So after listening to the clicking on the wifes 05 for a week I tackled the Front U-joints this morning. Wasn't sure which one was bad so I got 2 of them. NAPA, Autozone, Shucks, etc.... all had no listings for the Xterra, stealership wanted $90 a U-joint. (YES I REALLY JUST WROTE $90, NO MISTAKE THERE). So I went to NAPA and tried the ones for an 05 Pathfinder assuming the drivetrains where similar. For 13.99 after 10% military discount its the best decision i could have made. So here is how it went
P.S. this fixed problems three at once
1. Clicking on driveshaft
2. Vibration between 40-70 MPH
3. Difficult to kick out of 4WD see 4WD issues
There are U-Joint Instructions on 2 other threads but no pics, so I tried to help out. Let me know what you think.
Step 1. Locate front drive shaft and put some marks on the flange
yoke and companion flange (Chalk, Grease pen, I used silver sharpy.) This helps to line things up during install.
Step 2. Remove 4 Ea nuts/ bolts hold front and rear Flange yokes to the Companion Flanges ( 2 9/16 wrenches, couldn't get the sockets to fit. Not easy though, you might have to put your purse down. I did) Then lay the driveshaft out so you can work on it.
Step 3. Mark up front and rear so you don't make a mistake putting it back in.
Step 4 Remove the Snap Rings holding the journal bearings in.
Step 5 . Using whatever method suits you remove the old U-joints journal bearings. I use the U-Joint press from Harbor Freight. (Yes i know its Chinese and junk! But the military doesn't pay well and I am poor so $19.99 is a STEAL!!!) It makes it really easy to push out the journals.
Note: This is where I found my problem, rear joint had rusted needle bearings and had pretty much exploded.
Its like pick-up sticks
New vs Old. Spicer 529 and precision 369 (yes made in the USA)
Step 6 Remove the Journal bearings from the new U-joint and hand press them in from the side, insert the new joint in between and press together until the snap rings can fit in the groves. (Watch that the needle bearings don't fall out of place during this operation!)
Step 7 After pressing in both u-joints secure them with the supplied snap rings.
Step 8 Line up the previous marks keep the driveshaft front to back and finger tighten bolts.
Step 9 Tighten down the bolts. The service manual said 59.8 NM so i had to use a crowsfoot to get to them.
Step 10 Drive it like you stole it. Or in my case give it back to my wife.