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How to Remove Axle in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Your base model Vehicles came with a front wheel drive configuration that uses a constant velocity or CV axle shaft to transfer power from the transmission to the wheel hub. The constant velocity joint Vehicles each end of the axle shaft allows the axle to change its orientation as the suspension reacts to road conditions, which over time will cause the joint's of the shaft to wear and need replacing. Replacing the axle shaft is an in-depth procedure, but is well within the ability of home mechanic.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove an Axle in a 1997 Acura TL

Remove the center cap on the two front wheels by hand. Remove the staked pocket (this looks like a dent in a circular metal panel) on the center axle nut with a chisel and hammer to allow you to remove the nut. Lift the front of the Acura with a jack and support it on jack stands. Take off the lug nuts from the wheels with a tire iron then pull off the wheels.

Place a drain pan underneath the transmission pan between the axles. Remove the drain pan bolt on the transmission pan with a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Unbolt the strut from the strut fork with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket then remove the strut fork from the suspension with the 3/8-inch ratchet, socket and an open-end wrench. Unbolt the tie rod end from the knuckle with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket then do the same on the lower control arm. Separate the tie rod from the knuckle and the lower control arm from the knuckle with a ball joint removal tool.

Tap the center of the axle with a plastic mallet while simultaneously pulling the knuckle away from the axle until it's off completely. Pry the axle away from the transmission at its connection to the transmission with a pry bar. Pull the axle out of the transmission and away from the Acura.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Chisel

  • Hammer

  • Drain pan

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Ball joint removal tool

  • Plastic mallet

  • 24-inch pry bar

 How to Remove the Axle From a Polaris Sportsman

Park the Sportsman on a flat surface.

Wedge the wheel chocks behind the rear wheels. This is important for safety reasons so that the Sportsman does not move backwards.

Jack the front of the vehicle up.

Unbolt the lug nuts from one of the front wheels (whichever one you prefer) and remove the wheel.

Unbolt the stick stopper from the A-arm and remove it.

Remove the bolts from the tie rod end with a wrench and remove it from the strut.

Unscrew the two mounting bolts from the brake caliper and slide the brake caliper off the brake disc.

Remove the retaining nut from the axle and slide the hub out.

Loosen (but do not remove) the nut holding the lower ball joint in place.

Tap the lower A-arm lightly so it disengages from the lower ball joint.

Remove the but holding the lower ball joint in place and disengage the lower-A arm from the strut.

Swing the strut slowly in an outward direction in order to move it out of the way of the axle shaft.

Slide out the axle shaft from the strut.

Remove the clamps from the inner CV boot.

Slide the inner CV boot down the axle shaft until the inner CV joint becomes accessible.

Remove the snap ring from the CV joint housing.

Detach the axle shaft assembly, including the axle.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks, 2

  • Jack

  • Tire iron

  • Wrench

 How to Remove the Axle in a Mini Cooper

Park your Mini on level ground and set the parking brake. Lift the front of the car with the jack. Put jack stands underneath the Mini's chassis. Take off the front wheels with a tire iron.

Put the drain pan underneath the transmission. Unbolt the drain plug on the transmission with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and let the transmission fluid empty into the pan. Unbolt the hub nut on the center of the rotor with the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket.

Unbolt the brake caliper from the steering knuckle with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and hang it by the fender with the bungee cord. Pull the rotor off of the steering knuckle with both hands. Unbolt the tie rod end and the lower control arm from the steering knuckle with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Unbolt the ABS sensor from the steering knuckle with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Unbolt the steering knuckle from the front strut with the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket and an open-end wrench. Pull the axle out of the transmission with your hands, then pull the steering knuckle and axle out of the front suspension as a pair. Pull the steering knuckle off of the axle.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Drain pan

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Bungee cord

 How to Remove the Axle on a 97 Eclipse

Removal

Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel to be serviced with a lug wrench. Lift the front of the vehicle into the air with a floor jack and place jack stands under the front sub-frame rails. Lower the vehicle until it rests securely on the jack stands. Remove the wheel and tire.

Straiten the legs of the axle shaft nut cotter pin and remove it with pliers. Instruct a helper to sit in the vehicle and apply the brakes. Loosen the axle shaft nut with a 32 mm socket and breaker bar. Remove the axle nut and discard it. Instruct the helper to exit the vehicle.

