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Analyze my U-Joint/Drive shaft? (with video)

Posted by Earendil 
The Bentley describes too much play very poorly (i.e. without numerical values).
However after spending another hour getting my car off the ground, taking the heat shield off, and grabbing the rear wheels and twisting them, I think I found one of the sources of my clunking.

Read of the drive shaft, as it goes into the diff.




Front of drive shaft, before it goes into the transmission.




The rear looks bad, as I'm pretty sure that u-joint should be solid and without that much play. What about the front as it goes into the transmission? That kind of looks like it might be transmission play. But then I'm not judge for normalcy. That's why I took the video to show you guys smiling smiley

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1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

rkj
Tyler, the rear looks loose and the guibo looks like its cracked and needs to come apart..... good video.

Rick
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rkj
Tyler, the rear looks loose and the guibo looks like its cracked and needs to come apart..... good video.

Rick

Yeah, the guibo (how do you pronounce that?) is something I was contemplating putting on my list of replacements when I take the underside of my car apart. I did get under there today with a flashlight and the guibo looks okay...at least it looks okay on the one side I can see. If I'm leaking tranny fluid on the side I can't see, there is a better chance that side will be far more degraded, yes?

I've also have a squeeky sound coming from the U-Joint or the drive shaft center bearing only while in reverse. So something down there is upset when there is back pressure on the system. I had the rear wheels lifted off the ground and let the car run in reverse. I was a little nervous getting under my car though without a partner, even though the car was secure enough to take a medium sized football player to the side. Anyway, I can rotate the drive shaft by hand in both directions, and do not get a squeeky sound, only the clunk of the U-Joint. Under loud, I can also hear the clunk when it transitions the pressure from one side to the other.

Any ideas what the likely cause of the squeek is? I can not directly see center bearing, so I can't visual inspect it without a lot more work.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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Earendil

Yeah, the guibo (how do you pronounce that?)

hard G, GEE-bow, long O

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rkj
Tyler, When I was faced with the shaft last year on mine I got a great rebuilt out of the midwest, it comes with everything but the flex disc (guybo, that's how I pronounce it but Daniel is probably right!). When the U joints are that loose it very might well give out with squeaks or any number of weird sounds noises. If I were you I'd take care of the shaft first (do you know what the mileage is on it?). The guibo can look perfectly fine when its in its scatter drum, but after you pull it out it can be a whole other thing.

On getting under the car; make sure, no, make doubly sure the car is up on decent stands and that they're well placed and everything is secure before hand, I usually give the whole car and good shaking before I crawl under.

Taking the exhaust, and the shaft down is a rusty dirty job, be careful, go slow and if you're having trouble this is a good place to get help. I know you're concerned about throwing money at your higher mileage car but just remember, these babies can go a far piece; Bob has around 300 or 400k on his, and I've got 220k on mine and its still strong as an ox with factory compression.

A good set of glass's would be in order. Get a good pair from the start, you'll thank me later smiling smiley

Rick



perseverance furthers
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rkj
Tyler, When I was faced with the shaft last year on mine I got a great rebuilt out of the midwest, it comes with everything but the flex disc (guybo, that's how I pronounce it but Daniel is probably right!). When the U joints are that loose it very might well give out with squeaks or any number of weird sounds noises. If I were you I'd take care of the shaft first (do you know what the mileage is on it?). The guibo can look perfectly fine when its in its scatter drum, but after you pull it out it can be a whole other thing.

The milage on the car is up around 250 K, and that includes the engine. Past that, I have no record of work on the car. I can take educated guesses though based on the average life span of parts, and whether they look replaced or not. The Radiator I know was pretty new when I bought the car for example.
Anyway, the Guibo on close inspection looks pretty good. However, do to the U-Joint going out and probably causing increased wear, as well as the transmission leaking on the side of the guibo that I can't see, I've decided to go ahead and replace it anyway. If anything, perhaps a more solid new guibo will help decrease extra play and give the U-Joint a few more miles.

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rkj
On getting under the car; make sure, no, make doubly sure the car is up on decent stands and that they're well placed and everything is secure before hand, I usually give the whole car and good shaking before I crawl under.

Thanks for the advice. I have two solid jackstands, and plenty of railroad ties. I usually give the car a good shove from all sides to make sure it doesn't budge. That day I was a little nervious with the 20mph wind, and the car actually running and in gear. Made me a little more nervous smiling smiley

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rkj
Taking the exhaust, and the shaft down is a rusty dirty job, be careful, go slow and if you're having trouble this is a good place to get help. I know you're concerned about throwing money at your higher mileage car but just remember, these babies can go a far piece; Bob has around 300 or 400k on his, and I've got 220k on mine and its still strong as an ox with factory compression.

I'm really hoping the engine lasts long enough for me to sink a good amount of money into the body, and then by the time the engine goes, have the body be worth enough that I'll put a new engine in it. As it stands, I'm about to move and start a new job (*crosses fingers*) and my E30 is all I have for transportation. So I'll be looking to get an old (but solid) good gas mileage car that doesn't run the same sort of risk of braking down. After that, I can feel justified putting a little more money into her, knowing she'll be the weekend fun car.

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rkj
A good set of glass's would be in order. Get a good pair from the start, you'll thank me later smiling smiley
Rick

Like protective glasses? My eyes are already cursing me out just for the investigative work. I already have plans for these.
Contemplating a shower cap to, as my 6 inches of curly hair gets pissy when I drag it through the gravel, and then dump oil on the other side winking smiley
Bonus: No one is going to bother a guy who's working on his car in a shower cap, nor will they take his beer when he's not looking smileys with beer

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Quote
Earendil
The Bentley describes too much play very poorly (i.e. without numerical values).
However after spending another hour getting my car off the ground, taking the heat shield off, and grabbing the rear wheels and twisting them, I think I found one of the sources of my clunking.

