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  • How to Replace Axles

    Maybe your axle has been clicking for the last few weeks, or it's been particularly stubborn on right turns lately. And then your steering fails. It's time to replace the axle(s) on your ATV, and put into practice regular checks of the boots for wear and tear in the future. This means you'll be more prepared and able to proactively change out your axle boots or full axles, rather than getting caught out like you did this time.

    Requirements

    Before changing your axles, you'll wan to make sure you have a clean workspace, your OEM service manual, and correct replacement parts at a bare minimum.

    Tools you should have on hand include:

    • impact wrench (if available)
    • needle nose pliers
    • rubber, dead blow or brass hammer (anything you have which can minimize impact blows to parts)
    • anti-sieze product
    • large floor jack
    • metric wrenches
    • moly grease (for CV joint / boot replacement)
    • band clamp tension tool (for CV joint / boot replacement)

    Note, these are general instructions; you should always refer to your OEM service manual for specifics.

    This is likely going to be a process that tries your patience for a number of reasons, we here at American CV recommend laying out all your tools and parts ahead of time so you're not searching for them while doing this axle replacement. It may save you a few unhappy words.

    Process - Removal

    The first part of the process is the removal of the bad parts. As assemblies of each machinie is different, it's always worthwhile to take notes and photos of alignment during the removal so you're able to easily reverse engineer the setup with new parts. Of course, before you start anything, your machine should be up on the jack.

    Once up, generally, the process looks like:

    1. Remove the wheel hub. Depending on the machine you have, along with loosening and removing the lug nuts with the impact wrench or other tool you may need to first remove the cotter pin and axle nut. Check the torque required for this, as it may impact tool choice.
      1. Note you'll want to use the needle nose pliers to remove the cotter pin.
      2. The axle nut you will likely need to remove with a socket wrench, typically 27mm.
    2. Unbolt the knuckle. There should be a top and bottom bolt to remove. If you have a dust cover, they will drop out here, so keep an eye out.
    3. Remove the axle from the splines. This is where things can get a bit hairy. Once you persuade the knuckle out, the axle will be able to come out of the splines. You may need to use the dead blow hammer to allow it to come out. Pull it out straight and with force.

    You're done with the removal, and now it's time to put the new axle assembly in.

    A few things to note when you're installing the new axle (which should install and click into place with relative ease):

    • always use a new cotter pin. It's generally the weakest and often most stressed part of the installation and re-using the old cotter pin is asking for trouble.
    • when you install the new axle use a bit of anti-sieze lubricant on the splines to make sure if you need to remove the installation things move smoothly.

    For Boot / CV Joint Replacement

    If you need to replace the CV joint or boot, follow the steps above to replace the axle then continue on with these steps:

    1. If you need to replace the boots, you'll need to further deconstruct the axle, pulling the boots away from the CV joint and up the axle, then using the deadblow hammer to pursuade the CV joint off the axle. Repeat for both sides.
    2. Replace the damaged parts.
    3. Slide the boots onto the axle, confirming they're for the proper end. Install the small clip onto the axle end.
    4. Drive the joint back into the axle. To do this properly, you'll need a vise or a table with a hole in it. If you need ring compressor to keep this steady but don't have any handy, a zip tie will do in a pinch.
    5. Pack the CV joint generously with moly grease. Clean the clamping surface of any grease.
    6. Side the boots into position and install new CV clamps.
    7. CV boot clamp installation - confirm with your OEM manual, as there are 2 different types of CV boot straps. Confirm which and install according to those specifications.

    For specific questions, please refer to your OEM manual, or speak directly to one of our specialists.

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