Straiten the legs of the tie-rod end castle nut cotter pin and remove it with pliers. Remove the tie-rod end castle nut with a socket and ratchet. Install the castle nut at least three full turns. Place the tie-rod separator between the tie-rod joint and the steering knuckle. Tighten the tie-rod separator bolt until the tie-rod separates from the knuckle. Remove the tie-rod separator and castle nut.

Remove the nut securing the stabilizer bar link to the damper fork with a socket and ratchet. Pry the stabilizer bar link stud out of the damper fork with a pry bar. Remove the damper fork upper pinch bolt with a socket and ratchet. Place a wrench on the damper fork lower mounting bolt head and remove the nut with a socket and ratchet. Tap the lower bolt out of the damper for with a hammer. Remove the damper fork from the vehicle.

Straiten the legs of the Lateral lower ball joint cotter pin and remove it with pliers. Remove the lower ball joint castle nut with a socket and ratchet. Install the castle nut onto the lower ball joint three full turns. Install the ball joint separator between the steering knuckle and lower control arm. Tighten the ball joint separator stud until the ball joint separates from the steering knuckle. Remove the ball joint separator. Remove the lower ball joint castle nut. Repeat this step for the compression ball joint to knuckle connection.

Pry down on the lower control arm and pull outwards on the steering knuckle assembly. Firmly grab the outboard joint of the CV shaft and pull it out of the wheel hub. Tap the shaft out of the wheel hub with a small chisel and hammer, if the splines are seized.

Lay down under the vehicle and position yourself so that you can view the axle shaft to transmission connection. Place a pry bar between the inboard CV shaft joint and the transmission case. Pry the shaft out of the transmission enough that the circlip disengages from the differential side gears. Support the inboard joint by hand and slide the axle straight out of the transmission. Remove the axle from under the vehicle.

Inspect the CV shaft seal on the transmission case for any damage from shaft removal or wear and replace as necessary. Clean the threads of the wheel hub with a small wire brush.

Installation

Inspect the new CV shaft for the proper length and spline count as compared to the original. Ensure the new CV shaft as a circlip pre-installed on the transmission side of the shaft. Set one side of the circlip into the grove on the transmission end of the axle shaft and slowly work around the circlip pushing it into the groove, if it wasn't pre-installed.

Lay several shop rags over the lower control arm in a manor that will protect the outboard joint and boot from damage. Slide the CV shaft through the inner fender opening from under the vehicle and set the outboard joint and boot on the lower control arm.

Line up the splines of the CV shaft with the splines of the differential side gears and slide the CV shaft into the transmission. Push on the inboard joint with enough force to seat the circlip inside the groove of the differential side gears. Pull outward on the inboard joint tripod by hand, if the circlip and axle are properly installed the shaft will not remove by hand.

Pull outward on the steering knuckle assembly and slide the CV shaft into the wheel hub. Install a new axle nut hand tight. Pry down on the lower control arm and guide the lower ball joint studs into the steering knuckle. Install the castle nuts and tighten to 43 to 52 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Install a new cotter pin to each castle nut and bend the legs in opposite directions around the nut with pliers.

Set the damper fork into position. Install the lower mount bolt and nut hand tight. Install the upper pinch bolt and tighten to 76 foot-pounds. Install the stabilizer bar link stud through the damper fork and tighten the securing nut to 29 foot-pounds.

Set the tie-rod end stud into the steering knuckle and install the castle nut. Tighten the castle nut to 17 to 25 foot-pounds. Install a new cotter pin through the tie-rod end castle nut and bend the legs in opposite directions around the castle nut.

Instruct a helper to sit in the vehicle and apply the brakes. Tighten the CV shaft nut to 145 to 188 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Instruct the helper to exit the vehicle. Install the dust cover over the CV shaft nut and install a new cotter pin. Bend the legs of the cotter pin around the dust cover in opposite directions with pliers. Install the wheel to the vehicle and install the lug nuts hand tight.

Lift the front of the vehicle off the jack stands and remove the jack stands from under the vehicle. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts to 87 to 101 foot-pounds.

Turn the steering wheel so that you will have access to the lower damper fork mounting bolt. Place a wrench on the lower damper fork mounting bolt and tighten the nut to 65 foot-pounds.

Drive the vehicle to a local repair shop to have the front end alignment checked and adjusted as necessary.

Items you will need

  • Lug wrench

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • 3/4-inch drive 32 mm socket

  • 3/4-inch drive breaker bar

  • Tie-rod separator

  • Ball joint separator

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Mechanics wire

  • Pliers

  • New axle nut

  • Pry bar

  • Torque wrench

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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