If there is one day I will never forget, it is the day of burial of my uncle back when I was a child.
My family and I were travelling in a van to Virginia for the burial. On the way, something dropped from underneath the vehicle than scratched the tarmac and sent us veering off the road.
We were lucky not to overturn or tumble down the ditch on the side of the road.
I didn’t really know what had happened or what had dropped. It wasn’t until much later that I figured what had happened – the driveshaft had fallen right off the rear axle.
And the reason? The rear axle u joint had broken, allowing the drive shaft to fall to the road.
But you don’t have to wait until this risky turn of events comes. If you can hear a squeaking noise when starting to move forward or reverse, or lots of vibration on the entire vehicle when moving at higher speeds, that might indicate a bad u joint. And it needs to be changed.
In this article, I will help you find the best u joint for your vehicle.
Read on as we go through the reviews and the buyer’s guide.
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Our Top 10 Best U Joints For The Money
1. Spicer 5-153X U-Joint Kit
With most products, there are those brands that you know are reliable. When it comes to universal joints, Spicer is without a doubt one of the trustworthy brands that offer excellent quality.
The Spicer 5-153X U-Joint offers a concoction of great performance and long life with the quality it offers.
Though an aftermarket part, the u joint offers quality just like that of an original part manufacturer. How so?
The first aspect in which the u joint excels is the construction. In that regard, the cross piece is made of high-graded forged steel. And not just that. The part is heat treated to make it even stronger.
The case-hardened bearing caps are also super strong and resistant to wear.
As such, you never have to worry about the part breaking apart during use. Its sturdiness also offers protection from wear. This is a joint that can easily last the life of the car as long as you take the necessary care measures such as proper greasing.
Greasing the unit is not only possible but also convenient. That is thanks to the nitrile rubber seals, which retain the grease efficiently while keeping contaminants at bay.
As the title suggests, this is a kit and not just one product. With regard to that, you will also find a grease fitting and cap snap rings in the package.
Where can you use the Spicer 5-153X U-Joint? The part fits all spots on front drive shafts, from the transfer case to the front axle.
And what vehicles are compatible?
This is a quite versatile u-joint that can be used with a wide range of vehicles from Jeep Wrangler (up to 2006) and Checker Aerobus to Jeep Cherokee (XJ) and the 2003 Nissan Xterra.
Go on and check whether your car fits.
- 1.062-inch cap diameter.
- 3.219 outside snap ring.
- High-graded forged steel cross piece.
- Case-hardened bearing caps.
- Nitrile rubber seals.
- Fits all spots on front drive shafts.
2. ACDelco 45U0106 Professional U-Joint
Did you know that ACDelco is the true OE parts brand for General Motors? Yep, it is, and that is why I thought you might find their replacement u joint useful.
The brand uses the same knowledge, experience, and quality in the manufacture of the ACDelco 45U0106 Professional U-Joint.
If you own a GM vehicle, this is one u joint you definitely want to check out.
I noticed that this u joint is very much like the OE one that comes with the 2001 Suburban 1500. The only variation is that this one comes with a grease fitting. And that’s a good feature as it allows servicing.
Construction is one of the features you should think about when looking for a u joint. One thing I can tell you is that the unit is made from high-quality steel materials. Heat treatment is utilized toe strengthen the part and make it resistant to wear.
That being said, I noted that the unit is not very resilient when hammered. The flat bearing are easy to break when you hammer, so I would strongly advise you against hammering.
So, instead, use a c-clamp press. You also want to go slow and make sure that before you press, the knuckles are well situated between the bearings.
With proper installation, the 2001 Suburban 1500 u joints assure you of a nice and silent driveshaft. Their performance is quite impressive.
Fitment is one area where this u joint beats the rest. You can use it with a broad array of vehicles, from Chevy, Ford, and Isuzu to Jeep, Mitsubishi, and Nissan.
- 1.063 bearing Cap Diameter.
- Comes with snap rings.
- Made of high-quality steel.
- Compatible with a very wide range of vehicles including Jeep, Isuzu, Ford, and Nissan.
3. All Balls 19-1005 U-Joint
When it comes to ease of greasing, the All Balls 19-1005 U-Joint is one of the best u joint units you can get.
