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CV Axle Replacement How To (Pictures)

grandfunk

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Noticed my front drivers side CV boot had a small puncture a month ago (2000 XLT) and just took out a CV axle assembly out of a 95 XLT at the Pick N Pull for $40. Cleaned it up and it seems in good condition. My question is, should I just pay for a refurbished one or should the used one be ok - is there any reason any other part of a CV axle assmebly would fail from an almost 20 year old Explorer?
 


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Thallarsen

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My question is, should I just pay for a refurbished one or should the used one be ok - is there any reason any other part of a CV axle assmebly would fail from an almost 20 year old Explorer?
It depends on three things:
  1. How long to you plan to keep the truck?
  2. How valuable is your time?
  3. How $trapped are you?
The cheapest of the cheap refurbed CV's are probably going to last longer than a 20 year old original, regardless of condition or mileage. The boot might look good on an original CV, but it's lost most of its flex and a split is right around the corner. No telling the condition of the lube inside and/or the splines.
So it's a matter of cost vs the value of your labor and how long you intend to rely on the CV axle.
Personally, I'd never consider a used wear item like a CV, mostly due to the labor involved in replacing it, particularly b/c a budget reman. is only $15 more than what you spent at the Pick n Pull.
Since you're asking the question, I assume that you're not totally strapped financially, so I'd go for a reman. unit.
The things you need to be aware of with budget CV's is that the Chinese rubber that they use for the boots simply don't last as long as the oem. You can speculate on the quality of the steel from that point on.
One last thing to consider:
If your CV boot has just developed a split, it's time to prepare for accelerated CV wear. But is your CV joint bad at this point? Does it crunch or chunk when you're turning in a tight radius and/or backing up? If not, why not get as many miles out of the original as you can? It won't hurt anything until the splines are totally spent.
 








koda2000

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When it starts making clicking noises on turns. This is usually preceded by a torn CV boot.
 




intelisevil

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I'll be replacing my axle seals soon so this thread will be a reminder on how to remove the CV axles. My question is slightly off subject but might be a good addition if the answer is correct . . .

When I have my axles out do I have access to the pool of gear oil in the pumpkin? Can I just shove a hose in there and pump out the gear oil instead of removing the differential cover? I know I won't get all of it out but my cover isn't currently leaking and I'd like to keep it that way!

Thanks in Advance,
 




gijoecam

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Negative... well, not easily, anyways. The hose would have to be fished down the axle tube, then turn 90 degrees and go down through the carrier. The odds of making the bend are slim, but possible. It would be much easier to go in through the fill hole if that's what you wanted to do.
 




CDW6212R

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I pumped most of mine out easily by going through the drain hole. I've only done it twice, once by removing the diff/pan, and then the last time with a pump. I'd suggest using the pump any time except if there's something wrong with the diff/fluid.
 




Turdle

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With the cv axles out, and front drive shaft removed, you can loosen all front diff mounting bolts, then remove the 2 driver side mount bolts. Let the loosened passenger side bolt hold up one end while you lower the driver side into a drain pan. This will get most of the fluid out.
 




gtilford

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Thanks for the great write up I used it today and changed out my passenger side cv axle, first time doing anything like this to my trac and it was not bad at all had a bit of an issue with the castle nut because the ball joint wanted to spin but got that figured out and all back together no more shake or clunking.
 




Flyer2ace

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Great write up! I'll be doing this job soon, so it'll definitely come in handy! One question though, do you have to loosen the torsion bar up or is it okay to leave it as is?
 




koda2000

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Great write up! I'll be doing this job soon, so it'll definitely come in handy! One question though, do you have to loosen the torsion bar up or is it okay to leave it as is?

No, you do not need to touch the torsion bar.
 




Flyer2ace

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Okay awesome, thank you! So has anyone had there CV axles go bad and not experience any clicking or clunking? I have a front end vibration that basically starts as soon as you start moving and gets worse the faster you go. Everything in the front has been replace expect for front driveshaft and CV axles. Vibration is felt in the steering wheel, gas pedal and seats. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 




Abbondanza

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I just got a CV from Carquest, and had the following problem with it:

It refused to go into the Differential.

