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david, Auto Service Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 1500
Experience:  Certified Master Technician,Certified in diesel & gasoline engines
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instructions on how to replace axle u-joint d/s front axle

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instructions on how to replace axle u-joint d/s front axle on '03 3/4 ton diesel

Hi thank you for your question hope this helps.


Hub/axle joint replacement


To start, block the rear wheel and jack the front end up. Support with jack stands.


Remove the wheels. Remove the cotter pin from the hub nut.

In order to remove the hub nut, you will need to either have someone apply the brakes or jam a socket extension into the rotor vents and let it jam against the caliper frame to keep the axle from turning while you remove the hub nut. This 1-11/16" nut is torqued on at 175 lb-ft so it will take a bit to get it off.

Remove the caliper and hang it from the frame with some wire or bungee cord. Do NOT let it hang from the brake line. Remove the rotor.


Remove the three 14mm 12pt bolts from the back of the steering knuckle. You will need to turn the knuckle all the way both left and right in order to get all three bolts out. These are torqued at 125 lb-ft so they will be a bit difficult as well to break loose.



Now you will need to work the outer hub bearing race out of the knuckle. tap on the hub mounting flange with a hammer back and forth to get the outer race to break loose from the rust and start turning. Tap parallel to the knuckle face near the hub bolt holes. You may also need to pry a bit with a crowbar. Another method is to get some spare bolts that fit the hub and thread those into the hub (replace the knuckle bolts) and use a hammer to tap on them from behind to force the hub out of the knuckle. Remove the bolts and pull the hub/bearing out. Take note of how the two sheet metal peaces go on. In order to prevent damage to the axle shaft seals, remove the hub and leave the axle shaft in place (push the stub shaft back through the hub). Then remove the axle shaft. Be sure to keep the shaft centered in the axle tube to avoid damaging the seal. During the hub removal, be sure to check for ABS connections if you have any.


Here is the driver side hub-axle assembly.


This the is the stub shaft and outer axle shaft for my non-ABS truck. An ABS equipped truck will have a tone ring fitted to the stub shaft between the flange and the u-joint.


In order to replace the axle u-joints, you need to remove the c-clips from the underside of the caps using a screwdriver. They should come off easily.


Using a u-joint press (or sockets and a hammer or vise) remove the caps from the u-joint and remove the cross.


I replaced the stock/standard Spicer 5-297x u-joints with the new Spicer 5-760x joints. They are supposedly 20% stronger than the old style. The main body is thicker with even thicker sections near the cross shafts. Also the cross shafts have more metal in them (notice the smaller hole)

Reassembly is the reverse of removal. I recommend that you try to clean out any dirt/mud built up in the axle tube as to minimize the oil contamination and damage to seals. I used a carpenters framing square since it is fairly rigid and fits the tube and let me scrape out 90% of the gunk. Also, when reinstalling the axle shaft, try to keep the splined end from touching the remaining dirt in the tube and go slowly. You do not want to damage the seals by nicking them. When reinstalling the hubs, put some anti-seize on the outer bearing race that fits into knuckle. This will make it easier to reassemble as well as disassemble if needed later. Once the hub is back in place and bolted up, be sure to get the bake cooling plate and space back on in the correct way. The spacer should go on first, then the big airflow plate. The plate should be open in the rear and the "bent" portion should be forward and to the inside of the truck (so the air is pushed in from the front and directed towards the caliper/rotor). Torque the hub-to-knuckle bolts to 125 lb-ft. Install the hub nut. Assemble the rotor and caliper. In order to tighten the hub nut, have someone apply the brakes or use a socket extension to jam into the rotor vents. Torque to 175 lb-ft. and secure with a new cotter pin. Reinstall wheels and lower vehicle. Test drive and check for axle seal leaks and recheck bolts/nuts.

Hope this helps

Good luck

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

do i need to remove the flange after i remove the nut? also the hub is really stuck!

the problem i was having was, i couldnt seperate the hub from the nuckle.the axle seems to move about an 1/8 of an inch back and forth.

Hi you only need to remove the "flange" if you plan to repack the bearings.


The hub has become rusted to the knuckle this happens over time.

Get some spare bolts that fit the hub and thread those into the hub This will give you something to hit with a hammer.


Do not worry this is conman for it to be tight do to the rust.


Good luck



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