1988 Ford Ranger Universal Joints Installation Instructions

The 1988 Ford Ranger comes equipped with a u-joint that connects the drive shaft to the back of the transmission. The drive shaft has another u-joint that connects the rear of the drive shaft to the rear end. The u-joints are mounted inside of the yokes on the drive shaft. When the transmission is engaged, the front u-joint allows the transmission to turn the driveshaft. The rear u-joint then allows the drive shaft to turn the rear end. Over time, the needle bearings inside of the u-joints will wear down and cause slack in the drive shaft.

Tools Used: Wheel chocks, Chalk, 1/2-inch drive ratchet, 1/2-inch drive socket set (Metric), Wooden block, Needle nose pliers, Hand held sledge hammer, New u-joints

Install Universal Joints

Pull the 1988 Ford Ranger onto a level surface and shut the engine off. Engage the parking brake.

Place the wheel chocks in the front of both front wheels and in the back of both front wheels.

Slide under the driver side of the truck behind the drivers side door. Locate the yoke that connects the driveshaft to the yoke in the back of the transmission. The front u-joint is inside of this yoke. Mark the top of the transmission yoke and the top of the driveshaft yoke with a piece of chalk. When re-installing the driveshaft with the new u-joint, be sure to match these two marks up so that the driveshaft will be re-installed the same way it came out.

Unscrew the four bolts from the two c-clamps that hold the u-joint in place with a ratchet and a 12-mm socket. Remove the screws and pull out on the drive shaft with your hands until the drive shaft yoke is free of the transmission yoke. Lay the end of the driveshaft on a block of wood.

Remove the retaining clips from both of the u-joint caps with the needle nose pliers. Rotate the drive shaft yoke so that one of the u-joint caps is facing upward and the other cap is facing downward. Place a 3/4-inch socket over the cap and tap the end of the socket with a hand held sledge hammer until the socket pushes the bottom cap out of the u-joint. Turn the driveshaft back over and tap the other end of the u-joint directly with the hand held sledge hammer until the other cap pushes out of the driveshaft yoke. Pull one end of the u-joint out of the yoke. Pull the other ends of the u-joint out of the yoke until the u-joint is completely out of the yoke.

Remove the two caps from the new u-joint. Position the new u-joint into the driveshaft yoke. Rotate the driveshaft so that the cap sides of the yoke is facing up and down. Press one of the caps straight onto the upper arm of the u-joint. Tap the cap completely onto the u-joint with the hand held sledge hammer until there is enough room for the retaining ring. Install the new retaining ring over the cap with the needle nose pliers.

Turn the drive shaft over on its other side and push the other cap in place over the u-joint arm. Tap the cap completely onto the u-joint with the hammer and install the new retaining clip over the cap with the needle nose pliers. Position the drive shaft with the new u-joint into the transmission yoke. Make sure that the two marks on the transmission yoke and the drive shaft yoke match up with one another. Place the c-clamps over each end of the u-joint and screw the two metric bolts back into the yoke. Tighten the bolts down tight with the ratchet and 12-mm socket. Torque the bolts down to 15 Ft. Lbs with a torque wrench and the 12-mm socket.

Move to the drive shaft yoke that is attached to the yoke on the rear end and repeat the same process as outlined above to replace the u-joint. Once both u-joints have been replaced, drive the 1988 Ford Ranger for about ten minutes. Park the ranger and re-check the torque on the u-joint clamp bolts.

Tips & Warnings

You can also remove the whole drive shaft from the transmission yoke and the rear end yoke to replace the u-joints.

Do not hit the ear of the driveshaft with the hammer. This can result in the driveshaft ear breaking.

Always use caution when working under a vehicle.

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