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Thread: Changing CV joints (front right and left axle assemblies)

  1. #1

    Changing CV joints (front right and left axle assemblies)

    Just got my engine replaced (whoo hoo!) and now I'm being told my CV joints are about to fail (both front left and right axles). Friggin money pit! I checked it myself while it was on the lift and although the grease isn't gritty, there is some play near the wheel joint. I can rotate the wheel by hand about 1/2" before the axle catches.

    I'd like to do this myself, and from what I read in the "How To" on dropping the differential (closest article I could find concerning replacement of the CV axles), this should be all I'll need to do:

    Step 1: Jack up the front of the VX & remove both front wheels and place on jack stands. Put your jack under the lower control arm and lift just enough to relieve pressure.
    Step 2: Remove the 4 17mm bolts from the lower control arm & lower jack.
    Step 3: Reposition the ball joint bracket to the top of the lower control arm.
    Step 4: Careful with this step if you are re-using your CV boots. Remove the bands from the INNER CV BOOT. Move boot off of CV Joint.
    Tip: I was able to cut the bands with a pair of wire cutters but it took a while & I even managed to not cut the boot in
    the process. A small flat screwdriver helps to hold the band away from the boot whilst cutting. Heavy duty zip ties
    can be used in place of the bands during re-install (not endorsing this but it worked for me).
    Step 5: Locate the wire ring just inside the inner lip and slide a screw driver under it. Pop the ring out. This is the
    retainer ring that holds your CV joint and axle shaft in.
    Step 6: Pull the CV joint out by pulling the brake assembly outward. Cover the CV joint with plastic bag.
    Is that it? Just four bolts and a retaining ring? Sounds like just about 2 hours of work per side. Anyone actually replaced both axles assemblies before? Is this accurate?

    Lastly, are both the right and left front axles interchangeable (ie: the same length?) I keep seeing just the RIGHT side available for sale at Autozone, etc. leading me to think the left is the same thing, just flipped. Is that right?

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Yup thats it. The outer sections of the CVs are the same length (right&left)


    GL

  3. #3
    whatcha mean by "the outer section"? I thought the axle assemblies were one piece with two pressure fit joints on each end...

    Does it come in two parts? confused? I certainly don't wanna be banging off a joint...

    -Mike

  4. #4
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    Has anyone used the Autozone parts? Are they ok?
    SilverBullet75
    Formerly: '01 Ebony VXSTLTH
    Now: '08 Saab 9-7x Aero 6.0L

  5. #5
    Check out: http://www.autozone.com/autozone/par.../N-jfq1pZ6o2dc

    It lists two axle assemblies, one with inboard housing and one without. The one with housing has a pic showing a splined shaft on each end. The one without the housing has a spline on only one end and a joint bearing on the other. How easy is it to mount that bearing back into the inner component, or should I just get the one with the inner housing?

    For some reason they are $79 without the housing, but it's only $59 for the one with the inboard housing.

    (I think maybe that's what you meant by an inner and outer piece?)

    Still confused...

    Mike

  6. #6
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    I know Tom4bren wrote up a CV replacement for dummies, but I couldn't find it so hopefully he will chime in.

    For now lets use some pictures so that we can all see what we are talking about:


    What you are seeing on the AutoZone site is what Isuzu is calling the "Drive Shaft Assy" (#1 above). Those are the same for the passenger and driver side and they are what you see with the two CV's and CV boots on them. If the play that you have is in the outer CV joint (one closest to the wheel) then replacing the drive shaft assembly will more than likely take care of it. One word of caution; the after market drive shaft assemblies have smaller balls (go ahead, laugh) in the CV assembly so they will rattle around a bit in the stock "Inner Joint Assy" (#7 above). If the play that you have is at the inner CV joint then hopefully the CV itself is boogered up, but if it isn't then your inner joint assembly may be pitted and scared. The inner joint assembly is actually inside of the "Axle Housing" (#15 above). The only part of this assembly that is visible is the outer race for the innner CV joint (what many of us call the "green cup" because it's green and, well, looks like a cup laid on it's side). The inner joint assembly is a different length on the drivers and passenger sides so you would have to find the specific one that you need. They are a different length due to the offset of the "Differential Assembly" (#29 above) that mounts to the "pumpkin" (bulbous part of the axle housing).

    That was probably WAY more information than you were barganing for, but I just recently went through having the outer race (green cup) of my drivers side inner joint assembly (#7) re-machined because it was pitted due to the fact that I let a torn CV boot go un-repaired for too long.

