Passenger Side CV Half-Shaft R&R - Mazda Forum

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Old 05-16-2011, 07:31 PM
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Default Passenger Side CV Half-Shaft R&R

My passenger side CV axle had a cracked inner boot - allowing dirt, grime and lots of crud to get in there. Also, the car was really starting to vibrate quite a bit at 60 MPH. Yesterday, I went about the business of removing the old half-shaft. I utilized the guide from the tech section after printing out the 3 pages of instructions. About the only thing I varied on is that I didn't disconnect my steering knuckle as I didn't have a pickle fork to split apart the ball joint. Things were really moving along - since the inner boot was totally obliterated, I was able to pull out the outer portion of the half shaft quite easily.

However, that inner component that the boot connects to and where the "C" clip is hidden - and holding on this portion turned out to be a big headache. I searched for many tips high and low. Use a big hammer, use a pry bar, etc., etc. Well, nothing was working. My neighbor from across the street came over - he previously used to manage a tire and automotive repair shop several years back. He suggested putting the car in neutral and spinning the shaft 1/2 a turn. Sure enough. 2 quick taps and it was quickly removed. I'm assuming this had a lot to do with the positioning of the "c" clip and rotating it, made the knock off process easier.

I was quite happy and said I'd give him a man hug if we were not so greasy. Instead, we went inside and had a cold Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Yum! The gifts of celebrating progress!! After some chit-chat and finishing off the adult beverage, it was back to work as he was also working on installing brake pads on his mothers Miata.

I was working with trying to get the complete half-shaft installed, but was obviously encountering some issues with angles - and, it was a bit harder than getting the old one out. After several attempts, I called it a night.

This morning, I resumed the work. I found an angle that worked right at getting the half-shaft right into position. Keep in mind, I have a 2002 Millenia, and I'm not sure if the front end components have changed dramatically from the 1995 - which is the year that the process was written for. However, I found that it was better for me to take the longer spline that goes through the hub and install that end first. Once that was in place, I had enough clearance to line up the outer edge of the inner-side of the shaft. With the splines aligned, I was able to take the old nut and mount it on the end of the shaft - and, with slow hammer whacks with my mini sledge, things were moving into place. Eventually, I got it into the right position. I then removed the old nut, and installed the new one - torqued it on.

As I mentioned above, I didn't remove the tie rod end due to not having a sufficient tool. I ended up mangling part of the rubber shell in the process of moving things back and forth, etc. However, a lot of this was also dry-rot. So, I'll work on replacing those knuckles in a few weeks when I feel like tearing some of the front end apart again.

Finally, I was reading in another thread a few days ago where Yel-Low made some comments about using air tools and how sweet life was with them. I actually have had a full set of air tools for about 2 years now as they came with a 25 gallon compressor that I purchased for the purpose of purging my in-ground sprinkler each fall. However, when I paid $150 for the compressor, the guy gave me a metal tool box with all the necessary Husky air tools - Impact wrench, impact ratchet, impact chisel and cut-off tool. I simply took the time to make the proper connections with the teflon tape and quick-connectors yesterday before getting started. It was amazing! I had all my bolts lose in less than 20 minutes and never broke a sweat. After 31 years of using breaker bars and lots of upper-body strength, I'm all done with the manual methods of working with bolts - especially on suspension components without air tools. For those of you who still do things the manual way with breaker bars, etc., I'd advise you to invest some money into air tools as soon as you can. Do it after you've saved $300 - 400 on one of your auto repairs by doing the work yourself. Your body will appreciate letting the tool do the work for you.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:44 PM
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Yes... yes life certainly is easier with air tools my friend. Especially when you get old and instead of bending wrenches you're creaking and cracking bones.
I will NEVER get under a car and wrench away with a breaker bar again. I've seen too many cars rock and sway while on jack stands for me to know that it is totally unsafe! Every time I'm on my back and trying to break a bolt loose with a breaker I seem to be praying for my life. With a good little impact gun the bolt is a done deal and the car didn't even know what happened.

I'm not sure what write-up you used but that certainly seemed like a painful method to get the axle out. I am a big fan of just unbolting things rather than prying and hammering.

The method I have perfected after years of busted knuckles, endless nights of frustration and shear pain is to follow this:
For the passengers's side:
I undo the lower ball joint with the 3 17mm bolts.
I remove the strut to lower control arm bolt and pull it free.
I undo the lateral link.
I break the axle nut loose and swing the spindle way to remove the outer end.

