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Axle Boots Replacement in Progress - Q's about CV joint wear

 
Old 12-16-2007, 01:28 PM
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Dwayne
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Default Axle Boots Replacement in Progress - Q's about CV joint wear

I started the CV Boot replacement yesterday (Sat.) morning and have the axles out now and cleaned up. I also took pictures of the process, of course. I decided to take the joints apart and see what's in there. The ball bearings look pretty good, no pits, gouges, discolorations, etc. However, I did notice wear spots on the ball bearing hub and cage but I don't know if it's enough to warrant getting rebuilt shafts or not. I'd like for you all to take a look and tell me what you think.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled the axles out was that the outer joints would bind when I tried to rotate the shaft around at the limits. In other words, when the shaft is at mid-travel in the joint and I rotate the end of the shaft around, it moves quite freely. But when I pull the shaft in or push it out near the travel limits, it's difficult to rotate the shaft - binding. More so on the passenger side axle than the driver side. So, I'm wondering, is this normal. Does the shaft always stay mid travel in the CV joint and the suspension on most roads stays pretty level so this would not be a concern?? Here's a pic
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My inner joints were dissassembled for me (by accident) when I was transporting them in the back of my Bronco. I had the axles wrapped snug but they came loose, rolled around and the next thing I know, I'm hearing all kinds of metal parts klinking and rolling around the back of the Bronc. All the bearings came out! I know the WSM says the ball joint and hub are paired so don't mix them up (I've kept mine together) and it says the 6 ***** or each joint also belong to one tolerance group. Not sure what "belong to one tolerance group" means - don't mix them up??? I can see no way to distinguish between the bearings or the housing so I'm planning on just putting the ***** in, mixed. Anyone see a problem with that??

So I cleaned the housing and inspected them. I noticed the passenger side was noticeably more worn than the driver's side. Here's the driver's side bearing hub. Almost no perceptible indentation at the shiny spots.
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Here's the passenger side bearing hub. Running my finger over the shiny spots, I feel more indentation than the driver side.
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Here's the Driver's side bearing cage. Only slight indentation/wear at the bearing contact points.
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Here's the Passenger side bearing cage. While the driver's side bearing cage was smooth with no markings around the outside, the passenger side had noticeable worn spots around the mid section and at the lower end. The surface of the cage looks like it's supposed to be smooth but in these worn spots, grooves are imprinted into the surface. I noticed the same grooves on the inside of the bearing carrier - the heavy black paperweight.
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I also noticed heavier indentation at the bearing contact points on the passenger side.
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The WSM says that "slight wear spots and tracks of ***** are no reason to replace joint". I'm pretty sure the driver's side falls into this category. But I'm not so sure about the passenger side. How much is "slight". Just my lack of experience....I don't have a real worn one to compare to. What do you think, good to go back together or should I simply replace with rebuilt??? THANKS!
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:54 PM
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Dwayne:

If there is no "click" and no play in the rotational axis, you are probably OK. However, those tracks do look rough/pitted. How was the grease pack? Had dirt gotten in there? Had much of the grease been flung out?

Switching the axles to the other side is one common practice to change the wear patterns and get more life out of them. I don't know what to say about the binding you are observing. It may be normal in a disassembled axles put into an extreme orientation. I don't recall this.
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Old 12-16-2007, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Ball View Post
Dwayne:

If there is no "click" and no play in the rotational axis, you are probably OK. However, those tracks do look rough/pitted. How was the grease pack? Had dirt gotten in there? Had much of the grease been flung out?

Switching the axles to the other side is one common practice to change the wear patterns and get more life out of them. I don't know what to say about the binding you are observing. It may be normal in a disassembled axles put into an extreme orientation. I don't recall this.
Hey Bill,
THANKS for taking a look! There is no click - at least not that I can remember and there is no rotational play. Funny thing is the passenger side (the one showing wear) boots were not compromised. Plenty of grease in there too. The driver's side inner boot was split open but no grease flung anywhere. That joint also had plenty of grease. The outer driver's side had no split but was flinging grease everywhere. Near as I can tell, the grease was coming out the inner (smaller) end of the boot. There are no clamps on the small end of the boots.
What you suggest makes sense to me. With no click, no play, and no evidence of compromised lubrication, I'm leaning toward repacking and installing. Also planning on switching the axles. Just wanted another opinion since I've never done this before. THANKS for the help!
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Old 12-17-2007, 03:27 AM
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Dwayne,

What wear? Not to disagree with Bill on this one, but the jounts are fine. Grease them and put them back on. The removable ones can be tightened on the spline if necessary with a little rough treatment. It is the outside joints that can not be tightened. So check them carefully for any play.