    Hope that helps......instead of confuses.
    Last edited by MSHardeman : 06/22/2011 at 04:21 PM
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong, it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
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  7. #7
    No...not too much info at all! exactly what I needed! Thanks! Parts ordered!

    -Mike

  8. #8
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    The AZone shafts are remanufactured. For the same price you can get the Empi's on Amazon.com. In my opinion a much better part. Mine have been abused in Moab and held up just fine.
    Billy Oliver
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  9. #9
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    Gear

    Quote Originally Posted by Triathlete View Post
    The AZone shafts are remanufactured. For the same price you can get the Empi's on Amazon.com. In my opinion a much better part. Mine have been abused in Moab and held up just fine.
    I just got a set of EMPI's from Amazon & I'm glad to hear yours are withstanding the type of extreme use you give them.

    I was a bit concerned when i saw "made in China" on the box.

  10. #10
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    I just had a CV boot replaced this week, so I was looking up all the CV stuff here.

    ****ONE CAUTION****.....Many (owners and mechanics) have trashed their ABS sensor when changing the front inner CV boot.....including MY mechanic. It's about $400 new (per side!), I got one from a salvage yard from a Trooper for $90.

    I'll dig up the schematics for the front axle that helped me understand what was going on, and Mark (mshardeman) was super helpful and sent some pics so I could further see what was going on and where the ABS sensor was etc...

    Here's my thread from last week discussing the CV boot repair AND the ABS sensor issue:
    http://vehicross.info/forums/showthr...threadid=20650

    Here's Tom's write up:
    http://www.vehicross.info/downloads/...ch_Install.pdf

    Here's Moncha's:
    http://vehicross.info/modules.php?na...warticle&id=68
    VX KAT
    ....the adventure BEGINS ANEW! ...2015......
    Remember that life is not measured in the breaths you take, but rather in the moments that take your breath away.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ldub View Post
    I just got a set of EMPI's from Amazon
    Amazon says list price $841, and they're selling them for $90.95.... That's the biggest discount I've EVER seen....on anything....please tell me that list price is jacked up....

  12. #12
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    Mike,

    The CVs for dummies thread is here:

    http://www.vehicross.info/forums/sho...hlight=dummies

    Hope the parts you ordered work out for you.

    To answer a few of your questions:

    The axles (left and right) are the same from the wheel all the way to the inner green cup. The shaft that the inner green cup is attached to is much longer on one side (offset differential).

    The instructions you posted really are that easy ... but they are only for the boot replacement. If you need to swap out the CVs, then it's much more involved. In the download section, there are instructions for installing the differential drop brackets that show removal of the axles from the differential.

    If it's your outer CV that's FUBAR then you're in for more work. Some say that the outer joints come apart but from my experience, it's a job for a professional.

    I just got through with a re-build on mine - again. This time it was caused from hidden damage from an accident I had last year. The drivers side outer CV exploded. My guess is that the accident caused a fracture in the bearing cage and a few months later, it failed catastrophically. The rebuild basically took parts from 3 different sets of axles to build 1 good set. Just got it out of the shop 2 days ago so don't have any prognosis on the longevity of the rebuild.

    Basically, the components that wear are the outer race (green cup), the inner race (star) & the cage (collar that surrounds the balls). As far as I know, MSHardeman & I are the only ones who have attempted a rebuild of existing parts. On mine (& I'm sure MSHardeman's was the same) the balls had worn grooves in both the inner and outer races. The shop will grind out those grooves and install larger balls to compensate for the sacrificed material. The only problem that I encountered was that the balls seemed to bind slightly in the cage but that was only before install. After installed (under load), they seemed fine. Remember that it was my outer CV that exploded so the rebuilt parts never failed.

    There's an animated cartoon on wikipedia that shows how the CV works:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CV_joint


    Put a smiley after you say that Bub.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by VX KAT View Post
    Amazon says list price $841, and they're selling them for $90.95.... That's the biggest discount I've EVER seen....on anything....please tell me that list price is jacked up....
    They must'v used Isuzu OEM pricing as a guide when they came up with that number.

  14. #14
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    The last price I got from Isuzu is $932 per side. That was 6 months ago.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom4bren View Post
    The last price I got from Isuzu is $932 per side. That was 6 months ago.
    then we should all be buying a few extras at that price....just to have around.....

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