Replacing CV Axles You can replace your own CV axles. It takes a few things the average person may not have in their tool box, but nothing that can’t be bought for a few dollars. It will be far less than the labor charges for the job, and you’ll have the tools for future projects. Other than a regular socket set, pliers and a hammer, you’ll need a 32mm ½” drive socket, a 15mm ½” drive socket, a ½” breaker bar. An adjustable wrench or pliers would be helpful too. To begin, set the parking brake with the truck on a flat, level surface. Remove the center cap. Using the 32mm socket and breaker bar, remove the CV axle nut. It should be very tight. In the above picture, I had to remove my wheel and tire to access the nut. If you find you need to do the same, have a helper hold the brakes. Remove the wheel and tire, support the truck on jackstands. Never work under a truck supported by a jack only! Remove the brake caliper. It is held on by two bolts, it requires a 15mm socket and possibly a breaker bar. The bolts are shown below- The bottom bolt The top bolt Removing the bolts If the bolts have never been off before, they will be difficult to remove, they have locktite installed at the factory. Slip off and hang the caliper by a piece of wire, never let it hang by the hose! Remove the rotor as well. Now, remove the pinch bolt on the upper ball joint. It takes two 15mm wrenches. You may need to drive the bolt out with a punch or screwdriver, the punch being recommended. A large hammer with a few whacks upward on the upper control arm should break it free. If not, some penetrating oil helps. The upper ball joint comes out and the knuckle should swing outward at this point. The last thing holding the knuckle is the tie rod end. Remove the cotter pin and castle nut from the ball joint. The nut is 21mm, but a crescent wrench or pliers can work. After you remove the nut, a swift whack upwards should break it free. Please ignore the crappy boot on my tie rod end. EDIT: Do not hit the end of the TRE stud if you intend to re-use the TRE!! Put the castle nut on backwards (so the "castle" part is up on the threads, not at the bottom) or hit the part of the TRE next to the knuckle, not the stud. With that removed, you may find the ABS wire limits outward travel, do not strain or stretch that wire, unclip it from the frame to allow more room. Now, your knuckle should swing outward to full extension of the lower ball joint. Depending on which side you are working on, there are two different methods: Passenger side- Pop the CV loose from the axle, pivot it upwards, then push the other end through the hub. Drivers side- Push the CV axle through the hub, bend the CV to allow you to clear the hub, then pop the other end free from the differential. The difference is because of the CV construction- the drivers side has a short stub axle where as the passenger side does not. Replace the CV axle in the same manner as you removed the old one, they just pop into place in the differential. With the CV in place, put the tie rod back on, tighten it and replace the cotter pin. Push the knuckle back to the upper ball joint. It may be necessary to jack the lower control arm up to get it back together. Put the bolt back through and install the nut. Replace the ABS line clips, if you had to remove any. Put the rotor back on the hub, then the caliper. If you can’t get the caliper back on, remove the reservoir cap under the hood, and press the piston back in, or bleed some of the brake fluid off. If the brakes haven’t been touched, it should slip back over the rotor. Start the caliper bolts back in, and then tighten them fully. They should be very tight; a breaker bar should be used to tighten them. Some blue locktite wouldn’t hurt anything. Start the CV axle nut, put the wheel back on the hub, and run the lug nuts up as tight as possible with the wheel off the ground. Set the truck back on the ground, tighten the lug nuts. Tighten the axle nut- it should be 175 ft lbs of torque at a minimum. I do not have a torque wrench that goes that high, so I tightened it as tight as possible with a big breaker bar. Replace the center cap. Some may notice that the truck in the pictures is not stock, but this method works on a stock Explorer or Mountaineer, I pulled CV axles using this exact method from an intact Explorer in a salvage yard. If you experience difficulties removing the CV, you can remove the hub assembly for extra room. It takes a 15mm socket as well.