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Front axle won't come out of hub...SOLVED!


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19 replies to this topic

#1 msteel

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

[EDIT - solved!!! See below]


Anybody got any hints for getting a stubborn axle out of the hub?

I have the nut off, and have the inner end of the axle disconnected from the transmission, but I can't get the outer end out of the splines in the hub. I've tried beating it out, and I have tried a 3-jaw puller, which resulted in breaking the puller (Harbor Freight...)

The car is a 2002 Outback. I suspect rust is involved...

Edited by msteel, 21 January 2013 - 04:59 PM.
Fixed!


#2 CoupedUpSubie

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:32 PM

Dump some PB Blaster or similar product in there and let it sit. Might take a bit of a bigger hammer to get moving.

#3 Subruise

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

if you can, get a can of kroil. its expensive but also magical. it has an enzyme that eats rust. use as directed.

#4 CNY_Dave

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

I hate to ask if you knew to tighten the 3-jaw then hammer like a lunatic on the screw. Then, when the screw loosened, to tighten and hammer some more.

Kroil is good, ATF plus a solvent (wd-40 as a solvent in a pinch) is almost as good.

Pep-boys has a good fixed-jaw 3-jaw puller, for borrowing or it's about 30 bucks to buy.

#5 msteel

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

Thanks for the suggestions.

P'Blaster has been on it several hours, but because the hub is still on the car it's not quite in a position to soak. I'm considering bringing the knuckle inside because I already have the strut loose and all I'd need to do was disconnect the ABS sensor and one end of the ball joint or the other. I'm a bit afraid I'll need a drill and a tap to get the pinch bolt out...

I'll have to see about Kroil. I've seen it but never used it. I also have some "Berkebile" I think, was in the car when I bought it from my father in law.

Never heard of hammering on the screw of the puller. That would at least give me something stable enough to let me use both hands on the hammer.

Edited by msteel, 19 January 2013 - 07:30 PM.
spelling


#6 msteel

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

And I thought that now that I've left EA82 land for Legacy land, the axles would be tons easier :-\

#7 nickb21

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

Well that sucks. I just replace the front axle on my '02 and it only took a couple smacks with the 2lb hammer. :/

I would definitely be hesitant pulling the pinch bolt. Maybe it's easier to leave the pinch and pull the ball-joint out of the control arm (which I ended up doing anyway). If I recall correctly; I braced the control arm and used a small jack on a mostly loosened castle nut to pop the ball joint out..

#8 CNY_Dave

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

This style puller is made to be hit with a hammer:

Posted Image

The horrid freight ball-joint popper tool undoes the bottom ball joint connection quite nicely, worth it to avoid touching the pinch bolt.

Posted Image

#9 vasy

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:24 PM

Anybody got any hints for getting a stubborn axle out of the hub?

I have the nut off, and have the inner end of the axle disconnected from the transmission, but I can't get the outer end out of the splines in the hub. I've tried beating it out, and I have tried a 3-jaw puller, which resulted in breaking the puller (Harbor Freight...)

The car is a 2002 Outback. I suspect rust is involved...


I had a similar situation 2 years ago. It's a 96 Outback wagon. When I did the left axle, the axle came out of the hub easily by hand. But the right side wouldn't. With an extension pipe added to the wrench, I almost broke the 3-jaw puller rented from Adv Auto but I stopped in time. I then removed the axle together with the hub from the car. Placing the axle vertically on the floor while soaking the splines with PB Blaster all night. But not a drop of the liquid seemed to get into the splines next morning. So in my case, penetrating oil didn't help because it couldn't get into the splines. I've heard that some people broke the hub when using a hydraulic press to separate the axle from the hub so I didn't try that. Ended up just rebooting the CV joint and put it back to my car without separating the axle from the hub.

#10 89Ru

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

i broke a set of three-jaws too, makes for a loud bang and then everything falls off except the axle is still stuck. you may have magnetite on the splines. its very brittle and hammering is necessary to break it up. the combination of pressure and hammering seems to be the best as has already been mentioned. kroil works great on rust but not on magnetite. neither will pb blaster. did an experiment for several months and the only solvent i have found to work on magnetite is liquid wrench but i don't bother to use it anymore. i have berkbile carb cleaner, do they make rust solvents?

