Originally Posted by revhigh
If the car were suspended on a lift with the wheels free, you can generally get some lateral play by grasping the halfshaft and moving it in and out of the trans slightly. Never seen one NOT like that.
OR ... if you move the wheel up and down while it's on a lift, you'll see the halfshaft move in and out of the trans slightly. IT has to be like that ... if there were no play, up and down movement of the wheel on the road would pull it out of the transmission.
If you've ever replaced a half shaft ... you'd see what I mean. There is play in the splined area BEFORE it hits the retaining ring.
I've only replaced axles on AWD vehicles, and I understand everything up until you pull the wheel laterally (not up/down). When the wheel is attached, the wheel itself should not be moving laterally (outwards/inwards). Unless there's some difference in design that I am not aware of...
Like I said, I'm speculating based on my experience (not with a 2012 Focus). There has to be some sort of difference between '12 axles and '13 axles since they're different part numbers from different build dates.