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Old 04-19-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
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CV joint question

I need help diagnosing this problem, because I really don't want to buy a new CV joint and find out it wasn't the problem. Whenever I'm putting heavy weight on the front passenger corner while driving (making a sharp left turn usually, braking and accelerating doesn't matter), the corner starts clack-a-lackin pretty loud, along with mild vibration. No clacking when driving straight, but there is a clack or two when i get going from a stand-still (going straight).

I'm still going to take a couple people for a ride to exhibit it to them and get their opinions, but I would really appreciate it if you guys could tell me what you think. I want to install it at the same time I'm getting my suspension installed to save money.

Thanks,
ajp

PS Question: considering my front passenger side is the side where the shock is blown, could that have contributed to the CVJ failure? Or is 100k about the right time for them to bust?

Thanks again for your help guys.


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Old 04-19-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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It probably is the CV joint....and I doubt the strut had anything to do with the problem. There's no set time those things should last......200k is not unusual. But it is unusual for one to fail if the CV boot has never split.

The grease that is in there doesn't leak out if the boot is ok......I'll bet your boot is split, and some/all of the grease is gone. Also.....repacking the grease along with a new boot usually fixes the problem. If you're going to have someone else fix the thing, it's a good idea to buy a complete rebuilt axle.....costs about the same as just a new outer joint.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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it's a good idea to buy a complete rebuilt axle.....costs about the same as just a new outer joint.
thats insane! thanks for the info.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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No kidding........It's a good idea to check around your town for a place that rebuilds the things. They normally sell to dealers, and then the dealer marks up the thing 100%+.

You might find one at a wholesale price. Be sure to tell the place if you have ABS....the axles might be different.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:51 PM   #5
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I'd go further than that, and I second the diagnosis that the strut had nothing to do with it.

The axle is easy to replace yourself, but no matter who replaces the axle you must drain the transmission fluid to change the axle. Depending on your transmission, this can add a lot of money to the repair. From my experiences, I never change just one axle- especially if the axles have gone out due to regular use without boot damage. Usually, if one axle has gone out, then the other is not far behind.

You seemed surprised that Bluefront recommended to replace the axle as the result of a bad CV joint. This is how it's done. Yes, CV joints can be rebuilt individually, but since this requires the removal of the axle, it's just as cost effective to simply replace the axle and both joints. Outer CV failure noises are what you're experiencing, inner CV's make a rattling sound, and a strong vibration while driving at any steady speed that will go away when accelerating. Inner CV problems are very difficult to diagnose because it tends to mimic suspension/steering problems.

The passenger side CV axle is more difficult to replace, and more expensive in a Focus due to the carrier bearing.

If I were you, I'd start saving my money. Drive very conservatively to limit the damage to the CV. I'd approximate the cost of both axles to be US$300. Check our How-To list, and I do believe there is a How-To on replacing CV axles. If you know someone who has done it before on any vehicle, then that would help. Part of the hurtle that a first time CV replacer has to overcome is the fear that prying on the axle to remove it from the transmission will break something. The process is the same for all FWD.

Be aware that there is a large nut that MUST come with the new CV axle. Wherever you buy the CV axle make sure there is a nut that comes with it. If a local rebuilder offers you a CV axles without a nut, that's ok, just be sure to purchase one from your local Ford dealer before performing the installation.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:12 PM   #6
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If you want to save a few bucks, put a clean pan under the transmission, and when you pull the axle, you can save and reuse the fluid that comes out.

Also.....concerning the passsenger side axle that has a carrier bearing. All the ones I ever replaced did not need to be pried out once the carrier bearing was un-bolted. The axle would then just slip out.

The driver side has a snap ring that requires prying out.....not too hard.

It's also a good idea to replace the output seal if you remove the axle....but not necessary if the seal was not leaking. If you have a limited slip differential, reinstalling the axle can be tricky......
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:45 PM   #7
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start saving my money indeed... +rep to both of you.

Is it still reccomended that i replace the whole halfshaft if only the outer cv is gone?
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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whoops double post
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:09 AM   #9
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Replacing the entire axle is the only way you're going to be able to do it. I'm not even sure what is done to rebuild the individual joints, but I know it would require the removal of the axle and a lot more time than it would take to replace the axle. Besides, the inner CV would be worn and repairing the outer CV then reinstalling that axle would definitely lead to inner CV problems at some point.

Call around to some rebuilders in your area as well as your parts stores. Use the time you have to do some price shopping. IMO, and this is daring, you don't really have to replace a CV axle until you can't avoid popping during straight acceleration. Baby it as much as you can, and it will last for long enough for you to get enough saved up for both axles. Factor in the transmission fluid you'll need as well, and if you have an ATX, I would replace the filter while doing this. For an MTX, you'll need to get Ford's recommended fluid from a dealer, or an equivalent fluid from a performance part supplier. Ford's fluid is expensive, but it's very good stuff. For the ATX, it uses standard MerconV.

If you DIY, you'll also need a 1/2 breaker bar and 34mm (I think, maybe 36) socket for the axle nut. A cheap 1/2 bar style torque wrench will be needed for the axle nut as well. OH, and a decent sized pry bar for the driver's side as well as the standard hand tools. You can rent a Tie rod tool, but you'll need tie rod nuts to re-install. Those you should be able to get at the Ford dealer. Do not use a pickle fork on your tie rod ends, there is another tool that will separate the tie rod without possible damage to the boot. Read in your shop manual, or purchase one if you don't have one, so that you understand how to properly remove the tie rod. When I've done these, I've found that it makes it easier to unbolt the top of the strut and remove the clip that holds the brake line to provide more space. You'll also have to release the lower ball joint from the spindle, but that's no big deal so long as you don't damage the boot.

I've never had to replace a transmission seal in a FWD, but as Bluefront said- if it's leaking, then you need it. If not, don't bother. You should be able to see a leak, if it's oily down there, then pressure wash that area, and see if the oily residue is coming from the diff.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:54 AM   #10
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^^^^^^^I've never pulled a transmission pan to replace an axle. The drive shafts are higher than the pan, so very little fluid escapes when the axle is removed (on the numerous ones I've done anyway).

Tie rod ends.....never had to remove them either. I loosen the strut from the frame, or from the lower control arm, extend the tie rod all the way out by turning the steering wheel, and there is always enough free play to get the axle out. YMMV

I always worked flat rate at the three dealers I worked for, so it was necessary to do things as fast as possible to make the quoted time. At the same time if you screwed up, you ate the extra time it took to redo the job......so you had to be fast and accurate as well.
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