1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Hollywooonj [OP] » April 11th 2013, 9:42pm

1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts… MADNESS!!!!!~ What is the deal with the crummy 8mm bolts? Are they 8 mm? Cant find that answer anywhere, No help in the shop service manual. Every where you go they assume you get the bolts out and dont even mention them. Everyone says…"Remove the 4 bolts with a socket or wrench"( most good sockets do not fit in there). nothing fits but a small open end wrench that slips. Really do I really need to be told to remove the bolts, WOW ,, How about what tool before I crawl under the truck. Broke a small 5/16 wrench and now the 1/4 drive 8mm socket slips too. They dont look decayed. :confused:
searched for EVER for answers Never thought these would be so much trouble, We use to change them on the road when I was a kid on my friends off roadchevy truck,, 10 minutes with a 3/8 wrench ( i think) to remove bolts and large sockets and hammer to press new u joint, back on the trail in 15 minutes. Never thought I would be hung up from these damn bolts,, damn metric! No room to get a good strong socket or wrench in there . Do i need to spend $20 to get a impact socket from grainger that still may not fit in there THIS IS INSANE,
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby chevymaherchevymaher is online! » April 11th 2013, 9:48pm

They are tiny and I use a box end wrench on mine.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby sfeaver » April 11th 2013, 10:11pm

They are 5/16. Try a six-point socket, will grab better than 12-point if that is what you used.

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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Corsemoto » April 11th 2013, 10:38pm

Yeah, they are 5/16 though I've always used an 8mm box end wrench without an issue.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby 97cargocrawler » April 12th 2013, 12:01am

Yeah I was surprised to find they were Standard. I suppose it has something to do with the axle using Standard hardware as well. I found the 8mm was a bit loose and started to round the head of the bolts. A small box end wrench works unless you're anal (like me) and want to actually torque those bolts to spec instead of snapping them off. I ultimately used a 1/4" drive extension shaft with 5/16" socket and a drive adapter to my torque wrench. That works but you have to rotate the drive shaft in order to get to each bolt. Those bolts are as crappy as the strap they secure so I'd be very careful not to over tighten them.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Corsemoto » April 12th 2013, 12:25am

Must be used to working on motorcycles with smaller fasteners/hardware often so not worried about damaging hardware. 8mm box end isn't loose for that hardware on my van, I just give them a little sharp crack to break loose and they come off easy. Lucky for me it's relatively rust/corrosion free I guess.

Cargo, you're right it's all standard on the rear axle though on later models rear discs, hubs and backing plate mounts are metric. Way to mix it up.
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1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby thegreenmachine » April 12th 2013, 2:27am

I found 10mm on the rear axel and 11mm on the front axle. Must be because mines an 03
"that looks legit"

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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Corsemoto » April 12th 2013, 2:46am

Yeah, you're right now that I think about it, they are 10mm on my '04, still used a box end. Parts breakdown still lists 'em as 5/16 tho...
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby 97cargocrawler » April 12th 2013, 9:38am

Corsemoto wrote:Cargo, you're right it's all standard on the rear axle though on later models rear discs, hubs and backing plate mounts are metric. Way to mix it up.


I was referring more to the U-Joint specs, pinion nut and diff cover hardware. Drives me nuts when they mix that crap up!

Mine were definitely 5/16". Tiny little *******.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Hollywooonj [OP] » April 13th 2013, 5:48pm

Thanks everyone. a friend with the same problem on a JEEP suggested grinding down outer edge of socket so it will seat. Or we could give up since we are replacing whole rear end and we can remove drive shaft by sliding back the rear and then work on u joint on the bench. I got all the other nuts broke loose( shocks, axle, brake, etc) and never thought these would be the headache part of the task.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby RECox286 » April 13th 2013, 6:47pm

Have you tried lifting the body of the truck, thus allowing the axle to fall, increasing the angle of the D/S ? That is what I do when

removing the strap bolts. It also helps to put the tranny in neutral, and rotate the shaft so the socket is on the bottom most bolt.

Then lock the shaft in park so you can "break" the bolt. Always use a good 6 point wrench or a six point deep socket with an extension

and a long handled ratchet for good leverage. After a while, it is a no brainer.

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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby HotWire » February 3rd 2016, 2:11pm

Bringing back a dead thread to vent. This was my evening while trying to determine my axle spline count. I have a friend selling a new in box PowerTrax No-slip. With AWD I can't put tranny in neutral and turn drive shaft.

What a pain!
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby gastropod » February 11th 2016, 8:47pm

Just yesterday I removed these bolts and caps from my 2003 Safari RWD. The heads were "loose" 11mm or whatever a close SAE equivalent would be. Threads are not metric. They look like they might be 8x1, but when I tried to thread an 8x1 nut on them, it only went on a few threads before locking up.
Just checked my '04 rwd, it's the same.

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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby RECox286 » February 11th 2016, 10:34pm

Fer What it's worth dept:

Looking at the pic ^^^ I can make out the code on the top of the bolt heads for an

SAE grade 8 fastener. If it were metric, it would give a numerical code on the

head rather than the hacks. It is therefore an SAE bolt with a head dimension of 5/16"

measured across the flats and you should be using a 5/16" sized wrench even though an

adjustable metric wrench will "kind of fit ." However, as long as you don't draw blood or

crack yer knuckles....Never mind !

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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby sfeaver » February 11th 2016, 11:31pm

The "older" vans had a 5/16" head, and some year in the 2000s it became 7/16". Those in the picture look like the 7/16" ones, not metric.
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Re: 1997 Safari Rear U joint bolts

Postby Leeann_93 » February 17th 2016, 1:20am

Yep, pretty sure mine were 7/16".
'05 Astro AWD vin X
'02 Astro LS AWD vin X
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'99 Safari XLE AWD - broke
'93 AWD EXT vin W - real broke
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