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I'm working to rejuvenate a 93 Honda FourTrax 300 4x4, that's been stored in a garage under piles of junk for the past 15 years. I've got it running, and have turned my attention to the torn left front outboard CV boot.

I picked up a replacement boot, but to install it I have to remove the front axle (which is something I've never done). What do I have to do to remove the axle?

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You're likely going to have to move that jackstand somehwere other than the control arm in order to get the ball joint out. –  Josh Caswell Feb 10 at 0:23
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2 Answers 2

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I can't speak to specifics for your ATV, but the basic process for removing an axle is:

  1. Take off the nut holding the axle in the wheel hub. I do this with a large socket wrench/breaker bar.

  2. Remove the lower ball joint from the lower control arm (see the bottom middle of your second photo). This can be difficult, and lots of the methods people suggest will destroy the ball joint. Instead, try this method: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJR77aN-MDk. You might need to vary the shape of the tool you insert to work with your vehicle, but the concept should work.

  3. Lift the hub to free it from the lower control arm, then slide the end of the axle back through it (a hammer can help) and swing the hub out to the side to get it out of the way.

  4. Remove the other end of the axle from the transaxle/differential. On my vehicle, this is accomplished by prying behind it with a screwdriver. Look closely at what you're doing and be careful not to jam anything in where it could damage something.

Installation is generally the reverse of removal, but there are a few caveats. You might need some force to get the new axle to snap in, but you need to make sure you don't pull on it or you could separate the CV joints. And when you reattach the ball joint, make sure to use a good cotter pin. I once had one fall out or break off and I lost the castle nut while driving...wasn't fun.

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I recently did this on my Acura and the steps are pretty much right on. The hardest part for me was the ball joint, as it took me forever to figure out to adapt the method in the video with some good old stepping on the knuckle. Also the axle wouldn't come out of the differential until I gave it a few light taps with a hammer (sideways). Last comment is, when using a screwdriver/prybar to get the axle out of the transmission/diff side, be very careful to not damage the rubber o-rings, or else you might have transmission fluid seeping out at the joint. –  vlsd May 21 '13 at 15:56
    
I used a ball joint separator, to separate the ball joint from the lower control arm. Worked well in my case. –  Tester101 May 24 '13 at 12:41
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Those things will destroy the boot on the ball joint, so all the grease leaks out, followed quickly by ball joint failure... –  R.. May 24 '13 at 15:54
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My preferred method is to remove the four bolts that hold the two A arms on (14 mm where the A arms attach to the frame) there will be plenty of play in the assembly to move it out of the way, give the axle a good yank and it will come out of the front differential, for the outside boot (I have never gotten one of them apart with out destroying it) I either purchase an over the joint boot (very cool, it just stretches over the entire joint [follow directions exactly, turn it inside out before stretching it over the joint, once on the axle you will then undo that process so it will be on correct]) or replace the inner one too, it can be taken apart easily by removing the wire retainer just inside the joint, there is a clip on the end of the shaft that holds the bearing cage on. Install the outer boot by sliding it down the shaft and on the joint and work your way to the inner boot and close it all up. Don't forget those two clips that hold the inner one together.

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