Subaru Impreza CV Joint Replacement

  • Subaru Impreza CV Joint Replacement

    The fiancee's 07 Impreza just hit 120,000 miles, and what better way to ring in the milestone with a torn cv boot! We just recently went up to New York for a holiday break. As soon as we got to our destination, we noticed a strange burning smell coming from the heater vents. My first thought was that maybe we ran over a bag or something that burned up on the exhaust, but after lifting up the hood and seeing some smoke come from around the exhaust manifold, I saw what I was dealing with.

  • Requirements

    This project is pretty extensive, and in turn, requires a significant amount of tools to make the job easier.

    • SURTRACK Part #SB8040
    • 10mm Socket
    • 19mm Socket
    • 32mm Socket
    • 19mm Box End Wrench
    • 12mm Box End Wrench
    • WD40 / PBBlaster
    • Scott ProShop Shop Towels
    • Impact Hammer (Heavy Breaker Bar Will Also Work)
    • Lithium Grease
    • Rubber Mallet
  • Getting Started...

    This job is somewhat difficult and will require an extra set of hands. The first thing you will need to do is throw the car up on jackstands for safety. Depending on if you are using an impact hammer or a breaker bar, you may be rocking the car quite a bit, so make sure it is nice and sturdy! Once you get the car up on stands, you want to remove the wheel of the side you are working on, and start to spray the large 32mm axle nut with some pb blaster. If you have been using the car all year round, you will find that the nut is packed with sand/dirt/debris.

  • Un-Bend The Axle Clip

    This step is very important, and may present some trouble if you dont appropriatly prep the axle nut for removal. If you take a close look, you will notice that one part of the axle end is notched, and you should also see that within the notch, the nut's lip is pressed in. This is done to prevent the nut from turning once it has been torqued down. In the picture below, you will notice this notch close to the 6o'clock position.

    To unbend the clip, you will want to take a flat head screw driver, and a heavy rubber mallet. By placing the screwdriver tip into the notch, and banging with the mallet, you should get the lip of the nut to start bending back out.

    Eventually you will get the bent lip unbent enough that the nut won't have too much trouble turning away from it. Take note that if you cannot get the lip unbent, you will still be able to break the nut free, but it will require a bit more work, and most certainly an impact hammer.

  • Time to Break The Nut Free

    Once you get the lip unbent enough, you will want to grab your 32mm socket and either a breaker bar or more preferably, an impact hammer. If you soaked the nut with pb blaster at the beginning you will find that this step may go by a bit quicker than normal. A solid tip to help you is to grab a screwdriver and slide it into one of the vanes of the brake rotor closest to the caliper. This will help keep the axle stationary while you are trying to torque off the nut.

    After repeated attempts with a breaker bar, I eventaully had to resort to an impact hammer, so I highly recommend one!! Eventually you will get the nut to break free and you will be well on your way to the next steps.

  • Don't Lose Your Alignment

    The next step will require you to remove the alignment cam from the spindle arm. These two bolts will separate the spindle from the suspension which will give you some room to work on sliding the axle end out of the spindle. Before you start though, you will want to do yourself a favor and mark/notch your alignment cam so that you can place it back in the same way. This will save you from having to get the car re-aligned after you are done

    Next, grab yourself your 19mm socket and box wrench, and work towards breaking the nuts free from the bolts. Go slowly and be aware that the spindle will drop down a bit towards you. Dont worry, it wont fall off or anything.

    Once you get those bolts removed, you will also want to unbolt the brake line from the shock tower. This step isn't exactly necessary, but I found that it really helped make some room for me. Your mileage may vary here.

  • Remove the Axle

    This is probably the most time consuming part of the entire job. Luckily, with this MY of the Impreza, the axles are both male ends, so there is no special pin that needs to be removed from the inner boot. Your next task here is to try and get the spindle side part of the axle out of the spindle. To do this you will need to grab your mallet, and start tapping at the axle end (where you removed the large nut from). You will notice that as you are banging, the axle will start to go inwards, and eventually enough of it will retract that you can then pull it out of the back of the spindle. Below is an illustration of what I mean about tapping the axle end.

    I wish I had some better images of this part of the job, but my hands were tied! I found that the best way to remove the axle from the spindle is to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction of the wheel you removed and then push down on the spindle while removing the axle end pulling it towards the rear of the vehicle

    Soon you will be left with half the axle removed, leaving you with the task of removing the other end of the axle from the front differential. I have heard of some people having so much trouble with this part that they needed to grab a slide/hammer kit, but I was honestly able to get it out easily with just a few push-pull plunging. Eventually that sucker will pop out and hopefully you didn't fall backwards.

  • Time To Install The New

    Now that you have removed the axle, you will want to put it aside and eventually properly dispose of it. Grab your new axle, and remove any packaging from the splined ends. Be very careful here handling the axle, the last thing you want to do is damage your new one.

    To install the axle, you will want to work the transmission side first. Before you install, make sure to add some grease to the splined end to help the install process. Gently insert the differential end and take note of the alignment. This is where it will be helpful to have a second set of hands / eyes. You want to gently rotate the axle until it gets properly aligned and starts to slide in a bit. Eventually you will no longer be able to press in the axle without some help from your trusty mallet. Gently start tapping the axle until it sits flush with the differential.

    Next, you will want to work the spindle end. Just like before, you will want to push down on the spindle and get the axle to align with the bearing. Take note that it may very well not slide in easily and do not force it. What you will want to do is get your trusty helper to slowly spin the rotor while you gently 'wiggle' the splined end into the spindle. Eventually you will properly align the splines, and you will be able to easily lift the spindle up towards the shock tower.

  • Finish Up In Reverse Order

    Once you have the axle installed, you will first want to torque down the alignment bolts on the shock tower. This will help hold everything in place while you install the axle nut. Make sure to align the alignment bolt (the topmost one) with the notches that you placed. Take note that the bolt only goes in one way, so slowly turn it until it eventually slides in. Dont go bashing it with a hammer.

    Next, grab your impact hammer and start to torque down to 160ft/lbs. And do not forget to bend the lip of the nut with a screwdriver and hammer.

  • A Few Notes

    The Subaru service manual recommends that you replace the cv axle seals any time you replace the axles. Unfortunately I didn't notice this tidbit of information until after I had started removing things.