View Full Version : Ham's '48; Ball and Trunnion (Detroit) U-Joints

07-29-2018, 08:35 PM
There are times when I feel like I am the last dinosaur or that I am the last survivor.

Well; not me, but the ’48 2WD truck. There were never many of them and there are very few left. To top it off, my particular 2WD has the “heavy-duty” Timken clamshell rear end. Between the Timken rear-end and the output flange of the transmission (three-on-the tree, another oddity) is a two-piece driveshaft with a carrier bearing.

This driveshaft has three, count them – three, Detroit U-joints. Not Spicer, not Cleveland – Detroit. They are also known as ball-and-trunnion u-joints. I did find a picture that shows the general layout, but it isn’t a match for what’s on the ’48. Each is covered with a flexible boot, like the one on page 137, item 20 of the 2018 catalog.

When I try to find out about these u-joints, the first reply is generally “Oh, you mean Cleveland – not Detroit”. That tells me not to carry on the discussion any further with this person. On occasion I will get to the next answer “Oh, they only used those on Jeepsters, not the trucks”. Well, on the 2WD trucks with that two piece driveshaft, they used three ….. .

My question to the assembled group of experts here is “Where do I find Detroit u-joint parts and pieces?” I don’t need any just now, but waiting until you need them and starting to look isn’t the best approach.

The next question is “What boot really fits over the truck Detroit u-joints?” I have used the 116035 boots (purchased from at least two places) and none of them have lasted more than a summer’s driving. They are described as used in the 46 – 55 Jeepsters and even Mike – who can find out just about anything – doesn’t know if these were used on the 2WD trucks. I do not know if I am using the wrong boot, or if these boots are really old stock that just break and crack from old age.

I may get some heavy rubber roof material and make me a Bubba u-joint cover to keep crud out of those joints.

Any Detroit U-joint authorities with answers?

Late Addition: Here is a picture of that U-joint with the boot. Note that the boot seems to be stretched out pretty good - that's why I wonder if the trucks used a different boot.