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Old 10-08-2012, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Default Drive shaft universal replacement

I had been hearing odd rubbing sounds from my Kodiak 450 for a few months now. I searched all over for the source - I replaced brake pads, replaced all of the wheel bearings, and even popped the boots off of the CV joints to inspect and re-grease everything. The noises kept on. Finally, last week, the machine started making a loud "clack" when shifting from FWD to RVS, and vice verse. I found that the front universal, on the rear drive shaft had gone bad, and I could see one half of it rotate quite a bit before the other yoke started to turn. I did some research, and watched some You-Tube video's, and most everything I found said the same thing: Get ready to beat the bearing cups out with a large hammer! There are a few custom tools available, but none small enough for the U-joints found on our machines. Then, I stumbled across one thread where the guy said that he had used an air-hammer, and that the job was quick and easy.
I have an air hammer!
I purchased two EPI Universal Joints (part # WE100290) off of Amazon, at a cost of $21.37 each. I bought 2, just in case I got in there and found another bad one. The Kodiak 450 has a total of 4 universal joints, and all of them are the same - 2 on the rear drive shaft, and 2 on the front drive shaft.
I asked around to see if anybody had done this job before, and one person told me that they had. He said that it was necessary to unbolt the rear gearbox, and that required him to unbolt one of the A-arms to get access to the gearbox bolt. I did unbolt the gearbox and shift it rear wards and inch or so, allowing the drive shaft to un-couple at the spline. The front U-joint still stays connected to the rear of the engine. I did not have to remove or loosen any A-arm bolts, though. This was a fairly simple process.
I had also removed the right rear wheel, and the right side floor board to gain access to the U-joint area. It is pretty tough to get at.
I was worried about removing the C-clips, that are located on the inside of the bearing cups, up against the inside of the yoke halves. They did not pose much of a problem, and they popped right off with a light tap of a hammer, on a long screwdriver.
I then used my air hammer, with a long straight punch style tip, to drive the joint to one side - it was incredibly easy! Access is the hardest part of this job, and I found that the best angle of approach was to turn the U-joint so I would be able to drive slightly upwards, in between the skid plate and the cast portion of the lower frame junction, just ahead of where the rear wheel would be. I pushed one cup out, then rotated the joint 180 degrees, to drive the other side out. Once that was done, I could remove the entire joint, and work on the remaining half up on my work bench. I started to try to drive the remaining cups out with the air hammer, but found it much easier to lay the 2 exposed "axles" across the jaws of my vise, and just hit the body of the yoke - something I had seen in the You-Tube video's.
The whole thing came apart very easily, and I saved the C-clips (in case I lose one of the new ones), and the grease fitting. I never know when I might need a nice small metric one.
I did find that each bearing cup has 20 needles in it, and the cups say Koyo KC1115B-1 on them. The cross is stamped "Z Koyo 3".
My new U-joints should be here tomorrow, so I may feel a "cold" setting in.
2011 Grizzly 450 EPS
2006 Kodiak 450i
2004 KDX200 Dual Sport
1999 Ninjette 250
1996 DR650

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