Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: At the other end of the state
Whoa...Before you go and remove those boots you better have a way to replace those boot clamps. This is easier said than done. I have a set of factory clamps here, but no way to crimp them on. I tried to find some clamps from some of the suppliers around here and many do not even repair axles any more. Since the advent of cheap axle rebuilds, many have given up trying to compete. I got really lucky, my old rebuilder has a machine that put on some clamps for me. Best part was that he gave me the whole job free, since he hadn't strapped axles in a long time and a good friend.
Next time I might not be so lucky to find someone with a strapping machine.
Yes, the axles are a messy affair. I rebuilt all of my CV joints. The hardest ones to get off are the outer CV joints. You might not be able to disassemble them. The inners are easier.
1. Remember which side is the outside of the CV unit. This will aid your installation. The CV joint will go on both ways but only one will allow you to install the circlip.
2. Watch the paper sealing gaskets as they will tend to tear. These gaskets go between the CV joint and the CV axle in the transmission. Remove and replace carefully. If they split you might wind up smearing grease over the engine compartment out through the tiny split.
3. Check the inner CV unit for wear. If there is any deep marks where the bearings run in the race, chances are you will hear a clicking sound upon rebuilding. This is slack that is taken up when you accel and decel by the ball bearings in the race. This wear looks like a shiny spot with some indentation in the metal. A shiny spot is normal but if it has a couple of thousandths in depth you might want to consider replacement. This is very hard metal, probably on the order of 56 Rockwell or higher. If anyone has any exact measurements I would like to hear.
4. The ball bearings must not have any wear. This will accellerate the wear in the CV unit. A good ball bearing should have a polished appearance.
5. Take a picture of the CV joint before you take anything apart. The bearings, and the cage are tricky if you haven't ever done one. When you bend the CV joint over, the ball bearings can fall out and it will then become a chinese puzzle of frustration trying to get every thing back in place.
6. The CV joint must be exceptionally clean. Any dirt, grime, etc will be like sand against your teeth to a CV joint. Use Moly grease or synthetic grease. I rebuilt my axles with synthetic grease and they are very quiet, and should give me good service. By the time most people discover the CV boot is split, alot of dirt has already worked its way in to the bearing and the grease is long gone.
7. Be aware of the alignment of the inner bearing race to the outer race. There is two ways to put them together. One is binding and the other is free movement. I know, as I couldn't figure this one out for a couple of days of what I was doing wrong. These have two different widths, and do not align the points together. Take note of this before you disassemble the CV joint of where things are aligned. It is easy to mix things up and still think it will work, when it doesn't.
8. Do not over pack the bearing. You might think you are doing the right thing by putting in alot of grease, but it isn't the thing to do. A bearing needs only about 16 oz. of grease. If the bearing is adequately packed it will last a long time. The bearing should have grease all around the bearings and cage and up to the edges of the CV joint.
9. Do not use a steel hammer on these CV joints. A brass hammer is more than enough to remove a CV race from the axle splines. There is a circlip that holds the inner race to the axle. Once this is off, the inner axle CV joint will come off with mild tapping of the brass hammer.
If you misalign the CV joint putting it back on, the CV joint can ruin the splines on the axle before you realize it. Then it will be near to impossible to get the CV joint back on the axle.
10. How a CV joint goes back on the axle isn't necessary for you to mark the axle, as any place it goes back on is ok. It isn't like a traditional driveshaft where you have to make sure the u-joints are in alignment. The alignment of the inner and outter CV races is what is critical ( see above)
11. Reassembly- use antiseize on the axle that goes through the outer splines so it is easier to remove next time.
Don't forget to put the circlip back on the axle! Be sure the axle is fully seated in the race before tightening down the axle nut.
12. Acura axle nuts make a great replacement for the factory nut. They are as strong and look as good. Some of the aftermarket axle nuts just don't look like they would hold up compared to what came with the car (thinner metal)
13. The axle nut according the info I have is torqued to 200 ft/lbs. That is a lot! I have 100+ on mine and it seems adequate.
14. Make sure the Allen bolts and nuts are very tight on the stub axles. It is easy to not get them tight as there is very little room in the area.
I have pictures but with out a server to upload them to, I have no clue how to post pictures in here. This was to be a big tech article for the Alfa Owner, but it got sidetracked.
Ok, flame away and tell me I don't know what I am talking about. I can handle the heat, I have rebuilt alot of CV joints on Hondas, Nissans, VW's etc. Nary a one has given me a problem. Everyone has their way of doing CV joints and mine is only one approach. My 164 axles are quiet and should hold up well for another 100,000 miles or til the next boot splits.
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Last edited by velocedoc; 01-26-2007 at 08:36 PM.