So, after getting extremely angry and demonsstrating my extensive 4-letter vocabulary, I pulled it out and compared it to the other. (I replaced this one about a month ago, but managed to tear the boot while doing some other repairs (Ball Joint).) it went in painlessly before. Well, turns out the little C-clip thingy on there was a different size, just big enough to keep it from going in. I swapped it with the one from the other axle, and the thing popped in like it's supposed to.

Just thought I'd mention that in case anyone was having that same problem, and so you know to look out for it.
I know this is almost 10 years ago but thanks man by putting this up, you saved my butt I would have never figured that out and the thing wasn't going in for me and I was freaking out thanks!
 




damarble

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Thanks for the write up. I was assuming there was a C clip in the diff and was not looking forward to that.
 




dzdozen

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Great write up, just replaced mine today and went exactly as you stated. I did replace my sway bar links while doing the job mainly because it was easier for me to get the CV Half Shaft out with them removed....thanks again.
 




DVG

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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.
 




DVG

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Evan - Great post, even 10 yrs later! One thing maybe to add, which I believe someone else mentions in one of the replies.... Check that the c-clip that comes with the new axle fits snuggly in the groove on the end of the shaft, otherwise the shaft will not go back into the differential. Wasted much time and many expletives!!
 




DVG

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I just got a CV from Carquest, and had the following problem with it:

It refused to go into the Differential.

So, after getting extremely angry and demonsstrating my extensive 4-letter vocabulary, I pulled it out and compared it to the other. (I replaced this one about a month ago, but managed to tear the boot while doing some other repairs (Ball Joint).) it went in painlessly before. Well, turns out the little C-clip thingy on there was a different size, just big enough to keep it from going in. I swapped it with the one from the other axle, and the thing popped in like it's supposed to.

Just thought I'd mention that in case anyone was having that same problem, and so you know to look out for it.

Thank-you!! AAARGH!!
 




fast_dave

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When installing a new outer oil seal in the diff casing, why not take the new seal and apply a bead of RTV over the inner spring, making sure to cover the spring to join it to the rubber of the seal, and let it dry overnight. That'd keep the inner spring from popping of into the diff case upon installing your CV's. Seems to me it'd work.

Just a thought...


GB :)

Honestly, I see either method working. Myself, I'd try the RTV first. Grease or vaseline would just make the seal more slippery, allowing the spring to work itself off during installation even easier. It wouldn't be re-engineering the seal, as it would still be able to do it's job as intended. The spring would still contract as it was designed to do. The RTV wouldn't keep it from contracting onto the axle shaft one bit. I'm not saying anyone should fill the entire backside of the seal full of RTV. Just stick the spring to the seal to keep it from rolling out of its groove.

I've used similar techniques on motorcycles for over 15 years. Especially output shaft and kickstart seals. Never a problem and never a leak.


Just sayin... ;)



GB :)

I like it - outside the box thinking to solve an age old problem!
 


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Oranguice

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Awesome write up on this Evan, I can't say Thanks Enough!!!

I've studied this procedure for over a year now, and this past weekend dove head long into rebuilding both sides, new Upper Control Arms, Lower Ball joints, outer tie rod ends, new Hubs...... All after 300K miles on my '96 XLT. I'm just about through with the Right, (drivers) side, and I've notice a lot of oil debris from around the Right side Drive Axle, right at the Front Differential. As I've got this all tore down presently, and before reassembly, seems only right to look into replacing that seal, and I'm hoping I have the correct seal. As is mentioned in the many helpful comments to this post, I have replaced the "Outer Shaft Seaal", which is really a dirt shield for the new Hub Bearings. Pulling this shaft out seems like a breeze at this point, it's just that I'm in a position to not being able to head out anywhere to pick up more parts. My '98 Jeep Crand Cherokee is in dire need of a new Torque Converter, (my Next Driveway major Adventure). Anyway, before heading back out this afternoon, I'll research this some more. Photos attached. Many Thanks though all you fellow Explorers!!!!!

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