Need help with Drive Axle Change - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 04-03-2003, 03:27 AM   #1
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Default Need help with Drive Axle Change

New to Club - Greetings to all!

Will be replacing left / front drive shaft on '92 Bonneville, due to worn CV joints (Getting a clicking noise while turning). :(

Any tips on this job?, especially how to get the old shaft out. Service manual says to use a special slide hammer tool, any easier (cheaper) way to do this?

Thanks in advance...
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Old 04-03-2003, 08:34 AM   #2
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Welcome to the club Jeff,

I just replaced the axle shaft on my '95, so hopefully I can give some advice. Make sure you have the car safely on blocks or jack stands before working on it!!

After taking off the front wheel, you'll need I think it'* a 3/8 inch allen wrench to take off the brake caliper. Don't let the caliper hang by the hose, tie it up somehow. I used a 33 millimeter deep socket to get the axle shaft nut off. You may need to heat up the nut with a torch if it'* really rusted on. A new nut should come with the new axle shaft. I got my axle shaft at Autozone for $70.

I'm not sure if you need to take off the front wheel bearing to get the axle out or not, probably do. I had to replace my bearing, so the old one came off. You need a T-50 Torx bit to remove the 3 fasteners for the bearing. Those Torx bits are a pain, they always seem to round off when you're trying to remove a bolt.

I used a torch to heat up the nut on the ball joint so I could remove it. Otherwise, the ball joint stud may rotate when you try to get the nut off. Then nothing comes apart. Be careful there as you don't want to burn up the rubber boot on the ball joint, or start any grease on fire. Have a fire extinguisher handy if you have one. You'll need a ball joint separator to separate the lower ball joint. Be careful there as it'* easy to rip the rubber boot on the ball joint. You'll probably have to get a jack under the steering knuckle somehow to raise it to remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle. Once you get the ball joint out of the steering knuckle, you can move the steering knuckle around to get the axle shaft out of it.

To get the axle shaft out of the transmission, you just need to get a pry bar between the inner CV joint housing and the tranny, and pry the axle out of the tranny. Should'nt take much to pop it out.

Put the new axle in the tranny, back into the steering knuckle and put the bearing back in. Be sure to put the dust shield back on when you put the wheel bearing back in, that'* also held in by the 3 fasteners for the bearing.

The hardest part is getting the ball joint stud back into the steering knuckle. You have to raise the steering knuckle against the resistance of the front spring, or lower the lower control arm against the tension of the front sway bar, both just about impossible to do. I tried putting a floor jack under the steering knuckle to raise it, but everything just moved around so I couldn't get the ball joint and the hole lined up. I tried prying down on the lower control arm, but there was nothing to pry against with enough leverage to lower the control arm. I wound up breaking the long bolt that holds the outer end of the front sway bar to the lower control arm so I could lower the control arm enough to get the ball joint back in. A new sway bar bushing kit with the new bolt cost about $6.

Put the brake caliper back on, put the nut on the end of the axle shaft, torque it down, put the wheel back on, and you're done. You may have to lower the car to the ground to keep the axle from rotating when you tighten down the axle nut. I don't know the torque value for the axle nut, I think it may be over 200 ft/lbs. I just tightened it real tight with a pipe on the end of a breaker bar for some leverage.

This was long winded but I hope it helps.
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Old 04-04-2003, 03:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the detailed reply , it will certainly help!

Think I will also change the wheel bearing while I have everything apart. I'm sure it'* life is about up at 130k anyway.

I will let you know how the job goes, once I decied to tackle it.

Have a '92 Roadmaster that is due for inspection, and needs some work also, so it takes priority for now...
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