Old Yeller, my 41 year old '78 Ford F250 4x4, started making clunking noises when turning last year while plowing snow. Being a "hate to work in the cold" wimp I let it go.
A couple of weeks ago I crawled under to take a look. Both drive shafts were OK. Next I checked the front axle u-joints. Both bad.
A good "rainy day" job.
I replaced them once, maybe 20 years ago. I was doing the front brakes and had to replace the rotors so I was 90% there.
This truck has the optional Dana 60 front axle (replaces the standard Dana 44 front axle. So the u-joints are big, the caps/cups are 1 3/8" diameter.
Yesterday was very windy day, not a rainy day, but a good day to tackle the axle u-joints. I had spares from my earlier 4x4 off roading days.
Disassembly went well until removing the old u-joints. I normally wire brush the crud off. Remove the clips. spray with PB Blaster. Then use two sockets and a vise to push out the caps. The vise could not budge the caps. I did not want to use heat, so next its move to the hydraulic press.
Set up in the press is where extra hands would have been helpful. I finally got set up. Large socket below to catch the cap. Smaller socket above to push the top cap and cross against the lower cap. I started adding pressure and there was a lot creaking and finally a BANG!. I expected to find the lower cap in the large socket. The end of the lower cap was all that was there. The rest of the cap was still in the yoke. I flipped it over, got a smaller socket to press just the end of the cross. That cap came out. I used a socket just under the yoke cap hole of 1 3/8" to go through the empty yoke's top hole and press against the remains of the broken cap. I was able to push it out.
Of 8 caps I had to push out all creaked and pushed out hard, and two had the end of the cap break off. These were the hardest u-joints I have replaced.
Start to finish took 8 hours. I think a young guy in a shop could do it in the 1/2 the time, with a hoist, air tools, and extra hands at the press.
I still need new tires for next winter, but I am sure glad to have this done