One of the things you should check when inspecting your car's driveshaft and transmission is the condition of the flex joint ? also called the flex disc, universal joint, and guibo. If you start to see small cracks and gaps forming on the rubber material, that's a sign that the part needs replacing.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Socket set
- Wrench set
- Replacement driveshaft flex joint
Step 1: Park your car on a level surface. Engage the parking brake and put the car in gear. Raise it with a floor jack and secure it properly with jack stands.
Step 2: Lower the exhaust system first to access the driveshaft. You can start either from the headers, or the catalytic converter up to the tailpipe. Take out all screws, bolts, brackets, and other parts holding it in place. Remove the oxygen sensor if your car has one. Before you remove the last mount, support the exhaust pipes so that it doesn't suddenly fall.
Step 3: Take off the heat shield that on the underside of the car. This is a fairly simple step requiring you to remove only a few screws or clips.
Step 4: By this time, the driveshaft should be in view. Between the driveshaft and the transmission is the busted flex joint. Use some paint to make an alignment mark on the transmission flange and the driveshaft to aid you during reinstallation.
Step 5: Remove the six bolts holding the flex joint in place. To properly remove and access all bolts, it will be necessary to turn the driveshaft. Do this by putting the car on neutral and manually turning the driveshaft by hand. Once you can access the other bolts, reengage the transmission to hold the assembly in place.
Step 6: Slightly disconnect the driveshaft to create clearance for the old flex joint to slip out. Do this by removing the brace supporting the driveshaft on the rear of the car. To prevent it from sudden drops, support it with a jack stand.
Step 7: Grab the replacement flex joint and reinstall. Start first by securing the three bolts on the driveshaft. Lift the assembly to the transmission to reconnect the last three. Make sure that you refer to the alignment marks you made in step 4 when reconnecting the assembly.
Step 8: Finish the repair by returning everything removed. Return the driveshaft brackets, heat shield, and exhaust system. Lower the car.
- Do not touch a hot exhaust system on an engine recently turned off. This will cause burns and other injuries.
- Ask an assistant to help you in supporting the exhaust and driveshaft during removal.