the axle shaft can only go on ONE way.
i'm going to try to explain it and it might sound like a lot - but it's unbelievably simple if you can open your eyes and pay attention - it takes like 3 minutes to line them up properly and knock the pin in. follow these directions and don't guess and you'll be done in no time, works every time.
***if one end of the pin is now deformed from messing/banging with it, make sure you're not installing that side first - install the cleanest looking side first or get a new one if you really banged it up.
look at the holes on the stub shaft and axle that the pin goes through. you'll notice one side the hole has a valley of the splines in the center, on the other it has a high groove in the center. so the axle and stub shaft only line up one way.
best way is to be directly under the stubby shaft of the transmission and make sure you install it with the holes lined up and the correct orientation. if you look before you install you don't have to guess. valley with valley or peak with peak for the hole on the axle and hole on the trans.
while yo'ure under it - slide it all the way towards the trans. depending how you removed it - it could be under tension and pulling slightly away from the transmission misaligning the holes.
align it and reuse your old pin. i have done at least 100 axles...if not more...and i've always reused the pins. unnecessary for new, but if it makes you feel better tear it up.
was your old axle bad or just a torn boot? if it's just a torn boot i'd keep it.
using aftermarket axles is generally a really bad choice. the original OEM axles are far better and last the life of the vehicle if rebooted.
aftermarkets have a zillion issues and generally don't last very long without one popping it's head up on you. you can search google or any subaru forum to see how bad they are. better %100 successful solution is to buy a used Subaru axle and reboot it if yours is actually bad.
i would not drive without that pin, that's a lot of weight slinging around that will cause some damage if it does slide off. not likely but on a 97 wagon there's bound to be some flex in the chassis...
Edited by grossgary, 26 July 2013 - 06:58 AM.