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CV Axle Replacement How To (Pictures)

MountaineerGreen

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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.

frontendwork_002_Medium_.jpg


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
frontendwork_004_Medium_.jpg


The top bolt
frontendwork_005_Medium_.jpg


Removing the bolts
frontendwork_003_Medium_.jpg


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.

frontendwork_006_Medium_.jpg


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.

frontendwork_008_Medium_.jpg


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.

frontendwork_009_Medium_.jpg


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.

frontendwork_010_Medium_.jpg


The difference is because of the CV construction- the drivers side has a short stub axle where as the passenger side does not.

frontendwork_030_Medium_.jpg


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.
 
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Hokie

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If you experience difficulties removing the CV, you can remove the hub assembly for extra room. It takes a 15mm socket as well.

Excellent write up

Only thing that I might add is that removing the hub assembly can sometimes be a PITA to remove from the spindle (its a press fit, but not an interference fit). Creative tapping and SLIGHT prying will work it right out of the spindle.

:hammer: :cool:
 
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trucku

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Awesome....:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


:salute:
 
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IZwack

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Only thing that I might add is that removing the hub assembly can sometimes be a PITA to remove from the spindle (its a press fit, but not an interference fit). Creative tapping and SLIGHT prying will work it right out of the spindle.
I havent touched the IFS in a while so I may have forgotten but if my cloudy memory serves me correctly, the hub assembly pretty much pulls right off after the three 15-mm headed bolts are out. And I dont remember a spindle on the 2nd gen IFS system as the spindle is integrated into the hub assembly.
 
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Hokie

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I havent touched the IFS in a while so I may have forgotten but if my cloudy memory serves me correctly, the hub assembly pretty much pulls right off after the three 15-mm headed bolts are out. And I dont remember a spindle on the 2nd gen IFS system as the spindle is integrated into the hub assembly.

The hub/wheel bearing assembly fits into the spindle. There is a hole bored into the spindle that accepts the hub assembly and allows the CV to pass through to the wheel.

The 3 15mm bolts keep the hub assembly clamped in place, but it is the fit of the hub assembly into the spindle that actually supports the weight of the vehicle.

When I replaced my 3 wheel bearing/hub assemblies (yes 3 because I forgot to put the damn spindle nut back on and ruined one after driving 100 yards) I remember having to lightly tap/pry and walk the hub/wheel bearing assy out of the spindle. Not too difficult, but worth mentioning.
 
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IZwack

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I think you're talking about the knuckle, not the spindle.
 
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becker69

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Thanks Evan :thumbsup: You rock dude. After seeing you do 3 of them, now I can remember (and, er bookmark the process :)) the steps. Now I gotta research how long I have till I need to do my ball joints and pass. side tie-rod.
 
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rookieshooter

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Thanks just in time. While I'm doing the CV axel going to replace the worn out upper control arm.
 
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gijoecam

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Indeed, excellent write-up!!

The only thing I would suggest would be to point out that the bolts you remove to remove the caliper hold the caliper anchor plate to the knuckle. Someone may read 'caliper bolts' and remove the slide pins that hold the caliper to the anchor plate. It's just a little thing, but could help prevent some confusion.

Also, as a rule of thumb, to set the torque on the spindle nut without a torque wrench, find a 1-ft breaker bar or ratchet, and an appropriately-weighted person to stand on the end of it. For example, a 195-lb me can torque the spindle nut to 195 ft*lbs by standing on the end of a 12" ratchet. It's not perfectly accurate, but works in a pinch. :)

Good job!!
 
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rookieshooter

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Indeed, excellent write-up!!

The only thing I would suggest would be to point out that the bolts you remove to remove the caliper hold the caliper anchor plate to the knuckle. Someone may read 'caliper bolts' and remove the slide pins that hold the caliper to the anchor plate. It's just a little thing, but could help prevent some confusion.

Also, as a rule of thumb, to set the torque on the spindle nut without a torque wrench, find a 1-ft breaker bar or ratchet, and an appropriately-weighted person to stand on the end of it. For example, a 195-lb me can torque the spindle nut to 195 ft*lbs by standing on the end of a 12" ratchet. It's not perfectly accurate, but works in a pinch. :)

Good job!!

That was an excellent example of "foot pounds". Never gave that a thought. So when the one foot long whatever stops turning that is the pounds apllied by the weight of the person standing on it. I guess you would try your best to stand on the very end. I would assume that if you were 200 pounds and you needed 100 pounds of torque. That you would stand exactly in the middle of the 12" tool.:confused: I might be wrong on this one.
 
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gijoecam

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Indeed, it's a force (lbs) times a length (in feet). If you need 200 ft*lbs of torque, you can apply 200 lbs at a 1ft radius, or 100 lbs at a 2 foot radius, os 5 lbs at a 4 foot radius, etc. The product of the lever arm length and the force needs to be what you're looking for.

-Joe
 
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Flash

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Thanks for that, this is a job I've been putting off for a while and seeing the pics will help.
Does anyone know if you can drive around with the CVs out of the vehicle?
Does the front diff leak oil or anything?

My CVs make a knocking noise when taking off quickly and when reversing, typical stuff.
When I checked them for play, the only movement was longditudinal, not radial. Is that the normal way that they wear?
 
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MountaineerGreen

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Does anyone know if you can drive around with the CVs out of the vehicle?
Does the front diff leak oil or anything?

You cannot drive without CV axles. The wheel bearing will fall apart and you wheel could fall off. In addition, the diff will leak gear oil.

You can cut the middle of the shaft out and run both ends- one in the diff and the other in the hub/ bearing assembly.

Moab_Day_3_135_Medium_.jpg
 
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Flash

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You cannot drive without CV axles. The wheel bearing will fall apart and you wheel could fall off. In addition, the diff will leak gear oil.

You can cut the middle of the shaft out and run both ends- one in the diff and the other in the hub/ bearing assembly.

Moab_Day_3_135_Medium_.jpg

Thanks. Lots more room in there without the shafts, eh?
 
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X-North

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Somebody should post a thread like that with all pictures but with front CV axle for Explorer 4X4 from 1991 to 1994. I have a lot of difficulty to figure how to unbolt the spindle to retrieve the complete axle...because i have 2 universal joints on the right front axle and i need to change them both.
Thank you
 
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IZwack

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Doesnt the spindle just unbolt off? Not sure how many bolts hold it on (maybe 5 or 6) but typically it is just bolted to the knuckle I thought.
 
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X-North

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you must remove the front driveshaft and put it down with the jakc ,unbolt the tie rod end and after that remove the spring assembly etc

Doesnt the spindle just unbolt off? Not sure how many bolts hold it on (maybe 5 or 6) but typically it is just bolted to the knuckle I thought.
 
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