GM Camaro/Firebird 1993-1998 Repair Guide

Driveshaft and U-Joints

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See Figure 1

Two types of driveshafts (or propeller shafts) are used on these vehicles. Vehicles equipped with the 3.4L or 3.8L engine use a 2-piece driveshaft, while vehicles with the 5.7L engine use a 1-piece driveshaft.

The U-joints used on these vehicles are secured to the yoke by nylon material which is injected through a small hole in the yoke and flows along a circular groove between the U-joint and the yoke, creating a synthetic snapring. Disassembly of the U-joint requires the joint to be pressed from the yoke. This results in damage to the bearing cups and destruction of the nylon rings.



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Fig. Fig. 1: Your vehicle may have a 1 or 2-piece driveshaft (propeller shaft), depending upon the engine it is equipped with

Replacement kits include new bearing cups and conventional snaprings to replace the original nylon rings.

Bad U-joints, requiring replacement, will produce a clunking sound when the car is put into gear. This is due to worn needle bearings or a scored trunnion end possibly caused by improper lubrication during assembly. U-joints require no periodic maintenance and therefore have no lubrication fittings.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figure 1

The 2-piece driveshaft and center support bearing used on the 3.4L and 3.8L engines, are not serviced separately. The driveshaft and support bearing should only be replaced as a complete assembly.

  1. Raise the vehicle and safely support it on jackstands. Paint a reference line from the rear end of the driveshaft to the pinion gear yoke so that they can be reassembled in the same position.
  2.  


WARNING
Do not strike or drop the propeller shaft, or let the U-joint to bend to extreme angles, as internal joint damage may occur.

  1. If removing a 2-piece driveshaft, remove the center support bearing retaining bolts/screws, then remove the center support bearing and washers from the torque arm.
  2.  

Have an assistant help support the driveshaft during removal.

  1. Unfasten the driveshaft bolts/screws and retainers, then remove the propeller shaft by withdrawing the slip yoke from the transmission, moving the propeller shaft rearward and passing it under the housing.
  2.  
  3. To prevent loss of the needle bearings, tape the bearing caps to the trunnion.
  4.  

Do not be alarmed by oil leakage at the transmission output shaft. This oil is there to lubricate the splines of the front yoke.

To install:
  1. Check the yoke seal in the transmission case extension and replace it if necessary. See the transmission section for replacement procedures.
  2.  

The driveshaft must be supported carefully to avoid jamming or bending any of the parts. To prevent transmission seal damage, do not place any tools between the driveshaft slip yoke and splines.

  1. Lubricate the slip yoke with a suitable chassis lubricant.
  2.  
  3. Position the driveshaft and insert the slip yoke into the transmission output shaft so the splines mesh with the transmission shaft splines.
  4.  
  5. Place the rear of the driveshaft to the pinion gear hole. When making the rear driveshaft connection, be sure to align the mark on the pinion gear yoke with the mark on the driveshaft.
  6.  
  7. Position the rear universal joint to the pinion gear yoke, being sure the bearing caps are seated properly.
  8.  
  9. Install the driveshaft retainers and bolts/screws. Tighten the bolts/screws evenly to 16 ft. lbs. (22 Nm).
  10.  
  11. If removed, install the washers and center support bearing to the torque arm. Install the center support bearing retaining bolts/screws and tighten to 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Carefully lower the vehicle.
  14.  

U-JOINT REPLACEMENT



See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Be careful not to loosen or damage the dust seals, If they are damaged, the whole U-joint must be replaced.

  1. Support the driveshaft horizontally in line with the base plate of a press.
  2.  
  3. Place the U-joint so the lower ear of the shaft yoke is supported on a 1 1 / 8 in. (29mm) socket.
  4.  
  5. If removing a snapring type U-joint, unfasten the U-joint spider retaining rings. If the retainer ring does not easily snap out of the grooves, tap the end of the bearing cap lightly to relieve the pressure against the retainer ring.
  6.  
  7. Remove the lower bearing cap out of the yoke ear by placing tool J-9522-3 or equivalent, on the open horizontal bearing cap and press the lower bearing cap out of the yoke ear. This will shear the nylon injector ring.
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Pressing out the U-joint bearing

  1. If the bearing cap is not completely removed, lift tool J-9522-3 and insert tool J-9522-5 or equivalent, between the bearing cap and seal, then continue pressing the U-joint out of the yoke.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 3: If the cap is not completely removed, install tool J-9522-5 between the bearing cap and seal

  1. Rotate the driveshaft, then repeat the procedure for the other side. Remove the opposite bearing cap from the yoke.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Exploded view of a replacement U-joint assembly

  1. Remove the spider from the yoke. There are no bearing retainers grooves in production bearing caps so they cannot be reused. If the front U-joint is being replaced, remove the pair of bearing caps from the driveshaft slip yoke in the same manner.
  2.  

To install:
  1. Install one bearing cap part way into one side of the yoke. Turn this yoke ear to the bottom.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Partially installed bearing cap

  1. Using tool J-9522-3 or equivalent, seat the trunnion into the bearing cap.
  2.  
  3. Install the opposite bearing cap partially onto the trunnion.
  4.  

Ensure both trunnions are straight and true in the bearing caps.

  1. Press the spider against the opposite bearing cap, while working the spider back and forth to ensure free movement of the trunnions in the bearing caps.
  2.  
  3. Inspect the needle roller bearing for binding. If trunnion is binding, the needle bearings have tipped over under the end of the cap.
  4.  
  5. Stop pressing when one bearing cap clears the retainer groove inside the yoke.
  6.  
  7. Install a U-joint spider retaining ring by pressing it into place. Continue pressing until the opposite side can be snapped into place. If necessary, strike the yoke firmly with a hammer to aid in seating the retainers rings.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 6: Installation of the U-joint spider bearing retaining ring



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Fig. Fig. 7: Make sure the U-joint spider bearing retaining ring is proper seated

  1. Repeat the procedure for the remaining bearing caps and U-joints.
  2.  
  3. Install the driveshaft.
  4.  

 
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