There has been some discussion about the AutoZone u-joints over the past month or so. Just prior to this I had changed all my joints and threw out the original snap rings/c-clips. I couldn't get the joints free up not realizing that the problem may be with the snap rings. Wildweasel sent me an original snap ring so that I could try to find a match. Those that come with the AutoZone u-joints are .051" +/- .002". The one Wildweasel sent to me measured .047" +/- .002" -- a measureable difference. Especially when you consider that there is one on each end of the joint which doubles the error.
I e-mailed AutoZone and didn't hear anything for weeks. During that time I was searching local hardware stores and the net for the right rings. The only ones I could find locally were approx. .042". A bit thin. However, I found a snap ring manufacturer (Rotor Clip) http://www.roto-clip.com
that produces metric snap ring that is exactly the same (+/- .001") as the OEM clip. I request some samples. While they were being shipped, I received the following e-mail.
As the manufacturer of u-joints to Autozone, we were forwarded a copy of your complaint. We have received very few complaints about the 1-1557 u-joint in the recent past. However, we sell only a few thousand of this
part number per year for several different Dodge, Mitsu and Suzuki applications. It is possible that there is a slightly different version of the u-joint or yoke that we are not aware of. I would like to discuss this with you over the phone to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. I can be reached at ...
Product Design Engineer
Driveline Aftermarket Group
I called Mike Rogers and spoke with him about the problem. He said that he has seen instances where instead of using a standardized snap ring, a company will use a specific kind making it extremely difficult on aftermarket manufacturers. I told him that I believed I had found a solution to my problem through Rotor clip - where Neapco also obtains snap ring. However, when the discussion was over, I think it was pretty clear that Neapco doesn't intend to make any changes because of the low volume they sell of this joint. It is also used with other vehicles besides the Samurai as noted in his e-mail. On a side note, I also learned that Neapco is one of two major u-joint manufacturers and depending upon where you live, you will find the same joint being sold at different stores.
To get to the point, the metric snap ring DHO-25 from Rotor Clip Inc. is a perfect replacement http://www.roto-clip.com/dhospred.pdf
. I received enough to replace all of them in my shafts today. I did two shafts this evening and they work perfectly! Rotor Clip is not a direct seller though. However, a quick request to their sales dept. should get you info. on the nearest dealer to your location.
For those that don't run on the road much anymore (or those that keep their OEM clips), this infor. may be useless but I thought I would pass it along for those who may be interested.
I'll be back.