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How difficult is it to change CV joints?

bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
edited March 6 in Toyota
Have any of you ever replaced the CV joints on a Toyota Tercel? I've been told that the entire axle assembly can be purchased (with new CV joints already installed), and this was by far the easiest way to replace them. Is this true? How tough is it to remove the old axle assembly, and install the new one?


  • bburton1bburton1 Posts: 395
    is not hard but what is your time worth. Some of the parts store chains sell remanufactured short shafts and you are really taking a chance. Suggest you look in the yellow pages and find a local machine shop that specalizes in drive trains, take you old shaft to them and let them rebuild it. Get a shop manual. You will also need some pickle forks to get the various joints free. I like working on cars but would suggest this is a dirty, mindless (suits me well) project and you will probably save a few bucks if you time is worth almost nada.
  • bburton1bburton1 Posts: 395
    A good friend had an old Tercel-the CV joints were such crap that when he turned a corner it would go BANG BANG BANG-that was the CV joint skipping a hole-really made a racket and the whole vehicle shook-he drove it like that for 3 years so if you are only driving around town-don't bother changing it unless making a huge racket is a bother.
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    a little time consuming however, if you purchased a rebuilt they are sketchy with regard to quality and often can break again alternative get a haynes manual read the procedure and see if you can by the part at the dealer again this component may be costly however if you do the job you'll know it was done right and quality part was used.

    It may get a little messy however you'll probably in long run feel you happy you performed the work
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I did mine on a Nissan Sentra. It was easy and I got the entire shaft (inner and outer boots) for 80 bucks. It has a lifetime warranty, even if the boots ever tear. Normally, you would expect to pay over 100 bucks to have just a bad boot replaced, if a mechanic does it right. You need to make sure you have all of the right tools. An air impact wrench is a big help, a socket that will fit your front axial nut, a floor jack and a basic tool box. It took me about 1.5 hours to do the job. Jack the side of the car up high on the side that you are going to change. This will prevent the transmission fluid from draining out when you pull the shaft. Next remove the wheel, brake caliper (don't disconnect the brake line, just move it out of the way), remove the hub nut, and disconnect the what ever steering linkage that you truly have to ( you may not have to remove much to swing it), so you can pull the shaft out. Put a little trans fluid on the new shaft where it rides on the seal and reassemble everything.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    It's a job I wouldn't do. Filthy work lying on your back!
  • shmangshmang Posts: 297
    Yeah, I agree with isellhondas. It is not a rocket science and I can do it with ease (on the brain part), but it is a messy and pain job if you have to do it with a jack stand. It really not worth the effort.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866

    are those split CV joints that you see in places like AutoZone worth anything? My guess would be that it would be next to impossible to fill these things with grease and slap them on an axle without getting the whole dealybop completely filthy.

    If anyone has ever made these things work, I'd be interested. Obviously doing the job right is a lot more money. I'm thinking about this primarily in old beaters that you want to get a few extra miles out of. Fifteen bucks for the kit and you can get an extra 20K , and then replace the axles if you still hold onto the car.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    You don't fill CV boots with grease. But the split boots are put on without disassembling any hardware. Are they worth it? I think so. Are they as good as a non-split boot? I don't think so.

    Depends on the type. I've had the ones with the little screws that hold the seam together. They are junk. Had to replace several of them. They are semi rigid (to make the screws work) and end up cracking. Then I used the type where you glue the seam together. They are better.

    But use them on the beaters. They save a lot of work.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    Or complete reconditioned axels are usually the way to go on Japanese brands. When replacing a boot, unless it has just a small crack, you want to disassemble the joint and clean it before re-booting. Toyota and Nissan products for sure (I stopped trying to diassemble Japanese axels before trying others) have retainers that make removing the joint from the axel more difficult than domestic brands or Europian brands. After replacing boots on eleven T or N vehicles, and breaking the second outer joint attempting to remove it, I now only replace axels or send them somewhere else.

