Bellows or other assemblies on constant-speed axles for front-wheel drive cars can fail, leak oil, and have holes or leaks. Sometimes you have to replace these items in order to keep the car running properly. Luckily, there is the possibility of carrying out this procedure on your own.
Part 1 of 3: Remove the axle nut from the vehicle
Step 1. Remove the hubcap from the vehicle
Before jacking up the car, you need to remove the axle nut. Start by removing the hubcap from the respective wheel for the axle you are replacing. If your vehicle has tires, you probably only have a hub in the center of the wheel instead of a hubcap.
Step 2. Remove the cotter pin from the axle nut
If your vehicle has a cotter pin that secures the axle nut, you need to remove it. This barrette resembles a hair clip with the ends folded back to keep it in place.
- You need to use pliers to straighten both bent ends of the pin before you can take it apart.
- If the pin is stuck, you should spray it with a penetrating lubricant that you can find at any hardware or auto parts store. The lubricant can also help you with the axle nut.
Step 3. Remove the axle nut
As soon as the pin comes out, you need to remove the axle nut. The nut requires significant torque for you to remove it. This is why it is much safer to remove it before jacking up the vehicle.
Unfortunately, the axle nuts are not a standard size, and the size of the sleeve that is required is different for each vehicle. If you want to verify this information before starting the project, you can go to the spare parts department of an authorized dealer for the exact size
Part 2 of 3: Remove the Wheel and Brake Assembly
Step 1. Raise the proper side of the car using the jack
The goal is to remove the wheel, so you have to raise the vehicle. You should consult the owner's manual and find the correct point to jack up the car. Make sure to choose a point that is located inside the chassis and not in an area that is too fragile.
Make sure to park the vehicle properly and apply the parking brake before using the jack
Step 2. Place the vehicle on the jack stands
Once you've raised the vehicle high enough, you should place the jack stands underneath. Then lower the vehicle back onto the stands. You should use these items as they are more stable than the cat alone.
If you have any concerns regarding the use of media, you can refer to this article for more information
Step 3. Remove the wheel
The nuts that secure the wheel are exposed once you remove the hubcap. You must remove these nuts along with the wheel in the same way that you would if you were changing a tire.
If you need instructions for this step, you can refer to this article for more information
Step 4. Remove the brake caliper
Once you remove the wheel, you will have a clear view of the brake caliper and rotor. The caliper is the largest piece that is attached to the outside of the rotor.
- This part has bolts on a mounting bracket that hold it in place on the rear of the rotor. The specific configuration depends on the make and model year of the vehicle. Usually the mounting bracket uses 17mm bolts.
- Because the caliper is connected to the vehicle's brake line, you should keep the slack on the brake line rather than letting it dangle. You can easily attach the caliper using a short bungee cord (without putting too much pressure on the brake line) to avoid getting in the way.
Step 5. Unscrew the outer end of the tie rod to separate it from the steering knuckle
The outer end of the tie rod is literally a rod threaded into the steering knuckle (which sits just behind the rotor). This part will likely screw in with another 17mm bolt.
- Like the axle nut, this bolt can be held in place with a cotter pin.
- The lubricant can also help you easily remove the pin and bolt.
- The tie rod is likely to be quite tight on the steering knuckle even after removing the bolt. You can hit the steering knuckle joint with a hammer to help remove it. You want to hit the point where the bar goes through the knuckle and not the threaded part.
Step 6. Unscrew the hub to separate it from the strut tower
Two other 17mm bolts connect the wheel hub to the strut tower. Once you remove these bolts, the hub should only connect to the axle through the center hole so you can remove it easily.
Since these are real bolts, you need to secure the head of the bolt while loosening the nut as it can bend
Part 3 of 3: Remove and Replace the Constant Speed Shaft
Step 1. Pry up the CV joint
You must follow the shaft to find the joint that it slides through in the transmission. You can use a small crowbar or a sturdy flat screwdriver to lift the shaft out of the joint.
- If the shaft does not come loose immediately, you should try bending and forcing it to break the seal.
- It is normal for some transmission fluid to leak while removing the axle to separate it from the gasket, so you should place a tray underneath.
- The shaft will likely have to go through a closed piece known as a fuze before it is completely loose. You can remove the inner bellows band to help you remove the old shaft.
Step 2. Insert the new axle into the frame of the transmission
In the same way that you removed the old axle, you must insert the new one at the same point on the transmission frame. The pin will slide until the axle is flush against the frame.
- There is a small C-shaped fastener on the shaft and you will hear a click as it clicks into place.
- If the shaft is not completely level, you can use a rubber mallet to tap it gently until it snaps into place.
Step 3. Reinsert the axle through the hub assembly
The new axle needs to be reinserted through the center of the hub assembly at the same point where you removed the old axle.
Step 4. Reattach the assemblies in the order you removed them
You should start from the hub assembly to the strut tower. Replace all the bolts you removed and reconnect the outer end of the tie rod with the steering knuckle. Lastly, reinstall the brake caliper.
All cotter pins are likely to be brittle, so replace them with new ones instead of reusing the old ones
Step 5. Reinstall the wheel
At this point, you can put the wheel back on the vehicle in the same way that you would replace a tire.
After placing the wheel, you can lower the car off the jack stands
Step 6. Tighten the axle nut
Finally, you can retighten the axle nut as soon as the vehicle is on the ground. You need to make sure the parking brake is still on while you are tightening the nut.
We recommend cleaning the threaded part of the axle using a brake cleaner in case you find oil on it while feeding it through the hub
- You should always take all appropriate precautions when working under a vehicle. You should recheck if you have activated the parking brake and make proper use of the jack stands to create a stable work environment.
- You should go to the spare parts department of an authorized dealer when purchasing your new axle. These are by no means universal, so you have to get an axle that is compatible with your vehicle.