In working on our cars, nothing is ever done. I just fnished changing my oil filter and buffing out my 1946 Packard Custom Super 8 (356) and took it around the block and heard a "clunk" as I took off from the stop sign. You guessed it--a Universal Joint! I confirmed this with the car on the ground, trying to rotate the drive shaft. As the shaft tired to turn, a clunk could be heard and I could see play in the rear joint. My kind is a Mechanical, bought from Max Merritt for $125, part #382742. Here is information about Universals from the SOuthern Wheels Library, that helped me, and I hope will help you!
When cars sit for periods of time, or fall victim to neglected lubrication schedules, they need to be disassembled and the bearings packed with grease, using the correct manufacturers recommended lubricant. Checking your Motors Manual and calling your supplier to cross the old grease type to modern availability grease is imperative! If a straight 90-weight is recommended, find 90-weight, not a multi-viscosity, just because its on the shelf at your local auto parts stores. We have found that NAPA can get many OEM greases and mineral oils.
When bearings are packed, check the seals and replace them if necessary. Remember before removing universals, that they are balanced with the drive shaft to prevent vibration, so look for a mark on the drive shaft and splined yoke so the parts can go back together in their original balanced order. If you dont see any marks, make your own by marking the location of the splined yoke to the drive shaft and the flanged yoke in relation to the flange before disassembly.
In this article, I will cover open drive shaft cars, not torque tubes, such as Buicks, Chevrolets, etc. See the Archives section on our web site for past coverage.
DETROIT Cross & Yoke Type (Figure 1, see above)
Chrysler 8 (36-37); Chrysler C20; C23 with overdrive; C24
Hupmobile 8 (35-36)
Packard Straight 8 (35-36)
Packard Super 8 (37-38)
Pierce Arrow (35-38)
This type of joint should not be disassembled, unless the damage is between the cross and rollers. There are no adjustments to compensate for wear, and any parts that are worn should be replaced. To disassemble the joint, remove the crossbushing, lock ring and withdraw the cross bushing and bearing assembly. Then worm the cross out of the yokes. Remove the seals and retainers. Assemble in reverse order, installing new seals and lubricating the joint.
DETROIT Ball & Trunnion Type (Figure 2)
American Bantam (38-40)
Chrysler C16, C18, C19, C22, C23 overdrive)
Packard 6 (41-42 front)
Willys (35-37plain bearing)
Willys & Overland (38-40)
Willys Americar (41-42)
Overhaul: Remove joint body-to-flange bolts, straighten the metal cover clip (at end of joint), then slip the cover from the body. Push the body toward the propeller shaft and remove the body cover. Remove centering buttons and springs from the ends of the cross pins. Push the cross pin through the end of the propeller shaft. Assemble in reverse order, except the cross pin should be installed before the roller. Lube as specified.
DETROIT Cross Type (Figure 3)
DeSoto (40 & 7-passenger 41-42)
Packard 6 (41-42 rear)
Plymouth (41-42 7-passenger)
Overhaul After the propeller shaft is removed from the car, remove the spring that holds the cross roller bearing blocks on the cross, then remove bearing blocks, dust seals and rust seal retainers. Remove cross bearing retainers, bearings and dust seal retainers from the cross. After cross is removed, check the condition of the parts. No adjustments are provided, so any worn parts should be replaced. Assembly: make sure all parts are clean and lubricated and assemble in reverse order. If the splined joint at the front of the propeller shaft was disassembled, make sure the balance arrows are lined up.