The grease zerk on this one is centrally located, making it easy to apply grease with a grease gun. On the inside of the bearing cup, there are many channels that are well distributed to make certain that the grease goes in evenly.
One thing you might find convenient is that you don’t even have to grease the joint before installation. That is because the unit comes already greased with hi-temp lithium complex 3 grease.
Strength is one of the factors that I look at when buying u joints. Well, the manufacturer says that this unit is manufactured using SCM-415 steel. They also claim the unit is case hardened for additional fortitude.
While I do not dispute the information given, I feel the u joint is somewhat lacking with regards to strength. It’s not the sort of unit that lasts the vehicle’s life. Expect to change it after a few years.
Nevertheless, I have to say that during its short life, the bearing provides excellent support. If you want to eliminate play and noise on the drive shaft, I suggest you try this unit.
The unit comes complete with the items you need for installation. You get the snap rings, cap plugs, bolts, and a couple other items.
I bet you’d also like to know about the measurements. The clips grooves outside measurements is 1.540 inches while the axle yoke’s inside measurement is 1.480 inches.
- Comes with a cap plug for low clearance applications.
- Comes pre-greased.
- Centrally located grease zerk.
4. Moog 534G Universal Joint
Greasability is one of the crucial factors to think about when looking for a u joint. The Moog 534G Universal Joint is not just greasable; it is easy to grease. The grease zerk is conveniently located at the top, where it is easy to access.
Getting grease into the joint is a piece of cake. This makes flushing out moisture and contamination a breeze, subsequently making it easy to reduce wear and contamination of the part.
Contaminants, as you might already know, are one of the main causes of wear of u joints. To address the problem, this joint is designed with nitrile rubber seals that feature double lips. That way, they give extra compression and keep contaminants at bay very efficiently.
If you’re looking for truly durable u joints, the Moog 534G Universal Joint should be among your considerations. It is made from strong materials like high-strength steel and is taken through a consistent heat treatment to make it last.
One thing I really love about this unit is how easy it is to install. The inside clips slide right in without any issues. As long as it fits your vehicle, you can expect it to be easy to put on.
What about the measurements, you ask?
The bearing cap diameter is 1.125 inches while the width including the clips measures 2.556 inches.
The ultimate aspect that makes the Moog 534G Universal Joint the ideal choice for so many people is the price. Getting all that quality for less than 10 bucks is something quite special. If you’re on a budget but need fine quality, go on and check out the product.
- 1.125 inches bearing cap diameter.
- Conveniently located grease zerk for easy greasing.
- Nitrile rubber grease seals.
- Strong and durable – made of heat-treated steel.
5. Chrome Polished Steering Shaft U Joint
Is your steering shaft u joint broken? Need to replace it?
You want to check out the Chrome Polished Steering Shaft U Joint. This is one of the highest qualities I have come across through the years I have worked with universal joints. You can bet on it with regard to quality in performance and sturdiness.
One of the things that makes the joint so good is the construction. The unit is crafted from high-grade solid billet steel, making it super tough.
For that, you can count on the joint to last the life of your vehicle.
There are two options when it comes to the finish. You can either go for the black-finished option or choose the chrome plated unit, which looks much more attractive.
Ease of use and practicability are some of the main factors that I looked at when choosing to include this product in the list.
The unit works great for connecting the steering rack to the steering shaft. Depending on your vehicle, you might have to do some welding to create your own stem and connect to the steering shaft. On the brighter side, the joint works very well with welded connections.
I cannot even begin to tell you how seamlessly it connects to the splined rack. If you want to mate your steering shaft to your rack, this is the joint to use. It works great and the solid quality is awesome.
Another thing that makes me highly recommend this product is range of fitments offered. On amazon, you get to select from a wide range of sizes from 1D by ¾-inch round to 9/16-inch-26 by 3/4 -inch round.
- Steering shaft u joint.
- Made of high-grade solid billet steel.
- Chrome and black finish options.
- Wide range of size choices.
6. Spicer 5-1310X Life Series
As noted at the beginning of the review section, Spicer, provides some of the highest quality u joints on the market. You don’t expect anything short of great quality in their products.
That is the case with the Spicer 5-1310X Life Series U Joint. The unit is very well made and it works as it should and lasts.
