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How to Replace CV Joints on a Toyota

by Don Bowman

The CV joints on a Toyota are quite inexpensive to purchase since most vehicles are front-wheel drives. These axles have become very common. It is always cheaper to just buy the whole drive axle rather than try to replace just the CV joints. To replace a CV joint is a lot more work and the axle must come out regardless. Separately, the CV joint and accompanying boot cost more than the axle. Most axles are rebuilt and they always require a core (return the old one, or else you will get charged a core fee).

Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. Remove the wheels using the ½-inch air gun and sockets.

Remove the two bolts in the brake caliper using the 3/8-sockets and ratchet. Remove the caliper, but do not let it hang by its hose. Lay it on the spring or tie it up with a coat hanger.

Remove the large axle nut in the center of the brake rotor. This nut holds the axle into the hub bearing. Use the ½-inch air gun and socket to remove it.

Remove the tie rod at the connection to the spindle by removing the cotter pin with the wire cutters, then the nut, using a wrench or socket. Place the tie rod remover tool in between the spindle and the tie rod and hit it with a hammer until it pops the tie rod out of the tapered end of the spindle.

Remove the two large nuts and bolts from the base of the strut where it is attached to the upper arm of the spindle. Use the ½-inch air gun and an 18mm socket. Once the bolts are out, push the strut and pull on the spindle to separate the two.

Push the axle out of the hub in the rotor with the thumb--or if that is too hard, screw the large nut upside down on the end of the axle to protect the threads and tap it with a hammer to break it loose. Remove the nut and push the axle through the bearing while turning the rotor and spindle to make enough room. Lay the axle on the lower control arm.

Remove the CV axle with the pry bar by placing the end of the pry bar in between the transmission and the CV joint.

Insert the inner splined end of the CV axle into the transmission and then pull it back about 1 to 2 inches and quickly slam it in. This will overcome the resistance of the C-clip on the transmission side of the axle. Do not stretch the axle, as the ball bearing in the axle will become dislodged. Just bring the whole axle back a little and push quickly--it will snap in.

Pull the rotor back enough to get the outboard end of the CV axle into the hub bearing. Rotate the rotor slightly to get the splines on the axle to align with the splines in the hub bearing. Push the axle through as far as possible.

Push the upper arm of the spindle and pull the base of the strut to get the top arm into the strut. Insert the two large bolts. Screw the nuts on and tighten them with the 18mm socket and air gun.

Screw the large axle nut on the end of the axle shaft and tighten securely with the ½-inch air gun and socket. Install the tie rod end by putting the bottom, threaded shaft into the hole that it came out of in the spindle steering arm. Screw the nut on. Tighten the nut with a wrench or a socket and insert the cotter pin.

Items you will need

About the Author

Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).

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