September 12th, 2015

#4902: Looks like the Fiero will be out in the rain for a little bit.

It's raining, it looks like it'll rain on and off all weekend, and I need to replace a U-joint in the Jeep.


The plus side: with the rear driveshaft removed, I can still drive the Jeep; I just have to put it into 4WD and it will, temporarily, become a front-wheel-drive Jeep. That's the advantage of a part-time 4WD system: there's no differential in the transfer case. (Of course, if there were, all I'd have to do is to lock that diff. Jeeps with full-time 4WD have that option.)

It's going to feel weird, of course.

The hard part will be swapping the u-joint in the driveshaft. That's going to take some doing, because I don't have a big vise and that u-joint is probably original equipment. But this isn't something that I dare leave for another day, because it's making noise.

I have never, never, ever had a noisy u-joint in a vehicle. Okay? Never. I drove my old '75 Impala all over creation on its original u-joints, and it had well over 135,000 on it when I stopped driving it. I drove my '77 Impala for most of a year, and while it needed a transmission rebuild (stupid Metric 200 "planned obsolescence" junk) it never needed u-joints. U-joints are an incredibly mature technology, and it's rare for one to fail--and I could probably go another thousand miles on this one--but if it does fail the Jeep pole-vaults over its driveshaft and I'm looking for a new vehicle at a very bad time.

Or I spend five hours replacing a $9 part. Ounce, prevention, pound, cure, etcetera.

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Trump has found the key issue for his campaign and it's enough to convince me that he's a good pick for the job. Curtailing illegal immigration, and ending the parade of amnesty programs, is a great first step towards correcting lots of economic problems (such as unemployment, underemployment, and wage stagnation) which are primarily caused by illegal immigration. Reducing just those three problems would be at least half of what's needed to end the depression.

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How do you know a debate utterly demolishes SJW talking points? When the SJW in question threatens legal action if the video is publicly available.

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Socialism is the greatest evil in the modern world. The article only talks about Soviet socialism, but that's bad enough; if you add Chinese socialism, German socialism (Nazis), southeast Asian socialism (Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand) you can tot up a horrendous butcher's bill: 100,000,000 people murdered in the name of Marx in the 20th century. (The linked article says the number could be twice as large. It very well could be.)

One hundred million people dead...because they didn't think and act the right way. Because some powerful man decided they were a threat to his power, or he needed a scapegoat, or-or-or.

The supporters of socialism don't mind that one bit. They slough off the statistic, ignoring it or otherwise minimizing it. After all, what are 100,000,000 lives next to the grand dream of the workers' paradise? Committed marxists are willing to sacrifice as many people as it takes to bring their idiotic and impossible vision to life, and they'll stop at nothing to be the ones in charge of it once the blood stops flowing. A high school friend of mine who later became an ardent leftist had it right, in high school, when he said, "The workers will control the means of production...and we will control the workers!"

...control them with the iron fist, because no one willingly submits to socialism. People stubbornly continue to have self-interests and insist on being able to think for themselves.

Heinlein said it best; it's a system best suited for insects. But it can never, never, ever work when applied to humans. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

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It's fifty-friggin'-one degrees outside. WTF. A week ago today--a week ago right now--it was twenty-five degrees warmer outside and so humid you could slice the air and make sandwiches. I'm not kidding; the heat last weekend was murderous.

So what happens? We go from July to October in a couple of days. Now it's raining and cold. Why the hell is the weather never moderate? Why is it always either too hot or too cold?

Especially when there are things that need doing outside?

#4903: Replacing the U-joint is not fun.

It took a very long time to get the old one out. It looked as if reassembly was going to be pretty simple.

It was not. In fact, six hours later, it's still not together. I put that u-joint into the yoke--

In order:

So I got the Fiero out of the garage and the Jeep into it. Disconnecting the drive shaft at the axle was easy-peasy; I heated the yoke with a propane torch and then hit it with PB Blaster, and the bolts simply unscrewed. They've been in there since the truck was built in 2000, and driven through fourteen Illinois and Indiana winters, but they came out nice and easy.

Too easy, as it turns out.

Getting the old joint out was difficult. It's been in there a long time, and it took time and propane and PB Blaster to get it loose. I did eventually get it out, and spent some time deburring the bearing cup bosses.

When I went to reassemble with the new U-joint, it went together nicely...but I could not get both of the retaining clips in.

Og suggested--via IRC--that I take it apart, because it was possible that one of the needle bearings had fallen out or gotten cocked; and when I took it apart, I found that one of the needle bearings had shifted, and in fact had gotten crushed. It had shattered inside the bearing cup, and I said many bad words; I took the remaining bearings out, cleaned them and the cup, then reassembled with fresh grease and one bearing taken from the old u-joint. (Og says a bit smaller is okay, and it fit fine.)

But the thing would still not go together correctly. It was fine until I drove the cups in far enough to get the retaining clips in; then it would get gronchy and not move freely. I disassembled and reassembled the thing about four times.

Finally Og suggested measuring the width of the yoke. When I did that, I discovered that the yoke was a smidge wider than 3.25 at the outside of the retaining clips. The u-joint itself, with bearing cups, is 3.218 inches. The clips are about 1/16" thick; there's perhaps 3.125" between the inside surfaces of the clips...meaning that the yoke is "sprung".

"Sprung", in this sense, means that the yoke is no longer the correct width. Either overzealous hammering or too much force in the vice; either way, I bent it so that it's a bare tenth of an inch too small.

Og's suggestion was to put the old bearing cups and clips in, with some arrangement to apply a spreading force on the yoke. It took some doing but I took a nut, a bolt, and a small socket, and bodged it together; now it's sitting out there with some pressure on it, and it should spread back apart during the night. Hopefully in the morning or afternoon I can get it all put back together.

The only thing I did wrong--other than hammering the shit out of it--was neglecting to mark the orientation of the drive shaft with respect to the rear yoke. But if that turns out to be wrong, it shouldn't take a great deal of effort to correct; it can only go in two ways, and I've already done the hard part of getting the bolts free of fifteen years' worth of rust. And it'll be obvious if it's wrong, because it'll vibrate.

The squeaking noise was happening at the right frequency to be related to my shimmy, though I don't know how the vibration could get to the front wheels when it's in the rear drive shaft. More likely it's entirely unrelated.

Either way, I now know how to get the front drive shaft off, and can check it at my leisure. As if I had any.