If you’re looking for a serviceable unit, you will find this one suitable. It comes with a grease zerk fitting that allows you to grease the unit whenever you like.
I love the freedom of choice offered when purchasing from amazon with regard to greasability. If you’re not looking to grease your u joint from time to time, you can choose the non-greasable option. This one comes preloaded with quality grease that offers quality lubrication on all four corners.
And of course, the non-greasable unit is less expensive, so if your budget is tight, you might want to settle for it. You will get to save over 10 bucks.
One thing I liked about this product is that it is shipped more like a kit than a single product. In addition to the joint, you will get up to 10 clips for holding things in place.
I loved how the clips feature different colors. That helps you not mix them up. My only complaint is that the instructions provided are somewhat lacking. For instance, they don’t say what clips are for what purpose.
Note that the green ones are the thickest, followed by the grey, and the green, which are the thinnest.
Also, realize that the thicker clips are suitable if you need to take up additional space to prevent the u joint from playing. You want to use the clips in pairs to keep the joint well centered in the yolk. Well, that’s some helpful info right there if you end up buying these joints.
- 1.062-inch bearing cup size.
- 3.219 inches outside dimension.
- 10 clips of 3 varying colors for ease of distinguishing.
- Great quality and long lasting.
7. GMB 210-0213 Universal Joint
Are you a Ford Explorer owner? Looking to replace your drive shaft u joints? The best recommendation I can give is the GMB 210-0213 Universal Joint.
The reason why many people love this unit is that it offers great quality for a low price. You won’t believe that a unit that performs so excellently and lasts so long goes for just 10 bucks.
And that’s not all. In the package, you will find other items needed in the installation, including an exact fit snap ring and u bolts.
One of the features that make the quality of this unit so unmatched for units of its price range is the construction. Made of special chrome molybdenum steel, the unit is able to resist the pressure that bombards the drive shaft.
Corrosion is one of the problems that face u joints and cause premature damage. You can rest assured that the GMB 210-0213 is secure against the problem, thanks to the robust construction.
The kind of bearing included in the joint also determines the longevity. In this one, there are heavy duty needle bearings, which work nicely and last.
Still on the construction, and a bit on the ease of use, I love the design of the grease zerk. It is situated at the side, where it is easy to access. It also comes with a cap that provides a tight seal to prevent backflow of grease.
Did I mention the unit also comes with clips? Yes, you get up to 4 clips.
On the dimensions, the unit features a 1.063-inch bearing cap diameter and a 3.622-inch overall width.
- Heavy duty needle bearings.
- Made of special chrome molybdenum steel.
- 1.063-inch bearing cap diameter.
- Low priced.
8. Ensun ¾-inch Steering Shaft Universal Joint
Seeking a high-grade u joint for the steering shaft?
One unit you cannot go wrong with is the Ensun ¾-inch Steering Shaft Universal Joint. All things considered, the joint is perfect. Its construction, operation, and longevity are all excellent.
I will break down what the joint offers, starting with the construction.
The material used to make the joint is extremely hard. It is high-strength steel enhanced with heat treatment.
On the downside, drilling a hole through it takes some work and patience. But that should not be much of a problem knowing you’re working with a reliable piece that lasts the life of the vehicle.
When it comes to welding, the task also takes some work, but once it is welded onto other metals, the connection is pretty tough and long-lasting.
And now the ultimate feature that makes the unit special when compared to the rest – resistance against corrosion. If you’ve been working with u joints for a while, you know what corrosion can do. It can easily destroy your joints.
The Ensun ¾-inch Steering Shaft Universal Joint is one of the most resilient items of its kind against corrosion. That is thanks to the high-quality black finish it features. Rust is effectively kept at bay.
How much can it bend? And what speeds does it allow?
These are some of the important questions to ask when looking for a good steering shaft universal joint.
This one offers a maximum operating angle of 35 degrees and maximum rotational speed of 4000 RPM.
You can use the unit in a wide range of applications including cars, automated parking lifts, grinding machines, and more.
- 3 ¾ inch long.
- 4000 rpm maximum speed.
- Black finish for corrosion resistance.
- 35 degrees maximum operating angle.
