In order to have a good time on the trail, the work begins in the garage. Being prepared and having a good running vehicle is key to having a great day on the trail. For most off-roaders, a driveshaft is something forgotten about until we start hearing a driveline noise.
The folks at JE Reel, want to change the way that driveshaft maintenance is looked at. Proper lubrication of any moving part in a driveline is essential to keep in proper working order and to obtain an acceptable service life.
The frequency of lubrication is determined by the type of abuse the driveline is subject to. Check out the chart above or recommended service intervals.
It is one thing to know that it needs to be done, but it is something else to know how to do it.It is important to use a high-quality, high-temp grease,” Jim Reel explained. “Do not a wheel bearing grease as it will easily wipe off.” For that, they recommend the following:
Universal joints: Secure grease gun on grease fitting and pump in grease until all four bearings are lubricated. To check for this, make sure that all four seals have purged out air and old grease.
This type of damage is not done in a couple minutes, but over a long period of time.
Grease until fresh grease appears at the base of all four seals. If a seal does not purge properly, move the driveline to free up the end to end clearance of the bearing cup. On bearing plate style U-joints, it may be necessary to loosen the bolts two or three turns to allow grease to flow. If the joint still does not grease properly, disassemble the kit to determine the source of the problem.
Slip Yoke and Stub Shaft Assemblies: Before putting the slip yoke onto the stub shaft, coat both parts uniformly with a layer of grease. After assembly, but before installation into the vehicle, fully collapse the driveline and apply the grease to the grease fitting until it comes out of the vent hole in the welch plug.
Yokes can see damage to from improper maintenance in addition to improper U-joint care.
Cover the hole and continue greasing until grease appears in the seal. At re-lubrication it may be impossible to fully collapse the driveline. Follow the same general greasing procedure but be careful not to overfill. Overfilling may cause the welch plug to pop out during operations.
Center Kits: Worn centering kits will squeak, do not ignore this. Centering kits can wear fast and cause severe damage. A special needle nose grease gun adapter is needed to grease the flush type fitting on centering kits. Apply grease until fresh grease appears at purge hole or at ball seal.
For more information on everything that JE Reel does, be sure to check out their website.
This is not what you want your drivetrain to look like. With proper maintenance this can be avoid and more time can be spent enjoying the vehicle.