Wednesday, August 6, 2014

You can move the world with a 5 pound hammer!

My RV needed a new U-joint.
I have a 5# hammer, I know how to do it but no place to work.

On the way to Iowa from Texas this spring we had to get a tow, the tow driver pulled the rear shaft & lost a single needle bearing.
The RV made it here fine but it was not 'right' & I put it on the list to fix it before we moved again.
We're getting near moving time again!

I went to the truck stop across the street the other night and asked them if I brought them the shaft of they could swap the U-joint, they said "no problem".

An RV U-joint? Can't help you

I pulled the shaft yesterday & took it over the first thing this morning tied to my bike with bungee cords.
Different people at the service desk, their first question is "who do you drive for?", the second question is "what kind of truck"?
Myself and a Chevy P-30 were not the right answers, mentioning "RV" was even worse.
They referred me to an RV repair place in the next town.

My next stop was at "Car RX" maybe a mile away.
They said they could do it but wanted me to already have the U-joint, that was not a problem.
A side note, some shops like to use their parts others don't mind using the customers, I was waiting to see what the shop wanted to do.
Back I come with the new U-joint, the lady at the desk tells me it will be $129.00 in labor...
What I say?
Yep, the guy behind the counter say he talked to his mechanic & it's going to take a least an hour.
Now I'm standing there with the drive shaft in my hand, the U-joint in front of me, it's not like they have to pull it. It's two bearing caps with external snap rings, it doesn't get any easier....
"No thanks" says I.
I've done a few U-joints in the 5 years at the front end shop & that was more than outrageous, maybe they just didn't want to do it?

They wanted $129 for 20 minutes work

Alright. I have a 5# hammer, pliers, screw driver & a deep socket to use as drift to get the cap out. All I need is a way to support the shaft while I do it.
I'm on my way to Menards (on my bike with my bungee cords) to buy an 8' 2x4 to make a support and I stopped at the RV office to drop off some mail. I'm talking to the guys there about the $129 labor for a U-joint & what I'm up to. They point me to someone who has a vice mounted on a work bench and is willing to let me use it.

It took less than 20 minutes to change the U-joint.

With a 5# hammer you can move anything, even a u-joint

With a 5# hammer I have 'pressed' ball joints, U-joints, fixed dented steel wheels and moved more things than I can remember. You can move things with a 5 pound hammer!
I might have exaggerated a little about moving the world with a 5# hammer... I'd need a 6' steel bar too    :-)


  1. I was just thinking yesterday it's nice to be able to do as much auto repair or maintenance as I can to cut down costs. I'm not a mechanic nor any past jobs doing repair of any kind but it seems when I need to do it for my house or autos I find a way to fix it for just the cost of the parts.

    I wish more bloggers would write about the times they have problems on the road because it gives us RV dreamers a more accurate picture of living on the road. Thanks for that story.

    1. I learned by doing & all machines break... We all deal with it the best we can.

  2. If you can't fix it with a five pound hammer and a six foot pry bar, it just don't need fix'n.

    1. Now THAT'S the attitude to have!

  3. You are lucky that you know how to fix it. Me being a woman they see me coming a mile away. I would of had to fork over the $129.00...:-(

    1. My wife was in eastern Oregon (heading to Washington) & had a break down last week, I wasn't there & fixing mechanical things is not her 'thing'.
      Coach-net found a shop & got her towed to it. A couple of days & a thousand dollars later she was on her way again... :-(