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Hey guys. So all 4 u-joints and carrier bearing are blown on my 2000 Crew Cab 4x4 and after reading a couple write ups I decided to tackle it. The rust (im from the dreaded rust belt) made it a real PITA but after 3 hours and a grinder (!!!) I got em out. Mind you this is a real driveway job- no vice, no press, not even a table to work on, just a BFH and not enough patience. Anyways, long story short during all the hammering I bent what I'll call a flange where the shaft splines into the transmission. Oops.

1. What do you call this thing?
2. How critical is it, IE can I drive without it? I'm guessing it blocks road crud from getting to those splines.
3. Also assuming it spins with the shaft given there is no bearing. If it's bent the centrifugal force is going to throw off the shaft balance, correct?
4. Can I just BFH this back to the approximate shape and call it a day, or should I scour the net for a new one?

I'll link the pic from RedKing4x4's write up (awesome write up, even though I failed miserably). Mine looks slightly different but you get the idea.
 

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