Cars with front wheel drive have a very important part known as the front axle shaft. They are usually available in pairs called half shafts. This shaft is attached from the engine’s transaxle to the center of the car. The attachment moves on to the wheel hub. These shafts enable the front wheels to perform upward and downward motion. It also assists the car while taking turns at the corners. Over a period of time, these joints wear out. As a result you experience clunking and vibrations in your car.
To change a front axle shaft, you would require following tools
- A jack
- Jack stand
- Socket set
- New front axle shaft
- High power drill
- Wood and hammer block
Step 1- Jack Up the Car
Jack and support the car properly. By doing this, you will be able to diagnose any problems with the joints. This can be done by turning the wheel slowly, with your hands. Hold on to the shaft’s metal part situated between the joints. Any uneven clunking is a sign of a half shaft joint that is not working properly. You need to purchase these half shafts from a dealer or from an automobile parts store.
Step 2- Remove the Shaft’s Nut
When you remove the wheel, you will notice a large nut. This nut has a threaded shaft and is located in the middle of the brake rotor. It is usually the end of the half shaft. You need to undo the nut and remove it completely.
Step 3- Suspend the Brake Assembly
Loosen and take the suspension parts apart, which hold the wheel and brake assembly. Most of the front wheel cars come with a front suspension. It is supported with the help of a strut. The bottom of the strut fits at the top of the wheel and brake assembly. It is maintained in this position with help of numerous large bolts. These bolts clamp and hold the wheel hub to the bottom of the strut. A spring compressor is useful in clamping down the assembly.
Step 4- Pry and Hammer
After clamping down the brake and wheel assembly, you need to shorten the coil spring. This spring is part of the strut and is useful at later stages. You need to pry and hammer the shaft to get them loose. Use of rust penetrating oil aids you in performing this task.
Step 5- Remove the Threaded Shaft
After the separation of the strut, you now have to rotate the threaded shaft. This helps it to come out of the hub. In case it gets stuck, you need to turn the steering wheel either way. Sometimes, you have to loosen the steering arm from the wheel hub as well.
Step 6- Replacing the Axle Shaft
After removing the outer half shaft, remove the bolts that hold the inner end of the shaft. Replace the assembly with a new front axle shaft. Reassemble in reverse of removal. Do not forget to torque the middle nut as per your car’s specifications.