Re-installing the front CV-axle

westslope Sep 11, 2019

  1. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    I am preparing to re-install the CV-axle on the front passenger side. Everything looks fine except I want to make sure I make the best lubrication and anti-seize decisions. CV-axle = front half shaft axle = front right/left axle.

    Plan A.

    1. Lubricate the C-clamp on the end that goes into the differential with a small amount of grease.
    2. Cover the opposite end, the threaded end and splines, that go into the wheel bearing and hub assembly (WBHA) with anti-seize.

    Plan B.

    1. Lubricate the C-clamp with gear oil.
    2. Cover the threads with anti-seize but avoid the splines at the wheel ends of the axle.

    Plan C. Avoid lubrication. Only apply anti-seize to the threaded end of the axle where the axle nut will sit.


    Questions:

    Should I add lubricant to the splines going into the front differential? And if so, what kind? SAE GL 80W-90 gear oil? I will be adding the same gear oil to the differential once finished.

    Should anti-seize be also added to the splines that fit into the WBHA? I seem to recall reading a recommendation to that effect.

    Copper or nickel-based or does it really matter?



    Background

    I took out the passenger side CV-axle because the differential side seal was leaking. The side seal is back in place; new lower control arms (LCAs) are installed with the new wheel bearing and hub assembly (WBHA) torqued into the knuckle.

    The axle looks fine and did not exhibit any symptoms of a failing or failed axle.
     
  2. JeffPro4x

    JeffPro4x Hot Pipe Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,535
    Location:
    Glenside, PA
    Plan C.
     
  3. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I disagree. But all of the plans are off.

    @westslope The diff oil will lube the inner end as soon as you drive it, so don't worry about it. Put some anti seize on the splines and the threads of the outer end.... color doesn't matter, but I prefer copper. The last thing you ever want is for the CV to bind, rust or otherwise stick in the hub, that is a real giant pain in the ass.
     
  4. JeffPro4x

    JeffPro4x Hot Pipe Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,535
    Location:
    Glenside, PA
    You are probably right. I don't bother with it because I brake axles enough that they never have time to seize.
     
  5. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Thanks IM1RU. Makes sense. I try to use the 4X4 as little as possible so I suppose there is some potential for the CV-axle to get stuck in the WBHA.

    I was wondering if the CV-WBHA connection was originally conceived and designed for no additives.

    I will aim for a sparse covering of anti-seize on the outer splines.
     
  6. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Dude you're way over thinking this. The front diff turns 100 % of the time, it will lube it up, that's why the seal is there..... and there is no reason to go sparse on the anti seize.

    Slap some anti seize on and stick the cv back in and drive your rig.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  7. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    LOL! Perhaps. Been surrounded by engineers since an early age, hence the 'concerns'. I have also been on the listening end of nonsense from a few professional mechanics and have read a lot of nonsense on the web over the years. This is not a knock on mechanics because in my experience, folks from all professional groups make mistakes.

    I am also being careful with the CV-axle because it is the original OEM part. I would prefer to avoid damaging it and having to replace it.

    FWIW, here is one of the web sources I used: HOW TO: CV Joints (Removal, Service, Install) [club frontier forum]

    Pasted from that thread:

    The re-installation:
    Going back out to the truck, get the half shaft into position. Remove rag from diff and give the sealing bits on both the shaft and diff a quick cleaning. Apply a small amount of grease to the c clip on the side that goes into the diff. Center this clip as best you can and place the end into the diff hole. This part can be difficult, do not force it in if it won't go. You can easily mess up the diff seal. By hand, the stub will stop right about at the step-up in size. Make sure you are holding the cv straight and that nothing is binding. Compress the whole half shaft and with a plastic hammer tap on the end of the shaft. It should not take a ton of force. If it does not go in easily, do not force it. Remove the shaft and reapply grease to the centered clip and try again. [emphasis added]
     
  8. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    I put copper anti seize on the splines and threads. Nothing anywhere else.

    @lizardking had his splines seize into his wbha once. Not something you want to have happen.
     
  9. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Meh.....it ain’t rocket surgery.

    Line it up, and give it a firm push. Should go right in..... unless you poke at the cv boot with something sharp, you ain’t gonna hurt the cv.

    I’d 2 of them in less than a hour on the trail a couple weeks ago.
     
  10. lizardking

    lizardking Bought an X

    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    wilkes-barre, PA
    God. Don't remind me. That was terrible. So glad that didn't happen on the trail.

