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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A while ago I lost a bearing cap on the front axle U-joint on my Rubi. Replaced both joints with new ones. I noticed the C clip must have popped out on the missing cap and two more were loose. The clip barely goes around it enough to hold it reliably. Poor design.

So to prevent them from coming out again, I put 2 tack welds on the outside of each new cap holding it so they couldn't come out. The tacks mainly were on the yokes, barely touching the cap to prevent bearing distortion. Worked for about 8,000 miles. No movement.

The other day after doing the Rubicon Trail I noticed the caps were still in place, but they had been spinning - even broke some of the tack welds. They hadn't fallen out - yet - but were self destructing. Of course by now the C-clips were long gone. The only thing holding them in was the remainder of the tack welds. Re-welded them again, this time with better tacks.

Got home, looked at a friend's TJ that has the "trick" full circle clips on the aftermarket axles - his bearing caps have been spinning too. Disaster waiting for a good time to happen.

Under a hard load and hard turn those bearing caps must have quite a bit of rotational stress on them.

Doing much welding on the caps surely will distort the inside, causing the bearings to fail early.

Seems like they need a keyway or some kind of locking device?

Anybody found a cure for this?
 

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There is no significant rotational force on the caps, certainly not enough to turn a healthy cap. My guess is that as the radial force walks around the cap it must be loosening the cap in the eye. I think some stronger yokes are the solution.

You might find that the bores in the eyes are a few tenths larger than spec, maybe even a thousandth or two. That's a sign that it's been overloaded.

Anything that locks the cap in place is not a fix. If the yoke is distorting, the cap must be too, and if that's true the rollers and cap will break down from fatigue and the joint will fail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Haven't had time to take it apart yet to check to see how loose the cap is in the yoke.

But -- looking at a very stock TJ parked in a grocery store parking lot, (I didn't know the owner,) I noticed his axle joints' bearing caps had been spinning too. One had fallen out, letting the end of the journal beat up the inside of the yoke - stub axle side. It looked like it was unsavable, too beat up.

While I was looking at it, the guy came out. He told me he had a big vibration and noise that started about a hundred miles ago. He was intending to take it in to the local dealer. He said he's never had it off-road.

Upon closer inspection it's obvious that when the cap rotates slightly, the C-clip gets pushed off, allowing the cap to work it's way out till it falls off.

I'd suggest everyone keep an eye on their axle U-joints. Shiney spots may indicate movement. Maybe even mark the caps so it'd be easy to detect if they are moving - before expensive trouble.
 

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last year I installed my CTM joints into the chromoly axles. on one side I tack welded the caps down. on the other side I used a paint marker and put a big X across the joint. both of the joints have full circle clips on the back holding them in.
I wanted to see if the tack welds would prolong the life of the ears on the axle shafts.
time will tell as both sides still look perfect.
 

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I had a buddy tell me about taking the shaft apart. doing a little grinding on the C-clip groove and using a full circle clip instead of that cheese cracker half circle clip. have yet to check to see if my axle is set up that way yet or not.
 
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