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Changing the Axles

Specifically, this page details the removal and installation of the driver's side axle (half-shaft) on a 1995 Talon ESI with AT and ABS. The procedure will be almost exactly the same on the other axle or other models/trim levels.

You can get a rebuilt axle at a number of different places. Check around to find the best price. You have to return your old axle at most places to get your core charge back. Be aware that most places don't keep this item in stock, you may have to order in advance. Shown below are some tools that you will want to gather/build beforehand. On top is a 1/2" breaker bar with 32 mm socket needed to remove the wheel nut. In middle is a large piece of steel tube that will go over the handle of the breaker bar to increase the amount of torque you can place on the wheel nut. Last is a piece of steel angle bar that holds the wheel hub in place while you undo the wheel nut. That nut has 140-180 ft-lbs of torque (and some rust) on it. It can take some real effort to undo it if has never been removed. In addition, you will want a jack, jack stands, socket wrench, 17 mm socket, 17 mm wrench, torque wrench, pliars with wire cutter, WD-40, wood blocks, small crow-bar, a 3' by 1" steel pipe, a 3 lb sledge hammer, a small cotter pin, and a large cotter pin. You will also want an pan to catch oil and a couple quarts of transmission fluid.

First thing to do is to block both rear wheels. Setting the parking brake is a good idea too. Next, jack up the drivers side front end and support it with a jackstand. Then, jack up the passengers side front end and support it with a jackstand. Jacking up both sides will give you plenty of room if you want to crawl completely under the car. Remove the drivers side wheel and spray down the appropriate bolts liberally with WD-40. When I say appropriate bolts, I mean the ones shown in the pictures below. These bolts shouldn't be too tough to get loose, but you never know.

Use the pliars to pull the large cotter pin from the wheel nut. Position the angle bar, breaker bar, and extension tube like so. Notice that 2 lug nuts are used to keep the angle bar tight against the wheel hub. Lean on the extension tube and the wheel nut should come loose.

The first method for separating the tie-rod joint is to just hit it. You pull the cotter pin out of the bolt and loosen the nut. Then just hit the knuckle with a 3-4 lb hammer right near the tie-rod end. This often vibrates the joint apart. If this doesn't work, there is method two. This is where the 3' by 1" piece of steel pipe and the 3 lb sledge come in. Loosen the tie rod end nut enough to leave a 1/4' gap between it and the knuckle. I then placed a jack under the tie rod end nut and start jacking it up. Keep cranking on the jack until you almost have the weight of the car on the nut. This will apply a large force on the joint, attempting to separate it. Place the end of the steet pipe on the knuckle and hit the other end with the sledge hammer. After a few tries, the joint should just pop apart. If you absolutely can't get the joint apart, you do have method three. You can use a ball joint separator fork. You just use a sledge to force the fork into the joint. This separates the joint, but ruins it in the process. You would then have to buy a new tie rod end. I have done it all 3 ways. The first method is certainly preferred. Remove the nut and push the tie rod end out of the way.

Now pull the nut off of the damper fork bolt. Put a 17 mm wrench on the bolt and the 17 mm socket on the nut. You can brace the wrench against the sway bar. You can use a similar sized bolt or pin and a hammer to push the bolt out.

Now unbolt the compression lower arm on the chassis side. Its just 2 bolts that run into the chassis. Swing the arm out of the way when the bolts are out.

You will want to support the knuckle with a jack or something similar before removing the last bolt.

Use the 17 mm socket and wrench on this bolt. You can brace the wrench against the chassis. Remember this bolt. When you finally put everything back together, you don't torque this one down until you have the knuckle supporting the weight of the car. More on that later.

With the knuckle supported on a jack, rotate the wheel hub some to expose the axle. You can tap on the nut side of the axle to pop it out of the wheel hub. You can compress the CV joints some to pull the axle out of the wheel hub completely.

Now carefully put the small crow-bar in between the ridge on the axle and the transmission case. There is a clip on the end of the axle. The crow-bar is used to push the axle away from the transmission popping this clip out of its resting place. It doesn't take alot of force and it is obvious when it happens. Before pulling the axle out completely, you will want to place a pan under the transmission. Fluid may leak from where the axle meets the transmission. You may lose a quart or so. Be careful not to damage the fluid seal on the transmission.

Now pop the new axle carefully into place. It should slide in easily and pop into place. Be careful again not to damage the fluid seal on the transmission. Since the shaft is splined, you may have to turn the axle some to get it to go in. If it doesn't go in, check to make sure that it is the right axle. I once got one with the wrong end on it (splines were the wrong size). Mistakes sometimes happen at the remanufacturing plant. You can now push the other end of the axle into the wheel hub. Again, you may have to turn the axle some to get it to go in. Now put the lower arm bolt in (but don't torque it down). Insert and torque the damper fork bolt in. Insert and torque the compression lower arm bolts in. Put the tie rod end nut on and torque it down. You may have to turn the tie rod end nut a little extra to get the small cotter pin in. Bend one end of the cotter pin over the nut and cut off the long end (like the factory did). Now you can torque the wheel nut on. Set up the tools like in the picture above. Torque the nut to the specified torque. You can turn it a little more to get the large cotter pin in. Bend the large cotter pin like the small one.

Now you want to pull the car off of the drivers side jack stand and support the weight of the car on the knuckle. You can put blocks or a jack under the knuckle to support it. You can keep the jackstand sitting under the car to catch it if the knuckle somehow falls off of the blocks/jack. You wouldn't want the car to come crashing down possibly crushing you. Now torque the bolt to the specified torque. You can now put the car back on the jack stands and put the wheel on. Pull the car off of the jackstands and start it up. Check to make sure that no fluid is leaking from the transmission/axle area. You may want to cruise around for a while to warm the car up, then check the fluid level. If necessary, put some transmission fluid in. That should be everything.

Contributed by Corbin

Cars Maintenance Powertrain_Maintenance Replacing the Axles

Document statistics: Last modified on 2008-12-18 21:28:18 by Corbin

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