    I just spay some fluid flim in there every time I open them up.
     
    jsexton likes this.
  11. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Update: Success! The CV-axle is back in, snug to both the front differential and the WBHA. With some doing I managed to get the nut tightened on the UCA spindle bolt.

    Shoving it back in was not working. Tapping lightly with the rubber mallet on the end of the CV-axle was not working either.

    So I reviewed a bunch of relevant threads and decided to hit harder with the rubber mallet (2 lb. I think). First, I wanted some help holding the CV-axle in place while I swung at it. The wife looked at the set up, fast-forwarded stretching her arms through a maze of front end components and suggested that I support the CV-axle with a piece of wood that would rest on the saddle of the LCAs that were pointed straight down.

    Shaved a bit off a 2 X 8 ratty piece of pressure-treated lumber, it fit perfectly. She grabbed it between thumb and index finger to keep it from wandering on the LCA while I swung hard with the old axle nut threaded on to provide more surface for the hammer.

    A couple of good wallops and in she went. Another one or two and the CV-axle was seated tight to the differential.



    Some hard to decipher photos:


    IMG_3854_1.jpg

    The WBHA is back in the knuckle. The LCA ball-joint is seated in the knuckle. Ready for the CV-axle.


    IMG_3849_1.jpg
    Above: Front differential end of CV-axle after some clean up.


    IMG_3850_1.jpg
    Above: Wheel end of Front half shaft axle after some clean-up.


    IMG_3851_1.jpg
    Above: closer-up image of cleaned up threads and splines on WBHA end of the CV-axle.

    IMG_3852_1.jpg
    Above: copper anti-seize applied.



    IMG_3888_1.jpg

    Above: Note the piece of pressure-treated wood used to support the CV-axle. Sorry for the lack of focus.



    IMG_3890_1.jpg
    Above: nut on axle, 2 lb. rubber mallet, keep CV-axle as level and true as possible, push it in tight to the differential, whale away.
     
    Blackbird SR 71 likes this.
  12. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    Next time, if you slide the splines into the spindle end, you can use the spindle as a lever to seat the inner splines/c clip into the diff. Easier than a hammer imo.
     
    IM1RU and maillet282 like this.
  13. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    jsexton: Yes, upon reflection, I see how that could be easier.

    Slide the splines into the WBHA previously installed in the knuckle/spindle and re-attached at the LCA ball-joint. Attach the axle nut.

    Then use the leverage offered by knuckle/spindle attached at the LCA ball-joint to push the CV-axle into the front differential. Should require less effort than whaling away on the rubber mallet.

    Next time.... definitely.


    Much appreciated. -Erik
     
    jsexton likes this.
  14. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    I have only had issue two times getting the CV into the differential, every other time (10-15 by now) I've just pushed it in. One of those times the C clip was too expanded, so I replaced it with the clip from the CV I'd just taken out, and in she went.
     
  15. jsexton

    jsexton Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    420
    Location:
    Lewis Center, OH
    [​IMG]
     
    Prime and IM1RU like this.
  16. IM1RU

    IM1RU Wheeling Supporting Member

    Messages:
    403
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Ah, the throw a hot dog down the hallway feeling .... yup! lol
     
  17. Blackbird SR 71

    Blackbird SR 71 Test Drive

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    I took my axle nut off with a impact socket...and that was a terrible idea - it just shredded the end of the axle threads - to where I could not get the nut to go back on. I tried to very slowly re-thread it - and didn't work. One hour later - I had a brand new CV delivered...but what a headache that was. Id never back that nut off fast again. Id just go hand loosen if anything at all.

    Whats even more odd - it also happened to a good friend at the same garage - doing the same thing. We were both just kind of floored that it shredded so easily.
     
  18. westslope

    westslope Bought an X

    Messages:
    189
    Location:
    Wildfire country, BC
    Did you remove the cotter clip?

    Were the axle threads clean or did you use a wire brush to clean them up?

    Did you use a breaker bar or similar to initially release the nut or did you just start right away with the impact wrench?

    In my case, I

    + removed the cotter pin (with some difficulty, had to use a drill to clean out the orifice on both sides if I recall),
    + cleaned up the threads with a wire brush,
    + used a breaker bar to dislodge the axle nut, and then
    + removed the axle nut with the brushless impact wrench.

    Old and new nuts were easy to thread back on. I used the old nut to help me push the CV-axle out of the WBHA.


    I am new to using a brushless impact wrench and tend to go easy out of fear of breaking stuff. The exception would be cranking the impact wrench up to re-install the nut on the UCA ball joint.

    In passing, I have yet to figure out how to torque wrench the passenger side UCA ball joint nut. It just spins.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019

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