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Technical Help For ATV UTV CV Joint or Axle Replacement

Common Questions:

  • Outboard refers to the location closest to the tire.
  • Inboard refers to the location closest to the differential.
  • Left is the left side if you are sitting on the machine – driver side.
  • Right is the right side if you are sitting on the machine – passenger side. 

Common Mistakes:

  • Don’t rely on the production date to determine the year of your model. Most models built late in the year are actually the following year model. Please call our toll free number and we can help you determine which year you have.

Signs of Failing Front or Rear Axle Shaft:

  • Clicking or popping during tight turns indicates possible outboard cv joint damage.
  • Shudder or clunking when accelerating or decelerating indicates possible inboard cv joint damage. 

What tools should I use when removing or replacing a CV joint?

When replacing a CV joint, the tools you should have on hand are:

  • OEM service manual
  • Bench vise
  • Dead blow or brass hammer
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Side dikes
  • Small flat screwdriver
  • Band clamp tension tool
  • Moly CV-joint grease
  • Snap ring pliers
  • Large punch for knocking CV joint / race off

What tools should I use when removing or replacing an axle?

When replacing an axle, the tools you should have on hand are:

  • OEM service manual
  • Impact wrench (if you have one)
  • Metric wrenches NOTE: Older machines may be SAE
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Rubber hammer
  • Anti-seize product
  • Large floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Pickle fork (to pop ball joint)

What type of grease should I be using? Why?

Generally, you want grease for your CV joint which can stand up to high pressure and high temperatures and the high-load bearing capacity of the CV joint, and is often manufactured to NLGI Grade 1. This is usually grease with molybdenum disulfide or ‘moly’. This grease will typically be black and viscous.

Product Information:

All of our Outboard CV Joints were not designed to be used with lift kits. From our extensive research and conversations with end users, we find our CV Joints work well with up to a 2 inch lift. Anything over that may cause an extreme angle and overextension of the axle; this in turn may result in CV Joint failure. Any CV Joint failure caused by a lift kit will not be covered under our warranty. See our WARRANTY POLICY section for further information on our warranty policy.

Simple Steps for Removal and Service of ATV CV Joints 

The following procedure is recommended for the removal and inspection of typical CV joint style axles found on most ATVs. These steps are for general informational purposes only and do not apply to all ATVs. Always be sure to observe good safety practices while working on heavy machinery. 

  1. Loosen lug nuts and wheel spindle nut. Lift and block vehicle. Remove wheel nuts and wheel. Then remove the sheel spindle nut.
  2. Remove the nut holding the lower ball joint to the hub assembly.
  3. Some applications have a transverse bolt that retains the ball joint stud to the hub assembly. This should be removed
  4. Loosen the ball joint stud from the hub assembly with a fork, being careful not to damage the flexible seal that protects the ball joint.
  5. Using the leverage of a pry bar, completely separate the lower ball joint stud from the hub assembly. Push the hub assembly to one side of the lower control arm.
  6. Free the cv joint from the hub assembly by tapping the spindle. Be careful not to damage the spindle threads.
  7. Using the leverage of a pry bar, separate the axle shaft from the transmission. On some models, the axle shaft is held onto the output shaft by a cotter pin and must be removed.
  8. Support both ends of the axle shaft when removing it from the vehicle.
  9. Most typical axle shafts have two cv joints, an outboard cv joint and an inboard cv joint. Each joint is lubricated with special high temperature grease, and protected with a cv boot seal. 

Outboard Joint Removal and Inspection

The following procedure is recommended for the removal and inspection of typical CV joint style axles found on most ATVs. These steps are for general informational purposes only and do not apply to all ATVs. Always be sure to observe good safety practices while working on heavy machinery. 