I then unbolt the two halfshaft to block bolts. (Perhaps the most tedious part of the whole job) There isn't much room but you'll thank yourself that you're doing this way later on.

When the halfshaft is unbolted, the whole halfshaft/axle slides right out like a piece of cake. While it is free from the car you can bang away to separate the two.

For the driver's side:
I simply put a long slender flat tip screwdriver through the differential and give it a few light taps. It will slide the passenger axle out like butter on a hot stove. Easy!!! No prying, no fighting. Even if I just had to remove the driver's side I would STILL remove the passenger's first and then the driver's. There really is no place to pry that sucker off on the driver's side.
If you follow these steps for future reference you will save yourself lots and lots of pain.

Last edited by yel-low; 05-16-2011 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:04 AM
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I actually perfected my method too for removing the axles

I do the same as Yel-Low by removing some of the suspension components, enough to get the outer side of the axle out of the hub and resting on the lower control arm.

to actually separate the axles from the transmission side, on the drivers side there is a lip between the tranny and the axle. I slide in a slender chisel between and give it a few taps. comes apart easily and with no fuss. then I just slide the axle out.

on the passenger side I cut a 10" piece of wooden dowel. maybe 1" in diameter. I place it on the inner CV joint housing. the part between the half shaft and the axle. that part of the axle is already at close to a 45* angle so i put the dowel on there and tap the end with a sledge from underneath the car. it just comes right out and you don't have to remove the half shaft. really easy once I got the hang of it. now I know how to pop them off in a jiffy with no fuss.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:45 AM
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Plenty of ways to skin a cat.
In the early years I didn't have access to a lift and had to do everything on my back just a foot or two off the ground. I was never able to get a proper angle to swing at the axle with much force. That's probably also due to the fact that I'm left handed as well and use a right handed hammer.
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Old 05-17-2011, 02:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yel-low View Post
That's probably also due to the fact that I'm left handed as well and use a right handed hammer.
haha I KNEW there was something funny about you...
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:21 AM
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Hey, Randy and BigB, thanks for your other suggestions. Randy's detailed process seems like one that I should have followed as I would have been moving along at a better clip - and, would have been able to deal with that blasted clip when it was off the vehicle. Very nice!

The procedure I followed was documented and placed in our technical section, which is a link to several processes and procedures that have been documented. Here's the link: Guide to Replacing Axles

I guess if it were not for a dying process of Millenias getting more scarce as the days go by, it might be worth updating the guide. However, at this stage of the game, I think most of us are too busy to take on such a task documenting - I do plenty of it during the day job.

Mid-way through the process, I was actually kind of regretting not having the tire shop do the work. I did get an estimate of $290 to do the work. They wanted $160 for the part and $130 for the labor. Plus, I have a 3-year alignment service with them. The labor seems like a great deal, but the parts price appears to be marked up by about 300%, which seems typical nowadays. I'm assuming they would have used a rebuilt Napa part like I did.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yel-low View Post
That's probably also due to the fact that I'm left handed as well and use a right handed hammer.
Didn't Jimi Hendrix have that problem? He was left handed, but played a right-handed guitar.


As far as the post-items on my half shaft process, I've noticed I'm getting a bit of scraping when I make right turns. I believe it to be that blasted steel plate that shields the brake rotor on the inside. The thing got a little bent up with I was maneuvering the half shaft into place. Fortunately, I can access it by just turning the wheel a bit and laying on the ground to bend it around a bit. Well, I hope it's that - and not some premature axle failure that I'm encountering. In any regard, this was a Napa half shaft. 3 year / 36,000 mile warranty. Probably a bit better than the one year warranty from Autozone for their Duralast items.
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Old 05-17-2011, 01:00 PM
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YES! We Left-Handers rule! Haha you should see me try and use a knife with my left-hand when cutting meat. No one wants to be around me... Good lil explanation T2T.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:14 AM
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Yes, lefty is good, very very good.

I knew there was something that I liked about you, yel-low.

Thanks, T2T for posting this. Good stuff to know.

Enjoying some sun on Tybee Is., Georgia ATM. I think I am seeing what you guys like about the south. It is not even too hot.
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Old 05-18-2011, 09:36 AM
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wow so many lefty-s in here lol.
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