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· Car Nerd
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Replacing the passenger side axle on this vehicle is not quite as hard as one would think. I started hearing a clicking sound coming from the right side of my car, and after consulting with a friend of mine who was a Master Technician for Ford/Mazda, we pretty much concluded that it was the CV joint that went bad. Given how I drive my car, I decided to go with an OE axle.

This install will be significantly easier if you have access to air tools and/or a hoist, however it's not impossible to do it without those tools. I opted to rent a garage with hoists and air tools for $25 an hour. I was done in about an hour. Aside from those, you'll need:

3/8" ratchet
1/2" breaker bar and pipe (if you don't have air tools)
17mm 3/8" socket
14mm 3/8" socket
14mm wrench
6mm allen key or 3/8" socket
Flathead screwdriver
1 1/4" or 32mm 1/2" socket (impact socket if you're going to be using air tools)
Large (at least 5-6") brass punch or other tool to hammer on
Hammer (I used a 3lb sledge)
Penetrating oil (PB Blaster, WD40, etc.)

First you're going to jack up the car safely, remove the front right wheel, and pop your hood.

Then you're going to remove the axle nut. If you don't have access to air tools, what you're going to do is remove the center cap on your wheel, reinstall it with 3 lug nuts, put the car on the ground, and set the parking brake. Then you're going to stick the 32mm or 1 1/4" socket with breaker bar and pipe through the center hole in the wheel and use that to break the axle nut loose. EricTheCarGuy on YouTube does a great explanation on how to do this.

What you'll do now that you have the axle nut off is spray the splines in the hub with a bit of penetrating oil, thread the axle nut back on so that the top of the nut is flush with the end of the axle, and hammer away. Threading the nut back on the axle helps keep the axle from mushrooming out.

Don't forget to remove your spacers! lol

I had called the shop I chose to make sure they had the sockets I needed. The funny thing is they bought Harbor Freight sockets, and their 32mm socket actually measured at about 30.6mm. Turns out though that 32mm is just about 1 1/4" and they had a non-impact 1 1/4" socket for me to use. I would NOT recommend using a non-impact socket with an impact gun because you risk breaking the socket and pieces flying out at you. Make sure you wear eye protection! Especially with impact tools.

Once you have the axle knocked out most of the way through the hub, it's time to remove the strut.

The first step to removing the strut is to remove and loosen the bolts on the top hat. You'll want to completely remove the bolt closest to the fender and loosen the other two about half way. This will give the strut a little wiggle room and make it slide out of the spindle easier.

After that, you'll want to unclip the ABS line, pry out the brake line clip with a screwdriver, and remove the front endlink with your 14mm socket. If the stud on the endlink spins, you'll need to use a 14mm wrench and a 6mm allen key to hold the stud.

ABS line behind the dust shield for the brake rotor

Brake line clip

Front endlink

After disconnecting all those, spray the spindle with a little PB Blaster, remove the 17mm bolt on the back of the spindle and hope the spindle just falls out. Try wiggling the strut front and back while pushing down on the spindle.

If none of that works though, don't give up just yet. Take the 17mm bolt you remove and thread it into the other side of the spindle. Then take a flat, thin piece of metal and insert it into the slot at the back. Then thread in the bolt more and more so it pushes against the piece of metal you used. This will spread out the spindle and it should just fall off the strut. Give it a little push down and you should be able to separate the strut. After that, hold up the strut and unscrew the last two bolts on top, and it's off the car.

Here's the setup I used to get the strut off. I used a 1/2" washer I got from Home Depot for all of $0.33.

Now that you have the strut out, you should be able to push the axle through the hub. Just let it hang for now.

Here's an axle-less hub

Now, time to separate the axle from the intermediate shaft. The axle is held in by a C-clip on the splines. All you have to do is hammer it out. It makes it significant easier if you have a large punch to use.

Here's where the intermediate shaft on the left and the axle on the right connect.

Here's a better picture of what you're going to be hammering and how.

Give the old hammer a few decent taps and it should slide right off the splines.

No axle! For the record, it's not a good idea to let your spindle and brakes hang by the brake line like this.

Here's the old axle. Make sure you compare your old axle with your new part before installing it onto the car.

You might as well do an oil change while you're under the car.

Alright, now you're going to install the new axle. At this point I forgot to take pictures, so sorry about that, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out without a visual.

First, you're going to stick the axle back in through the wheel hub and hand-tighten the axle nut on top. Then you're going to line up the splines on the other side of the axle to the splines on the intermediate shaft. Once they line up, you'll see/feel that the axle went over the end of the shaft. If they don't, turn the brake rotor or axle a little and try again. Now, while holding up the spindle so it's level with intermediate shaft, you're going to use the brake rotor and hub as a hammer to force the axle onto the intermediate shaft. Another set of hands really helps here. When the shaft finally gets seated all the way in, you'll see or hear it. Go ahead and check anyways to make sure the connection point looks like it did the way it did before you removed the old axle.

Once you have the inside of the axle seated on the intermediate shaft, you can go ahead and re-install the strut opposite of removal. First, you're going to hold up the strut and screw back on the two bolts furthest from the fender halfway. Then you're going to use a floor jack to push up on the spindle and get the strut seated in it. If you look under the spindle right by the brake rotor, you'll see the bottom of the ball joint. Jack up the spindle using that point. Also, make sure the bracket on the rear of the strut is lined up with the space in the collar or you'll bend it upwards. Once everything's seated in, re-install the 17mm bolt, along with the top hat bolts, endlink, brake line clip, and ABS cable.

Now that the strut is completely bolted back on, go ahead and run down the axle nut all the way with your impact gun. If you don't have one, tighten it as good as you can, and then use the same method as before to tighten it all the way.

At this point I like to do a quick check to make sure everything is tightened and reconnect, then I put the wheel back on, torque it properly, and go on a test drive.

Enjoy your now non-clicking axle. :D
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