sides of the U-joints. Place each bearing of the side of the U-joint, then drive the bearing into place with a rubber mallet. Compress a new snap-ring with snap-ring pliers, position the snap-ring against the side of the bearing, then release the pressure on the snap-ring pliers to install the snap-rings.

Install the transmission's yoke to the U-joint at the front of the driveshaft. Slide the free end of the front U-joint through the circular ends of the yoke, then install the bearings in the same manner described in Step 5.

Install the driveshaft onto the truck. Begin by sliding the transmission's yoke into the rear of the transmission. Then position the U-joints at the back of the driveshaft against the differential. Slide the two U-bolts over the side's of the U-joint and into the differential, then install and tighten the four nuts at the tips of the U-joint with a wrench to complete the installation.

Items you will need

About the Author

John Stevens has been a writer for various websites since 2008. He holds an Associate of Science in administration of justice from Riverside Community College, a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. Stevens is a lawyer and licensed real-estate broker.