How to Repair the Front U-Joint on a Dodge 2500
Chrysler Corporation introduced the Dodge Ram in 1981. The Ram was produced in a 1500, 2500, and 3500 series. The four wheel drive Ram is equipped with a U-joint that connects the drive shaft to the front axle housing. Over time U-joints can wear out or go bad. When this happens replacement is the only option, as there is no real way to repair a U-joint. The average U-joint costs between $10.00 and $20.00 (U.S.D.), and is available at an auto parts store or at your local Dodge dealership.
Lift the front end of the Ram 2500 using a 2-ton jack, or a jack with greater capacity. Install jack stands underneath both ends of the axle housing. Use 2-ton or greater capacity jacks to support the Ram for this project.
Lay just behind the front tire of the truck, and slide your body underneath and forwards on the truck to access the front U-joint. Remove the two "U" shaped clips that hold the U-joint to the axle housing. Use a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket, with a 6-inch extension to removed the "U" clip mounting bolts. The addition of an extension between the ratchet and socket will allow you greater reach, while leaving you room to maneuver the ratchet. There are two mounting bolts per clip. Turn the bolts counterclockwise until they are completely removed from the axle housing yolk.
Place one hand beneath the front of the drive shaft, just behind the U-joint. Pry the front of the driveshaft off of the axle housing, using a small pry bar in your other hand. Do not let the drive shaft fall loose from the housing. Allow the shaft down gently by catching it in your free hand.
Remove the U-joint retainer clips from the end of the drive shaft. There are two holes at the end of the shaft, through which the U-joint is mounted. These are the U-joint mounting holes. The retainer clips sit in recesses to lock the rod bearing caps onto the U-joints and to help the U-joint stay in place. Pinch the center portion of the retainer clip inward, then twist the clip out of the mounting hole. Repeat this pinching and removal on the opposite side of the shaft, to remove the second U-joint retainer clip.
Insert a flat head screwdriver against the inner end of the rod bearing cap, on the U-joint. The rod bearing cap slides over the end of the U-joint and is held in place with clips. Use a hammer to tap the screwdriver and force the rod bearing caps off of both ends of the U-joint, through the U-joint mounting holes. Continue hammering the screwdriver handle until both rod bearing caps are completely removed from the front drive shaft. Slide the loose U-joint to one side of the drive shaft and pull the entire U-joint out of the shaft end.