This isn't that difficult if you have any familiarity with how U joints are installed. I pulled my left rear halfshaft as I had one ujoint completely out when I bought the car. It made noise when driving, but I didn't really know how bad it was until after I got the car home and jacked up the back. The rear wheel moved. A LOT. I ordered the ujoints as it was painfully obvious that the outboard one was completely out.
(there is a pdf on the forum somewhere from JTIS showing this, it is quite good)
Remove wheel, rotor and brake caliper assembly and hang the caliper off to the side. Remove the axle nut. There is a lower pivot bolt on the bottom of the hub, it is a cammed bolt, so mark the head in place, so you can reinstall it the same way.
You might need a wheel puller to push the splined shaft out of the hub, but I just used a 3# hammer and a block of wood to cushion a little. Came right out. Pull out the pivot bolt.
There are 4 bolts that attach the inboard side of the shaft to the differential. These took me awhile to get loose, since there seems to be only one place you can get a socket in to turn them. I lowered the opposite wheel so the differential wouldn't turn while I was cranking on it. For some reason, my 98 VDP seems to have locktite on every bolt, so these took a little more time.
You will now have the driveshaft out and you can change the ujoints just like any other ujoint, they are no different at all.
The previous owner of my VDP had ignored this problem so long, that the bearing in mine was well beyond hope. In fact, I pressed the first part of the ujoint out and the ujoint was actually so worn that it had worn thru the bearing cap and starting to wear in the yoke itself. After pressing the first part out, I realized there was too much damage to fix, so I started to look for a replacement.
I found a replacement using Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market
to find an entire rear halfshaft, shipped to my house, for $30. I didn't know the condition of the ujoints, but I figured I had the joints, so as long as the yokes were good, I could replace the joint.
Turns out both ujoints were tight and had no wear, so I installed the shaft without having to press the new bearings in.
There is no reason this is a 7 hour job. There is absolutely no reason to drop the whole rear end. I replaced the wheel bearings at the same time and most of my time on this was getting the wheel bearing races out. Disassembly and reassembly, not including working on the ujoint itself or the wheel bearing, it probably took me a 2-3 hours tops. Reassembly went MUCH faster.
If you don't feel comfortable with getting the ujoint out, pull the halfshaft and bring it into either a machine shop or driveline specific shop and they should be able to get you going in well less than an hour.
Incidently, if you need a couple ujoints (part # JLM001388) , I happen to have a couple extra around . . .
Originally Posted by Impulse_buy
Has anyone ever done, witnessed or know where I can find a DIY to replace the rear half shaft u joints on a 1998 XJ8? I'm told they are sloppy and its making it impossible to align the car. I can believe this, but I am reluctant to spend the grand that the garage wants to change them. I am willing to try this myself, but I would like to have some idea about what I am in for and if I need any special tools. (stupid question I know. Of course I need special tools. Should have had a special hammer to hit myself in the head with before I bought this thing) I'm guessing it isn't easy since the garage says 7 hours labor and they are making noises that sound like "have to remove the entire rear end as a unit...", etc.
Any and all help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.