Read of the drive shaft, as it goes into the diff.




Front of drive shaft, before it goes into the transmission.




The rear looks bad, as I'm pretty sure that u-joint should be solid and without that much play. What about the front as it goes into the transmission? That kind of looks like it might be transmission play. But then I'm not judge for normalcy. That's why I took the video to show you guys smiling smiley

Great videos! That rear u-joint is shot. I'm not sure I'd trust that for a drive across town. If you're hearing all kinds of noises from under the car, it's a safe bet that the rear u-joint is the cause.

I bought a driveshaft from these guys a couple of years ago and I'n still happy with the purchase. [driveshaftspecialist.com]

One of the good things about this deal is that you get the new driveshaft before you have to remove your old one, and the box comes with the return shipping label. All you have to do is swap out the parts, put the old shaft in the box, stick on the label, and drop it off at a UPS store or any other place where UPS stops.

John
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Earendil

Bonus: No one is going to bother a guy who's working on his car in a shower cap, nor will they take his beer when he's not looking smileys with beer

Please send pictures of the shower cap and goggle combo! For a look with more swagger, perhaps an 1930's aviator's tight fitting leather skull cap and round goggles? I'd avoid the long white scarf for many reasons. I fully support all forms of eccentricity. Afterall, I carry a flattened cardboard box in my trunk. I can toss it down on the ground and inspect Beemie's under-workings at a moment's notice.

;-) Kelly
For all those future readers who stumble across this thread, I have an update.

Over july 4th I had a wedding 4.5 hours drive to get to, because I was in it. Acquiring another mode of transportation failed, and I knew that as far as excuses for missing the wedding go "sorry dude, my drive shaft is making a squeeky noise" would not go over as well as "Sorry dude, I dropped my drive shaft on the side of I-90". One is a more acceptable answer to missing a best friends wedding than another. So, I stupidly drove to the wedding.

The car was fine, outside of having no AC on a 4.5 hour drive across a dessert. Actually, it was only 96, which meant that sticking a hand out the window still, though ever so slightly, cooled my 98.6 degree body down.

In any case, on the drive back I started feeling a slight vibration in the car. Though it was nothing the usual method of curing didn't make go away, more bass.
Unfortunately, Love got the better of me, and at the wedding I kidnapped my girlfriend to bring back to my place (and by my place I mean a college grad parent's basement. I am so that guy). This left me with the responsibility of driving her back up to her house, 4.5 hours away (but not the city where the wedding was). For those curious, the 4.5 hour triangle is Seattle - Spokane - White Salmon. For those in smallish countries, yes this was all within one state.

On the way back from Seattle, my car was shaking with a vibration that was almost ignorable, but was such a high frequency that it made my rear view mirror completely blurry.

So, the approximate freeway mileage between a squeaky u-joint and one so warn it can be misaligned and cause vibration is about 500 miles. I'm sure if I were actually shifting a bunch it would have been a lot less.

Unless a better idea is voiced, I think I'll go with John's suggestion on the location to buy a rebuilt drive shaft. Since I intended to replace the transmission seal and center bearings anyway, this shouldn't be too much more difficult (I think). I'll probably start a new thread for the actual repair, and leave this one as a "how to diagnose a u-joint".

Cheers,
~Tyler

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

rkj
Its the best way, but I think I said that already eye rolling smiley You're lucky you made it home bro.
sdp
Is there any chance that only your center bearing is shot?
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sdp
Is there any chance that only your center bearing is shot?

While that is a possibility, and would also cause some vibration in the car, I've never heard it described to the degree that I am feeling in my car.
Also, the U-Joints DO have play, so they are shot to some degree. Also, when "popping" the clutch lightly, I can get a good "clunk!" sound from down under the car, which is unlikely to be the result of the bearing (and by unlikely I mean damn near impossible). So, even if the vibration were caused solely by the bearing, the drive shaft it's self needs to go sad smiley

I have a new center bearing ready to put in, but I'm not going to do that for two reasons. First, it's be a waste of time to remove the drive shaft twice. Second, if the drive shaft is causing the vibration, it probably has a good chance of damaging or destroying a new center bearing if it were to be installed. Hopefully I'll be able to order the new drive shaft soon, and take everything apart. Once I do that, I'll let everyone know what looks/feels damaged, and what was still solid.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

rkj
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sdp
Is there any chance that only your center bearing is shot?

No, I've seen the video and the shaft is shot period; the camera does not lie B)
We call this "dodging the bullet".

Update:

I'm about ready to order a rebuilt driveshaft, so put my car up on jack stands and went to work removing the exhaust and underside shielding.
First off, note that the state of the


current U-Joint is significantly deteriorated since the


last video. I would guess that this is approximately 800 freeway miles (i.e. little or no shifting) between the two videos. When a U-Joint starts clunking, get it fixed ASAP.

But the one thing I never checked, because I assumed my bigger problem was the U-Joint, and most immediate problem was the U-Joint, is the center bearing. I saw that sucker for the first time, and


OH MY... @#$% !!
That would appear to be a small problem :undecided:

Thus ends this thread, at least in so far as my updates go. Feel free to ask me questions or discuss how stupid I am for letting my car get into this state ;-)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

sdp
Didn't I mention center bearing being shot causing the vibration???? LOL

Either way though, with your U-joint shot.. you need to replace it all.
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sdp
Didn't I mention center bearing being shot causing the vibration???? LOL

Either way though, with your U-joint shot.. you need to replace it all.

You asked whether it was possible for it to only be that. I already knew my U-Joint was shot, so I knew it wasn't only that winking smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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