Most Common U-Joint Problems On A Chevy Silverado
The Chevrolet Silverado is a great truck. Yet, it’s prone to u-joint issues. If you’re a Silverado owner with u-joint issues, you came to the right place. In this guide we’ll cover Silverado u-joint failure symptoms, diagnostic tips, repair tips, and recommended replacement parts.
Chevrolet Silverado U-Joint Failure Symptoms
- Squeaking noise when the truck starts to move forward or back
- Clunking with a ringing sound when you shift the transmission from drive to reverse
- Vibration felt throughout the truck when driving
- Transmission fluid leaks
- Banging sound
- Complete loss of power (this means the driveshaft has come loose)
U-Joint Diagnosis And Repair Tips
Under normal circumstances, u-joints should last 100k miles or more. That doesn’t always happen, though. If one of your Silverado’s u-joints fails, it’s best to replace it ASAP. If you fail to replace your u-joints, other parts (such as the transmission, differential, and driveshaft) can get damaged. That means you’d be facing thousands of dollars in repairs. This post does a good job explaining why it’s in your best interests to replace a failing u-joint right away.
If you’re not sure whether your u-joints have failed, it’s best to replace them anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Replacing your Silverado’s u-joints is an easy job. You can do it yourself, or take it to a mechanic. The cost of replacement will vary depending on the type of u-joint you choose and the labor involved. But it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Recommended Replacement U-Joints
When it comes to finding a replacement u-joint, quality matters. A quality u-joint that’s built to OE specs will last a long time. You can’t go wrong with GMB for the reasons listed here. Here are the recommended GMB replacement u-joints for Silverado trucks:
- 1999-2005 Silverado: GMB u-joint #210-3105
- 1999-2013 Silverado: GMB u-joint #215-3105
- 2001-2010 Silverado: GMB u-joint #210-0447
- 2002 Silverado: GMB u-joint #210-0178
- 2002-2007 Silverado: GMB u-joint #210-1203
- 2006-2007 Silverado: GMB u-joint #210-0213
- 2006-2011 Silverado: GMB u-joint #215-0178
If you don’t see your Silverado in this list, please look it up in our catalog of GMB u-joints to find the right part number.
Why Do Chevrolet Silverado Trucks Have U-Joint Problems?
Here are the 3 most common reasons why Silverado trucks have u-joint problems:
1. U-Joint Falling Apart Due To Steep Operating Angles
Many Silverado owners lift their trucks. Lifting the truck will change the angle at which the driveshaft meets the transfer case and differential. The u-joints must flex more to handle the angle change. This works for a while, but it will cause the u-joints to wear out more quickly. It’s because they are moving farther with each rotation of the driveshaft.
As the u-joints wear, they begin to loosen up. This allows more vibration to occur. The increased vibration causes problems:
- It accelerates the wear in the u-joint
- It can damage the seals in the u-joints, reducing lubrication
Both of these issues will eventually lead to total u-joint failure. If you decide to lift your Silverado, inspect the u-joints. You want to make sure that the operating angles are still within spec. If you put a big lift on, look into high angle u-joints that are designed to handle higher than stock operating angles.
2. U-Joints Breaking Under Heavy Loads
Silverados are often used for towing and hauling heavy loads. This puts a lot of stress on the u-joints and causes them to wear out faster. If you tow often, and you are over 50k miles on your Silverado, it pays to inspect the u-joints at every oil change. Murphy’s law would say that your u-joints won’t fail when you are driving around town, but when you’re towing something heavy a long distance.
3. Lack Of Lubrication
Most newer trucks come from the factory with u-joints that can’t be lubricated. So how can lack of lubrication cause them to fail? It’s simple wear and tear. As the miles accumulate, the u-joint seals start to fail. Centrifugal force causes the grease in the u-joint to leak out past the seal when the driveshaft is spinning. On the highway, your driveshaft could be spinning at 3,000 – 3,000 rpm, depending on your gearing. So there is a lot of centrifugal force acting on the grease in the u-joints. When a u-joint is failing, you can often see a stripe of grease on the underside of the truck just above the u-joint. It was thrown there by the rotation of the driveshaft. If you see the stripe, inspect the u-joint and the output seal near the u-joint. One or both has gone bad.
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