SPICER (Figure 4)
Nash (4160, 4180)
Overhaul: For propeller shaft and joint assembly removal, remove the Uboltsfour nuts and lock washers, and remove the Ubolts, then remove the two bearing assemblies and the shaft. Compress the snap rings that hold the other two bearings in place, carefully tap on one bearing with a soft hammer to drive out the other bearing, then tap on the crosss other end to remove the remaining bearing. After cleaning all parts, make sure there are no grooves on the bearing surface of the cross and that the bearings cups are chip-and-groove-free. Re-assembly: Lubricate, install new oil seals in place on the inner ends of the cross, position the yoke and journal cross so that one bearing assembly can be inserted from the bottom and the other bearing from the top. Put snap rings in to lock bearings in place. Place the other two bearing assemblies on the cross and press them into position. Replace the Ubolts and lock plates and nuts. Remember to bend the lock plates ears to lock the nuts. Align arrows on the spline end and yoke.
SPICER (Figure 5)
Hupmobile 6 (35-36)
Packard Super 8 (35-36)
Packard 12 (35-39)
Overhaul: With the propeller shaft and joints assembly removed, the joint can be disassembled by squeezing the ends of the snap rings that hold the bearings in position in the yokes. Remove the bearing cups by tapping on the opposite one, then remove the remaining two bearing assemblies in the same way, then remove the cross. Assemble in reverse of the above.
MECHANICS (Figure 6)
DeSoto (41-42 except 7-passenger)
Nash 6 (37-40)
Oldsmobile 37-40) (41-42 partial)
Packard Super 8 (39)
Packard 6 (40)
Pontiac (37-40, 41-42 rear)
Overhaul: Remove the plates which hold the bearings endwise, then rest the flange bearings between vise jaws, suspending the yoke that holds the round bearings. Striking the suspended yoke, the yoke member will be driven down until it comes in contact with the cross, leaving the bearing protruding. After removing one of the bearings, turn the assembly over and repeat on the opposite bearing. Clamp the end of one of the protruding bearings in a vise, striking the yoke until the bearing is released from the yoke. After removing the other bearing in the same way, the cross can be removed. Examine all parts, replacing worn ones. Assembly: Make sure the trunnions are clean. The old cork seal washers on each of the trunnions (to prevent incoming dirt and keep in lubricant) should be replaced. Rest one of the yoke forks on a flat piece of metal, leaving the other fork member freely suspended. Drive one of the bearings in so that the open end comes flush with the inside of the fork. Insert the cross to the opposite hole without the bearing. Place it into the bearing. Flip the assembly and rest the bearing on the flat surface and drive in the other bearing. Now clamp the shaft in the vise and drive both bearings flush with the yoke forks outer surface and assemble the plates over the bearing ends. When assembling these plates, be sure that the screw lock plate is in the correct position on the bearing plate and when the screws are tightened, turn up one of the lock plate ears against one of the flats of each bolt.
MECHANICS (Figure 7)
Nash 6 (35-36)
Nash 8 (35 4260, 4280)
Oldsmobile (3536, 42 partial)
Packard 6 (37-39)
Packard 120 (35-41)
Packard Super 8 (41)
Packard (42 all)
Studebaker (35) 8)
This joint consists of two flanges assembled into a rigid unit consisting of a cross and four needle bearing assemblies. The crosss journals are drilled to provide an oil reservoir. Bearing assemblies consist of bearing rollers held in place by metal retainers with cork gaskets. The retainers will prevent the bearing rollers from falling out while disassembly. Overhaul: To remove the joint, remove the cap screws that hold the journal caps to the yokes, then pull the retainers off of the cross journals and remove the needle bearing assemblies. Assembly: Wash all parts and blow out with compressed air. Re-pack the bearings (their joints can only be lubricated by disassemblingFigure 7). On the 35 Cadillac, Figure 8, there is a grease fitting for external lubrication. The rest of the construction is the same as Figure 7.
MECHANICS [Saginaw is similar] (Figure 9)
Oldsmobile (41-42 partial)
Pontiac (41-42 front)
Servicing this joint is the same as described in Figure 6, except that the trunnions are held in place by lock rings instead of clamp plates.
Many times, in restoring preWWII cars, replacement parts may not be available, and some people want to keep all of the cars original parts. I hope this article will help in doing this.
See you next month, and keep em driving!