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Q:

What are the symptoms of a bad universal joint (U-joint) in a rear-wheel drive vehicle?

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Universal joints, like many parts, fail in a number of ways. The symptoms generally depend on the nature of the failure. For instance, a joint with excessive slack will often give a clunk when shifting from reverse to drive. While this is common, lack of this symptom does not mean the joint(s) are okay. Other possible symptoms of a bad universal joint include: • A rotational squeak-noise when rolling slowly • A vibration, especially at higher speed and felt in the seat • A vibration on acceleration • Leaking seals at the transmission tail housing • Leaking pinion seals and differential pinion damage • Broken transmission mounts A bent or damage driveshaft can cause many of the same issues. Driveshafts are often damaged by improper U-joint replacement. Replacement of U-joints may appear straight forward but is best left to personnel with proper training and tooling. more
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