TJ Front Drive Shaft Overhaul

The following information was posted on JU  by Ryan, a forum contributor from West Virginia.  When asked, he graciously agreed to let me add his comments to the drive shaft write-up.

I had been hearing the angry sparrows from my front DS for a few weeks and finally got time to tear everything apart to fix it. I’m not going to go into the whole process as Stu and others already have great write-ups.

Upon teardown I found the front u-joint before the centering ball assembly was toast. Needle bearings in two caps were totally gone and the cap was dried out inside. It was grinding metal on metal. Hence the speak. The centering ball was still well lubed with no signs of degradation. The outer dust @ oil seal however was cracked and hard. I decided why everything was apart I might as well throw in a new centering ball assembly. Here is where most people buy the whole assembly via Napa which is Spicer Ball Centering Kit 211355x $64.95 at NAPA. I decided to go a different route and disassembled the ball assembly and not buy a whole new Centering kit. I ordered part Rockford CV Repair Kit #404-0. This just includes the new ball @ seat, bearings, spring and dust @ oil seal. This part is only $12.95 compared to $64.95 for the whole assembly.


Comment from Stu – 4/23/2010 – a site user who recently worked on their front drive shaft provided me with some additional info.  The above mentioned Spicer Centering Kit (211355x) may no longer be availabe.  A Rockford Ball Centering Kit, R2-21-1355 (about $31) can be purchased online.  The Precision 607 is the replacement for the early style centering yoke, greasable (1310 centering assembly).

Getting the ball and seat out of the housing is difficult but is easily done with the right tools. I used a large hammer and chisel to pop out the ball. A Dremel tool with a small cutting wheel was used to cut through the seat as there is no wedging point to pop out the seat with a chisel or the like.

The splined section of the drive shaft had no grease lubricating it.  It looks as if no grease or very little was applied from the factory. I lubed it up well with Mercruiser waterproof marine grease and zip tied the rubber boot back in place. It pulls apart so much easier now.  Before lubing it I had to hammer it to move.

The process went smooth and I am now waiting for the parts to come in from Napa.  Just thought I would let you guys know that the whole replacement of the Centering Assembly is not needed unless you want to get a greaseable CV in there.  I also bought a new Spicer U-joint for $12.50. Spicer 1310 U-joint 5-153x $12.95 each at NAPA


Here are some comments from jimhat on the Rubicon Owners forum.  Thanks James for the part numbers and your input.  


The rubi front shaft is different then a regular TJ front drive shaft. I just rebuilt mine. Here are the part numbers.  I got everything from NAPA.

All are NAPA part numbers:

1 of – NUJ2600779 Double Cardan (CV) Centering Yoke

1 of – NUJ2400231 Greasable UJoint (this is the ujoint at the axle end of the drive shaft)

2 of – NUJ2100213 Greasable UJoint (these are the ujoints at the cv end of the drive shaft)

If your drive shaft is still using the stock ujoints, then the stock ujoint at the axle end takes a lot of pressure to get out. From the factory, that ujoint is held in with melted plastic.  I forget exactly what it is called but you will see a small plastic nipple off each side of that ujoint. When I was trying to press that one out, I ended up having to use a large breaker bar on the ujoint press to get it to finally pop. Hope that helps


Also on another note to STU, when I did my front shaft, it looked as though there were a few differences in a stock TJ shaft and a Rubi shaft. The stock shaft has 1310 ujoints and the shaft itself and the CV is a lot smaller. The Rubi shaft takes 1330 ujoints.

This is what I was told and from what I have seen it seams to be true.

Another user commented that he used a torch to heat up the plastic pins, making them melt. It makes getting the ujoint out much easier than just trying to press it out.