I have been procrastinating this fix for a while now because work has been hectic and quite frankly, I just haven’t had the time to do it. With winter approaching, I figured I needed to get on the ball and get this CV axle fixed. Since the CV boot had been torn for a while (6 months), the only proper way to address the problem was to replace the entire CV axle. Hopefully these pics and instructions can help you out if you are looking at replacing your CV. It really isn’t a hard job, I did it in about two hours and this is my first time attempting it.
-3/8 ratchet with extension
-14mm and 36mm sockets
- Start off with jacking up the front of the vehicle and removing the wheel and tire. Always use jackstands!
- There will be a black dust cover right in the center of the hub. Remove this cover using a prybar or screwdriver, it may be on there pretty good so use a hammer if necessary being careful to not to damage the hub or cover. (see pic)
- You will see a cotter pin, nut cover (keeps the nut from spinning loose), and a 36mm nut. (see pic)
- Take your breaker bar and 36mm socket. You may need an assistant for this part. Either apply the brakes or use a pry bar between the wheel studs to keep the disc from spinning. I prefer the brake method. This nut is torqued down to yes, 173 foot pounds!!! Once you break it loose, leave the nut on there, we will be coming back to this part.
- Remove the strut assembly, this will allow easier removal and installation of the CV. My instruction manual only mentioned removing the lower strut assembly bolt, however I found that complete removal will make the job go much quicker and easier.
- Underneath your lower balljoint there are (4) 14mm bolts. Remove all 4, this will allow you to swing the steering knuckle out to remove the CV. (see pic)
- Now that the steering knuckle is free of the lower balljoint, grab your 36mm socket, a piece of wood, and a hammer; what we are gonna do here is hammer out the CV from the hub. Loosen the 36mm nut most of the way off the CV but leave it threaded on a few pitches. Place the 36mm socket on the nut and use a block of wood to keep from damaging the socket when you hit it. A few good hits with the hammer should break the CV loose from the hub. Some manuals suggest using a brass drift to hit it loose, I didn't have a drift nor did I want to spend $20 for one. The method I used is effective and keeps you from damaging the threads on the CV.
- Swing the knuckle outward to remove the CV from the hub.
- At this point the CV will still be attached to the differential, go ahead and grab the CV shaft between the two boots and give that CV a few good yanks. It should pull free of the differential. Some manuals suggest the driver side CV requires a special tool to remove. I happened to be replacing the driver side for this write-up and it is definitely removable using a little bit of muscle. Be ready for some diff fluid to pour out, have a drip pan or something similar ready.
- There are two pieces you will want to retain from your old CV if they are still good; the inner dust seal and the outer wheel seal. Take note of how they are placed on the CV as this is the way they need to go on the new CV. I purchased an outer wheel seal, however, they gave me the wrong part and I had to use my old seal due to not having a vehicle to get back to the part shop. Fortunately, it was still good and has been holding up fine for the last few weeks.
- You will likely get hit with a core charge buying a CV axle, my local store wanted $93 for the core so be prepared for that.
- Slap the inner dust seal and outer wheel seal on the new CV being careful not to warp them. A Rubber mallet and nice easy taps are your friend
- You will notice a small clip on the differential side of the CV, this is what keeps it in the differential. Slide that side into the diff and thread the 36mm nut onto the new CV. You will notice when the clip catches, the CV will go in about halfways and stop. Don’t worry though, if it’s halfway in your splines are lined up so you won’t be damaging them or the differential when you tap it in. Couple taps with a hammer on the 36mm socket (like you did to remove the old one from the hub) while holding the CV even with the differential and it will go into place. You will know when the CV is all the way in; look underneath and the dust seal will be flush with the diff..
- Make sure your outer wheel seal is in place on the CV and slide it into the hub. A little lithium grease on the splines helps it go into place a little better. Torque the CV nut down to spec (yep, a 173 ft. pounds) and make sure you replace the “nut cap”, cotter pin, and dust cover. An assistant may be necessary again to depress the brakes while you torque the nut.
- Install the 4 lower balljoint bolts, these can be tricky because the balljoint has to be level in order for them to thread in nice and even. My suggestion would be to start one bolt a few pitches, then thread the bolt diagonal to it a few pitches. Once you have all 4 threaded in a bit you can go ahead and tighten em up, torque specs are 59 ft.lbs.
- Time to re-install your strut assembly, if you have the Bilstein 5100’s or a spacer it may be necessary to loosen or remove your swaybar nut to drop the lower control arm enough to put the lower strut bolt in. Thread your top nuts first, then put the bottom bolt in. As I have found out in another thread it does not matter which way the bolt goes in so long as you torque it down correctly. Top nuts get 49 ft lbs of torque, lower bolt gets 100 ft. lbs. If you loosened or removed the swaybar nut go ahead and torque that back down to 14 ft. lbs.
- Throw the wheel back on and take it for a test ride. Make sure you aren’t leaking diff fluid and test out the 4wd. Congrats, you have yourself a new CV axle!
For those interested, the cause of my torn CV boot was two fold…
- It was slightly ripped when I bought the truck
- When I added the 5100’s without the Diff drop kit, it compounded the issue and ripped the CV completely
Fortunately, the other CV faired well and after installing the diff drop, it still is looking good. The moral of the story is, install a diff drop anytime you order 5100’s, spacers, or coilover lifts! Your CV boots will eventually tear! Attachment 80686Attachment 80687Attachment 80688Attachment 80689Attachment 80690Attachment 80691Attachment 80692Attachment 80693