How to Replace a CV Axle in Vehiclesby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
Your Vehicles has special axle shafts that connect the transmission to the front wheel hub. The triple roller joints Vehicles the each end of each axle allow power to be transferred from the transmission to the wheels without interruption from turning or driving over bumps. In Vehicles your axle shafts are serviced as a unit and must be replaced as an assembly if either joint begins to fail. This process will involve separating different parts of the chassis, but is well within the realm of the home mechanic.
Under The Hood:
- How to Replace a CV Axle in a 2007 Jetta
- How to Replace the CV Axle on a 1995 Toyota 4Runner
- How to Replace a CV Axle on a 1998 Ford Windstar
Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking brake. Remove the center cap off of the wheel to be serviced by placing a flat-head screwdriver into the edge slot and prying outward. Instruct a helper to enter the vehicle and apply the brakes. Loosen the axle bolt a total of 90 degrees with a 24 mm socket and a breaker bar. Loosen the wheel bolts with a lug wrench. Instruct the helper to exit the vehicle.
Lift the front of the vehicle off the ground and place jack stands under the front sub-frame rails. Lower the vehicle until it rests securely on the jack stands. Remove the wheel bolts. Remove the wheel and tire from the vehicle and set it aside. Instruct the helper to enter the vehicle and apply the brakes. Remove the axle bolt with a 24 mm socket and breaker bar. Instruct the helper to exit the vehicle.
Remove the three nuts securing the lower ball joint to the lower control arm with a socket and ratchet. Place a pry bar between the lower control arm and the steering knuckle. Apply downward pressure on the pry bar and pull the knuckle towards the outside of the vehicle. Grab the outboard axle tripod and pull it out of the wheel hub.
Position yourself under the vehicle in view of the axle shaft where it enters the transmission. Place a pry bar between the axle shaft inboard joint and the transmission housing. Pry the axle shaft out of the transmission. Tap the handle of the pry bar with a hammer to help separate the axle from the transmission, if necessary. Remove the axle shaft from under the vehicle.
Compare the new and faulty axle to ensure the new axle is the same exact length and each end has the same number of splines. Lay out several shop rags on the lower control arm. Lay down under the front of the vehicle and slide the wheel hub end of the axle through the opening in the inner fender; rest the outboard most joint of the axle on the lower control arm. Line up the axle splines with the splines of the transmission and slide the axle shaft into the transmission with moderate force. Pull on the inboard joint; the shaft will not separate from the transmission if properly seated.
Inspect the axle seal on the transmission for any wear or damage and replace as necessary. Line up the splines of the axle shaft with the wheel hub splines and slide the axle into the wheel hub as far as possible by hand. Inspect the lower ball joint boot for any damage and replace the ball joint as necessary. Pry down on the lower control arm and position the lower ball joint studs through the holes in the control arm. Install the lower ball joint nuts and tighten to 44 foot-pounds.
Install a new hex head or 12 point axle bolt, respectively, through the wheel hub and axle. Instruct a helper to sit in the vehicle and apply the brakes. Tighten the hex head axle bolt to 148 Foot-pounds or the 12 point axle bolt to 52 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Tighten the hex head bolt an additional 180 degrees or the 12 point bolt an additional 90 degrees with a breaker bar and 24 mm socket. Instruct the helper to exit the vehicle.
Place the wheel and tire on the wheel hub. Install the wheel bolts hand tight. Lift the front of the vehicle off the jack stands and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the wheel bolts in a criss-cross pattern to 88.5 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Position the center cap on the wheel and tap around the edges to secure it in place.
Drive the vehicle to a local repair shop and have the front end checked and aligned as necessary.
Items you will need
3/4-inch drive 24 mm socket
3/4-inch drive breaker bar
New lower ball joint nuts
New axle bolt
Preparing the 4Runner
Set the wheel chocks at the rear tires, one in front and one behind, to prevent the vehicle from moving while it’s up on jacks.
