CV joint replacement is a fairly involved process, but not beyond the reach of the Do-It-Yourself person. Having the right tools and knowledge will make your CV joint replacement project a smooth and successful one.
The CV (Constant Velocity) joint is used in front-wheel drive vehicles. The joints are located at each end of the drive axles and have rubber boots attached around them, to keep dust, dirt, rust or other manner of debris away from the joints. The rubber boots also keep the necessary lubricants in.
CV joint replacement may be necessary when you see fluids leaking from the boots, if you hear clicking sounds while turning the wheels, or thudding/clunking noises coming from the front end.
For this replacement, we will use a CV joint replacement assembly instead of individual components. This assembly is also known as a drive-axle assembly. Replacing the whole assembly is a lot easier and possibly less expensive in the long run.
Tools and Materials
- CV joint replacement assembly
- Tire Iron
- Socket wrench and sockets
- Breaker bar
- Screwdriver or pry bar
- Tie rod puller
- Cotter pin
Step 1 – Preparation
Park your vehicle on a flat surface and raise it using a floor jack. For safety measures, place a jack stand under the vehicle and lower the vehicle onto the stand. Remove the wheel lug nuts and the wheel and set them aside. Do not lose the lug nuts.
Step 2 – Accessing the CV Joint
Before installing the CV joint replacement assembly, you may have to remove the brake assembly. Using the proper sized sockets and your socket wrench, remove the spindle nut. The spindle nut is located in the center of the wheel hub. You may need to use the breaker bar for greater force. The pry bar can be applied against the lug studs, to prevent the wheel assembly from rotating.
If the brake assembly and rotor need to be removed, loosen the bolts that hold them in place and carefully set them on a bucket or something tall enough to keep the brake hose from stretching or separating from the brake unit.
Lastly, remove the cotter pin and/or bolts holding the lower control arm in place, and separate the control-arm ball joint from the steering knuckle component, using the tie rod puller.
Step 3 – Replacing the CV Joint Assembly
Locate where the drive axle connects to the transmission and carefully pry it away from the transmission. Continue removing the drive axle completely and set it aside.
Take the new CV joint replacement assembly and slide it into position where the old assembly was. Ensure that the assembly is securely set in place before continuing.
Step 4 – Finishing the Installation
Once the CV joint replacement assembly is in place, reverse the removal procedures and reassemble the wheel assembly. Use a new cotter pin when replacing the lower control arm assembly.
Replace the tire and tighten the lug nuts finger tight. Raise the car off the jack stand and then slowly lower the car to the ground. Finish tightening the lug nuts and clean up and discard any unneeded parts.