The harder you off-road in your Jeep Wrangler, the faster you will need to replace your axle joints. Read on to learn how to do it.By Bassem Girgis – November 24, 2015
Contributors: JKagermeister

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

The axle U-joints tend to wear and break because they are exposed to different weather conditions, along with working hard when you’re off-roading with your Jeep Wrangler. The axle U-joint connects your axle to your wheel, and it operates as a joint to keep your Jeep flexible when driving in various road conditions, which allows you to go over harder obstacles. Replacing the U-joint is not a hard process; however, you will need to remove various components to get to it, so if you’re not comfortable taking your Jeep apart, ask for professional help. Read on to learn how to replace the axle U-joints in the Jeep Wrangler.

Figure 1. Wrangler U-joint.

Materials Needed

  • Jack and jack stands
  • Tire iron
  • Socket set (21mm, 36mm, 13mm)
  • Allen wrench
  • New U-joint

Step 1 – Raise the car

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel you will be working on, then raise the car using your jack. Secure the car with jack stands, then remove the wheel.

Figure 2. Raise the Jeep.

Step 2 – Remove brake caliper

Using your 21mm socket, remove the two bolts on the back of the caliper holding it in place, then remove the caliper. Hang it somewhere using a wire, but do not let it hang from the brake line.

Figure 3. Remove caliper’s bolts.

Figure 4. Hang brake caliper using wire hanger.

Step 3 – Remove axle shaft

Remove the axle nut using your 36mm socket, then remove the three bolts holding the bearing in place using your 13mm socket. Remove the axle shaft by pulling it out carefully.

Figure 5. Remove axle nut.

Figure 6. Remove bearing bolts.

Figure 7. Remove axle shaft.

  • Figure 8. Remove axle components.

Step 4 – Remove U-joints

Removing the U-joints from the axle shaft requires a machine. Take it to your closest auto shop and they could remove it for you and install the new ones for a decent price. You will need a machine to push the rod holding the U-joint to the axle shaft; if you can do it yourself with another tool at home, be careful not to damage the axle shaft.

Figure 9. Remove U-joints from axle shaft.

Step 5 – Install everything back on

Installation is the reverse of removal.

After you’ve installed the U-joint on the axle shaft, carefully install the axle shaft back in place, install the bearing, and tighten the axle nut. Install the brake caliper and tighten the two bolts on the back of it. Then finally, install the wheel, hand-tighten the lug nuts, lower the Jeep, and then tighten the lug nuts in a star fashion.

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