Life Hack: Install That Axle Shaft The First Time, Every Time

The constant-velocity (CV) joint was once limited to small, front wheel drive cars such as the BMC Mini. While considerably more complicated (and expensive) than standard universal joint, it allows the axle shaft to operate at a much more extreme angle without the risk of the vibrations and binding associated with classic universal joints. These days, virtually every four wheel drive truck with independent front suspension uses some variation of the CV joint.

Over time, these joints have a tendency to wear and require some attention. Whether you decide to replace or rebuild your worn CV joints, you’re going to have to remove the axle shaft to accomplish this task. While removing the axle shaft is fairly straight-forward, getting it back into the vehicle can be challenging on certain models.

Generally speaking, there are two methods for mating the inner CV joint to the drivetrain. On many models, the inner CV joint bolts to a flange on the drivetrain and installation is fairly simple, assuming that you haven’t stripped out any of the fastners. On other models, however, the inner joint connects to the drivetrain by a splined shaft with a ring clip at the end.

That clip can cause installation issues if it’s not properly aligned. You’ll notice that the clip is fairly round with a gap on one side. When installing the axle shaft, make sure that the gap on the clip ring is at the bottom of the splined shaft. If it is aligned another direction, it will not be able to compress and installing the axle shaft will be incredibly difficult.

It’s often the simplest things that give us the most trouble when assembling a vehicle. Check back soon for more tips and tricks from Supreme Life Hacks as well as product installation tutorials and industry tech updates.

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