Small polished spots on the joints are no issue. What you are looking for as wear are either pitted *****, blue ***** (over heated) or scarring on the inside or outside hub. Scarring will look like a tear in the metal. From your pictures you are hundreds of thousands of miles away from that. Even spline wear can go on for 100K miles with out much problem.

One trick is to reverse the axles on the car so they now spin in a different direction and thus wear in different spots. From the wear on the joints I am guessing they have been run in the same direction for life.

One word of caution. Torque the bolts and use some blue Loctite. I had a joint come loose at speed. It is not a pretty picture and will do some serious damage.

Good Luck and quite obsessing.

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Old 12-17-2007, 03:30 AM
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Oh a couple of other notes.

1. It is normal to see a brown or dark grey discoloration on the ball bearings. The grease does this over time.

2. Throw away the slip clamps that come with the new boots. Get some thin raditor clamps. I have never see the slip clamps put on tight enough to prevent grease from spraying all over the bottom of the car. Ugh.

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Old 12-17-2007, 12:23 PM
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I just did all this, and and I replaced the joints that were the worst. Those indents on the cages are quite large - possibly large enough to let the ball out at the wrong time. Use a high quality moly grease - don't just put anything in there. Search for Krytox 215. There is stuff cheaper than that though. Make sure if you use them to reverse them.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:46 PM
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They look ok to me, but your hands look awfully clean for a man that has been with in two feet of a cv axle that is apart for cleaning.
That is a very messy dirty job.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by blown 87 View Post
They look ok to me, but your hands look awfully clean for a man that has been with in two feet of a cv axle that is apart for cleaning.
That is a very messy dirty job.
I always make sure I look my BEST for the camera!!

I agree, this has been the messiest job so far. My work pants are history now - goin' in the trash.

All,
THANKS for the the confirmation on the joints. I'm happy with putting them back in. BTW, I'm finished with the job as of last night and I'll post a bunch of pictures of the process, of course. But I must warn you that my rear end is not as clean as my front end - haven't worked my way back there with the toothbrush, yet!
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:28 PM
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Something is seriously wrong, Your hands! they are Wayyyyyy to clean to have just taken that axil and boot apart.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwayne
But I must warn you that my rear end is not as clean as my front end - haven't worked my way back there with the toothbrush, yet!
And what did she say?
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwayne View Post
I always make sure I look my BEST for the camera!!

I agree, this has been the messiest job so far. My work pants are history now - goin' in the trash.

All,
THANKS for the the confirmation on the joints. I'm happy with putting them back in. BTW, I'm finished with the job as of last night and I'll post a bunch of pictures of the process, of course. But I must warn you that my rear end is not as clean as my front end - haven't worked my way back there with the toothbrush, yet!
That is a dirty messy slow job and that black grease seems to just get every where.

I spent two days with a steam cleaner, five gallons of brake cleaner, a bunch a brushes with it hanging from a motor hoist, before I gave up on my rear end/trans/supension
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:36 PM
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BTW, as a long time pro wrench, I am impressed with you young man.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:23 AM
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Nice write up. I am getting ready to take on my axle's too as both of my outer boots are torn. One question about the 32mm nut on the end of the axle. Is it a reverse thread or the standard righty tighty lefty loosy?
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:36 AM
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Jim--

Standard rotation on both axles.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by blown 87 View Post
BTW, as a long time pro wrench, I am impressed with you young man.
THANKS...I'm having loads of fun! I do wish I had a shop to work in rather than the garage. Right now, my wife's other car is sitting outside while I'm using the garage for this work.
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