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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone care to lend their opinion on this topic? Mine are shot, so I'm gonna be tearing into them real soon. My rig is a 79. I've read on some other rig forums that welding the cap to the yolk can help:

"Welding in the caps can save the shafts for future use. If a u-joint fails and the caps are welded in, the caps are less likely to pop out and hit the ball joint. Once the caps hit the ball joint, normally the yokes from both shafts will stretch making both shafts useless. With Dana 44 axle shafts, I normally see about twenty u-joint failures for ever one axle shaft failure, so the u-joints are really the weak link. It doesn't matter if you are running junk yard shafts or high dollar after-market shafts, the u-joints are almost always the part that fails. If the upper ball joint is hit with a cap that has walked out, the whole knuckle can pop off, which is real unpleasant. If the knuckle comes off, both shafts are normally ruined and the tie rod breaks." By Terri L. Howe

For more on the topic: http://www.4x4wire.com/jeep/tech/axle/caps01/

KJ
 

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the reason the caps work thier way out is the c clips come out. then the cap walks out. then you have a u-joint failure.

I just tack welded in my clips and never had a issue like that.

oh and if you do tack weld the caps in you can't get a hot enough tack weld to hold without melting out all the grease.
 

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I had this exact problem, The joints I got have a grease zerk so I tack welded the cap, and after it cooled greased the joint. Never had a problem after that.
 

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i usually put a dot on each of the caps...plus it is a good indicator, you can see if the weld breaks (if you are lucky enough to catch it) its time for service
 

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1996 Bronco 5.0/E4OD/BW1356
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Even better - grind the shafts for full circle snap rings.
 

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Why not simply modify the flanges to accept full circle clips? This is what most guys that are running ball joint axles do right?

In many cases, the tack weld method is used when the hole is no longer perfectly round. This allows the u-joint cap to rotate and ultimately spits out.
Well, this is a problem regardless, and even if the cap is welded, pressure on the cap is no longer uniform. The cap is no longer under the same tension all the way around the cap, and this loose fit results in a busted cap, and eventual failure of the axle itself. The ear busts off, and usually takes out the hub or at least the lockout.
If the cap does not fit properly, it is probably time to look into new shafts anyway. Welding this cap might be a reasonable fix on the trail, or a decent idea for a trail spare set of stubs, but the end all, or initial design for trail readiness,,,,,,,, maybe not so much.

Full circle clips are not difficult to install, and can be done at home.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm not familiar with the process to add circle clips. Do you build up the ears? Looks to me like the stock ears have the caps close to flush. I'll search on the topic and see what I can find rather than asking for more detail here.

Thanks again,

KJ
 
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