    On Ford, GM, VW, or Chrysler, it only takes seconds with a mallet and punch, or a snap ring pliers (depending on type of retainer) to remove the joint. The western Pacific variety require enough force to destroy the ring, it seems to be because the groove in the star lets the ring expand more. As stated earlier Warranties on re-conditioned axels are better too.

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    by the time you replace the CV boots you might as well replace the entire axle. That's why I asked about the split boots. At least they're a lot cheaper than doing a complete boot replacement. Once you go for the boots and do it right, you'd be better off replacing the entire axle.

    (My experiences on this are ONLY Japanese cars)
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    largely because their rebuild quality is not always that precise and you find yourself invariably replacing the unit in a very short time as opposed to taking out the time to do it correctly the replacement boots if bought at the dealer last 3x longer than the aftermarket and once the job is done correctly it'll take the same amount of years for that boot to go as opposed a aftermarket
  • guybostonguyboston Posts: 3

    I just had my axles replaced but about three weeks later when I tried to accelerate I got a continuous clicking/popping noise and the car would accelerate slowly but the front would shake violently. I took it in and was told that the right front intermediate shaft was broken and the right front axle had come out of position. Also the engine mount was broken. I don't understand what happened. Why would the axles cause the engine mount to break any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    A broken motor mount may let the engine-trans assembly move far enough to pull the axel out of the transmission and break lots of things.

  • guybostonguyboston Posts: 3
    See I find it just peculair that this all happened after I had the axles done. My question is that would torque from the transmission trying to turn an axle which has slipped out cause the mount to break. Because a week later after the engine mount was fixed it happend again. Also how would the car react if an engine mount was broken.

    I'm an Engineer by ocupation and it bothers me that when I talk to mechanics I can't be intellegent about it. Maybe I should take an auto mechanic course somewhere. I guess that is what this board is for to learn and grow.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    I don't think the axel would break the motor mount, but changing the axel could damage the intermediate shaft if the parts were stuck from rust and excess force was used. That in conjuction with a bad motor mount that went unnoticed could cause the rest of the problem.

    Co-incedences also happen. Someone once left a car at my shop, and I did not know what it was there for, so I never touched it. In the afternoon this guy stops by, and explains that his daughter left the car at the wrong shop. Then he wanted to blame me that it wouldn't start. Turned out she left it in "Drive", I went out, looked, put it in "Park" and it started right away. (he was supposed to get a brake job somewhere else. :<)

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,593
    It "never did that before" !!
  • I had to replace the clutch on my son's 626 and that meant taking off both axles. Its a job that took me 1/2 day to do. Once I got the damn tranny in and drove it..........SONABITCH LEAKED!

    HINT: Replace both tranny seals while you are at it and use the OEM seals. Got the first one from AUTOZONE and it wasn't any good. I had to get one from MAZDA and worked.

    That means I took out the shafts 3 freaking times.

    Have Fun!
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    seals and gaskets from the dealers less hassles and usually they fit perfectly. Also went to a website that sells new axels which I prefer than rebuilt you can order them already assembled or by the unit or boots separatly and assemble you're self website called or check it out.
  • Split boots are difficult to find in the exact sizes necessary for the different CV shafts that are found on Camrys. Corollas are much easier to find split boots for. Split boots are not as long lasting as non-split boots. I prefer to install the unsplit boots from after market kits which cost about $15 to $20 for each boot and include special CV grease and special snap rings. Toyota sells a very good kit for Camrys with 2 boots, grease, and rings for about $50. To install unsplit boots, you must remove the steering knuckle. I've found using an impact wrench very valuable in doing this. There is a little trick to remove the tulip from the outer boot so you don't have to pull the CV shaft out of the trans (which can be difficult on Corollas with the chance to damage the CV to trans lip seal). It is explained in the kit instructions; I use a external snap ring pliers to perform it.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    how do tell when your CV joints are starting to go bad?

This discussion has been closed.