50-ton press just makes the axle nervous but it still might not give it up. As has been mentioned, use the otc-7208A tool to wrench-hammer-wrench-hammer-etc...seems to work the best or otc makes bigger tools than that. air hammer works good too. you need something to hammer against so leave the ball joint mated to the control arm until the axle is loose. lots of repeating here but don't touch pinch joint, there is may be so much rust built up on the ball joint head its ridiculous to try to get it out unless the boot is torn and that's easily done (been there) if you use an unfriendly tool. even if the pinch joint bolt is out, ball joint could still be really stuck. have fun, you'll get it out.

#11 msteel

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

Ended up just rebooting the CV joint and put it back to my car without separating the axle from the hub.


That sounds like a very safe thing to do.

Aside from the quality of the HF puller, would a good puller of this style be made to be hit?
Posted Image


In any case I'm out of time until Monday or Tuesday. Maybe the answer will become clear by then.

#12 CNY_Dave

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:40 PM

That sounds like a very safe thing to do.

Aside from the quality of the HF puller, would a good puller of this style be made to be hit?
Posted Image


In any case I'm out of time until Monday or Tuesday. Maybe the answer will become clear by then.


The puller pictured won't stand up to serious force (the bolt will bend and spring back when hit, absorbing the force), the very short heavy cast one is also much less likely to warp the flange.

The subaru tool has a big round metal plate and bolts to all 5 studs, they obviously know some are going to be a real bastard.

http://www.pepboys.c...etails/9911422/

Edited by CNY_Dave, 19 January 2013 - 10:46 PM.


#13 89Ru

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:03 PM

Aside from the quality of the HF puller, would a good puller of this style be made to be hit?


i would think so but i haven't tried it with the hf 3-jaw

in principle the force translates down the threaded shaft to the axle. axle will give and loosen tension on the jaws. tighten it and hit it again. repeat. if the axle gives too much the jaws loosen their grip and fall off.


for really stuck axles this will work very well

http://www.ntxtools....e/OTC-6574.html

#14 CoupedUpSubie

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

You shouldn't need to touch the pinch bolt to get the knuckle free from the lower control arm. A long prybar with a tapered end or a wedge driven in between the knuckle and control arm should pop it free with ease. Also vibrating the control arm with a hammer helps free the ball joint from the control arm.

#15 89Ru

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:32 PM

a wedge driven in between the knuckle and control arm should pop it free with ease


exactly. a bull pin makes a nice wedge.

#16 mdjdc

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:00 AM

A friend of mine who is a subie master mechanic said to oosen the axle nut and soak it with PB blaster. Then he said to take the car for a spirited ride around the bleck. He sait that always breaks the ones that are stubborn loose. I haven't tried it thugh. I am just going to replace the whole knuckle shen the time comes. I already know that my right side is frozen. Been rebooted on the car once already.

#17 msteel

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

Success!

The combination of this loaner tool (OEM puller 27037) from Auto Zone:
http://contentinfo.a.../27037/image/2/

And some hammering with an 8 pound hammer got it loose. Once it was out, the new axle went in easily. I disconnected the knuckle from the strut instead of the ball joint because I was also replacing the struts. And it needed aligned anyway.

Edited by msteel, 21 January 2013 - 04:58 PM.
Wasn't really even "almost easily"


#18 mdjdc

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:02 PM

I hope you put anti seize on the splines or you are going to encounter this problem again.

#19 Olnick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

A little late but maybe this will help someone else down the road.

My axles were stuck solid. Hammering didn't work, puller didn't either. So I fabbed a plastic cup to flood the splines with penetrating oil!

Cut a short (about 1") piece of 1.5" diameter PVC drain and JB Welded a plastic jar lid to it. Made a small hole in the center of the lid (but did a sloppy job of it so I JB'd another piece on with a neat, pre-formed hole!)

Used household silicone caulk/sealant to mount it to the hub face so it surrounded the outer end of the axle. Poured in a pool of Liquid Wrench (still my favorite!) hoping it would wick into the splines, turned the hub about 60-degrees every half-hour or so.

Guess it worked--next morning the puller slid the axle out! Here's what it looked like:

Posted Image

Posted Image

#20 mikaleda

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:47 PM

Nice that is a cool way to soak the axle that will help me with my gl. Thanks for showing us that




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