  1. Clamp the axle shaft in a soft jawed vice. Cut the boot clamps at each end of the boot with side cutters. Cut the boot lengthwise and discard. 
  2. Rub grease from the cv joint between your finger and thumb. If the grease feels gritty, you can assume there has been damage.
  3. Wipe away all grease from the face of the joint and determine how the joint is retained on the axle shaft. (Incidentally, you should remove the grease any place you find it throughout your inspection to allow a more careful analysis of the cv joint.)
  4. Outboard cv joints are held on to the axle shaft by two different methods. Some Polaris and Bombadier can be released by expanding a front facing snap ring and sliding the cv joint housing off the bar.
  5. Most other outboard cv joints are held on to the axle shaft with an internal snap ring. These cv joints can be removed by striking the cv joint face with a mallet.
  6. Place the joint face up in a vise. Press downward on one side of the inner race to tilt the bearing cage high enough to remove a ball from the opposite side. If the cv joint is tight, use a mallet and brass drift to tap the inner race. Repeat this step until all six balls are removed.
  7. Tilt the cage assembly vertically and position two opposing windows in the area between the ball grooves. Most cages have elongated windows specifically for this purpose. Remove the cage and inner race assembly by pulling them upwards from the housing. 
  8. After degreasing the outboard cv joint housing you should look for contact wear in the area where the ball moves back and forth in the grooves. Housing wear is normal and advances as mileage on the cv joint increases. Rebuilding should not be performed on a joint when the wear pattern becomes extreme.
  9. Assemble the new cage and race by turning the inner race 90 degrees to the cage and align one of the race spherical lands with an elongated window. Raise and install the inner race by swinging inward.
  10.  Reinstall the cage assembly by sliding it down between the ball grooves into the housing, reversing the disassembly procedure.
  11. Tilt the bearing cage assembly high enough to install a new ball. Use a mallet and brass drift to tap the ball down the groove of the cv joint housing, exposing the window on the opposite side for another ball. Repeat this process until all six balls have been installed.
  12. When greasing the joint it is best to remove one of the corners of the package and insert it into the hole of the inner race. When the grease is squeezed into the bottom of the joint, grease will be forced around the bearings, assuring that proper amount of lubrication has been used in the cv joint.

  

Inboard Joint Removal and Inspection

The following procedure is recommended for the removal and inspection of typical CV joint style axles found on most ATVs. These steps are for general informational purposes only and do not apply to all ATVs. Always be sure to observe good safety practices while working on heavy machinery. 

  1. Clamp the axle shaft in a vice, be sure to protect the axle from damage. Cut the boot clamps at each end of the boot with side cutters. Cut the boot lengthwise and discard. Wipe away all grease from the face of the joint and determine how the joint is retained on the shaft.
  2. Inboard cv joints are held on the axle shaft by two different methods. Most inner housings are retained using a wire ring along the bottom of the joint. The retaining ring needs to be removed to access the cage, race and balls.
  3. If your inboard cv joint is not held onto the axle by a wire retaining ring then it would be retained by staking the metal from the housing into the track. This metal needs to be filed down to allow access to the cage, race and balls.
  4. The inner races are held onto the bar by two different methods. Some Polaris & Bombadier can be released by expanding a front facing snap ring and sliding the race off the bar.
  5. Most other inner races are held onto the bar with a snap ring that can only be seen by removing the housing.
  6. Wipe away the grease from the end of the bar to see the snap ring holding the race onto the bar. This snap ring must be removed.
  7. After the snap ring has been removed you should be able to lift off the cage and race assembly. In some cases it may be a press on fit and will require you to tap the assembly off with a small hammer. 
  8. After degreasing the inboard cv joint housing you should look for contact wear in the area where the ball moves back and forth in the grooves. Housing wear is normal and increases with mileage. Rebuilding should not be performed on a joint when the wear pattern becomes extreme.
  9. Assemble the new cage and race by dropping the inner race into the cage. Align the race spherical lands with the cage windows. You should refer to the original part to make sure that you have the orientation of the cage and race in the proper directions.
  10. Next you will need to turn the race so that the ball bearings can be installed into the cage and race. The race legs would be on either side of the windows to provide proper assembly.
  11. Install new boot onto bar followed by sliding the cage, race and ball assembly onto the bar spline. Do not forget to replace the snap rings for the inner race and the housing during re-assembly. If your application required that you remove the metal staking from the housing you will need to use a punch and hammer and re-stake the housing after the components are installed.
  12. When greasing the inboard assembly it is best to put half the bag into the bottom of the joint, grease will be forced around the bearings when the joint is plunged assuring that the proper amount of lubrication has been used to protect the bearings in the cv joint. The remaining grease needs to be pushed into the boot. Finish by clamping the boot with the included straps.

 

Banding the boot with band it style clamps:

We sell 2 types of banding tools in our TOOL AND ACCESSORIES category. If you choose not to purchase a banding tool you can band the boot with a pair of needle nose pliers. 

  1. You will need to wrap the band around the boot and thread the end through the loop on the other end of the band. The tabs should be sticking up, away from the boot. 
  2. After it is threaded, you will need to grab the very end of the band with the pliers. 
  3. Now you will start to wrap the band around the tip of the pliers (as if opening a sardine can). This will enable you to gain leverage. 
  4. Once you have enough leverage, pull the band back good and tight. You will then tap the tabs down over the band to keep it securely in place. 
  5. To finish the installation, cut off the excess band. 

You will use this process on both ends of the boot. If you need further clarification on the bands, please call our tech line at 1-866-288-3003 and choose option # 2.