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Front axles replacement report


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14 replies to this topic

#1 frag

frag

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 10:33 AM

I finally found the time to replace my front axles.
Here are some details that might be helpful to other shade tree mechanics.
1) Once the car on stands, to remove the axle nut (32 mm) I used a long crow bar (one end thru the studs and the other one to the ground) to keep the wheel from turning. I put short pieces of 1/2 inch copper tubing to protect the studs.
2) The right axle shaft was stuck in the hub, so I had to use axle puller (pusher...) and hammer (hope the bearings did not suffer to much) to remove it.
When I saw that the new axle would not go in more than half an inch, I used a fine triangular file to clean out the «valleys» of the hub splines. After that the shaft went thru easily.
3) I replaced both inner bearing/shaft seals. Had to unblot the sway bar's bushings and end links to get easier access to the seals for install. Not much space around there.
4) I think I remember a couple of board members having noticed lateral movement of the axles at the trans side and wondering if it was normal. It's not. I found no lateral movement there on my car.

Of course I put anti-seize grease on everything I unfastened and refastened thinking of next time.
That's it. Hope that helps.
P.-S.: I have the utmost respect for those who can do this in a couple of hours. Was not the case for me. Maybe next time. :)

#2 ShawnW

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 12:07 PM

I tend to loosen the axle nut with the wheels still on the ground. With some of Subaru's alloy wheels this isn't quite as easy. Putting the spare tire on would possibly get you a bigger access hole for the nut.

The axle procedure is very much the same for Newer Subarus as Older ones. There are some real pros on the Old Gen forum that do these in 30 minutes. The thing that might make the new gen axles harder is more stuff in the way to get the axle pins out. Our USRM page has a good writeup on axles and another tip would be to do a board search with user EDRACH and keyword Axle.

#3 99obw

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 12:15 PM

Thanks for the report.

An impact wrench makes getting the axle nuts off easier. I don't have one either so I feel your pain. :D I am considering doing the front bearings when I do the struts this summer. The struts and strut mounts are getting very tired. I will definately do the front diff seals, they are leaking a bit. Maybe I will wait on the front bearings until the axles need to be replaced.

Did you need a special tool to get the DOJs out of the diff?

Good work, glad things went relatively smoothly. :D

#4 ShawnW

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 01:31 PM

Special tool is a punch 3/16" craftsman is what I use.

#5 frag

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 01:39 PM

Here's some answers:
1) I did'nt use my impact wrench (i have one and a small portable compressor) nor did I remove the axle nut with the car's weight on the wheels cause I read somewhere (Endwrench maybe but not sure) that either procedure can damage the wheel bearings. True???
2) I think the main difference between old gen and newer gen Subarus is that on the older ones the axle was pressed in the hub but on the Legacy for instance the axle slides freely inside the splined hub (when there is no rust of course) The left axle's nut was unscrewed very easily and the axle slid out of the hub at the first push. Not so on the other side like I described. I had to jump on the breaker bar to remove the right axle nut and it took the use of my impact wrench on the axle puller center bolt + some wacks from a big hammer to have it move.
3) I'm not sure what a DOJ is, but if that answers your question, whith the spring pin out (no problem doing this apart from the fact that the righ axle's pin must be reached from above with not much place to use a hammer) the axle slid out of the diff stub shaft without any difficulty. There does'nt seem to be any water or salt getting in there.
4) I have four OEM struts waiting to be installed but I'm waiting for the old ones to really show signs of failure befor i do it. All I have right now is some noises that seem to be coming from the struts mounts when I turn the steering from lock to lock.
5) What took me the longest was removing the left ball joint. I chose that route cause the joint needed to be replaced anyway. As usual it took all I had to do this job: impact wrench, pneumatic hammer, oxyacetylene torch and BFH.
Best of luck when you do your bearings and struts 99obw.
ShawnW, I know about Ed for having been on the old generation board when I was driving the Loyale, I think a poster of him on the garage wall would have given me much needed inspiration. :D

Thanks for replying!

#6 SevenSisters

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 08:26 PM

Loosening the axle nut with an impact wrench or while the wheels are on the ground is not recommended. If I were replacing the bearings I wouldn't care, but if I were just doing the half shafts, I'd follow Subaru's procedure

.

