A driveshaft transfers power from the engine/transmission to the wheels. Because cars can turn left and right, this shaft needs to be flexible. To accomplish this, there is a joint, called a CV joint or "constant velocity joint" placed on the driveshaft at two points--one near the transmission and one near the wheel hub assembly. You will know if they are going bad because you will hear a loud clicking sound when you turn left or right (depending on which CV joint is going bad). You must replace the joint when it starts to click or the joint could sheer off, leaving you stranded and unable to move your car until a new shaft is installed.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Tire wrench
- 2 jack stands
- Spindle nut socket
- Socket wrench with socket set
- Impact wrench with air compressor
- Tie rod end puller
- Flat head screwdriver
- Zip ties
- Hard grease
- New cottar pin
Determine which CV joint is bad (driver's side or passenger's side). Break the lug nuts loose on the appropriate wheel.
Put the car's emergency brake on and jack up the car. Make sure you place the jack stands under the pinch welds in the front of the car.
Take the wheel off and set it aside. Since you cannot inspect the CV boot with the wheels on, now is a good time to examine the CV boot to make sure that the joint is in fact damaged.
Loosen the spindle nut using the appropriate-sized spindle-nut socket and your impact wrench.
Unbolt the top and bottom bolts on the brake caliper and secure it to the coil springs above it.
Remove the brake rotor and set it aside.
Separate the lower control arm from the damper fork.
Remove the cottar pin from the bolt holding the lower control-arm to the steering knuckle with the pliers and then loosen that bolt. You will need to use the tie rod end puller for this.
Swing the knuckle and hub out of the way until the shaft is free.
Pry the shaft out of the transmission using a flat head screwdriver. Be careful not to damage the transmission seal where the shaft connects to the transmission.
Remove the shaft from the transmission and insert the new shaft. There is a snap ring on one end of the shaft. This is the side that gets inserted into the transmission. You will need to use some hard grease to get the snap ring to "float" in the middle of the groove where it sits on the end of the shaft otherwise you will not be able to insert the shaft all the way into the transmission.
Push the shaft into the transmission until you hear a click. This is the snap ring. The shaft is now secure.
Put the hub assembly and ball joint back together by reversing the process you used to take it apart in Steps 3 through 9. When you are reattaching the ball joint to the steering knuckle, make sure that you use a new cottar pin and discard the old one.
Put the wheel back on over the hub assembly and tighten the lug nuts back down with the tire wrench. Do not tighten them all the way, but make sure that they are tight enough so that the wheel is secure.
Lower the car onto the ground and finish tightening the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds using the torque wrench.