9. Power Train Components U Joint
With regards to the ease of greasing, I haven’t found anything better than the Power Train Components U Joint. It has its grease fitting on one of the “arms”, through the bearing cap.
That means you don’t have to disassemble the joint at all to put in the grease. It’s a really clever design that many people love.
One of the reasons why many units get damaged during installation is lack of proper greasing. This unit comes pregreased to get around the issue. The chances of damage during installation are low.
But that’s not the only reason I thought you might find the unit useful. The entire construction is excellent.
In that regard, the cross piece is made from chrome-alloy nickel steel that has been case hardened. This material is extremely resilient to say the least.
For someone looking for maximum service life, the unit would most certainly be a good selection. It is perfect when it comes to resisting wear and corrosion. And as such, it will easily last the life of your machine or vehicle.
Even the bearings are designed to offer you not only great performance but also longevity. Made of high-carbon steel, the needle bearings are tough and durable.
The seals are made of nitrile rubber. That way, they prevent grease leakage as well as entry of contaminants. Subsequently, they prevent damage and assure you of grease retention.
Lastly, the Power Train Components U Joint is a cost efficient unit. It comes with the caps and clips, and all for just over ten bucks.
- 0.867-inch bearing caps.
- Nitrile rubber seals.
- Made of case-hardened chrome-alloy nickel steel.
- Convenient location of the grease fitting.
- Pregreased for maximum service life.
10. Volar Rear Prop Shaft U Joint
Loved the Power Train Components U Joint we discussed above but didn’t like a certain aspect in it? You might want to check out the Volar Rear Prop Shaft Universal U Joint, which is the closest alternative I found.
The two units are alike, albeit with minor differences. The first aspect in which they are similar is the design of the grease fitting.
Like with the previous unit, the Volar U Joint has its grease zerk located on one of the “arms”, going through the cap. That way, it is super easy to access. You needn’t dismount the joint to grease it up.
Seeking a truly strong and durable u joint? This would be a good choice, thanks to the sturdy construction.
The joint is made of case hardened steel, which makes it resilient against pressure, so that it won’t crack or wear as easily as many aftermarket models.
Corrosion is also kept at bay, thanks to the finish on the u joint. It’s not only attractive but also efficient at protecting the joint from corrosion and rust.
I did not find the Volar Rear Prop Shaft U Joint to be a very versatile unit in terms of compatibility. Seemingly, the unit only works with certain models of Jeep Wrangler and Suzuki vehicles.
If you own a 2008-2010 Suzuki King Quad, you will be happy to hear that the u joint is a perfect fit. It is easy to put on and it works optimally.
- Grease fitting is conveniently situated on the side.
- Comes with 4 clips.
- Robust construction.
- Corrosion resistant finish.
Things to Consider Before Buying Best U Joint
Before you purchase a u joint, there are a couple factors you should look at to figure if it is the correct choice. Here are some of the considerations to look at to ensure you get perfect quality u joint.
This is perhaps the most important consideration. Because, no matter how good the unit is, it will not be any useful if it is not a fit.
The first measurement to look at is the bearing cap diameter. That is diameter of the arms with the cap on.
You also want to look at the length/width of the whole piece and the snap ring diameter.
Before buying, make certain that the size goes with your vehicle make and model.
Note that not all u joints can be greased. For it to be greasable, the unit needs to have a grease zerk fitting.
Some people go an extra mile and check how easy the unit is to grease. The easiest to grease u joint is the one with its grease fitting on the bearing cap.
The units that are not greasable don’t come with a grease fitting. These normally come pre-greased, but they don’t last as long as the greasable kind as they are not serviceable.
This is another crucial factor to take into consideration. You want to make certain that the unit you’re buying will hold up and perform as you expect.
Thus, you want to go for a unit that is made of high-quality materials. A good make would be something like heat-treated high-strength steel or a chrome alloy.
Another aspect you want to look at is the construction of the seals. Good nitrile rubber seals suffice for grease retainability and protection against contaminants.
As we come to the end of the article, it is my hope that my work has been helpful to you. When choosing the best u joint, be sure to look at the measurements. Like I stated earlier, it would be totally useless to have a fantastic joint that doesn’t work.
Luckily, when purchasing the units listed from amazon, there’s a function at the top that allows you to check whether the product is a fit based on your vehicle model and year.