Lift the front of the vehicle with the jack, and place the jack under the frame rails, so that when the jack is lowered, the front suspension will droop, with the front tires off the ground.
Remove the front tire on whichever side you’re going to replace the axle on.
Removing the old axle
Remove the six nuts that hold the hub flange on, located near the studs that the tire mounts to. Underneath these nuts are cone washers. Tap around the outside of the hub flange with a hammer. This will cause the cone washers to pop out.
Remove the gold colored axle cap from the end of the axle by gently tapping it with a hammer or using a screwdriver to pry it off. Remove the gold screw from the end of the axle. Remove the snap ring and washer.
Disconnect the shock absorber and remove it. Unbolt the sway bar connection link from the lower control arm. Unbolt the castellated nut and four bolts from the lower ball joint and gently pry down on the lower control arm with the 2x4 to create more room to slide out the CV axle.
Remove the six nuts, using your socket wrench and extension, holding the inner flange of the CV axle to the front differential.
Drop the inner portion of the CV axle down as far as it will go, then remove the axle by pulling it towards the center of the vehicle.
Installing the new axle
Assemble the new axle by putting on the new CV boots. Slide the tripod joint onto the splined end of the axle. Pack the new CV boots with the grease provided. Install the snap ring onto the splined end of the axle, which holds the tripod joint in place. Tighten down the four clamps that hold the CV boots in place.
Install the new axle by sliding the outer portion of the axle through the center of the hub, the same way the old one came out. Lift the inner portion of the axle up and slide the flange over the studs. Attach the flange to the differential by reinstalling the nuts and tightening them down.
Lift the lower control arm back into place and reinstall the four bolts and castellated nut holding the lower control arm and lower ball joint together. Reinstall the shock absorber and reattach the sway bar link to the lower control arm.
Put the washer back onto the outer, splined portion of the axle. Install the snap ring back in place, making sure it slides into the groove on the axle. Put the gold bolt back into the end of the axle and tighten it down. Install the gold cover back over the end of the axle, using a hammer to gently tap it back into place.
Install the hub flange back in place over the end of the axle. Put the six cone washers back in place over the studs. Screw the nuts back in place on the studs and tighten them down. This will force the cone washers to seat into the holes.
Put your tire back on and tighten down the lug nuts. Jack your 4Runner up, remove the jack stands and lower it to the ground.
Items you will need
Replacement CV axle
Metric socket set
Socket wrench with extensions
Snap ring pliers
Park the vehicle on solid, level ground. Set the parking brake and place wheel chocks in front of and behind the rear tires.
Use the axle nut socket and the breaker bar to remove the axle nut from the axle and hub assembly. Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel, using the lug wrench.
Place the jack under the vehicle and lift the vehicle until the front tires are well off the ground. Place jack stands under the vehicle's frame, toward the front, and lower the jack until the front of the van is resting on the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts from the wheel, then remove the wheel.
Remove the nut from the lower ball joint knuckle, using a 5/8-inch socket and ratchet. Use a hammer to drive the bolt out after removing the nut. Place a drain pan under the axle close to the transmission to catch any lost fluid.
Use the pry bar to pry the lower ball joint from the knuckle on the arm. Once the ball joint and knuckle are separated, slide the axle from the hub assembly by hand. Place the pry bar between the axle and the transmission, and pry the axle from the transmission. Remove the axle from the vehicle.
Install the inner axle shaft of the new CV axle into the transmission. Push the axle in until it locks in place. Place the outer CV axle shaft into the axle hub assembly and install the new axle nut.
Place the lower joint into the knuckle of the arm and install the bolt. Place the nut on the bolt and tighten it in place. Install the wheel and secure the lug nuts hand tight. Raise the Windstar slightly using the jack, remove the jack stand, lower the jack, tighten the lugs with a lug wrench, and tighten the axle nut with a wrench.
Items you will need
22mm axle nut socket
½-inch breaker bar
5/8-inch socket and ratchet