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CV Axle Replacement How To (Pictures)

Fordmania

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Very useful write up as I need to replace the right cv joint.
 


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Fordmania

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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.

View attachment 331927

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
View attachment 331928

The top bolt
View attachment 331929

Removing the bolts
View attachment 331930

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.

View attachment 331931

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.

View attachment 331932

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.

View attachment 331933

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.

View attachment 331934

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

View attachment 331935

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.

You shouldn't need an alignment- the ball joint has a groove in it where the pinch bolt fits through- there is no adjustment there- put it back like it was and all is good. The wheel bearing is a real PITA to remove without removing the CV axle, but it can be done though.
When I replaced both of my front wheel hub and bearing assemblies on my 2000 Ford Explorer Limited Edition I didn't have any problems. Here's how I did it:

1. Remove the CV axle nut
2. Loosen the lug nuts
3. Jacked the vehicle up and placed my jackstand under it
4. Remove the two brake caliper to steering knuckle retaining bolts and slide off the brake caliper and brake rotor
5. Disconnected the electrical ABS connector then removed the small retaining screw in the steering knuckle and the retaining clips from the frame
6. Remove the disc brake splash shield
7. Remove the three wheel hub and bearing assembly to steering knuckle retaining bolts
8. Using a rubber mallet I tapped the wheel hub from side to side several times to get it to break loose from the steering knuckle
9. Once the wheel hub and bearing assembly broke loose from the steering knuckle I simply pulled it off
10. Reassembly is the reverse of the removal steps but you'll have to torque everything to the proper specs.

Altogether to replace both sides it took for about five hours using hand tools.
 




sehaare

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When I replaced both of my front wheel hub and bearing assemblies on my 2000 Ford Explorer Limited Edition I didn't have any problems. Here's how I did it:

1. Remove the CV axle nut
2. Loosen the lug nuts
3. Jacked the vehicle up and placed my jackstand under it
4. Remove the two brake caliper to steering knuckle retaining bolts and slide off the brake caliper and brake rotor
5. Disconnected the electrical ABS connector then removed the small retaining screw in the steering knuckle and the retaining clips from the frame
6. Remove the disc brake splash shield
7. Remove the three wheel hub and bearing assembly to steering knuckle retaining bolts
8. Using a rubber mallet I tapped the wheel hub from side to side several times to get it to break loose from the steering knuckle
9. Once the wheel hub and bearing assembly broke loose from the steering knuckle I simply pulled it off
10. Reassembly is the reverse of the removal steps but you'll have to torque everything to the proper specs.

Altogether to replace both sides it took for about five hours using hand tools.
Those CV axle nuts are one time use only. So if you go this route you should replace the axle nut. Those are getting harder to find and can also be pricey ($25 from ford about 8-10 years ago). You can find thread here discussing reusing them (might even be in this thread) but in the end Ford specifies that they must be replaced with new ones and I think the majority here eventually agreed.
 




CDW6212R

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Those CV axle nuts are one time use only. So if you go this route you should replace the axle nut. Those are getting harder to find and can also be pricey ($25 from ford about 8-10 years ago). You can find thread here discussing reusing them (might even be in this thread) but in the end Ford specifies that they must be replaced with new ones and I think the majority here eventually agreed.

Ideally yes those nuts should be replaced. But more than that concept, there are different levels of quality of those nuts, plus more than one thread pitch. I have installed several different CV axles, and generally the OEM Ford nuts are the best, they have excellent threads and a large integral washer. I've used a couple of axles that the included nut I disliked a lot. I used the supplied axle nuts each time, though as said some of those nuts had rough looking threads and no washer at all, a fairly small contact surface area. I rarely toss any good looking used hardware, so I have hunted old OEM nuts and put them on a couple of my aftermarket axles when I had them off later on.

Bottom line, use really good hardware if possible, avoid using the cheap junk, and especially avoid reusing the lesser items like some nuts.
 




Fordmania

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Those CV axle nuts are one time use only. So if you go this route you should replace the axle nut. Those are getting harder to find and can also be pricey ($25 from ford about 8-10 years ago). You can find thread here discussing reusing them (might even be in this thread) but in the end Ford specifies that they must be replaced with new ones and I think the majority here eventually agreed.
I agree that using new Ford CV axle nuts is the best route to go but they are very difficult to find - even online. The thing about the axle nuts I removed in the process I listed were the CV axle nuts were 31mm not 32mm and after three years of service they're still very tight as I torgued them to 155ft.
 




CDW6212R

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The outside size is also sometimes different by the brand. I have carefully checked the threads when I worked on one with poor axle nuts, to be sure a different nut will work.

FYI, the torque spec is little higher than 155ftlbs. Most hubs are supposed to be well over 200ftlb, my 95 Crown Vic called for 220-240 IIRC. I use a large 1/2" breaker bar most times, I have checked them with a torque wrench and usually hit over 200lbft. That 150lbft level should be enough in general, they just have to be fully very tight. Most people can get them tight enough by lifting up while using a long breaker bar.
 




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