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w/ my magic bag
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It's when you let the axle end sit of its' own weight on the seal edge while installing it that you cut the seal; the sharp edged splines do it...........not much difference there, just enough to be all the difference in the world.
It can be done, just need to pay attention to what your doing & how you do it. For some ppl, I'd say think how & why your doing it that way, just basic common sense. You don't want redo's.....Why slam it out, if you have to spend a few minutes thinking 'bout how & doing the job correctly to begin with.
 

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Everyone says the axle seal is easy.... it isn't. At least the nationals from Orriellies were not.... I had to build a seal installer to get mine on after the first one got damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Alright, here's where I am on this job:

Got the car jacked up, got the carrier bearing unbolted (definitely was loose on the shaft). Couldn't get the axle out at this point, not enough play in the upright to take it out. I guess that's probably how it always is, just wanted to see if I could make it easier for myself.

I was able to disconnect the tie rod for the steering rack from the upright, but I couldn't get the lower ball joint disconnected from the upright. It's super rusty and stuck in there. I got the clamping bolt out, just the ball joint itself is seized in the upright.

Do I need some special tool to pull it out? I think there's something called a pickle fork, but I'm not sure if that's the right tool for the job.
 

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2006 ZX5 2.0, 2004 ZX3 SVT EE. 2004 ZX3 SVT
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Alright, here's where I am on this job:

Got the car jacked up, got the carrier bearing unbolted (definitely was loose on the shaft). Couldn't get the axle out at this point, not enough play in the upright to take it out. I guess that's probably how it always is, just wanted to see if I could make it easier for myself.

I was able to disconnect the tie rod for the steering rack from the upright, but I couldn't get the lower ball joint disconnected from the upright. It's super rusty and stuck in there. I got the clamping bolt out, just the ball joint itself is seized in the upright.

Do I need some special tool to pull it out? I think there's something called a pickle fork, but I'm not sure if that's the right tool for the job.
So glad I dont live in the rust belt. Yes. Large pickle fork or a long prybar. Hopefully no heat will be needed.
 

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It will work but likely ruin the balljoint seal.

Why you are careful with the axle seal...........RELLIKPIR points out if you cut it then you have fun getting the new one in and it's true, why you don't damage the old one. So much easier to avoid that. I have never had a problem but then I've pushed hundreds of seals in, some are very particular in how you go about that depending on the surrounding conditions. The location there comes into play.

FYI, just as a point of interest, I've begun to measure the outside OD of the seal register area now on a new-to-me axle to ascertain that if rebuilt the axle has not been reduced in OD in an attempt to clean up the seal ring area. If it is too small the seal will leak even if new and in correctly. The only way you can catch that is by absolutely measuring it, I look for like .015" or more difference in the axle OD and the seal ID, it needs like .0075" or more each side to seal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
It will work but likely ruin the balljoint seal.
Yeah, I did some more research and I think I'll try just hammering on the LCA to get it out. If that doesn't work I'll try one of the expanding claw style LBJ pullers.

I don't currently have internet at home (long story) so it makes it tough to find advice while I'm actually doing the work.
 

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Alright, here's where I am on this job:

Got the car jacked up, got the carrier bearing unbolted (definitely was loose on the shaft). Couldn't get the axle out at this point, not enough play in the upright to take it out. I guess that's probably how it always is, just wanted to see if I could make it easier for myself.

I was able to disconnect the tie rod for the steering rack from the upright, but I couldn't get the lower ball joint disconnected from the upright. It's super rusty and stuck in there. I got the clamping bolt out, just the ball joint itself is seized in the upright.

Do I need some special tool to pull it out? I think there's something called a pickle fork, but I'm not sure if that's the right tool for the job.
What you are calling the 'upright' is actually called the steering knuckle (aka suspension knucle, aka front knuckle). You will not be able to remove the axle unless you remove the splined outer end of the axle from the hub after removing the large nut from the end of the axle. Knowing where you car lives (in MA like mine) I can tell you that there is a very good chance the axle is seized in the hub (although I would try to get it out before I tried to unbolt the knuckle from the LCA.

On my 2002 wagon what started out as a 'simple' front wheel bearing replacement a few years back ended up as being a complete front suspension replacement with new axles, LCAs, hubs, knuckles (used) and wheel bearings. The axles were seized to the hubs (both sides) and the ball joints were siezed to the knuckles (both sides). I ended up removing the axle/knuckle/hub/LCA from each side as a completely seized mass. Hope you have better luck.

Good luck
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Got it done!

So the worst part by far was removing the ball joint from the lower end of the steering knuckle (sorry about my terminology, on my Miata's double wishbone suspension, it's called an upright). It took about 30 good hits with a 3lb mini sledge, but it came out eventually. I'm sure my neighbors loved all the noise.

To be fair, over the weekend I had the axle splines sliding in the hub no problem, so that was never going to be an issue for my car.

I couldn't get the old seal out, it seems like there's a metal retainer or something but I didn't want to go prying on things that shouldn't be pried on so I just let it be. It looked to be in pretty good shape honestly. I think the original leak was due to the axle sliding on the carrier bearing.

Speaking of which, the old axle that I took out of the car was completely loose on the bearing. I was able to slide it off the axle by hand.

I filled my transmission with some cheapo fluid from O'reillys in case I find it's leaking again, but for the time being, it shifts ok so I'll leave it until I feel the need to go to the Motorcraft $$$$$ fluid.

Thanks for all the help guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I filled my transmission with some cheapo fluid from O'reillys in case I find it's leaking again, but for the time being, it shifts ok so I'll leave it until I feel the need to go to the Motorcraft $$$$$ fluid.
Well I spoke too soon on this one... With the cold this morning, the shifts into 1 and 2 were crunchy as hell. I'll stop at the Ford dealer today and change that fluid, assuming I see no leaks under there.
 

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w/ my magic bag
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Got it done!

So the worst part by far was removing the ball joint from the lower end of the steering knuckle (sorry about my terminology, on my Miata's double wishbone suspension, it's called an upright). It took about 30 good hits with a 3lb mini sledge, but it came out eventually. I'm sure my neighbors loved all the noise.

To be fair, over the weekend I had the axle splines sliding in the hub no problem, so that was never going to be an issue for my car.

I couldn't get the old seal out, it seems like there's a metal retainer or something but I didn't want to go prying on things that shouldn't be pried on so I just let it be. It looked to be in pretty good shape honestly. I think the original leak was due to the axle sliding on the carrier bearing.

Speaking of which, the old axle that I took out of the car was completely loose on the bearing. I was able to slide it off the axle by hand.

I filled my transmission with some cheapo fluid from O'reillys in case I find it's leaking again, but for the time being, it shifts ok so I'll leave it until I feel the need to go to the Motorcraft $$$$$ fluid.

Thanks for all the help guys!

[thumb]

Paul
 
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