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Old 11-21-2006, 12:58 AM   #1
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Default Half shaft question

Hey Gang !

Well Buffords been pretty good since the missing problem, but today is another story. 161,xxx plus miles now, time for the drivetrain/ suspension problems to start showing up. I just had new tires mounted today, and I noticed the dreaded bad wheel bearing sound :( So I tore into that tonight. All was going well, till I pulled off the left front tire and noticed 2 things that I didnt expect

1. Grease flung all over the place.
2. Broken stabilizer bolt on A frame.

The grease is coming out of the outer boot where the retainer band goes around the shaft (engine side) The broken stabilzer bolt is no big deal easy to fix. But I have a couple of questions and I'm kinda torn on which way to go on the half shaft.

Right now the hub is removed, plus the caliper. I'm trying to decide if I should pump the boot full of grease and somehow clamp the loose end of the CV boot, or do I just go ahead and replace the half shaft knowing that it'* possible that some rain got in there over the summer. I put new brakes on the front within the last 6 months and there was no grease thrown at that point. If you recommend that I go ahead and replace the half shaft, will I have to pull the lower ball joint and drop the lower A frame? Or can I get away with pushing the outer splined end through the yoke and pull the shaft out then replace the process to install the new shaft ? I read Bill B'* procedure, but it believe it'* a little different cuz the wheel bearing is in place where my WB is removed. Any pointers you can give would be great. As always thanks for your techno savy.
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:08 AM   #2
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When a boot goes I'd prefer to just replace the shaft in case of dirt got in the joint. It sounds like your boot didn't rip though, just the clamp came off? If so you probably would be fine pumping new grease in. That would hold it over for a while. But since you're already in there and if you have the $, you may as well replace the shaft and be done with it.

I replaced my half shaft by removing the ball joint from the knuckle, then you can swing the whole unit out to take the axle out. With the wheel bearing out I still think you need the take the ball joint out. That'* the only way to have room the pull the axle shaft out IIRC. It'* pretty easy to get the BJ out of the knuckle. The hardest part would be getting the old nasty cotter pin out.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:33 AM   #3
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Hmmm. I don't know if removing the hub will give you sufficient clearance to remove the halfshaft. Why don't you give it a try and let us know how it goes? My suspicion is that you will still have to split the ball joint to swing out the knuckle, but maybe not. One way or the other, you need to get that drive axle out. I would agree with bonnie94ssei that you want to change the halfshaft. They only cost about $60, and if that joint has been open long enough to throw the grease, it has been open long enough for the remaining grease to absorb a lot of abrasive grit. If you can't afford to replace the halfshaft, then you at least need to remove the shaft, disassemble the joint, thoroughly clean it, re-assemble and grease it, and install a new boot with new clamps. Even if you have the special clamp tool (about $20) the boot kit will cost you $25. If you do it right, it will take you about an hour to clean and restore that joint. A lever type ball-joint tool will preserve the grease cup on the ball joint. If you use a pickle fork, try to wedge it so that it doesn't bear sharply on the rubber. I end up cutting them about 1/2 of the time. If you do cut the cup, NAPA sells generic replacements that are better than a cut cup but not as good as a new one.
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:39 AM   #4
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As Bill mentions above you will likely be spending $40-60 on the boot, grease and then have the time of getting greasy and messy trying to fix it. Please check into the price of a remanufactured axle. I think the last one I bought was around $50. In that case, I'd put the new part in.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:12 AM   #5
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Man am I getting old. Sorry guys, BMWhound here. I signed in with my old login (Raptor) last night to start the thread and wonderd why I only had 4 post'*. Do'h. Anyway, back to Bufford. Yeah, no doubt about the half shaft. I'm on my way to AZone to get that this morning. I also need to pickup the suspension pieces too. I have a ball joint puller, hope I don't cut the grease cup I went out to the garage and had another look at it. So I should not have to pull the tie rod right ? Just that lower ball joint right ? I know I've done this before, but to many grey hairs added since then. The only other question I have is about the shaft removal. When I get the shock tower and yoke out of the way and want to pull the shaft out, what kind of pressure does it take to pull that out ? I realize that tranny oil will come out. But is there anything that I need to do to remove the shaft? like a retaining clip or something ? My only concern is in Bill B'* instructions I think there'* something about being careful not to pull to hard or the CV joint will come apart. Am I right here? or do I need more coffee
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:06 PM   #6
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Yeah, you can leave the tie rod attached, although you will get even more room to play with the tie rod split, too. If you split the tie-rod, be careful to watch that you don't pull too hard on the flexible brake hose to the caliper. I think the driver'* side will drip some trans fluid, so a pan is a good plan. To remove the shaft, the end of the axle shaft goes IN relative to the knuckle. The knuckle comes out around the end of the axle, and is rotated to the rear to allow a straight-line removal of the shaft. The shaft is held into the trans with an external snap ring. Pulling on the shaft will not remove it, but instead separate the inner joint. Gotta lever it outwards with pressure on the solid part of the inner joint. A quick slap or hit is required to compress the snap ring past the groove. Slow pressure will have you under there cussing all day.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:08 PM   #7
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I gently popped Bonne94ssei'* out. Little added leverage worked great.

Watching my mechanic buddy.. he simply grabs the axle and gives it the required quick tug that I can never get right...
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:49 PM   #8
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Everything was going well till the ball joint grease cup cut. I called the local napa and they don't have a clue on the "universal" replacement. they told me that I need to replace the whole ball joint. Any body have a napa part number ? AZ doesn't carry one. Also how do I remove the old torn one ?

thanks again guys. looks like this is going to take a while
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:05 PM   #9
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It was out in front of the counter on a rack on a card. One of the counter guys gave me the same story: never heard of 'em. But they were there in the store. It'* like a Help line of products, but some other brand. Look on the rack with specialty tools. I think they had three different sizes. Might have to cut the old one off with a razor blade. The new one slips over the tapered post - you may have to shorten the end of the new cup for the best fit. The knuckle will push the boot down around the body of the joint to make a seal. It'* not as good as a new one, but it is better than a big gash in the original.

NAPA part numbers: 650-1175; 650-1176; 650-1177; 650-1178 for the different sizes.

Marketed by Dorman but packaged for NAPA
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:27 PM   #10
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Default getting worse

well the half shaft is winning too. I tried everytihng that I can think of to leverage the ?!#$% thing out but it came apart on the inner cv joint. so the other part is still connected. pretty discouraged at this point. I'm clueless guys I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to pry on anything. Cuss jar is full.Any help would be appreciated. :(
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