#7 99obw

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 09:19 PM

From the FSM:

"A: REMOVAL
1. FRONT DRIVE SHAFT
1) Disconnect ground cable from battery.
2) Jack-up vehicle, support it with safety stands
(rigid racks), and remove front wheel cap and
wheels.
3) Unlock axle nut.
4) While depressing brake pedal, remove axle nut
using a socket wrench.
CAUTION:
Be sure to loosen and retighten axle nut after
removing wheel from vehicle. Failure to follow
this rule may damage wheel bearings.
5) Disconnect stabilizer link from transverse link.
6) Disconnect transverse link from housing.
7) Remove spring pin which secures transmission
spindle to DOJ/SFJ.
CAUTION:
Use a new spring pin."

I can't find anything about not using an impact wrench, but they do specifically recommend using a "socket wrench".

Good to know.

I must have been thinking of the rear axles regarding the special tool.

#8 avk

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 10:15 PM

Frag: to reach the right-side roll pin from below, the punch should be long enough, or you can insert its back end into a suitable hex socket, usually 8mm, over an extension bar. On Impreza, I had to do it like that because from the top, there's cruise control in the way. The punch itself should be 6mm and in Canada maybe you can actually get one. I had to use 3/16" (1/4" won't fit).

#9 frag

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 09:58 AM

avk, thanks for the tip about puting the punch handle in a 8mm socket and extension. Would have been useful ... but why did'nt I think of that...:o
I was using a short (5-6 inches) punch from a set. I dont know exactly what size it was but it worked perfectly. I used the same punch + a cold chisel to remove the crimp on the axle nut and after that to crimp the new nut.

#10 dann

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:42 AM

Has anybody ever just pulled the axle out of the differential without driving out the roll pin? I bought a transmission to swap out for my dying one and it came without the stub shafts that stick out of the differential. It is a 94 legacy 4eat. The guy said thats the way he pulls axles - just pull the whole thing out of the differential. He talked about a spring type retaining ring on the inboard end of the stub shaft that will disengage with pull and allow it to slide out. I went to pull out the stub shafts on my old unit to reinstall them in the newer one but in my opinion they don't seem to pull easy. I don't have a detail of how these stub shafts are retained to feel comfortable putting a puller on it. They have some free motion in and out of the differential but seem to have a positive stop that limits their coming out.

#11 dann

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 10:14 AM

As a followup to my question & with the help of Josh and his FSM details - I pulled the stub shafts without any complication last night. They are held with a circlip that collapses with just enough pull force. It stays with the shaft and doesn't disappear in the differential to cause problems. The shafts slide out easy after that. It a good trick to know if you booger up the roll pin sometime trying to change out an axle or just get tired of trying to drive it out in such a cramped area.

#12 WANTONSOUPGUY

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 07:08 AM

I would like to add for anyone doing their first half-alxe job on a newer suby. My 00 OBW took me 9 hours (3 travelling for parts and 1 for stupidity). If you want to disconnect the lower ball joint to get the new axle in, and you feel you must hammer it to loosen it, make sure you put the crown nut or another nut over the threads of the ball-joint. Otherwise you will destroy the threads on the ball joint which will take you alot more time for ball joint replacement. Also ***very important***when you attempt to put the new axle on, make sure the splines match up with the hole. If you put the axle on it may look like it is lined up, but wont work because it needs to be flipped 180 degrees. I hope this saves someone the pain of having to pull apart and reassemble everything because of the spline thing. I have no service manual, but when they come out I will be the first in line.

#13 edrach

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 09:08 AM

Craftsman #42885 WF is the 3/16" punch; works great.

Special tool is a punch 3/16" craftsman is what I use.



#14 Scottbaru

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 11:31 AM

This is the kind of thread that's kept me addicted to car forums for a decade, very useful info. I have an impact wrench, but prefer my 3/4"-drive wrench for things like this, sometimes the 1"-drive breaker bar is needed. My 3/4"-drive ratchet is probably my most borrowed tool, I highly recommend having one. The circlip on the splined shaft was always replaced on my VW, Audi, and Landcruiser axles. Very cheap part, might as well.

#15 TurboSPFI

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 11:54 AM

I must have been thinking of the rear axles regarding the special tool.



Yeah, a punch... The rear axles are 10x easier to R&R than the front ones... Unless they are seized onto the stub shaft on the diff, torching the pass side is risky since the gas tank is right there.. Even I said to heck with that!




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